With over 44 million plays on Spotify from their first two EP’s, Boston-based Handsome Ghost (Tim Noyes) are poised to become one of the breakthrough bands we might be talking about by the end of 2017. Singer-songwriter and front man Noyes is looking for big things from his self-described “indie-pop” sound in the coming year, as they fine tune their first full-length album, which is due out in the fall.
After spending much of 2016 on the road with former The Voice contestant Melanie Martinez, Handsome Ghost just launched a string of solo dates through the end of May around the U.S., including shows in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Chicago.
Noyes, who possesses chiseled-hipster good looks, along with a poetic sense of songwriting, came to the singing game in his college years a few years back, now this artist is building a loyal and swelling fan base along the way. Handsome Ghost's last EP release, The Brilliant Glow, is filled with sweet pop harmonies, meshed with lofty sounding melodies, with stand-out tracks like, “Eyes Wide Open (featuring Whole Doubts)” and the hopeful “Promises.”
Before a hometown show in Boston last week, a laid-back and funny Noyes spoke with AXS about their forthcoming album, his love for the band the Postal Service, and his hopes for a young Boston Celtics team to go all the way to the NBA Finals this year.
AXS: In the past, you have described your sound as "indie-pop" music. What musical influences did you have in creating Handsome Ghosts sound?
Tim Noyes: I think it all started with bands like the Postal Service. Sometime in 2010, 2011 the electronic music production became so prevalent, and I was really fascinated by it all. So, when we started Handsome Ghost, I started experimenting with some different sounds and not worrying about rules or tradition in music or anything like that.
AXS: How did you get into playing and singing music?
TN: I sang in my dorm room in college, but I would never, ever dare to play in front of anyone. Right after college, I moved to New York City to become a teacher; then I started doing open mic nights at local clubs. People were really encouraging so I kept doing it, kept singing and it eventually turned into something of a real profession.
AXS: How did growing up in the Boston area influence you as a singer-songwriter?
TN: Other than being a music fan and listening to music very intently in high school and before high school, I never paid attention to the music scene in Boston. I didn’t even start playing guitar until I was 19 years old. So, I was a late bloomer. It’s only now that Handsome Ghost is playing gigs around Boston that I’m getting to know the music scene better, and I love it.
AXS: Handsome Ghost sounds like an ultra-cool superhero of sorts. How did that name come up?
TN: It started out as a joke. When I first started the band, I was putting all these crazy effects on the vocals – like way out of control, and not very tasteful at all. One of the guys I was working with was like, "You sound like a ghost." I was like, "If it's a ghost, it's a handsome ghost because I'm pretty vain." (Laughs)
AXS: After the success of your first two EP’s, “the Brilliant Glow,” and “Steps,” you are currently working on your first full-length album. How has that process been going?
TN: I’ll say that getting towards the finish line, (laughs) and putting the final touches on the record. (Big pause) This record is kind of back to the basics for me. I kind of swerved a little bit in the last year or so in my songwriting. I got away from what I think I do best. Which is pure honesty in my music, don't worry too much about anything else than the song. I think I started worrying too much about the career than concentrating on the music part. This record has been a nice opportunity to reset, remember why I am in this band in the first place, and just write songs that I want to sing. If people love it then great, if not, I'm not going to worry about it all.
AXS: When you do make a connection with your fans playing live shows, what’s it like when you see people in the crowd singing one of your songs?
TN: Honestly, that’s the best feeling in the world. When I see or hear someone in the crowd, or if someone comes up to me after a show and shares how they made a connection with a song, that is really the best feeling of all. Being a singer or creating all of this is not always the easiest profession in the world to break into, so moments like that make it all worth it in the end.
AXS: Let’s talk NBA basketball. Do you think this young Boston Celtics team can make all the way to the NBA Finals and past LeBron James?
TN: I want to say yes – I'm going to say yes! (laughs) I think this Celtic team could push Cleveland to a game seven if they make it that far. I'd like to see the Celtics win the whole thing, but I'll take them pushing LeBron as much as they could.
Catch Handsome Ghost on their current tour, as well as a spot at this year’s Firefly Festival in June, alongside The Weeknd, Chance the Rapper and Bob Dylan. Check out more information on the band, including their album that drops in the fall at www.handsomestghost.com.