Ghost Hounds lead singer talks touring with Rolling Stones

Last Friday, legendary rock band The Rolling Stones stopped in the heart of Atlanta for an electric show at the Mercedes Benz Stadium. Opening for the group was the rock and blues septet Ghost Hounds. 

The seven-piece group is comprised of SAVNT (lead vocals), Thomas Tull (guitar), Tyler Chiarelli (guitar), Bennett Miller (bass), Joe Munroe (keys), Sydney Driver (drums) and Kristin Weber (Fiddle). 

Since the band’s debut album in 2019, they have seen immense success in the form of millions of streams, critical acclaim from publications such as Billboard and an impressive tour repertoire, supportingduring which they have supported bands like Guns N’ Roses, ZZ Top and Garth Brooks.   

Prior to their Atlanta stop, singer SAVNT (pronounced “savant”) sat down with The Technique to talk about Ghost Hounds, their music, and touring. 

So, touring with The Rolling Stones, how does that feel for you? 

I feel like the go-to word is “exciting,” of course. But what it really feels like for me is that baby SAVNT used to have this dream, and then young adult SAVNT got kind of heartbroken by it but continued to push just like all us musicians do. And so now, I feel like I’m actually able to live in that dream. You know what I mean? It is more of a reminder to everybody else to keep pushing– the impossible can happen.

Your sound is honestly kind of similar, in my opinion, to The Stones; the “classic rock” sound where it still had styles like country and R&B influencing it. Growing up and wanting to pursue music, was that the sound you were hoping to go towards?

What’s actually interesting is the sound that I always used to gravitate to was soul. And it was like soul, and then I started to move into rock with Lenny and, of course, the Rolling Stones. So, growing up, all of my music sounded super anthemic and super rocky. So, it kind of feels like I found the right position for myself. So I’m really glad to be here in general. It just feels right.

How do you think that style of rock and roll fits into music nowadays, because you don’t hear as many bands going back towards that almost country-infused rock?

I think we’re in a beautiful place now in music where you don’t have to do the mainstream to the mainstream. You don’t have to do what everybody else is doing in order to still get the pull or to start to get people to really perk up and listen. I think so much of what today’s music is we are borrowing from the past or even honoring and tipping our hats in the past, and I think that’s what our music does. With Ghost Hounds, we’re always honoring the past and just doing what we love. As long as you do what you love, people will be receptive to it.

And in terms of writing the music itself – whether the lyrics or the melodies, whatever part of it you’re involved with – how do you approach that process?

For me, personally, the way that I approach writing is I kind of just hear everything in my head. So I hear the melody, and then from whatever melody comes out, I’m like, “Okay, how, what does this song mean? What are you trying to say?” I take that to the band and build the world from there. And we have other writers in the band as well, and their writing process is even more interesting. And I love this process. I love diving in and collaborating in this way. Instead of just focusing on song stuff or anything like that, they’ll look at it from a story perspective and be like, “Okay, what does this guy do? And where’s he going, and what’s he trying to say?” The entire band, we’re storytellers, and we get to be conduits for that. 

Going back to the tour, is this the biggest one you’ve done? 

This is absolutely the biggest tour I’ve ever done. I mean, how do you get bigger than The Rolling Stones?

Growing up, were you involved in going to shows? How was the music scene almost influential to what you now do, if it was?

In New Jersey, at least for me because I was maybe 30 minutes away from New York, a lot of those big venues in New York, I was able to perform at. So, you’ve got Rockwood Music Hall and FOB and The Delancy and things like that. When you come to those places, they’re big, but they’re still very intimate, very small. So when I got here, to this band, it was like, “Oh, wait, I’m not performing in those small venues. I can actually use the whole stage.” So that’s a difference, but I think there’s something special to those venues because you really get to connect with people. I get to really look in your eyes and speak to you. So it’s taking that type of intimacy and bringing it to a bigger stage and almost just always remembering that. 

What would you say your favorite part of touring is?  

I would say that it’s gonna have to be the reaction of the crowd… No, you know what it is; it’s when you lose yourself in the music. That is my favorite part of touring. Because there are some times where you get on stage and you completely forget where you’re at because you’re just so happy. And there are times where I’ve actually felt like, “What am I doing?” I remember when we were in Texas for the American rodeo, and I got up on stage, and I was like, “Yo, God I get to do this? Like, for real? I get to do this?” 

Looking ahead a bit, do you guys have new stuff coming up?

Oh yeah, we will be debuting something slight at the show. You know, you’ve gotta keep everyone on their toes.

Fantastic! What would you say you’re looking forward to with this new work, whether it’s an album, EP, single, or anything?

I would say I’m looking forward to how people react to this sound. We are really dialing in and diving into the creation of this new record because we want it to be the best of the best of the best, and I feel like we’re excited to see how people react to it. With this particular song that we will be playing, people have been reacting really well to it in every venue that we played it in. So, I just hope that keeps going for the entire record.

What are your hopes for the future besides just making the music?

Is it lofty to say I’m looking for a CMA….You know? But really, I would say, putting our brand of rock back on the map in a huge way and not that, because it’s always on the map. But like, bringing attention to it even more. And I think that’s what I would really want for this band because, again, as we said earlier, once you’re doing something you love, and it’s authentic, people will find it, and they will come through, so that’s what I’m looking forward to.

Ghost Hounds will be accompanying The Rolling Stones this summer on their “Hackney Diamonds Tour” from April to July.