After more than a year playing drums with Spirit System and producing local bands, an energized Jared Draughon is returning to the stage with his solo project, Must Be the Holy Ghost, on June 27 at Monstercade, 204 W. Acadia Ave.
A staple at The Garage for years, Must Be the Holy Ghost went on hiatus to give Draughon time to flex some of his other creative muscles.
“It absolutely gave me new energy to see how different people work,” Draughon said. “I’d played in bands before so that was not foreign to me but I had played by myself for seven years and it was kind of nice to see how other people approach songwriting and orchestration and that sort of thing. It’s good to shake it up, because you can get cemented into a certain way of doing things.”
Draughon plays mostly electric guitar and manipulates lots of pedals in Must Be the Holy Ghost, creating lush and woozy washes of electronic music. With Spirit System, he moved behind the drum kit, finding joy in enhancing the band’s sound.
“I try to play drums like I would want a drummer to play for me if I were playing guitar,” he said. “I approached it in a production kind of way.”
Must Be the Holy Ghost coupled Draughon’s trance-like ambient music with the psychedelic art of Evan Hawkins, who would create trippy liquid drips and drops on an overhead projector, an Electric Kool-Aid light show.
The two logged thousands of miles touring, out to the West Coast and up into Canada, hitting every state but the Dakotas.
“I booked everything and promoted and did lots of driving,” Draughon recalled. “It was grueling at times.”
Hawkins lives and works in California and won’t be at Monstercade or the next show in Wilmington, when Draughon opens for He Is Legend.
Though it’s just two shows, this mini-tour signals a slow and deliberate re-emergence for Must Be the Holy Ghost.
“I needed a couple of shows to re-invigorate, to jump-start the motor,” Draughon said. “I suspect I’ll be riding high and feeling good and ready to work on new material, maybe not necessarily an album but some singles moving forward.”
Raised on prog rock before discovering grunge, punk and eventually electronic music, Draughon launched this solo project in 2013.
“I was always a singer and guitarist, and when I decided I wanted to do a solo project, I remember picking up an acoustic guitar and trying it out a couple of times,” he said. “It didn’t feel right. I need to paint layers.”
Draughon threw himself into learning loop pedals, which build layers of sounds, giving the effect of walls of sound.
“It took two years to figure out how to layer things properly,” he said. “It’s like live producing on the fly, not trying to have certain sounds compete with each other and having room to breathe.”
Must Be the Holy Ghost released two albums, Get Off in 2014 and Overflow in 2016. In addition to these projects, Draughon has played bass in another local band, Dark Prophet Tongueless Monk, and works as a recording engineer.
“The break was good. The old songs that I liked and loved but had played so much, had become routine,” he said. “And now, they won’t feel new, but I’m excited to play them again.”