An Interview with Dreamy Indie-Pop Duo Tiny Ghosts”

I am pleased to introduce an upcoming interview between Kobi Selby, a writer for Hummingbird Mag, and Tiny Ghosts, an exciting indie-pop duo. Tiny Ghosts consists of Dayan, who provides vocals and illustrations for all of their artwork, and Eric, who plays guitar and produces their music.

Despite being a duo, Tiny Ghosts creates a big sound with their unique blend of indie-pop sounds, characterized by Dayan’s sweet, ethereal vocals and Eric’s catchy guitar riffs. Their debut song, “A Different Light,” was released in June 2020 and quickly garnered critical acclaim, showcasing their talent for crafting infectious hooks and poetic lyrics.

Since then, Tiny Ghosts have continued to gain momentum, captivating fans with their dreamy, atmospheric sound. Their music is a reflection of their shared passion for storytelling and creating art that resonates with people.

For this interview, I sent questions over via email for Dayan and Eric to respond to. Their responses are represented below without editing, so enjoy their raw words and haha’s!

Dayan, you have such a soothing and vibrant tone! When did you start singing and who inspires you as a singer, artist, and human?

Thank you, I honestly always just enjoyed singing along to my favorite music ever since I was little, ever since I could remember I guess. I grew up with a different type of music; salsa, boleros, rock, etc, so there are so many artists and singers who are a part of my influences. But to be honest my vocals come out completely different that what I expect them to sound like in my head so describing my vocals as soothing and vibrant is definitely nice to hear. As for vocal inspiration, I’ve always loved Janet Jackson, Julieta Venegas, Kate Bush, Selena, Christian Castro, the Bangles, and recently added to my list: Billie Eilish. 

What was the idea behind the music video?

Dayan: The music video meaning was different from the actual song meaning, this is most likely because of planning and scheduling. Basically, the video means us being together finally at last. Just us kicking it and having fun.

I read that the two of you met at a punk club in North Carolina but what was it, specifically, that drew you two together?

Eric: We started becoming good friends by having a class together in high school. I think we both knew we liked similar music from meeting at Tremont Music Hall, and that kinda broke the ice for us. The class (Business/Entrepreneurship) was a joke, so we had time to pass and ended up having a lot in common beyond music like soccer (we both played for our school), religion, and just general world views. Plus Dayan worked at Hollister while in school and got me those sweet sweet girl pants discount.

Dayan, I see that you’re from Peru, what were some of the types of music you listened to that have shaped you into the artist you are today?

My parents raised me heavily on salsa, merengues, boleros and any other type of latinx music you can think of, but when they introduced me to all the good spanish and English rock it changed me for life. Some of the old spanish rock I got into are Enanitos Verdes, Vilma palma e vampiros, Mana, Los Prisioneros, etc. I feel like my parents literally listened to anything that sounded good to them, I grew up with the beatles, the cure, David Bowie, Phil Collins, Talking heads, Cyndi Lauper, etc. It was a huge range of just the classics. Also my dad was a HUGE fan of KISS haha.

Eric, you sound amazing on guitar, how long have you been playing and who are some artists that inspire you?

Eric: I picked up guitar when I was 12, learning first from my dad who would always make up silly songs for me and my brothers growing up. My early influences were bands like Nirvana, Jimmy Eat World, Blink-182, Metallica, and all the Drive-Thru Records bands that I would spend my hours after school learning their songs. Scott Sellers and Clark Domae from Rufio were huge inspirations with how much they pushed guitar in pop-punk and the same for Strung Out who absolutely ripped. Jade from AFI got me into the habit of playing fuller, complex barre chords instead of cheating with power chords when going faster. Once I got into heavier music, Paul from BTBAM became a big influence for writing more progressively and, of course, learning to sweep (poorly) to play along to Mordecai.

Y’alls energy is so carefree and unapologetic and it ties so perfectly into the message of the song! Where does that spirit come from?

Eric: Honestly, probably just from being older and learning to balance our passions with the rest of our lives. My energy a decade ago was the exact opposite…when I was first trying to make a career in music, everything was do or die. I felt the pressure to make everything perfect and push people in unhealthy ways because I was always trying to do more and more. 

Now, I have found self-worth in other ways — through my family and 3 beautiful daughters and a career in tech — it’s much more enjoyable to create without feeling existential pressure every time we release a song. Plus, the fact that Dayan and I have been close friends for two decades now, we have a good sense of how to work together and the type of support (and sometimes space) we need to keep things fun and productive.

There’s a real warrior spirit to this song that many listeners should find relatable. What would be your message to anyone that’s looking to make that climb in their own lives as Dayan, you alluded to so eloquently in your lyrics?

Dayan: Just trying to give some words of hope or maybe some advice to the young listeners, something I would have appreciated when I was a young kid just trying to fit in. There is nothing wrong with being a loner, there is nothing wrong with not going with the flow or staying on your side and not getting involved with things you may not feel comfortable getting involved with. You will know when your time comes to climb up and emerge in whatever it is you’re doing in life, but if you fail or fold or break down it’s totally fine, we all go through this, we are all seeking something that makes us feel whole. You’re not alone!

Could you both elaborate on what it was like collaborating through email?

Eric: When we started swapping ideas back in like 2015, it was still a pretty novel thing and very different than how I was used to collaborating with my bands. Now, especially after the pandemic started, it’s much more common and the tools have certainly gotten better. We both grew up listening to The Postal Service and the stories of how they swapped physical hard drives back and forth — so that was always something I wanted to try. We do it over email, so it’s easier, but the typical process is that I’ll come up with a musical bedding and then send it over to Dayan. She’ll record some vocal ideas and give suggestions on the music. After a few back and forths, we’ll do a final demo once we are happy with the parts that we can take to our producer to mix and dub any vocals as needed.  

Dayan: I feel like in this era of tech it has become easier to elaborate and work long-distance through emails. There are more tools to collaborate long distance, I am used to doing this because I am a designer full time and collab remotely every day. Eric originally had the idea to send over some songs for me to work on, I just work on the melody, lyrics, and vocals in rough demos and shoot it back to him and we go back and forth with revisions and suggestions. It definitely goes way past emails though, we do a lot of video calls as well or just random text messages with voice memo files to ask for feedback. We have a little process down and it’s working for us.

Eric, in the press release, you said it was amazing to finally be in the studio with Dayan since the inception of Tiny Ghosts. Could you go into detail about how you felt that day, like what were some of the emotions and thoughts that ran through you? I’m sure it was a lot!

Yeah, it was really cool because we had been doing this whole project for a few years via email, and finally being in the studio together on song number fourteen felt so great. I think we were both pretty nervous because we were going to work with a new producer, and on the first day, Dayan is laying down vocals, and I honestly had no idea how it was going to go. But it ended up being incredibly productive and fun. I remember we left after that first long 10-hour day and were so pumped about the song (What For?) and couldn’t wait to go back the next morning to continue.

What do you hope to provoke with this song?

Dayan: Confidence, more wariness, and perhaps a little motivation.

What can we expect from y’all in the future?

Dayan: More tunes because we enjoy making them, perhaps in other languages (perhaps pretty soon..)

Eric: First, I’m partial to any interviewer using “y’all”. We have more music we’ve been working on that will come out next year and, potentially, one more before the end of this year.

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