Local artist spends year working on unique album; “Ghost” drops Friday

Staff Writer

As many musicians know, putting out an album takes a lot of hard work and many hours of dedication. While many groups have more than one person to work on the creation of on album, one local man has taken on the task of creating a full album and book mostly on his own.
Nathan Pyles, a St. Marys native, is setting up to release his second album “Ghost” under his bands name “Ancestors Index.” What makes this album even more unique is that it isn’t just a collection of songs. Together, the songs, along with a photography book, tell a unique story Pyles created.
“It’s a concept album based on a story that about a woman’s life. She goes from, like most people, living in a rural area where it’s very boring and dull, and she has aspirations of becoming a model,” he said. “She does become one and her life kind of spirals ...
“A lot of it is, not completely, but is based around Kate Moss’ life. They’re not a parallel to each other but they’re inspired by each other.”
According to Pyles, Moss’ unique start into the modelling industry and her trials and tribulations were something he found interesting and took those aspects to create his own story of a girl from rural America and create her journey to fame. He added that he spent a few weeks researching Moss but spent much more time designing the concept.
“I would say it took about a year to get it solid and completely how it is,” he explained. “And then after that it was recording and the music and the rest of it.”
The knowledge of concept albums — muisc that tells a complete story from start to finish — is nothing new to the young musician, as many of the artists that he admires have also created some themselves. His big inspiration to create his own came after listening to an album by Steven Wilson called “Hands. Cannot. Erase.” He called the album, “one of the best,” he has heard recently.
He also wanted to create one because it isn’t something he sees many local musicians doing and wanted to try something out of the ordinary.
To create the picture book that helps portray the story of the girl seeking stardom, Pyles reached out to a local photographer from Celina named Wade Hawk — who works with Hawk Eye Photography in Celina.
“I was very fortunate that there was another person who was over at Hawk Eye, when they overheard me talking about this they said, ‘oh this sounds like something from this guy Steven Wilson,’” Pyles said. “I was shocked, I had never heard anyone outside myself say that name because people just don’t listen to that kind of music around here.”
Pyles said he explained the idea and allowed Hawk to the listen to the songs before letting him loose to create the art. He explained that he didn’t want to micromanage him as he created the artwork. Really, he was only around for a few of the photo shoots and helped pick out the model to portray the fictional girl.
“There’s one thing — and we both agreed on this — I don’t want people when they’re reading through this, I don’t want it to hold their hand through the story because that’s worse,” Pyles explained. “Some of these [pictures] you might look at them and think, ‘oh what does that mean?’ but you get the idea of what is happening throughout the story.”
For Pyles, his time was more spent on creating the music for fans to listen to, a challenge he found fun but also difficult. The process started with him listening to music he wanted to play and finding a way to tie it into the story he developed, then adding more music and so forth.
“One thing that I found with doing a concept album, the one thing that’s kind of easy — once you have the concept — is you know exactly what you want to do with the music after that,” he said. “But getting into that is tough. You know, you write a few songs and then you start thinking, ‘OK I can make a story out of this,’ and it flows together.”
Doing it mostly on his own has proven to be a difficult task, however, the end product is nearing its debut and what he has created, he is very proud of.
“People have been complimenting it a lot, they think it’s fantastic so and I think it’s great — even if people didn’t like it I still [think it’s great],” Pyles said. “It’s kind of like when you become, or when you try to be an artist, you need to not care what people say. It’s yours but if someone said everything I was doing was shit, I’d still — you obviously don’t want to hear that — but it’s still, it’s mine.
“You have to be a little bit pretentious when you become an artist and that’s one thing I wish more people would do, be a little more pretentious with their art.”
He cites artists like David Bowie and Prince for creating music they wanted to produce as some of the artists he admires. He also listed bands like Radiohead, Pink Floyd and Tears for Fears as other musicians he enjoys.
According to Pyles, good music exists in every genre, and he is not one to completely cut out an entire genre and label it as bad. Although there are some that he says he prefers more, his music tastes vary all across the board, and so does some of the songs on his new album.
“Ghost” is set to release Friday, and will be available for purchase on his website AncestersIndex.com. Limited copies of the concept book will be printed and are also available on the website along with a T-shirt and a poster. Music from his last album “Transcend,” is also available for listening on the site as well.