As I walked into Mirth, Marvel and Maud, the final night of my Pastoral tour, I felt an overwhelming sense of pressure change. My anxiety and unease were palpable, and it wasn’t until a staff member set up that I could finally ask the question on everyone’s minds – “Is this place haunted?” They looked at me a little taken aback but didn’t dismiss my query outright.
This feeling was all too familiar to me. Throughout the years of creating and performing Pastoral, I had struggled with postnatal depression following the birth of my first child in 2016. The recurring dreams about a possessive ghost violently levitating my body only added to my anxiety. It was as if everything was culminating in this moment, leading me to realize that my next album would be about ghosts.
I began researching the technology of ghost-hunting and discovered many connections between audio technology development and spiritualism. The Radiophonic Workshop, Delia Derbyshire, Daphne Oram – these pioneers in sound and machine design had a supernatural heritage that influenced their work. Even early women’s rights movements were heavily influenced by spiritualism due to its ability to empower women with power over their own bodies and minds.
As I delved deeper into my research, I realized that what came out on Black Dog was not just an emotional response but also an excavation of my own fears and lifelong psychological state. To make that initial connection between technology, women’s rights, and ghosts? It blew my mind!