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Sacramento, California, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2012 | INDIE

Sacramento, California, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2012
Band Rock Experimental




"Sacramento's Dark Ambient Indie-Rockers, Ghostplay, Release Debut EP"

For the members of Ghostplay, their new album means a piece of permanence in the ever changing local music landscape.

“Often, bands come and go and they don’t have decent recording and for me that’s what lasts,” says Leticia Garcia, guitarist for Ghostplay. “Bands part ways, especially local bands - for me having a recording is very meaningful."

The experimental ambient band is releasing its debut EP, titled 33, Friday evening at Old Ironsides.

Garcia and baritone guitarist Jason Hess have been working together for about three years. Hess' baritone fills in the lower notes, getting them the sound they want with one less player.

“It sort of just adds to the character of the band,” says Garcia. "We just didn’t feel the need for a bassist.”

The couple are engaged and they found it was logistically easier to organize themselves and just one other person, drummer Armando Gonzales.

Garcia says she been playing music for years before teaming up with Hess.

“We have two totally different playing styles. At first it was kind of a challenge to play together,” says Garcia. “I would confuse him a lot with my playing style.”

They worked through that. Garcia says she really learned the power of collaboration and being open to other people’s input during the making of this album. A more collaborative approach makes for a better product, says Garcia, who likes the complexity and depth Hess brings to the songs.

“It’s been great working with him - I think the songs come out a whole lot more fluid,” says Garcia.

The five-song EP has a lazy-hazy spacey-shoegaze feel, with a polish of good production. Hess and Garcia and guest drummer, Mike Couloures, recorded the album in San Francisco with producer Monte Vallier.

Ghostplay is releasing the CD and cassettes through Davis-based record label Noise Loves Audio, originating from a KDVS radio show. The album cover was designed by Sacramento artist and musician John Conley.

Across the five songs you’ll find touches of darkness with bright friendly melodic guitar, Hess’s growly moody vocals and Garcia’s breathy, ethereal vocals. The album is loud without loosing the complexities that makes each song interesting. Some songs are dance-oriented while others are more dragging and sad.

Overall this debut is a promising first step for this fledgling act.

Written by: Melody Stone - Capitol Public Radio

"Darkness is as darkness does"

A Ghostplay by any other name: Over the course of two years and three drummers—four if you count the band’s first, a machine—Ghostplay is finally ready to strut its sound with the debut EP 33.

The album—two years in the making—renders a unique sound, without trading any pop hooks. In fact, even a neophyte can hear the delicate balancing act delivered in 33, which is entirely intentional.

Lead vocalist, keyboardist and guitar man Jason Hess, guitarist Leticia Garcia and drummer Armando Gonzalez had juxtaposition on their minds since the band began, even when it came to the name.

“We wrote a list of dark words and a list of lively, happy words and we picked two that went together well,” said Hess.

A name that almost made the cut? Warlock Ferriswheel.

Hess and company settled on Ghostplay after a Google search led them to Urban Dictionary, which refers to “Ghost Play” as “a stealthy method of dry humping.” The double entendre and the fact that the title hadn’t been taken yet by another band sealed the deal.

Juxtaposition isn’t simply in Ghostplay’s name, but a common theme in its sound. Hess cites “Patience” as his favorite number on the EP, because it pairs heavy meaning with a psychedelic melody. Balancing the ever-fickle themes of dark and happy is a task accomplished easily with Ghostplay’s drummer.

“His drumming is fun, fancy, uplifting,” said Hess. “We’ve got enough darkness in our sound without him.”

It’s difficult to disagree with Hess’s assessment, especially when listening to the second track, “My Halo.” It’s an ambient song that would be at home in a typical college freshman’s melancholy daydream, but the bridge’s drum and bass line is jaunty enough to groove to as well.

“New Monday” tricks the listener into thinking it’s going to be another ambient slow burner, but the catchy chorus is reminiscent of the kind of melodies Robert Smith cranked out in the mid-’80s.

Ghostplay’s debut shows plenty of promise, and will hopefully lead to a full-length album. Songs on 33 like “Science” or “Too Much” would fit in too well in a David Lynch film, played during a villain’s silent contemplation. And like a Lynch film, the members of Ghostplay pride themselves on keeping some questions unanswered, according to Garcia.

“[Hess] likes the mysteriousness and people not really knowing the lyrics.”

To listen to 33, visit

—Jaime Carrillo - Sacramento News & Review

"Submerge Magazine: Ghostplay flaunt post-punk influences on their debut EP"

Summer Space Camp

Words by Niki Kangas • Photo by Mark Louie

I had no idea what the hell ‘Ghostplay’ means so I’ll admit—just like with a lot of text acronyms that I can’t interpret—I looked it up on Urban Dictionary so I wouldn’t have to ask when I interviewed the local band using said moniker. Apparently it’s when you put a white sheet over your head like a ghost and dry hump someone till … you can guess what comes next.

