Some time ago we found a band called Haunted no More. This dark music was very touching, so we couldn’t leave Myles Barfield, a founder of this project, without an interview.
When we contacted him, he mentioned that he has some other projects.
You’ve said that Haunted no More has been divided from Dabster Gentlemen, so I would like to speak about Dabster Gentlemen first. How did the project appear?
It would actually be difficult to talk about one without the other. Dabster Gentlemen is where everything began, but the ginger project has significantly grown. The reason is all of these bands are interconnected so deeply they are in truth the same band, just different “shades” of it.
In total there are actually five different sides to the overall project. It started out as a 3-piece busking trio. We were a folk band wanting to play for the elderly in nursing homes, for small church’s and just very grass roots at heart. We were building a decent library of music for about a year. The singer after a time decided he wanted to pursue other goals in life though so he walked away, taking his songs with him. This left me at a crossroads to either give up, or start down another path.
I decided to take it in another direction and started writing music in more of a Post-Rock style. I continued building a new library but the music seemed to drift between different genres. Some songs were blues, others jazz… other rock, and a few fell back into the folk style. I ultimately released two instrumental albums but was never completely happy with them.
Just as I was ready to quit, along came Dale Thompson. We talked about creating something new, but he kept going back to the two albums, telling me he would like to lay some vocals down on them. I relented and Dabster Gentlemen was reborn. We decided to not stop at the two previously released albums and have been furiously writing every since. We now have enough material to release twelve albums under the Dabster Gentlemen name.
Something happened though while writing; we occasionally took a really dark path, while we loved these dark songs, they really just didn’t fit the overarching style. It was then that we started talking about just giving these songs a home with a second project. This is where Haunted no More was born. We made a very conscious choice to embrace the dark within as we write these songs. We also decided to alter the style a little by dropping everything musically except Piano, Bass and light percussion. Where Dabster Gentlemen is about exploring different instruments and styles, Haunted no More would be very grounded in these core instruments and sound. As of today, Haunted no More has enough material to release five albums.
It actually didn’t stop there though, Dale and I have decided to do a third project that will be more of a hard rock groove that is very bass and drum rooted. This one is in the very early stages though.
Through the years I have also returned to the Post Rock Sound in a band called Voices of the Martyrs. I’m very proud of this one. And finally, there will likely be yet another, that will focus on writing atmospheric music.
It’s allot to keep up with, and a little weird for one band to have so much going on, but we are basically a studio only band, so we have plenty of time to write. The main reason for this is Dale Lives in New Zealand, Skipp Phipps (our primary guitar player) lives in Missouri and I live in Texas.
The best place to keep up with everything we do will be our YouTube channel. Each of these will have their own playlist there.
You’ve said that Dabster Gentlemen has material for 12 albums, and Haunted no More has enough material for 5 albums, but you’ve decided to release only 1 album per year. What is the reason to release music in such portions?
There are a few reasons we are recording and releasing the way we are. One of the main reasons though is if we were to release everything that we had now, so much of it would just be buried due to the sheer volume of it. I would actually prefer to take it a little slower than we are, but as it stands now, and releasing one album a year, it will take ten years to release everything we have recorded. I also chose one album per year because this way I can focus in on promoting one song a month.
We ended up recording in the way we have by accident for the most part. When we started, our plan was to take the Dabster Gentlemen songs that had already been released and just add lyrics to them, maybe add a few extra songs so we would have three albums. When we reached our goal, we didn’t want to stop though. We decided to keep going until we had nothing left… after hitting ten albums I started slowing the process down. As of now though, we have reached twelve albums worth of material, and we will stop there. I have made a conscious effort to focus in on the other bands so Dabster doesn’t just run on forever! Keep in mind we don’t tour, so we basically just hit the studio every day and write.
