I Am Ghost

For I Am Ghost, the natural order of things is a little off. The six-member band became Long Beach hometown favorites, recorded a popular EP, got signed to a label, re-released their EP and sold 20,000 copies over the Internet, all before they had performed five live shows. That's right, five. How'd they do it? Well, when the group formed in 2004, they self-recorded a demo EP, We Are Always Searching, to help book local gigs. While they were looking for gigs, they went to every punk rock show they could find and handed out dozens of copies of their EP. They had handed out over 4,000 EPs by the time they got their first show, opening for Tsunami Bomb, which led to the Epitaph contract. (Before anyone rushes out to press 4,000 copies of their own EP, hoping to follow the I Am Ghost road to success, it's worth noting that We Are Always Searching contains some exceedingly good music.)

Last October, the vampire-loving I Am Ghost released Lovers' Requiem, a "rock opera, but for hard-core or goth kids," according to Steve Juliano, who's in charge of "vocals/bloody screams" for the group. Lovers' is a solid example of why I Am Ghost says their "darkly-melodic-angst-ridden music" is best called "epicore." It's a mix of hard-core and punk music paired with operatic storytelling.

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Olivia Flores Alvarez