‘Handsome Ghost’ talk early beginnings, new sound
Up and coming music group Handsome Ghost is making its way to Dallas. Fronted by Boston native Tim Noyes, the group has been making waves with their new EP, “The Brilliant Glow.” With this latest effort, Handsome Ghost is reaching new levels with their indie sound. They’re coming to Dallas in support of the EP, and they’ll be playing South Side Music Hall on Oct. 27 with Melanie Martinez. Earlier this week, The Daily Campus had a chance to speak with Noyes.
Daily Campus: What made you want to follow music as a profession?
Tim Noyes: I started writing songs in college and played in my dorm room. I never, ever played in front of people. When I moved to New York and started teaching English, I played open mics on the side. It was a slow process, but after a little while I decided music was something I wanted to pursue for real. It was an extremely difficult decision, putting teaching on hold and diving into the vast wilderness that is the music industry, but I’m glad I went for it.
DC: How did you get your start professionally?
TN: I wrote some songs and put together some demos before Handsome Ghost was a band. The songs were so different than anything I had written up to that point and I was honestly just having a good time exploring a new sound. I sent those demos to a friend of mine, someone I had met through past music projects, and he invited me up to his studio to record them for real. From there we slowly started playing shows and putting the word out and the band has grown very naturally over time. I wouldn’t say we’ve had one “big break” to get things started but lot of little breaks and I’m grateful for all of them.
DC: You’re currently touring, is there anywhere you’re looking forward to?
TN: We just played The Ryman in Nashville a few days ago. That was a dream come true. Literally, I have had dreams about playing there. So much history there and it was a unique experience to play our songs on that stage. I just tried to slow the whole night down and enjoy myself. Beyond that, every venue on this tour is larger than any venue we’ve played in the past, so every night is exciting and new in its own way. The Shrine in LA will be a trip, I’m sure. That’s been on the list for a while.
DC: You just released a new EP, “The Brilliant Glow,” would you say your sound has evolved or changed over time?
TN: “The Brilliant Glow,” to me at least, is a step forward sonically. We’re exploring different sounds, maybe pushing the production in a bigger direction. But at their core, all six songs are pulled from my own experiences, my own ups and downs. Mostly downs, ha. They’re still very intimate, and even as the production grows, that’s an element to my writing that I never want to lose.
DC: Are there any artists you would call inspirations?
TN: Death Cab for Cutie and Elliott Smith were the two artists who I listened to most while I was just starting out. I was terrible when I started and none of those first songs will ever see the light of day, but I still think the artists that are important to you at the start kind of stick with you as you improve. Both of those writers are masters of the tiny details that make a song truly emotional, and that’s what I strive to do too.
DC: Do you have a favorite song?
TN: Right this second it’s The 1975’s “Somebody Else.” I should be sick of it, I’ve been wearing it out in the van. But I’m not, it’s a beautiful, beautiful track.
DC: What can we expect at a Handsome Ghost concert?
TN: I have no idea, honestly. We’re going to play our songs and leave everything we have on the stage, but how you feel, how you connect to the music is up to you. Best case, you’re going to be truly moved and feel genuine emotion throughout the set. Some lyric, or some melody, is going to take you to a different place for a brief moment. Worst case, some of the songs are pretty catchy. Just zone out and enjoy.
DC: Where did the name “Handsome Ghost” come from?
TN: When we started I was putting really aggressive effects on my vocals. Way too aggressive. Offensive, aggressive. But they did sound relatively ghostly. A friend of mine, after listening to the first demos, told me I sounded like a ghost. I put the handsome in there as a joke, but it stuck and here we are.
DC: Do you have any tips for aspiring artists?
TN: Don’t mind the swings. For music in particular, even when you’re starting out, the highs and lows could not be farther apart from each other. I wouldn’t change it, because it’s an incredible life, but for me it’s about trying to keep a level head no matter what. The big shows, the record releases, the good news . . . all that is great. But for every big show there’s going to be a tough one and for every piece of good news there’s a set back coming too. It’s the nature of this business and it’s all part of going after this wonderful dream life. That’s a long way of saying: hang in there.