Paul Nouvet is an up and coming figure in Berlin’s creative scene. Through his Alter Ego, Ghost, I, the musician constructed a beautifully authentic vision. We are happy to feature him in this Œditorial along with an exclusive interview, led by photographer Markus Alexander Voigt. Get to know him before he blows up!
Introduce a child to the character „Ghost, I“
Ghost, I is the pseudonym of an artist. For a child it may be a bit abstract to speak about an ‘artist’ without telling what art is… So to make this child understand what it is, I would say that, it’s letting out a feeling from your soul, through a medium (which in my case is music and performance), to the audience. Ghost, I is not just a character, it’s most parts of my personality pushed to extremes. Ghost, I and Paul are one person, the only difference is that when I’m creating as Ghost, I it ultimately is from an extreme perspective, pushing the boundaries of what is socially acceptable and artistically expected. It’s probably a way of accessing the beauty of things without taboo nor any filter. It’s about letting it all out and capturing the impulse of the emotion and thoughts in their original form and intensity. It’s meant to free people as well as unify them, this might be the job of an artist and the purpose of Art.
What’s the story behind the name „Ghost, I“?
It’s quite spiritual. It is the story of a ghost omnipresent in everybody’s life. Seeing everything, understanding human feelings and documenting it with sounds and lyrics so that other humans can understand themselves a bit better.
I also picked this name as a reference to I, Robot – one of the first science fiction novels which is kind of a statement for an alienated perspective. I am very passionate about literature – it is the second art after music that I could understand and feel as a kid.
Do you believe in ghosts?
I believe in spirits. I am someone who likes to believe in something bigger, a bit more meaningful than my own little life, something unifying human beings on soulful level.
How does it affect your daily life?
My beliefs are probably coming from a place of suffering. But at some point you need to have faith in something. There was a time that I didn’t really see a meaning to life so I tried to understand what it is we’re all here for and why… Then I stumbled upon these spiritual topics. Some people will discover it through a drug induced state and some will find it through art as long as they look for an answer.
Your songs transmit a dark yet melancholic and dreamy atmosphere in which it’s easy to get lost in. In which state of mind do you write and produce your songs?
I feel like my duty as an artist is to receive the art when it comes but you can’t really decide when. If I am just trying for example to write every morning at nine at my desk it’s not gonna work – it’s forcing the art. I can work at nine but not at writing a song necessarily. My songs are coming from a stronger feeling. I also use what I have learned from all the places I’ve been and all the experiences I have had. I take notes all the time.
Still, I am producing songs on my laptop regularly and rehearse daily. But it’s just to keep up or improve these skills I have. In order to keep myself ready when it’s time to capture those emotional moments. When it happens it feels like a trance state, it’s like I’m gone. It’s a high.
There is something truly sacred about it, it’s like channeling something that is both from myself and beyond. I especially feel that way when it’s over. It makes me feel really weird, both empowered and humbled.
Does music complete you?
I feel lighter and happier when I make music and art.
I found out something curious linked to spirituality.
I’m number 11. Number 11 in Numerology stands for “wounded healer”.
It’s true I’ve been diagnosed as a ‘hypersensitive’ person. Apparently, I receive emotions and feelings a bit more intensely than average. So with all the joy and pain there is to feel in my life, I can and will naturally use it to learn about myself and others. I find true purpose in trying to heal people by expressing these feelings and experiences. Actually I am heavily depressed when I don’t. It’s genuine, I want to help with my art and make music that heals. Having a daughter also opened my eyes, my heart, and made me realise that I am not here only living or working for myself.
After living in Paris, L.A., Vienna you have finally settled in Berlin. Which impact does this city have on your personal life as well as on your work as an artist?
Paris, LA, and Vienna have obviously very different architectures but in the end, they have similar vibes and lifestyles, pretty conservative. In those cities, having a face tattoo, an authentic clothing style and an alternative lifestyle made me stand out in a negative way, sometimes to the point of being marginalized or bullied. But when I arrived here in Berlin everybody thought I was a local, I was fitting perfectly in the environment and I prefer being a part of that instead of being isolated.
Here clothing is a strong and important way of self-expression and it’s not so much about fashion or trends, it’s rather a part of the subcultures, it’s part of the art. I love this city so much because of its tolerance and dynamism which allows any creative to experiment fearlessly and to find their path. Berlin gives a chance to everybody.
Do you think making art and suffering have to go hand in hand?
A lot of people say „This is a romantic perspective that you have to suffer to be an artist“. I don’t know actually. Is it that romantic? Perhaps it’s true that you don’t HAVE TO suffer in order to start creating but you might end up with something very flat, shallow…To me it just makes sense, whether romantically or spiritually, that experiencing intense feelings, like pain, fear, or love can only serve the art and help you understand the stories of others as well as your own. It seems to me that the intensity of what you lived adds depth to your words, your sound, and your performance.
What kind of „success“ exists for „Ghost, I“?
Once the art-teacher of the ex-manager of the Sex Pistols, Malcolm McLaren, said as an entry speech :“As an artist you will first learn how to fail…”. A few years later he said during another speech to the class : “For those who stayed, I guess you’ve learned how to fail. But failing is not enough, now you have to learn how to fail flamboyantly, with genius and beauty…”. This is the concept that initiated the punk movement and it still resonates in me, loudly. Aiming at perfection is not only doomed to fail, it’s also very boring, emptied of soul and irrelevant to the flawed humans we are. I see success in reaching and helping more and more people every day. Spreading an art and a message that tells you: “ You are understood, loved and powerful.”
Performing with Peter Doherty a few years ago and spending a long time with him sounds like a wild story. How did you guys met? What did you learn from this time?
I met him in Paris. I was 18 years old and in a very bad situation which was affecting my studies, my friends and my family. I was dangerously anorexic and had a spine operation that drained me. During that time I didn’t know what to do with my life. I was drowning until Peter took me under his wing for about a year. It was a blessing. I learned a lot from his music which helped me a lot to keep my head up during this episode of my life. He seemed so poetically immersed in the world he built and that was very inspiring.
What stayed with me the most was the songwriting techniques he showed me, and also how to live a glorious life. He really mentored me. He actually made me promise to “never ever stop making music.”
What will Ghost, I bring next?
A lot of new songs and videos on Youtube through the collective ‘No Start No End’. But mostly, a multidimensional live show that involves music, dance, theatre and visual arts into a high energy performance : dark, erotic and uplifting.