Ryan Hamilton & The Harlequin Ghosts critically-acclaimed new album ‘Nowhere To Go But Everywhere’ (Wicked Cool Records) is making waves in the UK.
In its debut week, the album landed on multiple UK charts including #7 Indie Album Breakers, #10 Record Store, #22 Independent Albums, and #82 Overall Albums, capping off a career-best for the band, a transatlantic collaboration, with frontman Ryan Hamilton hailing from just outside of Fort Worth, TX, while his backing band The Harlequin Ghosts are based in the U.K.
The LP has also generated high praise on social media from the likes of Frank Turner, Clem Burke, Drew Carey, Benmont Tench and Clint Boon of Inspiral Carpets and more.
Jen had the chance to discuss the new album and more with Ryan.
It has been a while since I interviewed you and loads has happened since then!
Jen – As I are currently in full lockdown due to COVID 19, every night I
feel like I need a whole glass of water and a sleeping pill, and I am
living through a whole lot of nothing and have loads of time to kill.
I really am having a hell of a time. How are you coping with COVID 19
on the other side of the world? (this paragraph based on Ryan’s past single Smarter)
Ryan –I’m doing ok. Like a lot of folks, it’s been difficult getting used
to being on my own so much. But, thankfully I’ve had this new album to distract me! I really miss touring.
Jen -A reminder for you of how we have had a journey together over the last few years. Your music has helped me through some bad times and over chat I feel I have supported you through your rough times of late.
Writing a song with you to help my daughter grieve after a close
friend committed suicide was super special. Thanks!
R –My pleasure, really. Thank YOU for supporting the music.
J- As always you are welcome. So, to start with, last time I interviewed you as a solo artist, now you have a band, The Harlequin Ghosts can you take me through the search for the right band members and how you selected them? (please name and shame… no, introduce would be better)
R – I’ve been touring with Mickey Richards (drums) and Rob Lane (bass) since the People On Vacation days. I met Carol Hodge (keys) through our friend Ginger Wildheart. She’s been touring with us for a few years now. We’ve alternated a few lead guitarists over the past few years, but currently, it’s Ben Marsden. I love this current lineup.
J – It was great fun helping you guys chose the name, you have solid fans
who are not shy to share their views. I have always appreciated your
interactions on Facebook. You now have a club that people can join,
can you tell me about that? (please include links any info etc)
R – I was on Patreon for a while, but after a hiccup with their servers,
I lost all my content on their site. After that fiasco, I decided to
start my own Club! The Ryan Hamilton Music Club launched a few months ago, and it’s been really wonderful. It’s like Patreon, but better! It’s nice to cut out the middle man, and get the direct support from the fans. Artists like me count on that income to survive. Especially right now. But I go out of my way to make sure it’s worth it.
Exclusive music, online shows, exclusive art etc…
J -I admire you for sharing your journey of mental health, it is a
subject that some people don’t want to talk about, but it needs to be
normalised, I am a big believer in that. Do you find writing your
songs cathartic and is there anything else that helps?
R – Writing songs is total therapy for me. That’s probably the biggest
thing as far as catharsis goes. Other than that, I find going outside,
and going for a long walk helps a bunch. Especially during a “low”.
Stream “Nowhere to Go But Everywhere” here
J – It is pretty exciting that your newly released album “Nowhere to Go
But Everywhere” has hit the charts, I have followed
your journey on this, experiencing the ups and downs of post album
release. You have had support from other artists sharing the album, is
there a few you could tell us about?
R – It’s AMAZING to finally chart in the Official Charts. So crazy to see
our name in the charts with the biggest names in music. I feel proud,
and thrilled for everyone involved. Yeah, we’ve had great support from
fellow artists like Frank Turner, Clint Boon, and Ginger Wildheart (to
name a few) 😉
J – You have already released some solid, brilliant songs and there is
more to come. Your latest single ‘Oh No’ (feat Kay Hanley) lists many
name checks, are these who have crafted as an artist?
