One listen of Love Ghost and you’re immediately transported into their world. Based in Los Angeles, the 5-piece band consists of Finnegan Bell on the guitar and lead vocals, Ryan Stevens on the bass and backing vocals, Daniel Alcala on the guitar, Samson Young on the drums, and Cory Batchler on the keys.
With their sound transcending the genres of rock, grunge, pop, and even lo-fi bedroom hip-hop, each release is jam-packed with emotion, passion, and authenticity. Their mission statement as a whole is to give a voice to the people who have none, using music as a healing tool to ease depression, anxiety, and everything in between.
In describing Love Ghost, Bell states, “I’m the creator and founder of Love Ghost, it’s an alternative rock band with hip-hop elements. It’s halfway Nirvana, Alice in Chains, halfway $UICIDEBOY$ and Lil Peep. Somewhere in the mix between that.”
Most recently, Love Ghost returns with his newest single titled “Freak,” a hard-hitting punk rock anthem that showcases the band’s talents on another level. This follows the release of their previous single titled “Wolfsbane,” tapping the one and only Rico Nasty.
Flaunt caught up with Bell via Zoom to discuss his upbringing, favorite artists, love for Rico Nasty, how “Wolfsbane” came to be, his journey with mental health, self-care routines, how he got the name Love Ghost, meaning behind “Freak,” studio essentials, fashion sense, goals, and more!
Being from LA, what was a young Finn like growing up?
I felt pretty misunderstood growing up, like Edward Scissorhands or something. I was in the suburbs so I felt super different all the time. I started making music really young, started releasing music really young. I had a pretty turbulent road, especially in middle school. I got kicked out of schools, went to a lot of different schools. I went to high school in the inner city and I stayed there all 4 years, that was cool for sure.
Who are your favorite artists?
I love Nirvana, Alice in Chains, Radiohead. Also Lil Peep, $UICIDEBOY$. I’m really into the whole new movement that Machine Gun Kelly is doing right now, he’s awesome. Even Rico Nasty was one of my biggest influences as well, which is so cool I got to do a song with her.
What do you like about Rico?
She’s just a rockstar. She’s everything a rockstar is supposed to be, she’s awesome. My team reached out to her and sent the song. I’m like “man, I don’t know,” then it happened. She said yes, it was that easy. It was a dream come true, it was dope.
Talk about the making of “Wolfsbane” and what inspired that record.
“Wolfsbane” is like a lot of my songs, it’s about a journey with mental health. That’s the entire reason why I started making music in the first place. I wanted to write a song about werewolves because werewolves are cool, but write it from a mental health perspective. What’s the side of you that makes you change and makes you turn into something that you don’t want to be? You have to fight that urge. Is that a metaphor for addiction? Is it a metaphor for depression? All of the above? That’s what “Wolfsbane” was. It’s a hard rock and roll song. “Wolfsbane” is actually this flower in Europe that they said would repel werewolves and would fix someone who was turning into a werewolf.
Yeah, it’s really crazy. I thought that was a cool metaphor, a cool imagery. Rico Nasty has a verse on it, it’s crazy. It’s a really fun song.
Mental health is so important, what do you do for self-care?
Definitely, I’m still learning how to do my self-care in healthy ways. Slowly but surely. When I was younger, growing up feeling like I didn’t fit in, traumatic experiences, I’d go to music a lot. My favorite artists saved my life. I wanted to give that experience to someone else eventually one day. I wanted to make music that’d make people feel less alone, make people feel heard, make people feel like there’s somebody else out there that’s been through something similar and they’re on the other side of it. That’s the whole reason why I started making music in the first place, it’s what a lot of my songs are about. I’m young, I’m still learning how to deal with my mental health in a positive way. My self-care could definitely be better, but I’m learning. I’m working on it. [laughs]
How does music help you cope?
Writing music and expressing myself really helps with my anxiety. Obviously listening to music really helps.
There’s a lyric video. Can we expect an actual video on the way?
