From summer of 2010 to fall 2011, psychedelic/folk artist Josh Netsky and filmmaker Adam Netsky traveled the east coast visiting abandoned towns, buildings, and other landmarks with mysterious and unusual histories. Josh wrote and recorded songs about the places and Adam filmed performances of the songs as well as shots of the locations. We caught up with Josh and Adam to talk about their latest project.
How did you get the idea to travel to a bunch of ghost towns?
Adam: Well, we had a really stupid idea, originally, that we would perform a mock concert in Centralia, Pennsylvania then at the end we would use a green screen to make it look like we were falling into one of the mind shafts.
Josh: That idea evolved into making a music video where we toured a bunch of ghost towns because no one would come see us perform anyways. Then I think Adam came up with the idea to write music about our experience and to do a documentary.
Adam: We decided to make it a serious because we don’t really do comedy in the first place, so having us cracking jokes would be weird.
Josh: Over the past couple years we took a bunch of seperate trips. There were a few specific ones we wanted to travel to, others we just found out about and wanted to find.
How did you find the abandoned towns to explore?
Josh: It was several websites. One of our friends told us about Centralia and from there we started branching off to together places. We mapped out which ones were close and which ones were the most interesting to explore.
Did you know an album was going to come from the experience?
Josh: Not at first. This is the first album that I worked on with a specific concept involved. I looked up where we could realistically travel to and that would be interesting to visit. From there I researched the towns and tried to make songs historical or at least based on the stories that make the places so eerie.
Adam: What we would find when we research the towns was either a very factual history of why the town was abandoned or just myths and legends. Sometimes the myths about the town were most interesting than the actual reasons, so some of the songs are very weird while others are more or less based on fact.
Did you ever search to a ghost town just to realize the whole thing was made up?
Josh: Yea, we had a list of eighteen ghost towns in the beginning; we were very ambitious at first. A lot of them weren’t really anything in the first place but became special because of the legends that were created about that area.
What was the weirdest thing you saw while on those trips?
Adam: I think Centralia in general was the most interesting place we went to. It’s the one place that if you mention it to people they know about it. People have heard about the fog coming out of the streets. When you go there you wonder if you will still see fog. You do, it’s very cinematic and weird to see fog rising out of nowhere. There was also a lot of people taking advantage of the fact that no one was there, riding around on ATVs and shooting guns.
Josh: Centralia really lived up to everything you heard about it, while other places like Little People Village turned out to be nothing more than rumors. Moon Haven was a sight to see, it was a large tunnel right in the middle of a state park.
Did you ever get into trouble for being on the land?
Adam: There was one town where we filmed for a while and people started to notice that we were down there. We got yelled at but nothing drastic like being chased down or anything.
Have you ever explored abandoned buildings in Rochester?
Josh: Aside from the subway, no. We have heard a lot about the abandoned mental hospital. The abandoned places here are much creepier than what we have been to.
Adam: We like the idea of traveling so we look for places outside of Rochester.
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