Origin Story of Empire of Ghosts

How did the band come together?

Marianne: I reconnected with John Marc through a mutual friend on social media in early 2017. We had lived in the same town during high school and part of middle school, and John Marc knew my brother Pete.

John Marc: Marianne's brother Pete and I played guitar together back then in the early nineties, and I knew Marianne was musical, and was living an avant grade life in the city. Which was also my escape to culture, taking the Metra train into downtown Chicago and seeing all that great art and hearing all that great music, especially the old blues cats who were still playing all those clubs back then.

Marianne: Though John Marc and I didn’t really know each other, we each knew that the other was musically inclined.

John Marc: I had all the music I'd done while cloistering myself out east, and the first was a set of acoustic songs that really needed a singer. And I was always a fan of the female voice, especially with acoustic instruments.

Marianne: A week or two after reconnecting online, John Marc sent a message asking if I’d be interested in singing on some songs he’d written, and he sent a full album’s worth of music that just needed a singer. He’d already written some of the lyrics and had ideas in mind for the rest of the songs.

John Marc: I'd been doing a lot of writing, and had a lot of the sub-text, and the 'deep' stuff worked out already. As I see it though it really came to life when Marianne came into the picture. What she brought to it was nuanced and ineffable, that's what brought it all together. When she got back to me, after taking a whack at our first collaboration 'Carry Me Home', I listened to about eight measures and thought, that's it, we're a band. And thirty plus songs later we are still a band.

Marianne: That made it really easy for me, because coming up with good lyrics is usually where I struggle the most. And I really loved the music! I hadn’t been in any bands in a long time, and I was mostly listening to standards and occasionally going to vocal workshops.

John Marc: It was a bit of a shot in the dark, because I didn't know how actively Marianne was still involved with music. I think getting together on this project was good for both of us in terms of getting serious about music and riding the new learning curve of home recording technology and producing with modest means some really good-sounding music.

Marianne: I was just walking dogs and sort of keeping one ear up to listen. This was the best project I could have asked for, challenging but adaptable to my situation. I hadn’t written or really participated in anything in a long time, but I was still a listener and a singer at heart.