Doug Mayberry: I listened to the Steps EP and really enjoyed your sound. Would you mind telling me a little bit about Handsome Ghost?
Tim Noyes: We’re pretty secretive about our bio (laughs). Yeah, we’re about two years old now and just celebrated our anniversary. I had played in a traditional folk band for a long time and was just feeling the urge to try something different. Folk music is great, but there’s a lot of rules and certain things you can’t do. I started exploring new electronic stuff, crazier production and had a blast. A couple songs turned into an actual band, and we turned a few demos I had into the Steps EP.
Mayberry: I hear you’re from Boston?
Noyes: Yeah Boston is our home base, but honestly for the last year, home has been our van. It doesn’t have a name yet, but our band’s former van name was Leslie. This one has big shoes to fill. It’s been good to be busy, just show, show, show.
Mayberry: Any favorite venues on the tour so far?
Noyes: Last night in Austin was amazing. I have so many friends that live there, and it was an outdoor show that was an absolute treat. It’s been great to tour with Great Good Fine Ok. I’m a real big fan of these guys. I discovered their EP about a year ago and burned it out in the van. When we got the opportunity to tour with them, we were just true fans.
Noyes: We usually play the same venues in the same cities. There’s an allure to smaller, more intimate venues, so it’s nice to see something different. We’ve only played in Oklahoma once before at Center of the Universe 2015. That was 120 degrees, so we’re lucky to be here tonight when it’s so beautiful. We’ve walked around Main Street and checked out the neighborhood. The campus is gorgeous.
Mayberry: It’s a growing music scene, and the infrastructure is there with a bunch of great venues right around the corner. If you get the chance, check out Guestroom Records, the Blue Bonnet, Bison Witches and all the venues on Main. So tell me a bit about your sound. How was it influenced, and how has it become what it is today?
Noyes: Supporting local venues is definitely something we strive for. Checking out new stuff as we come into these different towns gives us a fresh perspective.
I’m coining [our sound] “indie-prom” and copyrighting that (laughs). I like to think that our music would play at a 90’s indie prom. It’s kind of down tempo, but in terms of how its progressed, I think it’s growing very organically. Slowly but surely, in my mind, it’s becoming fuller, bigger and richer. There’s only so much you can do by yourself.
We don’t have an electric guitar player right now. We think it’s important that we don’t have one, because a big electric guitar clutters up the parts that we arrange. I like the acoustic guitar and the synthetic elements to just float.
Mayberry: When did the spark go off for you? Describe your background with music a little bit. How did your journey get going?
Noyes: I went to school and I played music very casually, like in the dorm rooms. I moved to New York City and was actually a teacher for a couple years, teaching English as a second language to high schoolers. I was trying to do music on the side, and while teaching is fantastic, it’s a very demanding job. It was really difficult to manage these two separate jobs. It was hard to go out to shows at night and then come into class the next day prepared. Teaching is a huge commitment. It got to the point where I had to go for my music career or give it up, so I went for it.
Mayberry: Thanks for sitting down with us, supporting the local venues and the burgeoning music scene in Oklahoma City.
Noyes: Definitely—it’s our pleasure. We love playing here in Oklahoma, and we hope to make it back soon. The folks here are always so passionate.