It Happened: Tobias Forge Unmasked Himself as the Frontman of Ghost

"My name is Tobias Forge. I'm the man behind the mask in Ghost."

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It Happened: Tobias Forge Unmasked Himself as the Frontman of Ghost

For the first time ever, Tobias Forge has officially unmasked himself as Papa Emeritus, the frontman of Ghost.

The unmasking took place on Sweden's P1, with Tobias discussing various topics for an hour. You can check out the whole thing over on Reddit, a few highlights below.

Forge said:

"The devil became my companion, we went unconditionally hand in hand throughout my puberty and teenage years, he was exactly the pointed finger in the air I needed when I was the most angry. And also now in less agitated days are we still great friends.

"As most of you understand I often get questions regarding religion and my believes, I usually answer that it depends on which part of me it is that answers - My younger self, who hates the world and everyone who lives in it is one answer, my adult me – a more balanced answer, as a envisioning individual I can admit that I want to believe in a lot of stuff, but exactly as the Star Wars universe is placed as an actual world in my reference-library, I most be open to the possibility that also others written stories are coming from fantasy – maybe inspired by true events and happenings, but still.. a combination. And similar to Star Wars, composed with the intent to entertain and bring a bit of wisdom.. But also to make money.

"My name is Tobias Forge – I'm a discophile. On pure street-Swedish it means I'm collecting LP-discs. To be a collector of something as a grown-up can by the surroundings appear as waste, unnecessary maybe. Not at all, to my wife I call it an investment despite the fact that I, of course, won't ever sell them. "Are you listening to every record?", a few asks. "Yes, at times, absolutely". "Do you like every record then?" – No, of course not. I love a massive amount of bands and artists, and collects all sorts of things, mixed is the best.

"Some albums I worship and search for in record shops around the world in order to find that rare press of. In some way I feel like I get closer to the experience if I have at least a pressing of the disc which is somewhat contemporary. It must not be the very first edition, but close enough. It's exactly like "A Saucerful of Secrets" of Pink Floyd feels better to listen to if the physical disc also is created in 1968. I becomes a larger experience then.

"And here, I must actually praise the Swedish welfare. I often get the question nowadays what we have in our Swedish water that makes us so good at writing songs, forming bands, and simply be so good at music. And now I'm not just talking about the largely successful bands like ABBA and Rexxet, Max Martin. I mean the huge ocean of successful punk and metal band that our land has cared very much for.

"Sweden is associated with quality, and if someone is a band or a songwriter from Sweden, one already almost has a inherited guarantee when it comes to claim oneself internationally, something which most musicians from other countries does not carry with them.

"Reasons as to our lands colossally fantastic rumors and success are surely many, but I must point out that without our outstanding social safety net, many Swedish punk and metal band and lyrics writers for that matter, not gotten all the time it took in order to reach their full potential. With this I do NOT mean that all Swedish rockers are welfare-takers, but that a lot out us without doubt has being going forward by taking some, at least professional-wise totally worthless course with some point at the university with student grand. Go and stamp, small jobs, study circles, undeclared working, "Learn to find job" courses, work by the hour, etc. At the same time is we've been able to sit home and write songs, having repetitions, recording demos and been playing live without making a penny on it. That is a fact. I've definitely done it."

The unmasking was ended with Tobias' tribute to his brother, with the musician expressing great sadness for his brother passing away before Ghost released any music.

"We didn't get to experience this thing together," he said.