R – It’s a mix of my personal all time favorites, and albums that are
considered “classics”. There were HUNDREDS of album titles when the
idea started. It was a big task finding the ones that worked in the
song… and also making sure they were all albums I knew, and loved.
J – Your music video for ‘Oh No’; is amazing! So much to watch! Can you tell me how long it took to put together the 2000 plus images together to form the video?
R – Haha. Thank you! Trying to find creative ways to make music videos during COVID has been challenging. But I’m really proud of that idea, and video. It took about an hour to take all the photos. Then it took several days to go through em, and put em together in the stop motion, bad dancing style video you see now.
J – Well worth it. I think the addition of Kay Hanley really lifted the song to another level, she was a great match for sure. Have you worked with her before?
R – No, but we’ve been friends for a long time. It was a blast to have
her on the song with me.
J – I have seen many of your art pieces. In particular I love your
depiction of David Bowie. Your album cover for “Nowhere to Go But
Everywhere” is interesting with loads to focus on. Can you take me
through the process of this not only a record cover but a piece of
R – Thank you. I love creating art. The album cover would be quite a bit
to explain. So, let me say it like this. I went through hundreds of
images in old books. The art is collage art… and all of the pieces
have been hand cut, by me. I combined those images with image of
photos I’d taken. That cover art is a visual depiction of my former,
married life… and the uncertainty of what comes after.
J- I have to ask you about your single ‘Jesus and John Lennon’. This is a
standout single to me. Can you take me through the thought process
while writing this song? I like the concept of naming people whose
lives fell apart.
R – When my ex wife and I first split, I had this moment of wondering,
“If you knew things were going to inevitably fall apart, would you
still give it your all? Or would you make different decisions?”. Jesus
& John Lennon were the first examples that popped into my mind. It’s
random, I know. Haha. The song just sort of appeared. Then, Stevie
(Van Zandt) got his hands on it, and we finished it together. He took
it to a whole new level. I love that song.
J – What are your plans for the next single? I must say that I feel track
1 ‘Only a Dream’ would be a great choice!
R – Not sure yet! But “Only A Dream” is a personal favorite.
J – Excellent! It is a gem of a song. My fav song of yours while always be ‘Cheaters never change? I connect to this emotionally in a deep way. The lyrics could have been written for me personally and you can’t beat that! How does it feel that you have be part of my life’s emotional story of healing? (listen here)
R- Thank you. It’s the ultimate compliment as a songwriter.
J – ‘Hell of a Day’ has been such a support to me over the last few years,
can you share your thoughts of how your new album might do the same?
R – I’m super proud of that first album. But this new one is much more
raw, and honest. There’s heartbreak involved, so I think folks might
connect to it in a different way.
J- I am not the only one that has been supported by your music. You have a solid fan base, can you describe your fan base and your music club and how much it means to you to have these people around you? Check out Ryan’s merch and blog here. Like him on Facebook to keep up with his news here
R – It means everything. Eternally grateful for all the wonderful people
who support me. It feels more like a big family, than “fans”.
J- Actually I agree. Being part of the “fans” really does feel like a family. Lastly, Ryan I congratulate you and your band on the release of
“Nowhere to Go But Everywhere”, I have seen loads of great reviews and have heard positive things from your minions.
R -Thank you!
Thanks Ryan, until next time!
