© Meredith Truax
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Since its June 2014 release, Handsome Ghost’s “Blood Stutter” has received over 9 million Spotify streams and attracted attention from the likes of USA Today who dubbed it, “buzzy,” and declared “No reason to fear this specter.” I got the chance to talk to frontman Tim Noyes last week and we had a blast. A Massachusetts native, ex-Bronx English teacher — Tim has been hitting the ground running. His voice mixed with a big electronic sound of Handsome Ghost makes for music that I can’t seem to get enough of. My interview below:

The Soul Dynamic | Tim! I’m so excited to speak with you- how are you my friend?

Tim Noyes | I’m doing great thanks for chatting!

SD | Of course, love your music.

TN | Well thank you!

SD | So where are you right now? You are on tour right?

TN | Yep, we are somewhere between Pittsburgh and Baltimore right now. Not sure of the town, but on our way to play in Baltimore.

SD | Nice. This interview will be quick and fun! So — you are from Boston correct?

TN | Yep, right outside.

SD | Cool what part?

TN | It’s a little town called Sudbury, Mass. Like 20 minutes west of Boston, but Boston is home for now.

SD | My mom is actually from Concord and my aunt had a farm in Sudbury for a long time!

TN: No way! Yeah one town over. I used to run track against Concord.

SD | Yep — my mom’s whole family is from there. Most of them went to Concord Carlisle, ha. So can you tell me a little bit on how that area and New England influenced your music?

TN | Sure! To be honest it didn’t influence me really at all at first because I learned to play guitar and write songs when I went to college. Which was in upstate New York. But since coming back it definitely played an important part. We have a little studio in rural Vermont, and that’s where a lot of the demos get made and a lot of the production happens. So its definitely been important to have the city directed songs in Boston, and then taking them up to Vermont to flesh them out. So yeah that is where most of the activity goes on.

SD | Where the magic happens?

TN | Ha, exactly.


SD | So what brought you up to rural Vermont to that studio? Isn’t the town like 200 people strong?

TN | I think it’s actually in the 100’s, haha. But I have a couple of friends who are involved in music, one of them being our manager. Who lived up there for awhile, and invited me up to make some rough demos. We hit it off and its become kind of the go to spot. It is so beautiful up there, nothing to do up there, but still so beautiful. You can really focus on recording and rehearsing or whatever it is we need to do. I think with the city you are always wanting to go out, so it is hard to really sit down and focus.

SD | Yeah that makes sense. I used to live in Brattleboro, in southern Vermont. And that is one of the…I guess you could call it ‘cities’ of Vermont. And there was STILL nothing to do there, haha.

TN | Oh yeah Brattleboro! That is one of the hubs… the hot spots! Haha!

SD | I don’t know if I would call it a hot spot haha. That is too funny though. So I read that you were a teacher before in the Bronx — which kudos for you I don’t think I could ever do that – but can you describe what pushed you into music full time?

TN | I taught for three years right out of school, and I loved it. It was difficult, and there were tough periods, but overall a phenomenal experience. Some really great kids, some tough ones too, but overall great. I don’t know if there was a particular moment where it was tough to do music, it was just becoming difficult to balance the two. Just because it was music at night and then teaching during the day, it was a lot to take on. So at a certain point it was time to make a choice: focus on the music or set it aside. I just felt that it was time to give it a shot. I do miss the kids I taught a lot though, and still keep in touch with them.

SD | Oh that’s awesome! Yeah it becomes a balancing act of two lives in one.

TN | Yeah, I was doing open mic 3 or 4 nights a week and really getting into song writing and I was performing for the first time. It was really exciting but it wasn’t sustainable, balancing teaching and the music. You know I loved teaching, and maybe there will be a time I can go back…we’ll see.

SD | Yeah. What did you teach again?

TN | I taught high school English.

SD | Did you ever think about going back to teach music?

TN | I don’t know if I would be good at that…

SD | Ha!

TN | Haha… I don’t feel like I have the necessary tools to explain how to do it. But I don’t know. Maybe?

SD | Awesome, so you’re on tour right now, any favorite moments? Crazy cities?

TN | Yeah! Well we just met up with the Mowgli’s, and we’ve only played our first few shows with those guys. Both nights have been such a blast. The Mowgli’s fans are honestly the sweetest people and have been so welcoming to us. And The Mowgli’s themselves are incredible — the energy in that band is just nuts. So it’s been really fun getting to know those guys and I’m looking forward to the rest of this run. So we were in Pittsburgh last night and Cleveland the night before…and both of those shows were just really special. It’s been a blast.

SD | That’s great to hear! Yeah I spoke to Colin (of the Mowgli’s) a few weeks ago. Nicest guy. Ok, what do you want people to take away from your music?

TN | I’ll be glad to make people feel anything honestly. Happy, sad, whatever it might be — just something. It always makes me happy when people can connect my music to their own lives. I feel that is the best part of music, ya know?

SD | Yep, agree.

TN | If someone listens to a song and says “Ohh I remember this” or something like that. That is my hope. But then at the shows we are kind of balancing the music with that big electronic sound. So I hope that during the shows I can still kind of connect that feeling of hope, sitting in my bedroom writing songs type of feeling… and that people can still take that away from what is now becoming a pretty big sound.

SD | Where do you grab influence from?

TN | You know I try my best not to get too caught up in. I love music and I have a ton of favorites, but I try to do my own thing. In terms of the bands I am listening to right now — I’m really digging this Ryn Weaver album. She’s kinda my favorite at the time. But I try my best to go into each song, or each session with a blank slate. Not to get too bogged down in what other things sounds like.

SD | It’s ok Tim- you can say that Beyoncé is your number one influence, haha!

TN | Ha! You know we just had a Beyoncé day in the van honestly so…

SD | Amazing. Ok last question: What inspires you?

TN | Hmm well. Being out on the road again has been a huge inspiration. If you stay in one place too long, you don’t write as much. So being out and meeting all these new people and connecting with all these different bands has been a jump-start. I’ve been wanting to write songs with every free moment I have. So that has been the best and greatest. You know its tough to find the time since we are driving, or sound checking, or playing, but when we do have an off day or some extra time — I’m really psyched, really looking forward to finishing the rest of our album.


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