It takes two to tango, and for the musical duo, Handsome Ghost composed by singer-songwriter Tim Noyes and multi-instrumentalist and producer Eddie Byun, working together helped them get the best out of each other. Tim started in 2014 by himself and released the first ballad, but four years later, after being joined by Eddie, they released their debut album, Welcome Back. Blending acoustic and dreamy notes with digital and raw sounds, Handsome Ghost has another album in the works, releasing a few singles to tease their audience. But the band also has a special affinity and relationship with analog photography, adding a visual layer of emotion to their album. Using a Lomo LC-A+, the band captured the behind the scenes of their studio sessions, stolen moments of creative work, and moody pictures of their Massachusetts landscape.
Hello Handsome Ghost! It's great to have you here at Lomography. Can you tell us a bit about yourselves Tim & Eddie?
Tim and I are both Massachusetts boys. Just two best friends making music and trying to get by!
Going from a solo project to a now-famous and acclaimed duo, what are Handsome Ghost’s milestones?
We started off playing music together 9 years ago in a folk band. Sometimes it feels like we’ve come a long way since then, sometimes it doesn’t and that’s okay! Famous and acclaimed both seem generous... we’re just trying our best to make music that matters to us.
Can you tell us a bit about the new album? Where did you draw inspiration for it?
Our new album is a big shift for us musically, it’s a lot more intimate and quiet than our previous releases. The album is called Some Still Morning… it’s a collection of songs for mornings. They’re reflections on memories but from a place of peace that you get to as you get older, wiser, more handsome, etc.
How did you get into photography, and analog photography?
I found my dad’s old Canon AE-1 at a time when cameras were getting smaller and smaller and smaller. I loved the heft and the process of taking a photo: advancing the film, setting the aperture, focusing, and the sound of the shutter/ mirror. Honestly, I think I liked the process more than actual photography at first.
What role does photography hold in your journey, especially analog photography?
Analog photography really forces you to take your time, and slow down, which I always need. I also love how you have to be more deliberate about your shots; you can’t take 15 of the same shot and delete 14. And when you have only one or two versions of a shot, you have to find a reason to appreciate what you’ve got.
The pictures you sent are both nostalgic and dreamy, as well as being intimate. How do they reflect your music?
I’m glad you feel that way about the photos. We really wanted the visuals to feel like our record and to be an important part of telling the story. We took most of our photos with 35mm cameras in the morning to get that combination of graininess and soft lighting. We wanted the songs on this record and the accompanying visuals to feel like photo albums; a collection of memories put together, each with some story to tell.
Why was it important for you to document the recording of the album?
We took all these photos in the morning throughout the recording process. The soft lighting I thought really showed our headspace while working on these songs. Partially because we wanted to share that with others, but also because it’s important to remember the past.
Do you have a favorite picture from the batch you sent us? Could you tell us the story behind it?
I love the photo Tim took of me recording some piano for our song “Massachusetts” in my bedroom. A lot of little memories crammed into a seemingly bare photo. The piano is my girlfriend’s childhood piano, the blue on the bottom are my unmade bed sheets, those plants on the bottom are fake plants that came with the room, the cloth on the piano is a shirt from middle school I cut up to help dampen the sound of the hammers on the strings.
With what gear did you take the photos?
All of these photos were with the Lomo LC-A+ using either Kodak Ultramax 400 or Fujifilm Superia X-Tra 400. The majority of the photos we share are with either the LC-A+ or Canon AE-1.
Could you describe a day in the life of Handsome Ghost while recording?
The benefit of having our own studio is that we can really set our own schedule, take our time, and be at our own pace. There isn’t really a typical day, we just kinda go with the flow of each song. The downside is that we can spend half a day recording one shaker part because I start over-thinking my entire life once the mic is on.
What does the future hold for Handsome Ghost?
Our record Some Still Morning is out this year and we’re excited to share it and tell the stories behind the record. We’ll get back to the studio soon and start working on something new.