Keep up with Ryan Hamilton and The Harlequin Ghosts here
What others are saying about
‘Nowhere To Go But Everywhere’:
“…the best album of 2020!”- Music Injection
“This new album sees an artist masterfully combine the sounds of rock and roll and folk music to create a worthy follow up album.”- Wall Of Sound
“…pop gasoline that tilts back its head to a new wave era when singles were filled with catchy hooks & melodies to gain top 25 attention. This has it. This is loaded.”- Americana Highways
“…appropriately catchy and entertaining pop”- PopMatters
“…a powerful piece of work…an album of sublime music, which becomes more fulfilling on each listen.”- Big Takeover
“Heartfelt…Enjoy the journey.”- Americana UK
“Hamilton has a knack, no make that a gift, for writing songs that take the most awful things and making them somehow perfect. “Nowhere To Go But Everywhere” is a journey that is joyous, glorious and deeply, deeply personal. ” (10/10)- Maximum Volume Music
“Ryan Hamilton has written a poignant and confessional album that could well be the best of his career.”- RPM Online
“…a near perfect-slice of American(a) radio-rock”- Music-News.com
“…spirit refreshing..”- Original Rock
“Charming lyrics about life’s rich tapestry…Tales of motel rooms and relationships precipitate universal appeal for this mellow collection.” (4/5)- NARC Magazine
“…pure pop and immediately catchy, all jangly guitars and sunny vocals.”- Review Corner
“Hamilton’s music is folk-rock, with elements of country and classic rock and roll also present for good measure. Think Tom Petty mixed with Brian Fallon, and you’re halfway there.”- York Calling
Ryan’s thoughts on the songs on ‘Nowhere to go but Everywhere’.
|And now, the songs of Nowhere To Go But Everywhere in Ryan’s own words…|
Only A Dream –You know when you’re a kid, and you have a really bad dream, then you wake up and have the relief of, “it was only a dream.” This song is a grown-up version of that. Unfortunately when it comes to things like divorce, you can’t wish it away…or wake up. This song is about hoping something isn’t really happening, then dealing with the harsh realization that it is.
Oh NoSuper– proud of the concept of this song. Flipping all those classic songs on their heads. Plus, I got to sing it with my friend Kay Hanley.
Jesus & John Lennon – Do you ever feel like, no matter what, some things are destined to fall apart? No matter what you do, the end result is the same. This song is about that, and I was thrilled to take the concept, and the song, to the next level, by having the opportunity to co-write it with Stevie Van Zandt.
Out Of My League – This is a song idea that was almost 10 years old. I found the old demo, and it rang true, considering what I was going through. So, I revisited the song, and reworked it into the version that it is now.
Let’s Go Slow -Dating after divorce is terrifying to me. This song is about the fear of dating again, after a relationship ends. There’s SO MUCH to navigate in today’s dating world. I wish things were simpler.Can I Get An AmenI was raised in church. We went two times a week to a very conservative Church of Christ. The struggle finding happiness, without all the guilt, is something I still deal with. Drugs, alcohol, sex…these very un-“Christian” things are all a part of my life. Not in a dangerous way. I’m a responsible adult. But sometimes, because it’s engrained in me, I feel like I’m going to Hell.
Don’t Fall Apart -This song is really a pep talk to myself. Sometimes, when things are especially difficult, all you want to do is give up. But you can’t. It’s important to keep it together for your family, and friends…but you have to get to a point where you LOVE YOURSELF enough to want to keep going.
Newcastle Charm -I didn’t even know what a “Geordie” was until I met my ex-wife. Since then, I’ve been fascinated by Geordie women. I love their whole bad-ass attitude. Zero tolerance for bullshit. A tough exterior, but a big heart. Throwing some Geordie slang into the chorus of a new song is something I never thought this Texas boy would do. Haha.
Southern Accents – Possibly my all time favorite Tom Petty song. I was so excited to put this song on the album, and I’m super proud of the version we created. It feels special. I think Tom would like it.
We Gave It Hell – When a relationship ends, you have a choice. You can let it consume you, or you can find a more positive way through it. I think it’s important to realize that sometimes, even though we give it hell, and do our best…it just isn’t going to work out. So, you say goodbye, wish the person well, pick up the pieces, and move on.
Pick Yourself Up – What’s the saying? Every end is a brand new beginning. I got that quote a little wrong, but you get the gist. Having the realization that a marriage ending is only a short chapter, in the book of life, was a BIG moment for me. I’m determined to make the rest of my story a good one.