58 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I dunno, never bothered me who is behind the mask... Even after the reveal haven't affected their image on me.
    I feel the same. I've known about the identities of many of the band members for a long time and it has never changed the mystique of Ghost for me. I think many people are overreacting. 
    I don't feel like it matters, given that I never saw a single person in a comments section exclaim "omg ____ was in the band wow he's so cool" or something to that effect. I would assume the majority of people have absolutely no idea who these people are, so what does it matter? Hasn't made one iota of difference to me personally, especially since Forge is the only original member now. No one in the band was or is a mainstream star (albeit, Sean from White Zombie was playing bass last time I noticed, not that it means anything to me), and everyone's masked, so as far as I'm concerned, the mystique is very much alive still.
    Likewise, I couldn't care less who the band members are or what they look like etc... To be honest I'm glad he's done this so we can just forget all that, move on and focus on their music and I'm pretty sure that's exactly why he's done this.
    The whole interview on reddit is quite interesting and Tobias story is really sad. The unmasking thing is not about his real name, it is about how it all started and who he is really and it helps understanding his state of mind and why Ghost is such a precious thing for him. Just read the whole thing, Tobias is not the asshole many people think he is. He's unmasking himself in a very intimate way. There's something very tragic about Ghost.
    many people aren't going to read the whole thing because it's much easier (and more fashionable) to hate.
    idk man the mystery about the papa was one of the cool things making him an entity rather than a person. same with the unmasking of the german rapper Sido. Sure its cool to see whos behind it but its also sad to see the secret fade away
    It's like KANE...eventually the mask comes back on because that's what everybody likes. Not Glenn Jacobs but KANE
    I completely agree with you, everyone wants their icon back but don’t let this man distract you from the fact that in 1998, The Undertaker threw Mankind off Hell In A Cell, and plummeted 16 ft through an announcer’s table.
    lol yeah, but this ain't like Ghost it's going on some "unmasked" phase like Kiss did.. or did i miss something?
    Kiss were, back in the day when there was some mystique around them and all the members anonymous, an huge pop hit. Kiss were everywhere in the States and overseas. Then, as the spotlight began to move away, they had to find new ways to keep themselves relevant in a time everyone had plenty of rock bands around. I believe the whole "unmasked" movement was mostly caused by these factors; on the other hand Ghost isn't oversaturated as Kiss were at that point, they don't have any reason to do so (unless like a single exceptional concert or so) and Forge made it clear he preferred the anonymity - not to speak it seems the Nameless Ghouls have changed quite regularly. On the other hand, it would be funny to see the reincarnation of the latter phase: Tobias Forge album, Nameless Ghoul #1 album, Nameless Ghoul #2 album, Nameless Ghoul #3 album and Nameless Ghoul #4 album.
    Main difference between KISS and ghost bc is that KISS are talented musicians, singers, and songwriters.
    Yeah it takes real talent to say "I want to rock n roll all night and party every day" a hundred thousand times in one song.
    I am just going to say stop it.  That's the most ignorant thing I've seen in these comments yet.  No one in Kiss has the songwriting ability that Forge does.  Maybe they're better business men, but give me a break.
    Certainly not He knows that we know anyway and it's not like he unmasked on stage. Papa IV is coming by the way. I believe he once told Papa IV would be introduced in August or September.
    Genuinely do not hear/see the appeal of this band, but somehow I still wind up reading articles about them on UG.
    seeing this Picture he should leave the mask on to be honest, is probably better for all of us
    He looks like a normal dude with 2 eyes, 1 nose, 1 mouth and 2 ears. He also has a ton of talent, what about you ?
    I really wish he'd fuck off. Can you idiots stop giving him money so he'll go away?
    It was a very solid session for him, one that helped make Papa Emiritus & Ghost a little more human. Thus, it now makes him more relatable. The whole mask & costume thing never added anything extra in my eyes to begin with. In fact, I've always found that whole routine annoying, whoever was doing it. Whether it be Alice Cooper, King Diamond, KISS, Slipknot, etc.; I like to be able to relate to my artists/musicians. Masks only hinder that process for me. He still never really fully tackled the whole Satanism thing; which is an aspect of Ghost that has always troubled me. I've never understood how worshipping the goddamn devil is something that's supposed to be "artistic". It's always going to be a dimension that will only ever provoke extreme revulsion, personal conflictions, and widespread trepidation to the vast majority of audiences. Even if you don't actually espouse Satanism in real life, but only use it as a vehicle for your artistic expression, it's still a bad idea because most people are going to either be frightened away or feel insulted right away without considering it being a larger artistic message. Simply put, there are better ways to make your same artistic statement of society without using a theme as divisive and polarizing as Satanism to do it. From reading the transcript of his interview, I got the impression he still doesn't fully understand how important this topic is to a lot of his fans. Not to mention how dangerous it is also to so many young, impressionable listeners out there who are easily influenced by something as inherently dangerous & evil as devil worship/the occult. Believe it or not, there are a lot of us folks out here who love heavy metal music, and are also religious. Therefore, things like this can be troubling to us at times when we simply want to enjoy your music without having to hear the motherfucking devil be glorified all the damn time.
    That awkward moment when I already knew who he was before he publicly unmasked himself 
    I mean, it's cool and all that he's revealed himself and telling the fans a bit about himself, but I can't get past how he treated his former band-mates.