Tobias Forge, who fronts of masked band Ghost under the name Papa Emeritus, has confirmed his identity for the first time. And he’s suggested that he gave up trying to keep the secret because his mother, who’s proud of his success, keeps spreading the word.

It’s been unofficially known for some time that the Swedish artist was Emeritus – especially after his name appeared in a leading position in a lawsuit against former members of the band earlier this year. But when he spoke on Swedish radio, saying: “My name is Tobias Forge and I'm the man behind the mask in Ghost,” it was his first public admission of the fact.

Introducing the episode of Sommar i P1 that featured the revelation, Sveriges Radio said: “Tobias Forge has always stood on stage with his face hidden behind a mask, together with the other members. They had succeeded in holding all their identities a secret while playing at huge arenas around the world, as speculation of who they really were ran wild. Until now.”

Discussing how he created Ghost in the mid ‘00s, Forge said on air (transcribed on Reddit): “The band needed a clear and big image. A band which plays songs such as 'Death Knell' or 'Prime Mover' can’t just stand on the stage with a shirt and jeans-jacket. It must be more awesome than that. And it was going to be anonymous – a band with a theatrical image.”

He admitted that he'd struggled with working out how to get the band started, because playing at low-key gigs “with just friends in the audience” would make it difficult to secure their anonymity. He went on: “We needed planning and preparation. But we knew one more thing – the band was to be called ‘Ghost.’”

He also told how family and career pressures meant it took much longer to establish the outfit than he’d hoped, and how the sudden death of his older brother Sebastian shook him to the core, the very day a demo posted on MySpace had resulted in an explosion of industry interest in Ghost.

Speaking directly to his late sibling, he said: “I haven't stopped, since that day. I'm not going to do so either, until it has reached an end. Do you hear me, Sebastian? I did it at last. It took some time. And it was very sad that we didn't get to experience this thing together.

“I sometimes meet some of your idols. [Sex Pistol] Steve Jones interviewed me and he actually liked Ghost. I’ve gotten to know Metallica – I have James [Hetfield’s] number and we speak at times. You didn’t see that one coming! And I’ve just come home from a seven-week tour with Iron Maiden. Did I tell you about the Grammy? I got one of those.

“Mother is very proud and tells everyone who I am, even if it’s supposed to be a secret – but f––k that now, I suppose.”

He also discussed Ghost’s plans to record a new album before returning to the road for another 18-month tour early next year.

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