After giving it some thought, Ghostplay is a pretty fitting name for this band. When I finished listening to the band’s soon-to-set-sail debut EP, I felt like I had been surprise attacked by a shrouded spectre that made me climax and left me disoriented. It was kind of awesome and weird. These were the perfect, aptly timed jams for another restless summer, too. Add Ghostplay to your summer playlist, and your list of local bands on whom to keep a watchful eye and listening ear. You can thank me later for the wham-bam.

Ghostplay’s first release, 33, is a five-song EP that the band has been writing and revamping for a couple years now. The band is a tight-knit, funny and endearing three-piece, consisting of facetious frontman Jason Hess on synthesized bass, guitar, keys and vocals; super sweet babe Leticia Garcia on guitar and vocals; and newcomer drummer Armando Gonzales. Ghostplay’s music features complex layers of sound, created by an equally complex assortment of audio equipment.

“The only part that’s a little confusing—and some people have questions about—is that I use a baritone guitar which is split into two audio signals,” elaborates Hess. “One signal feeds to a guitar amplifier, and the other signal is processed by a computer to make it sound more like a bass guitar. Then that signal feeds to a bass amplifier. That same computer is also used to simultaneously create live effects, looping vocal tracks and keyboard sounds.”

Hess describes a collaborative songwriting process rather than a single member bringing the seeds of an already-formed song to the table. “A lot of times songs are born just from the three of us being in a room together” says Hess. The band’s camaraderie and egalitarian take on the band dynamic is palpable throughout our conversation.

Although they’ve been jamming songs into fruition and playing shows for a while, they only recently got to work on a more focused recording effort. “It’s really difficult when you don’t have anything recorded to promote yourself with,” says Garcia. “For this EP, we got to work with a really cool producer, Monte Vallier from San Francisco, so we’re really looking forward to having the EP to help promote ourselves.”

33 is being released by Noise Loves Audio, a Davis-based radio show and label specializing in analog for its sound character—particularly cassettes, although the EP will also be available in digital formats. The corresponding EP artwork by John Conley creatively correlates to the dark and dreamy feeling of the music.

Ghostplay has been twice nominated for the Sacramento News and Review’s local music awards, the Sammies, in the “post-punk” category, but to try to better pinpoint their sound or genre, it takes a mouthful. Gonzales tries summarizing with, “Post-punk shoegaze-y space rock, you know … dark pop,” to which, personally, I’d add beachy surf rock dance-y dream-pop with a pinch of goth.

The opening track on 33, “Too Much,” sets the tone with a spacy, sleepy beach soundscape over which Garcia sings lazily and soothingly. A muffled, echoing Hess melodically chimes in over the ringing, rolling guitar riff. The beat begins to escalate, and suddenly the pace is dance-y, then again takes a breather and slows to a Sunday stroll on Xanax. Just when you think the song is over, you stumble back into the same dream.

My favorite track, “My Halo,” is breathy and uplifting with rad timing changes; on “New Monday,” tremolo-altered voices oscillate, tonality climbs and the cadence pulses; “Science” is haunting, metallic, interstellar, pounding and echoing; “Patience” is full of angst, feedback, strange voices, layered atop traveling arpeggios and a steady pace that builds and erupts into a space cruise.

If all of that sounds great to you, then don’t miss the band’s upcoming EP release show at trusty Old Ironsides on July 10, 2015 (plus Mall Walk is playing!).

When it comes to where the members of Ghostplay want to take the band in the future, according to Hess, they’re happy with things just the way they are. “We have a lot more songs to record now,” ruminates Hess. “Music is something that we really enjoy. Shows are fun whether or not there’s a lot of people there, like this one at this art collective in Davis … it was a great experience, you know? It’s just interesting, getting to collaborate with other artists.”

“I want to do a lot more recording, because that’s what lasts,” Garcia adds.

Spinal Tap was afflicted with a curse of having to frequently replace their drummers due to untimely deaths, such as spontaneous combustion. But Ghostplay, although currently on drummer number three, feels blessed rather than cursed about their own game of musical chairs.

“I’m really grateful that we’ve been lucky enough to find three drummers,” explains Garcia. “Mark Rocha was our first drummer who really helped us get started playing shows and helped shape the songs. Then Michael Couloures, he came in on a whim and learned all the songs in a month to record them.”

