In this next installment of our guest blog series from the band Ghost Tree, Haydon Spenceley updates us on the progress of their EP as attention turns away from the recording phase and onto promoting the record. Haydon addresses the idea that God doesn’t really need PR…

Greetings! It’s a chilly Sunday morning here in Nottingham, and I thought it was about time (mostly because Jono told me it was) that I put finger to keyboard and updated you all about the goings on with Ghost Tree, and our very soon to be forthcoming debut, self-titled EP.

Since we last spoke (I imagine our times together as cosy fireside chats) lots has happened. Our EP is now completely tracked, including some fantastic string parts, which are amazing and wonderful (did I mention that they’re quite good?) and mixed. Kevin and Brandon have done a fantastic job of bringing my vision for these songs to life in the mix. They sound huge, and yet spacious, risky yet absolutely spot on. Even my voice sounds OK (miracles do happen). This coming week, Brad Blackwood is apparently setting to work on mastering the record so that, in a few short weeks, we can let it out of the bag for you all to enjoy. Can’t wait for that. At the same time as figuring out mixes, I’ve been working on some ideas for tours for the next few months as we look to make the most of the fantastic platform we’ve been blessed with. We’ll be announcing a couple of very different tours in the next few weeks, both of which I’m very excited about. Also been dipping my toe in the waters of trying to find partners with whom to release the record. I know very little about business, so it’s an eye-opening experience for me to even begin to have conversations with people. No idea what will come of all that.

Still need to figure out what to do with my hair.

At the same time, I moved to Nottingham yesterday to start theological college (I’m training to be a vicar from tomorrow – bonkers) while others of us in the band are having joyous family experiences, and some sorrows too, as some seasons come to an end and others start. It’s got me thinking recently, life goes on, seemingly, whatever happens. Life isn’t all about music and bands and good hair (although I really wish I could do something with mine). If nothing else, this year’s taught me that the songs I write and sing should match the life I live, and the words I do and don’t say. I want to be welcomed home as a good and faithful servant, to know Jesus, God made man, not my own construct of who I think Jesus is, but who Jesus actually is. I want others to know Him too. This is the point of all that we do as a band (I hope) and if we ever get lost up our own bottoms, or chasing after a different dream, I hope that we have people around us who will tell us off, dust us down and set us on the right path again. 

This morning I woke up thinking about brackets. I read a lot of press releases, and often, the humble bracket plays a crucial role. What happens often goes something like this: “Blah Blah band announces the release of their new album Seismic Shift in History of Modern Music. The new record was produced by A.N. Other (someone who should make you go “ooh, ahh, I must buy this record forthwith if not sooner”)”. What got me thinking is, we could do this. People who worked on our record have worked on some very cool pieces of music, and continue to do so. It’s very tempting for me, as I start to think about promoting the record in the next few weeks, to litter our PR stuff with said brackets. I could easily press the right buttons, play the right games, and impress people a great deal. There’s a big temptation to do it – part of my brain really wants me to make back a lot of money, or even, gasp, make a profit, so that i might be able to support myself, think I was stewarding my resources widely or, double gasp, have enough money to make another record. Thing is, God doesn’t really need PR does He? He doesn’t need, require, or even want me to manipulate how I present myself in order to ensure more people listen to what I have to say. Or maybe He does, maybe He wants me to make the most of the blessings and opportunities He’s given me. I really have no idea. I guess I just struggle with the idea that this is the standard way to do things. I don’t want to come off as idealistic and pretentious. I just want to honour God, and I’m not sure how to do that….So, in a few weeks, when you see our PR stuff and it’s plastered with brackets, you’ll know that I capitulated!

We’re so close to having stuff for you all to listen to now, it’s very exciting. I can’t wait for the chance for you to see/hear what all the fuss is about!

Please pray for me and for us this week. It’s so inspiring to be part of a community of faith, and to know that we’re not alone, and not doing this for our own benefit, but to serve and bless people, and to bless and thank our God. Let’s hope we all find ways to live our lives along those lines this week. 

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