The show is at World Cafe Live Sunday, Feb. 18.
The expression “fresh to death” has found new meaning, thanks to the indie band Handsome Ghost.
The Boston-based band, led by former high-school teacher Timothy Noyes, has been scaring up good times around the country the last couple of years, sharing the stage with acts including MisterWives, Borns, The Mowgli’s, X Ambassadors and Grizfolk.
But things will get scarier because the band is touring to the World Cafe Live in Philadelphia with their new, debut album, "Welcome Back,” on Sunday. The band will share the stage (upstairs) with Flor.
After a big year in 2017, which included a gig at Firefly, Noyes dished on his group’s new record, his love for Boston sports, and his hiatus from wearing hats.
What are your top three goals for 2018?
2018 is off to a good start and it should be an important year for us. We're hoping to make the most of the tour we're currently on with Flor. They're a great band and we're lucky to be playing with them. Then we're working on releasing an acoustic EP which will feature different versions of some songs from our album, and a new song or two. More than anything I think we're just trying to keep progressing, both personally and artistically. If we do that, I think the rest of 2018 should take care of itself.
What was the vision for “Welcome Back?” And what challenges (and blessings) did you encounter during the making of the album?
More than anything we wanted to make an honest, genuine album. It was kind of selfish in a way, because we tried not to worry about what the listener might think, and just focused on making songs that Eddie [Byun] and I were going to like. The thought was "this might be our only record, let's do it our way." Lyrically, it explores all the twists and turns of one long, important relationship of mine. That wasn't intentional at first, but it eventually became a purposeful decision in that I hoped it would help me close that chapter, if you will. And it's what I wanted to write about, simple as that.
And then in terms of production and instrumentation, Eddie and I tried to be very thoughtful and deliberate in the choices we made. There's something to be said for moving quickly and not thinking too hard, but we were lucky enough to make this album at our home studio, so we took our time. We consider ourselves pretty mature guys, adults even, and whether that's accurate or not we wanted the tone of the album to reflect that.
You described “Better Off” as one of the most important songs on the new album. How’ve you trained yourself to not dwell on the past?
"Better Off" was the first song that we knew we wanted on the album. I think it embodies a lot of themes and emotions that run through all 11 songs. It was a good starting point for us. And as for dwelling on the past, I think releasing “Welcome Back” is a huge step in the right direction for me personally. There is plenty of reflection and translation of years past throughout the record, but now that it's finished, I feel better than ever about laying that part of my life to rest and moving forward towards what's still to come.
You made your Firefly debut last year. How did that fest compare to others you’ve played?
It was unbelievable. We haven't played many festivals, so I can't speak to how it compares … but wow, what a day that was. Our sets were great, I think, the staff was so, so good to us, and we got to see bands we love from right up front. It was an incredible experience, I won't forget it.
Last year was a big one for you. What pieces of advice or valuable insight did you gain that you’re hoping build off of in 2018?
I think we're learning to trust ourselves more, and to be a little more confident in the vision we have for Handsome Ghost, both at this current moment and into the future. There are a lot of opinions in music, and we're learning to take advice while recognizing that it's just that .. .advice. I think “Welcome Back” is evidence of that and we're hoping to keep building into 2018 and beyond.
You’re a big-time Boston sports guy. Who are your two favorite Boston athletes?
Tom Brady and Tom Brady. Tough, tough loss in the Super Bowl; congratulations to the Eagles. But my love for TB12 will never waver. The thought of him retiring makes me very sad.
For a while, hats seemed to be a signature part of your wardrobe. Then they vanished. Did someone steal them?
Just mixing it up! I'll work the hats back into the rotation at some point. Nothing like a good hat, am I right?