Feature: My 5 Biggest Influences – Ryan Hamilton

For our latest ‘My 5 Biggest Influences’ feature, we spoke to Ryan Hamilton, who, alongside The Harlequin Ghosts, is set to release the new album Nowhere To Go But Everywhere, out September 18th.

My 5 Biggest Influences’ is when we talk to some of our favourite upcoming and established artists, delving into their greatest influences and inspirations, to see how bands, records, tracks, friends & family, hobbies and even environments have impacted on their work and music.

More about the new record below, but first, here are Ryan’s 5 Biggest Influences…

Tom Petty

For me, not only is he one of the great all time songwriters, he found the perfect balance of sounds. Country, Blues, Rock, Americana. It all comes together in a radio friendly way… without sacrificing any of it’s depth, or importance. With Tom also being from the South, he says things a certain way. Since I’m from the South, hearing the way he phrases certain things, feels like home. He is an endless well of inspiration.

Andy Warhol

His story, his art… his courage. Not many people can come along and change things forever. Andy did just that. This soft spoken, shy, gay man, embraced all the things that made him different. He flipped the art world on it’s head, and it will never been the same. The juxtaposition of this shy, gay man, having the BALLS to do what he did. That inspires me to no end.

Bob Dylan

In my opinion, the greatest songwriter of all time. Another person who changed things forever. I seem to gravitate towards people who have the courage to be themselves ALL THE WAY. Those first few records he made will forever be the greatest songs ever written in succession. It’s mind numbing how many mind blowing songs he wrote and recorded IN A ROW.

Daniel Johnston

Music, art, and mental illness. Such a tragic story. Yet, somehow, inspiring on a level that you can’t help but smile. His songs and his art can go VERY dark. But just below the darkness is this childlike hope, and humor. I could write a book on the important of his mental illness, and how it was handled by those around him… but I won’t. When it comes to questions of mental illness, and coinciding genius… and whether or not you suppress that genius by medicating the mental illness… There is no greater example than Daniel. His art and his music are a vital part of my world.

Elliott Smith

This man has recently risen to my Top 5. I loved his music when it came out in the late 90s, but had filed it away in a cd book, for a decade, or more. I rediscovered him, and his beautiful music, and it was like he was speaking to my soul. Truth is, the music of Eliott Smith got me through my divorce, and continues to get me through my daily life. Devastatingly, beautiful songs. Incredible guitar player too. I should also mention: I genuinely don’t think he killed himself. I got my hands on the police report. I think he was murdered, and I think they should reopen the case. I’m not alone in this theory. Why aren’t more people talking about this?!

Ryan Hamilton & The Harlequin Ghosts recently released new track ‘Oh No’. Talking about the song, Ryan explains: “I’m super 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”.

It is taken from the forthcoming second album Nowhere To Go But Everywhere (set for release on September 18th, 2020).

As with their debut, This Is The Sound, the new album was recorded using both Hamilton’s home studio in Texas and that of producer Dave Draper’s in the UK. In fact the bulk of the album was laid down whilst Hamilton was in the UK on his solo acoustic tour in February 2020, mere days before the global pandemic was declared.

Subsequently stuck at home alone on lockdown back in Texas, with the album finished and a summer of UK festivals understandably transplanted to 2021, Hamilton found himself with time on his hands. Connecting remotely with producer Draper and fellow musicians in lockdown in the UK and France, the Country EP ‘Incommunicado’ was born.

Proceeds from sales of the EP were donated to the Music Venue Trust’s ‘Save Our Venues’ campaign, a movement very dear to Hamilton’s heart from constant touring of the UK.