Following guest drummer Couloures’ contribution to the EP effort, Gonzales fell right into place. “I feel super lucky. I mean, it was love at first Craigslist,” gushes Gonzales. “This band is so practical and sincere. If I had to use two words to describe Ghostplay it would be those two words.”

Help Ghostplay celebrate the release of their debut EP, 33, at Old Ironsides on July 10, 2015. Get there early, because the first 50 people will receive a free copy of the album. Also performing will be Mall Walk, Silver Spoons and Subculture. This 21-and-over show will cost a $6 cover. Doors open at 8 p.m. - Submerge Magazing


Sacramento indie rock band Ghostplay is Jason Hess (vocal/guitar/keys), Leticia Garcia (guitar) and Mando Gonzales (drums). They are not new to the scene by any means. Not only does the band have a ton of shows under their belt, they have been nominated for the SAMMIES (a Sacramento spin on the GRAMMYs) multiple times.

It is easy to get lost in Ghostplay’s ambient sound, which lies somewhere in-between Joy Division and Interpol. You won’t find a bass player in the band however the trio brings heavy, dark and dreamy music to the table. Hess uses his voice as an instrument of its own, sometimes mumbling the words to lyrics, bending and moving them in and out of the looping guitars. Gonzales’s drums bring the band full circle, reining in the wandering guitars by returning consistency to the surreal sounds. All together these three are the perfect musical fit for each other. They tease as if they are letting go of the song, just playing on a whim, and then they pull in back together tight and controlled.

Ghostplay recently released their single New Monday off of their upcoming EP titled 33 which drops July 10th.

We caught the band last week at the Blue Lamp in Sacramento, CA. If you missed them at the Blue Lamp, make sure to catch them at Old Ironsides (1901 10th Street Sacramento CA) July 10th for their EP release show. MALL WALK is on the bill as well. It should be one hell of a show. We will see you there! - TUBE Magazine

"Noise Loves Audio: '33' EP Description / Review"

“Leticia Garcia's haunting guitar melodies reach out through the darkness and envelope your doubt and fragility, instantly curing what psychically ails you. The echoing chimes of the strings warms you from the inside out. There's an emotional flutter that awakens, a bit like that soft, subdued smile you catch upon the lips of your romantic interest. The sound of Sir Ian is in the background thanks to the passionate vocal styling of Jason Hess, but he's eluded to more than conjured.

Lyrically & musically Ghostplay’s debut EP '33' is emotional and sincere. The amount of thought and skill that has gone into these 5 mini doses of rainy day sunshine can truly be heard within every musical tastebud throughout your soul. Don’t be alarmed, your heart and tears may swell while experiencing this beautiful masterpiece. “

-Anne Halo - Noise Loves Audio

"2015 Sammies nominees list"

Last year was definitely a strange one for the Sacramento music scene.

You may have a few ideas why, but here’s one: there was no Sacramento Area Music Awards, a.k.a. the SAMMIES, SN&R’s annual celebration of local musicians.

We lasted 22 years, back-to-back-to-back. And while we didn’t need a break per se, we did think a springs awards season just made more sense. Release of the Year? We can easily reflect on the calendar year when we’re nominating in January.

And even with the changed schedule, thousands of votes were tallied for hundreds of nominees in a swath of categories. Thousands of you spoke out and showed your support for your favorite bands and Sacramento’s talent in general.

This year’s ballot represents the great variety of sounds you could hear on any given night: foot-stomping, banjo-wielding Americana; droning, doom-inducing heavy metal; lush yet restrained indie rock; bass-heavy electronic dance music; hard-hitting raps; complex, experimental soundscapes and so much more.

We present to you the 2015 SAMMIES nominees. Check out the artists, listen to their work online, go see them live.

Voting is open now and ends March 11. The awards ceremony, which will feature tons of live music, of course, takes place on Thursday, March 26, at Ace of Spades (1417 R Street) for $10. You can vote for your favorite bands here.

Until then, peruse the following nominees and make your picks in everything but the Hall of Fame category—that one’s reserved for artists who, thanks to at least three prior SAMMIES wins, have been “retired” from the process.

Happy voting! - Sacramento News & Review

"SN&R - Music Pick of The Week - Ghostplay"

Sacramento indie-rock three-piece Ghostplay writes songs that sound like the kind of tunes you'd crank on a Saturday night spent alone in your bedroom while penning heartfelt stalker poetry. In other words, it's dark and dirgey, with '80s-era goth and new-wave touches—very Joy-Division-meets-Bauhaus-meets-The Head on the Door-era Cure. The band, comprising Jason Hess, Mark Rocha and Leticia Garcia, is currently working on its debut EP. In the meantime, catch a live set—it's not the same as playing the same song repeatedly on your stereo while nursing a heartbreak, but it's probably emotionally healthier. - Sacramento News and Review

"SN&R's 2013 Sacramento Area Music Award nominees list celebrates the diversity of local music's ever-changing scene"

What's the old cliché—the more things stay the same, the more things change?