Yes, I’m in the process of writing a short film treatment for it with my team. It’s going to be like a horror movie, along the lines of The Shining. We’re thinking about getting an actual werewolf suit and all this stuff, it’s going to be exciting for sure. I’m pretty stoked for it, absolutely.
How did the name Love Ghost come about? Sorry if you’ve been asked that a million times.
It’s totally okay, no worries. I came up with that name really young, I was 13 years old. I was pretty lost when it came to the name, trying to find the name. “What do I think about a lot? What do I write about a lot?” I think about love and death, in one way or another a lot. I said “Love Death? That’s not very cool.” [laughs] Then I decided Love Ghost. Now, the ghost aesthetic… it wasn’t like this when I first made the name. But now, there’s a lot of ghosts in the emo subculture. Ghost this, Ghost that, a lot of Ghost out here. 7 or 8 years ago I made the name Love Ghost, which is a metaphor for what my brain gets lost in a lot: love and death.
What inspired your new song, “Freak”?
This new song “Freak” is a really, really hard, heavy metal, hard-hitting song with really dope artists on it. Shout out Kamiyada+, shout out Original God. It’s a Tool or Deftones-style song, but with trap and urban elements from nowadays. It’s a straight up hard rock, hard-hitting collaboration with a lot of different artists that showcase their abilities in different ways.
What do we want fans to get from that one?
With “Freak,” I wanted to capture: if you’ve ever felt a freak or an outcast in a certain way and you’re really, really mad about it, that’s what “Freak” is. It’s that breaking point. That’s how I want it to resonate with people.
3 things you need in the studio at all times?
That’s a very good question. Obviously my notepad, my pen. You need a good pen too, that’s overlooked. Make sure your pen doesn’t die on you in the middle of writing for sure. For me, it’s almost like acting. I’ll dress a certain way that morphs into this character that the song’s about. That’s one thing, I’ll pay a lot of attention to what I’m wearing and how I’m feeling. Mostly in the studio, I like to feel there and raw. I don’t like to bring too much with me. I’ll do a lot of preparation beforehand like meditation, manifestation. Oh, one thing I do when I sing: when I record, I bring a bunch of candles everywhere.
I love candles.
Exactly, I have this eerie setup. It’s all candle-lit so that’s pretty cool. Then really making sure I’m feeling in tune with myself, bringing that positive mental state.
What are you most excited for with your show at the Troubadour on the 4th?
Oh my God, I’m so excited! I really want to play the best possible show we can to show our fans that show up. I want to have a really great time and give them their money’s worth.
How would you describe your fashion sense?
I’ll mix it up a lot. I’ll take elements of rave culture, elements of early Y2K culture, a lot of punk rock, a lot of grunge for sure. A lot of emo stuff too. Sometimes I’ll even wear Hip-Hop fashion, some type of gangster fashion. I like to change it up a lot because I have a lot of different moods and I like to represent my mood. My fashion sense is pretty colorful and trippy as well. It’s almost grunge rock on psychedelics, that’s how I would describe it. [laughs] Even something like this, I got this the other day. [shows sweater] It says “Cry-Baby” on the sides of it. It’s a windbreaker and on the inside, there’s a bunch of eyeballs with green slime. There’s crying blue and pink hearts, all this stuff. It almost looks like a carnival aesthetic.
Do you like carnivals?
Yeah, I was at one yesterday actually. The 626 Market.
Oh wait, the OC Fair?
Now they do one in Arcadia too. I think it’s set up by the same people. That was definitely very, very cool.
What do you like to do for fun when you’re not doing music?
Most of my day does consist of some type of music, but I’ll relax. I’ll watch cartoons like Adult Swim and all that fun stuff, Beavis and Butt-Head. Watching cartoons is something I like to do for fun.
Any goals for yourself at this point in your career?
Definitely. Keep on growing, reaching more people and making really good music. There’s a lot of songs I haven’t written yet, that I need to write. Growing and learning new things, doing bigger and more exciting projects down the line. I want to step into other worlds too. I want to go into acting. I want to go more with the fashion. I want to go into writing too. Basically, it’s all writing and storytelling to me. That’s what music is to me in one way or another.