Holy Ghost! teases five songs (maybe) from its new EP

Nick Millhiser on keyboards is one half of the synthpop duo Holy Ghost!
Nick Millhiser on keyboards is one half of the synthpop duo Holy Ghost!(Emily Korn/Conrad Brambila Deckstar Management)

The Brooklyn synthpop duo Holy Ghost! — composed of Alex Frankel and Nick Millhiser — rang in the New Year the same way they have for the past eight years: playing records on stage. "2007 was the last time we didn't spend the night doing quote-unquote work," Frankel says, laughing. Greeting 2016 with a gig seems appropriate, given the band's busy schedule during the year to ahead. First up: more DJ sets, including one at the Sinclair in Cambridge on Jan. 15. After that, the duo aims to complete a new EP, "Crime Cutz," planned for late-spring release. We invited the pair to tell us about five tracks on the new disc.

1. "Crime Cutz" "When we started, the first thing we did was sample a drum break from someone named Crime Cutz," Frankel says. "We ended up not using it, but that name stuck — which is actually the case so far with all the names on the EP, although some could change. Most of the time the way names come to us are from out-of-the-blue lyrics."


2. "Compass Point" "That song started with Alex and I going back to the first song we recorded for the second album [2013's "Dynamics"] that didn't make it, called 'Back to Earth,'" Millhiser recounts. "There was always some indescribable thing about it that irked us, so we went back to that song with the intention of being like, 'Oh, you know, it's just a matter of re-recording the vocals or the piano, and it'll be done.' That of course was not the case, and we ended basically just keeping the drums and one line from the song, making a totally different song out of it, essentially remixing ourselves."

3. "Stereotype" "We did some drums that were in a shuffle, and I wrote chords over it, and then it sort of sat around," Frankel says. "We went to Los Angeles and worked with [DJ and production duo Oliver] on it, and it didn't necessarily end up going in a direction we were super excited about. I remember being there, working on it, and saying, 'OK, this isn't quite right, but I have an idea about how to make it right.' We recorded all this stuff in Los Angeles, one of which was this sort of incidental bassline [by Oliver], one of a million things that got done, and that was really cool. We came home and essentially created an entirely new musical bed based around that."


4. "Your Favorite Band/Footstep" "The other songs are pretty rhythmic, but this one is more laid-back and mellow, more of a plodding-along, jagged groove," Frankel says. About the title, he continues, "I was going the other night to see our friends in Hot Chip. When I was there, I overheard some people saying, 'I thought they were playing, but they're DJing,' and that's something that happens all the time now. People go to see their favorite band, and it turns out it's a DJ set. I thought it was kind of funny, and also kind of sad — but in a funny way."

5. TBD "It's up in the air whether there'll be a fifth song or not, but if there is, let's just call it the greatest and most popular song ever written," Millhister says, laughing. "We're still messing around, because we have a lot of demos from this last year and a half," Frankel adds, "and we're sifting through, figuring out if there's one more we want to finish."



Holy Ghost! plays a DJ set at the Sinclair, Cambridge, on Jan. 15 at 8 p.m. Tickets: $16. 617-547-5200,