Bringing their brand of indie alt-rock from Salt Lake City, Utah to our ears, City Ghost is a band that blends the experiences, talents, and musical stylings of five different artists.

Vocalist and musician Sadie O’Neill and guitarist Matt Mascarenas formed the band in 2018 by bridging the gap between their indie-folk and hardcore emo backgrounds before filling out their sound with Sam Richards (guitar), Chase Griffis (bass), and Ken Vallejos (drums). Apartment jam sessions and a lot of hard work led to City Ghost’s debut EP When the Lights Go Out at the end of that year. Since then, they have released a second EP, Gray (2021), and are quickly approaching the release of a third, Cause and Effect, this year. “Good News” is their first single release of that project.

Bringing the best of City Ghost to our ears, “Good News” is cathartic and melancholy. It has a pop drive with a nostalgic, 90s feel that nods to their alternative roots. “Good News” is a song about struggling and searching for hope. It’s a song you can jam out to air-drumming and -guitaring through the highs and lows or quietly think about wrapped in Sadie’s vocals.

We caught up with City Ghost for an inside at how they make music, what inspired “Good News,” and Cause and Effect. Check out the full interview below!

Showstopper Magazine Online: Tell us a bit about yourselves. What does City Ghost mean to you? How would you describe your sound?

Sadie: The inspiration for the name City Ghost came from being brand new to Salt Lake, moving there only knowing one person, and having a blank canvas to create and become visible when the time felt right. It had a ring to it, based on the sound that we were starting to curate. Our sound has evolved and gotten bigger since our first EP, but I would describe our overall sound as alternative/indie rock. 

Matt: City Ghost is the perfect opportunity to be creative with my close friends. We all have a wide range of musical tastes and trust in each other, so every record comes out sounding like what we are going through in our lives at the time. 

Chase: City Ghost has been a way for me to escape reality and make music with the people I love. I’ve loved every second of it.

Ken: It’s been an incredible creative outlet.  Can’t think of a better way to spend time with some of my closest buds.

SMO: With members coming from different styles and musical backgrounds, what brings you all together to create one sound?

Sadie: I think that we all love and appreciate many styles of music and when you get together with people that you vibe and connect with it’s intriguing to see what everyone is going to bring to the table to contribute to the overall sound. Our earliest stage of writing was Matt and I recording a few apartment demos and he immediately knew that Chase and Ken were the perfect additions to the project. After growing our sound for a couple of years we knew that we had to bring Sam into the mix for the missing ingredient. All of the guys have been great friends for many years and have collaborated in other projects together long before I came into the SLC music scene, so it was very seamless to curate our group.

Matt: Our friendship. We all have different styles in playing, but it all comes from the same place. 

Chase: We all give each other’s ideas a chance. If it works, cool. If it doesn’t, such is life.

Ken: The love and respect for each other. We love playing and writing together. Everyone is open to collaboration. It’s freeing. It never feels like an idea is bad even if it doesn’t make the cut.

SMO: “Good News” is the lead single on your third EP. Why share this one first? How does it represent the whole project?

Sadie: “Good News” has the most anthem-like feel out of the songs on our upcoming EP, and we felt that it encapsulates the vibe and sets a tone for what’s to come. It portrays a simple message and gives a glimmer of hope and silver linings that come out of chaos.

Matt: It was the song we were most excited about at the time. 

Chase: I feel like “Good News” has a little bit of everything that the rest of the record has.

Ken: I think it’s a great introduction into the overall sound of the record. 

SMO: What inspired “Good News”? Do you have a favorite moment to play or line in the song? 

Sadie: That feeling of having to fake it till you make it in order to not go into a mental spiral. I felt like that this was also the undertone in the world for many people trying to find new grounding after the pandemic. I believe in telling a story with authenticity and vulnerability, but also the power of manifestation and the importance of choosing your words wisely in order to create better outcomes and a new story to tell, so the silver lining of asking for good news marries the two concepts. We have yet to play this song live, but I definitely feel like the chorus’ will be my favorite part to rock out to.

Matt: Creating the underlying noises and effects in this song was one of my favorite memories from recording this EP. We were trying different pedals and turning knobs until we all caught eyes with the “ohhhhh that’s the one!” look. 

Chase: As a bassist, I loved how groovy the drums were to follow along with. Ken is a beast.

Ken: This whole song is so fun for me to play. I love how good the groove feels to play in the chorus.  And I really love the sound design on the guitars in the bridge.

SMO: What do you hope people take from this song? 

Sadie: I hope people take away the concept that we can redirect our lives and our struggles to change and better our outcomes. We’ll never have all of the answers or know exactly how things are going to work out, but we should move forward anyway. I hope people can feel empowered in their own lives to do whatever they are most passionate about and believe in themselves through the process. 

Matt: Excitement. 

Chase: That they can relate to it and apply it to further improve their lives. 

Ken: Life is chaos. Make the best of it

“Good News” is out now on Spotify, Apple Music, and Bandcamp.

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Veronica Good has been with Showstopper Magazine since 2016. When she isn't keeping you updated on the latest trends, she is at home with her many pets or probably playing The Sims 4. Veronica has a BA in English and an MA in writing from Coastal Carolina University. She is also a writer of fiction and poetry, and her work can be found in Archarios, Tempo, and Scapegoat.