20 Questions: Tim Noyes of Handsome Ghost

Last year, PopMatters premiered Handsome Ghost's "Blood Stutter". This year, we caught up with Tim Noyes after a performance to have him answer '20 Questions'.

Handsome Ghost
City: New York
Venue: NeueHouse
Date: 2015-07-12

Last year, PopMatters premiered Handsome Ghost's "Blood Stutter", a dreamy soundscape that sinks into your psyche and encourages repeated listens. This year, Tim Noyes, the mastermind behind Handsome Ghost, released his first proper EP, Steps with producers Matt Squire (Youngblood Hawke, Ariana Grande) in March, around the time he was in Austin for some South by Southwest performances. Steps includes six distillations of Noyes' talent. The title song is carried on a vibrant undercurrent while another track, "We Won't Sleep" has a more traditional "poppy" feel to it.

Noyes doesn't have a lot of material out there yet but these three songs showed enough promise that I went to catch him perform a Sunday brunch session in New York City on July 12th, 2015 at NeueHouse, a shared workplace for creative types. The space was not a traditional performance space, nor was it the space Danny Brown performed in last year as I had expected. It was an open area in view of a raised seating section where people could eat brunch and, unfortunately, not too many folks were in attendance (though it could be a normal sized crowd since I hadn't been there before). Noyes, growing warm in his blue sport coat, and his friend played a short set which included the aforementioned songs as well as a cover of The 1975’s "Sex". As Handsome Ghost is a promising artist, PopMatters let Tim Noyes tackle our '20 Questions' so we could get a better understanding of the once indie-folk, now indie-electronic artist.


1. The latest book or movie that made you cry?

Good Will Hunting. I put it on for the millionth time late the other night and I always shed a tear when Ben Affleck realizes that Matt Damon has left town to track Minnie Driver down. Yup, I use the actor names not the character names. So?

2. The fictional character most like you?

Any star quarterback in any fictional football movie.

3. The greatest album, ever?

Jeez. C'mon. My answer is forever changing but I'll go with Elliott Smith's Either/Or.

4. Star Trek or Star Wars?

Star Wars. I've never watched Star Trek in my life.

5. Your ideal brain food?

Coffee. If I have to go real food, I guess pizza? I don't want to waste time eating when I'm writing or recording.

6. You’re proud of this accomplishment, but why?

I haven't been swimming in several years. When the summer comes, everyone pressures me to swim but I've been holding my ground. I don't like cold water, and I'm proud that I haven't let my fun loving friends talk me into doing something I don't want to do.

7. You want to be remembered for ...?

My music! Hopefully when it's all said and done I'll have made a few people feel a little something. I'd also like to be thought of as a thoughtful, loyal and passionate person by those who know me.

8. Of those who’ve come before, the most inspirational are?

Elliott, as previously mentioned. I love Jack Kerouac. My grandparents.

9. The creative masterpiece you wish bore your signature?

I don't really think like that. I'll get a little jealous when I hear something amazing but then I get over myself and try and learn from it. Is that an annoying answer?

10. Your hidden talents . . .?

I ran a mean half mile back in the day. I think I still got it. I can also drive for insanely long distances without getting tired. I suppose that's most musicians though.

11. The best piece of advice you actually followed?

My parents told me to go for a career in music.

12. The best thing you ever bought, stole, or borrowed?

I left my guitar in a cab a few years back and then ‘borrowed’ my Dad's guitar for a while. I'm still borrowing it, actually.

13. You feel best in Armani or Levis or…?

I'll go with Levi's.

14. Your dinner guest at the Ritz would be?

Probably my bandmates. We'd fit right in.

15. Time travel: where, when and why?

Late 19th century, western United States. I just finished Deadwood (years late, I know). That lawless period in our country's history is just so intriguing to me. I'd like to drop in for a few weeks.

16. Stress management: hit man, spa vacation or Prozac?

Spa. Have you ever had a massage? That's an easy one.

17. Essential to life: coffee, vodka, cigarettes, chocolate, or..?

Coffee. I'll do six cups a day and not even think about it. Dunkin Donuts gets a hard time, but that was my first cup and I'll always love it.

18. Environ of choice: city or country, and where on the map?

After I make my first (several) million I'm buying an apartment in the city and a cabin in the country. I need both.

19. What do you want to say to the leader of your country?

All things considered, you've done a fine job.

20. Last but certainly not least, what are you working on, now?

Our first record! I'm writing tons of new songs and I can't wait to start recording. It's going to be good.






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