Tobias Forge on moment he realised Ghost's Mary On A Cross was going viral: "my daughter spotted it"

Ghost’s Tobias Forge
(Image credit: Press/Jimmy Hubbard)

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.

Merlin Alderslade
Executive Editor, Louder

Merlin moved into his role as Executive Editor of Louder in early 2022, following over ten years working at Metal Hammer. While there, he served as Online Editor and Deputy Editor, before being promoted to Editor in 2016. Before joining Metal Hammer, Merlin worked as Associate Editor at Terrorizer Magazine and has previously written for the likes of Classic Rock, Rock Sound, eFestivals and others. Across his career he has interviewed legends including Ozzy Osbourne, Lemmy, Metallica, Iron Maiden (including getting a trip on Ed Force One courtesy of Bruce Dickinson), Guns N' Roses, KISS, Slipknot, System Of A Down and Meat Loaf. He has also presented and produced the Metal Hammer Podcast, presented the Metal Hammer Radio Show and is probably responsible for 90% of all nu metal-related content making it onto the site.