OK, maybe that's not exactly how it goes, but it does seem apropos for the Sacramento music scene. Artists come, and artists go. Bands form, and bands implode. Venues open, and venues shut down.

One constant: For 22 years and counting, SN&R has highlighted the best in local music via the Sacramento Area Music Awards, a.k.a. the Sammies, an annual celebration of musicians who run the gamut of genres, including pop, rock, indie, hip-hop, rap, metal, hardcore, punk, jazz and experimental.

Cake, Chelsea Wolfe and C Plus. Tesla, Tribe of Levi and Track Fighter. Deftones, Death Grips, Dog Party and DJ Whores.

And that's just for starters.

Another constant? You.

Every year, countless Sacramento fans support their favorite local artists by going to gigs, buying merchandise and spreading the word.

They also get out the vote.

And, sure, playing your heart out on a stage—be it to 500 rabid devotees or to a handful of your closest relatives—isn't about some plaque you might get down the road, it certainly doesn't hurt to know that people like you—they really like you.

This year, thousands of votes were logged for hundreds of nominees in dozens of categories. The resulting nominations ballot represents a diverse spectrum of sounds and microscenes. There are heavy-metal bands that rock the suburbs, and punks who play grimy basement parties. There are deejays who whip up a frenzied dance party at the latest, hippest club, and reggae bands who lull fans into a peaceful calm. There are, of course, earnest singer-songwriters who toil away in Midtown coffee shops, and seasoned jazz musicians who could easily share the stage with any of the genre's most famous.

They're all here. And they're all pretty damn worthy.

For your consideration: the 2013 Sammies nominees. Check out the artists, visit their websites, listen to their tracks, buy their records (or whatever it is the kids do these days) and check out an upcoming gig.

Voting ends Wednesday, November 6 and the big show takes place Friday, November 8 at Ace of Spades (1417 R Street) with a 6 p.m. start time and a $10 ticket.
Listen. Like. Support. Whatever you do, just don't forget to vote.

Post-punk - 2013 Nominees

Charles Albright,

The Croissants,

Dog Party,

G. Green,


Nacho Business,



Sneeze Attack, - Sacramento News and Review - Sammies - Sacramento Music Awards - 2013

"Ghostplay's music is just two guitars and a beat"

Sometimes guitarist-singer Jason Hess will play demo recordings from his indie band Ghostplay for his friends. And each time, he says, he gets a similar response: “I like it, but I can’t understand what you’re singing about.”

That reaction is understandable, actually, considering how low Hess’ vocals are mixed into the music’s bed of lush, dueling guitars and dynamic drum beats.

“That’s intentional. [The voice] is just another instrument, it’s not the lead singer—it’s not natural for me to be up front and center stage,” Hess says.

Recently the band, rounded out by guitarist Leticia Garcia and drummer Mando Gonzalez, has been working on an EP. The songs, recorded at Ruminator Audio in San Francisco with engineer/producer Monte Vallier, will retain the demo’s lo-fi vocal quality, Hess says.

But while Ghostplay’s lyrics will probably still be difficult to make out, that’s OK—after all, they’re the last piece of the puzzle when the band writes songs, Hess says. Rather, the songwriting process, he says, starts with Gonzalez, who generally builds the foundation for each track with the rest of the band jamming on ideas, often for hours, as Hess sings whatever words pop into his mind. Real lyrics come much later.

“The lyrics are very secondary to mood. We’ll record jams on our phone, and listen to [them] in our car for a couple months, trying to figure out how we’re going to make those moments happen again,” Hess says. “It’s just about capturing an emotion.”

When a song is complete, each one tends to follow an arc, rising and falling with varying levels of intensity and feelings. Sections build off of each other, like waves of an ocean.

With only three people—and not a bass in the lot—the trio produces a surprisingly thick, layered sound. Garcia plays a standard guitar, but Hess’s guitar is strung with baritone strings, which puts his sound in a lower register. The musician then feeds his signal into a guitar amp and a bass amp.

“We have all this weird stuff going on. I might use some reverb to spread it out. It has this fullness, like multiple frequencies coming through at once,” Hess explains. “We don’t need a bass player. We can just use technology.”

The band started with just Hess and Garcia three years ago. Back then all the pair knew for sure was that they liked each other’s sounds and wanted to see where it would go.

