Ghost mainman Tobias Forge has revealed the moment he first became aware that the Swedish spooks' 2019 track Mary On A Cross was going viral earlier this year - and it was thanks to a family member with a TikTok account.
"I think it was my daughter who spotted it first," Forge explains in the new issue of Metal Hammer magazine. "She said, 'I heard Mary On A Cross on TikTok.' She's done that before with other songs. Then I was summoned to a label meeting and they were like, 'Are you aware of what's going on?', and they started presenting stats."
Despite originally being released on Ghost's 2019 EP Seven Inches Of Satanic Panic, the song found new life this year courtesy of a slowed-down version being used to soundtrack a compilation of Stranger Things scenes that was uploaded onto TikTok in September 2022. Both the slowed-down version and the original began to spring up all over the platform, leading to over 300,000 TikTok videos using the track and an incredible one billion views using the #MaryOnACross hashtag. The song has now become Ghost's most listened-to track ever, racking up over 185 million streams on Spotify.
"I take things like that with a huge grain of salt, because I'm not a TikTok user, so I don't know what it means," Forge says of his initial reaction to the song's unlikely explosion in popularity. "I know that people listening to a streamed song does not mean they like it."
Forge also is the first to admit that Mary On A Cross's unbelievable newfound success was never planned by the band, nor the people around them, noting: "That was never something that we planned. Even the label said so: 'We wish we did this for you, but we didn't do shit.'"
"We attracted so many new people who got sucked into this and fell into the rabbit hole of everything that we created," he adds. "And that's a great thing because you always need more people."
Read more on TikTok's influence on metal in 2022 in the new issue of Metal Hammer, featuring Korn's Jonathan Davis and Evanescence's Amy Lee on the cover and available to buy here. Ghost tour Europe in 2023, including a stop at the UK's Download festival in June.