You might say Handsome Ghost's spirit arose from a personal and creative deconstruction—a classic scenario of life after death with a modern spin. Tim Noyes began writing folk songs as a fresh-faced philosophy major at a small college, five hours west of his native Boston. After graduation, he taught high school English in New York City and played open mics in the evenings. The contrast of clubs and classrooms couldn't last, and a publishing deal encouraged him to make the leap to full-time musician. Eventually, Noyes grew disenchanted by the limitations of folk music. As his tastes became more eclectic, “One month I love R&B and then it's today's pop or 90's hits," the acoustic world seemed smaller and smaller until it held little interest. With a return to academia feeling more and more imminent, the singer and specter trekked to a snowbound Vermont studio for one last shot, this time with a different approach. Though he'd still sketch each song with vocals and guitar, next he'd adorn them with synths, soundscapes and various sonic accoutrements, enriching the compositions and heightening the emotion in the process. "The electronic elements were so intriguing to me," Noyes explains. "Certain things are off limits in other genres. I love Handsome Ghost because we'll try anything." The one rule he followed—a nod to his folk background—was absolutely no electric guitar. "Blood Stutter," a demo from those sessions went viral on Spotify with 7 million plays and counting and drew acclaim from the likes of USA Today. Photo Finish Records inked a deal with Handsome Ghost in 2014, and Noyes headed to Los Angeles to cut his debut EP, Steps, with producer extraordinaire Matt Squire (Ariana Grande, Youngblood Hawke). Far away from New England, Noyes grew to embrace his beginnings, and hisnaturally defenseless vocals emerged front and center. “Handsome Ghost isn't folk music—we have big drums and production, synths etc. But I like to think that above all that stuff is the song itself, and I hope that listeners can connect with my words and melodies more than anything else.
Handsome Ghost released the Steps EP earlier this year, and has been on the road almost non-stop lately with a handful of fellow Feed The Beat alumni like The Mowglis, X Ambassadors, and Misterwives - with such good company and SUCH great music, we were happy to welcome him into the program this Spring! Read on to dive a little deeper into Handsome Ghost's world:
Tell the Feed The Beat community about Handsome Ghost in one sentence: Handsome Ghost lives somewhere in the middle ground between acoustic and electronic.
You've been touring all throughout the summer so far, with a handful of dates still coming up - what's been the most exciting part of this tour? We've linked up with some great bands this summer and made a lot of new friends. Touring is way too much fun. The most exciting part has been seeing people singing along to our songs. That blows my mind.
What is your biggest "must have" while out on the road? Coffee. So much coffee. I start with hot and then make the move to iced for the rest of the day.
The Steps EP came out a little earlier this year, and we've been loving it! How did it feel getting those songs out into the world? Thank you! It feels great to put those songs out there. I wrote our EP over the course of a year or so and each song represents a little slice of time in my life. Now that we've released them, I feel like I can move on to the next chapter.
Will there be more music coming out in 2015? Any chance of hearing some new songs out on the road? I hope so! It's hard to find time to write on the road, but I've been trying. I'll hide out with my guitar before soundcheck whenever I can. But I've got some good ones brewing and I can't wait to get started on our first record.