Backstage with ghost house
A new band in Morgantown regularly packs 123 Pleasant Street.
Photographed by Andy Pickens
Almost exactly one year ago, Morgantown residents Geoff Minnear, Ethan Schnell, George Zatezalo, and Mason Fanning were two days away from playing their first gig when they still didn’t have a name for themselves. “Ethan and I live together, and we’re pretty sure that the house is haunted,” Geoff says. “So we decided to call ourselves ghost house.” Although ghost house is often labeled as an emo band, the group is heavily influenced by indie rock from the ’90s. “I think we marry those two genres together pretty well,” Geoff says.
Just three months after becoming a band, ghost house recorded its first EP, self-titled ghost house. Of the five songs on the EP, Geoff’s favorite is “Cut Off the Sound.” “It’s the most technically challenging and the most fun to play on the guitar,” he says. Brian Spragg, a friend of the band, recorded the EP at no charge, so the band allows fans to name their price when they purchase downloads.
In just one year, ghost house has seen great success and is a regular act at Morgantown’s favorite music venue 123 Pleasant Street, offering high-energy performances and connecting with the crowd. “We like to keep it fun, and we love meeting new people,” Geoff says. But they can hardly believe how they have become successful so quickly. “It’s definitely awesome. We grew up going to shows, and now we play with some of the same bands we used to go see,” Geoff says. “It’s an honor and a privilege.”
Being in West Virginia and in Morgantown, specifically, has its advantages for ghost house. “There’s a lot of community between West Virginia bands,” Geoff says. “Morgantown is a crossroads of sorts, with musicians coming through from Pittsburgh and Ohio. There are lots of talented people in this town.”
While ghost town enjoys its Morgantown gigs, members hope to expand their fan base and travel to promote their music soon. In summer 2014 the band plans to travel to Pittsburgh to record a full-length album with David Klug, who runs a recording studio from his basement and is known for recording many of West Virginia’s best artists. “After producing our album we’d like to get out there and tour. Eventually we want to get signed and get big,” Geoff says. “But, one thing at a time.”