Hess comes from a singer-songwriter background, but also grew up listening to dark, heavy music such as Black Sabbath, the Melvins, and Butthole Surfers.

Garcia, who grew up listening to moody, eclectic stuff such as Radiohead and The Walkmen, spent much time playing guitar alone in her room, building riffs on a looping pedal and jamming over it. The result, she says, was a lot of songs with weird time signatures.

“I have no idea what I’m playing. I was really shy growing up. I didn’t have anyone telling me, ’no, it’s 4/4.’ I just played whatever came natural to me,” Garcia says.

Initially, Hess and Garcia weren’t sure they wanted a drummer, and considered using a drum machine instead. Eventually, however, they brought in a friend to sit behind the kit. When that friend left to join another band, they connected with Gonzales.

That’s when Ghostplay’s sound really clicked, Hess says. With Gonzales, the band was finally able to explore fluctuating dynamics, atmosphere and a range of emotions.

“There’s a big difference between two people doing a project and three people—that makes it a band,” Hess says. “This works for us. I’m glad we didn’t stick with the drum machine.” - Sacramento News & Review

"E S S, Biosexual, Ghostplay Local bands you should have sex with"


Another threesome moving up the musical ranks, Ghostplay offers an arcane, yet buoyant take on the melancholy vibe permeating Sacramento’s musical sphere. Inspired by indie rock darlings Deerhunter and Snowden, the trio of Jason Hess on vocals and guitar, badass babe Leticia Garcia on vocals and guitar and Mark Rocha pounding the skins simply rock. They’ve got a demo out and are presently in the studio laying down tracks on their first album. So, be sure to keep your ear to the ground, their first E.P. is going to be a ferocious display of lively guitar riffs, stentorian percussion work and vocal elements channeling the late, great Ian Curtis.

Not to be confused with the sex act of stealthily dry humping ones partner, hooded under the cloak of a white sheet while slowing grinding back and forth until reaching the peak of orgasmic pleasure, Ghostplay formed late 2012 but erupted onto the scene and gained some serious buzz among local musicians and music-lovers with only a few short months under their guitar straps earlier this year.

Ghost Play is also proving that they’ve got real staying power; Garcia formed SacIndieMusic in 2013, a start-up booking and management company endeavoring to put out local music with the aspirational goal of helping to pave the way for other bands to break into the regional musical circuit. Oh, and the band’s already shared the stage with local musical powerhouses Sea of Bees and John Vanderslice at the third annual Davis Music Festival. Not too shabby for the new kids on the block.

So, throw away the piles of tissue that have accumulated on your bedside table over the so-called demise of the local music scene, put in your eardrum-saving earplugs and gear up for some incredible live shows, because great local music hasn’t gone the way of the dodo. - Originally published in SacAlt Magazine October 2013 By Lovelle Harris

"Sacramento News & review: Eight gigs review - ghostplay"

Dancy, experimental and dark, Ghostplay's sound can finally be appreciated through quality recordings with release of its debut EP 33 via local DIY label Noise Loves Audio. Do check out “New Monday,” one of the EP's five tracks that is already streaming online. It wears an '80s feel, with catchy guitar and droning, ambient, Joy Division-esque vocals. Definitely promising for the rest of 33. Bonus: The first 50 people to show up to the release show earn a free CD—sorry, the cassettes are for purchase only. Sacramento indie-pop band Silver Spoons and Oakland post-punk acts Mall Walk and Subculture are also on the bill. 1901 10th Street,

Written by: Janelle Bitker - Sacramento News & review


'33' ep - released July 10th, 2015 via Noise Loves Audio

'Awkward' single on 'The Valence Effect' compilation - released October 19th, 2015 via Noise Loves Audio



ghostplay an experimental ambient electronic rock band based out of Sacramento,CA .

Described as
having a sound with "80s-era goth and new-wave touches—very
Joy-Division-meets-Bauhaus-meets-The Head on the Door-era Cure" (
Rachel Leibrock, Scramento News & Review)
Their songs feature a catchy playful lead guitar, a moving rhythm
guitar, dancy rhythmic drums, each textured with dark, ambient vocals.
"Each one [song] tends to follow an arc, rising and falling with varying
levels of intensity and feelings. Sections build off of each other,
like waves of an ocean" (Arron Carnes, Sacramento News & Review).

The band recently released their debut e.p. '33' in 2015.  During 2014, and in early 2015 they had been working with producer/engineer Monte Vallier of Ruminator Audio in San Francisco, CA. Monte Vallier (former bassist of indie rock bands Swell and Half Church) has also worked with other notable bands such as Weekend, Slowness, Vaniish, Wax Idols and Young Prisms.

For booking info:

Band Members