Premiere: San Fermin Share New Single “Your Ghost”

San Fermin

Today, San Fermin share “Your Ghost,” the final single and focus track off their brand new EP,Your Ghost, out today via songwriter Ellis Ludwig-Leone and vocalist Allen Tate‘s label, Better Company. The label, which Ludwig-Leone and Tate formed in 2020, has since seen releases from Wye OakWild PinkSorcha Richardson, Pure Bathing CultureDaisy the Great, and more.

On “Your Ghost,” Tate compares a day with the ghost of a partner to the (more complicated) real-life version. The lyrics are delivered over a cheery guitar riff and propulsive drums; both an indictment and a celebration of a complex relationship: “I make love to your ghost / When I dream about you.”

Speaking on the holistic EP, songwriter Ellis Ludwig-Leone wrote:

“All three of these songs were an experiment with a new kind of writing style, which is I think the best part of writing an EP… it’s a chance to try things out and tweak your process without the pressure of making a whole body of work. I wrote these songs at the piano, thinking about them in a more bare bones way, like, could these songs be played on any instrument at any tempo and still hold up? I wanted them to have a classic feel, like they could exist in any era and still have resonance.”

San Fermin’s music exists in a state of conflicted emotion. Lauded by The New Yorker’s Jia Tolentino for his “knack for simultaneously expressing beauty and crisis,” San Fermin songwriter Ellis Ludwig-Leone writes songs that shift seamlessly between joy and dread, panic and euphoria. “Every song I write starts from some emotional friction, where there’s a dissonance between two things that I feel really strongly,” Ludwig-Leone says. “The rest of the song comes from a desire to work that conflict out.”San Fermin’s collaborative EP entitled In This House, was released last fall and features collaborations with Nico MuhlySorcha RichardsonThao NguyenWye OakAttacca QuartetThe Districts, and Wild Pink.

San Fermin’s music exists in a state of conflicted emotion. Lauded by The New Yorker’s Jia Tolentino for his “knack for simultaneously expressing beauty and crisis,” San Fermin songwriter Ellis Ludwig-Leone writes songs that shift seamlessly between joy and dread, panic and euphoria.

Since the band’s beginnings in 2013, San Fermin’s ambitious scope has taken them across a variety of genres, attracting an eclectic group of collaborators that reflect Ludwig-Leone’s own wide-ranging musical background. Prominent indie musicians (Wye Oak, ThaoThe Districts), contemporary classical luminaries (Nico Muhly, Attacca QuartetLavinia Meijer), folk artists (Sam Amidon), and notable featured vocalists (LuciusSamia), have lent their efforts to the breadth of San Fermin’s studio albums, belying Ludwig-Leone’s restless musical imagination and desire for constant reinvention and collaboration.

Across this shifting sonic landscape, Ludwig-Leone’s focus has always remained on the intensely personal, relying on his “sublime knack for keying into the molten undercurrent of intimate examinations of the self” (Exclaim!). “Every song I write starts from some emotional friction, where there’s a dissonance between two things that I feel really strongly,” Ludwig-Leone says. “The rest of the song comes from a desire to work that conflict out.”

San Fermin’s newest EP, Your Ghost, affirms and sharpens that focus, but through the lens of a new working dynamic within the band. Vocalist Allen Tate, Ludwig-Leone’s longtime collaborator, assumed the additional role of producer, taking a heavier hand in the planning and creation of the music. Tate challenged Ludwig-Leone to be more vulnerable in his lyric writing and more restrained with his arrangements, swapping out the sweeping narratives and lush textures of previous releases in favor of a sparser, more emotionally direct songwriting approach.

On the EP’s first track, “Tired of Loving You,” Ludwig-Leone struggles with the changing dynamics of a long-term relationship: “Even just to hold you is like sunlight in the gloom / I don’t know why I’m tired of loving you.” The song ends with a final, heartbreaking appeal for understanding as Tate sings over a single acoustic guitar: “Just because I’m empty doesn’t mean that I have room / I don’t know why I’m tired of loving you.”

On “Someone You Call Baby,” vocalist Claire Wellin laments the distance that comes between friends over time: “Your friends moved to LA / I knew you’d never stay / And you became the made-for-TV version of yourself.” Her delivery is less accusatory than matter-of-fact; these desertions accumulate over the years, though it doesn’t make them any less painful. Only at the end of the song is there a moment of catharsis: “When you call him baby / I just can’t explain / You used to call me baby / Never be the same,” she repeats as guitars rise and swell behind her.

Meanwhile on the EP’s eponymous track, “Your Ghost,” Tate compares a day with the ghost of a partner to the (more complicated) real-life version. The lyrics are delivered over a cheery guitar riff and propulsive drums; both an indictment and a celebration of a complex relationship: “I make love to your ghost / When I dream about you.”

Your Ghost is out on Ludwig-Leone and Tate’s own Better Company Records now. The label, which Ludwig-Leone and Tate formed in 2020, has since seen releases from Wye OakWild PinkSorcha RichardsonPure Bathing CultureDaisy the Great, and more.

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