Haunted no More was much the same. Originally it was going to be a “one off” concept album that was just to “dark” for Dabster Gentlemen. After writing a few songs Dale and I both fell in love with the dark tone of the project and have ended up writing five albums under this name, I could likely keep going, making at least a few more albums, and I know Dale could, but I feel that it needs to close out. With the dark tone, there isn’t really anywhere else for us to take it after five albums.
My third band came along as Dabster and Haunted started slowing down, my heart kept pulling me back to my roots of instrumental music. After a few false starts, Voices of the Martyrs became reality. As with Dabster Gentlemen and Haunted no More though, I have a very specific goal in mind on when it will stop. This developed into a specific series of albums; with 1 EP and 5 Albums total. So with each of these bands, there is a beginning and an end in mind.
This all led to my fourth project, called “locutus doulos” which I will not put a limit on, I will also release these albums as they are ready. If its 12 albums in a year or 2… they will be released as they are made. I can do this in this one, because it is made for a specific purpose. This symphonic ambient music is designed for the purpose of listening to while in study, reflection or even background music while working. Originally each release was going to be only a 5-10 minutes song that I would write in a way that it could be looped for hour long in YouTube videos, but it grew into something bigger. Like the other bands, it has taken on a life of its own.
So all together, I will be releasing at least 3-4 albums per year over the next ten years. This is a massive effort for an independent musician, and there are times I feel like I am a one man show running a recording studio, a record company and a promotion agency, but once Dabster Gentlemen, Haunted no More and Voices of the Martyrs have finished writing and recording, it will slow down considerably.
Other than my work in locutus doulos, all I will have to do is release and promote my library as it is released.
Aren’t you afraid that music will change too much in these 10 years and your last albums will not be accepted by the audience that time?
We’ve talked about it. But to be honest we don’t write according to the charts or what’s popular even today, so I don’t think it will impact us much.
Voices of the Martyrs and locutus doulos being instrumental are pretty safe.
Dabster leans heavily into folk tradition, this is also why acoustic instruments are the foundation. Acoustic instruments tend to stand the test of time.
Haunted is very basic. Piano and vocals with light bass and percussion, and the songs are more about the subject than the music.
Is there any chance that you will decide to start one more project?
Locutus doulos has no end as far as I’m concerned. I’ll pour everything into that with no end in site. ?
If any of the others will be extended other than locutus doulos, it would likely be Voices of the Martyrs.
Let’s return to the main reason of this talk — Haunted No More.
As I remember, in you press release you’ve told that Haunted No More appeared when you had a depression. The project exists to make people who are in the same state feel they are not alone. You’ve told a lot about musical part of this project, but could you, please, tell us more information about the idea?
I do tend to get carried away talking about the music side. The idea behind Haunted no More came from a few different things. As Dale and I are both Christians we have a heart for the broken and hurting out there who feel alone. Sadly, many of these people have gone to the church for relief in search of comfort, but are often rejected. This infuriates both of us to the core. Ironically, Christians often wear masks that say “We are perfect” yet on the inside they are just as broken as everyone else. But to the outsider this gives the perception that they don’t belong among the church people.
In truth this is very un-Biblical. While we should and do strive to emulate Jesus Christ, we as humans fail. Just as everyone else does, we trudge through life beaten and bruised. Often knowing what we should be, but failing repeatedly as we attempt to get there. In fact Romans 7:14-19 shows us that even Paul the Apostle struggled just as we do as he said “For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.”
So Dale and I ask, Why pretend? Instead lets show the world that we are hurting. Lets show the world that we suffer and struggle just as they do. In addition, lets take the listener to the next step and show them that even though we suffer, we have hope. They can have this hope just as we do. It is not about getting yourself perfect and coming to the light, its about coming to the light and out of the darkness.
With all of this in mind, we are telling the Christian: “we know you are hurting, let us hurt with you”. We are telling the non-Christian: “we are not a perfect people, but we know exactly how you feel, we know what you are going through and we desperately want to help”.
And where do you work? Is music your main job or you create it in your free time?
I wish music was my full time job, but unfortunately no… I have a “day job” as well.
A few years ago (1995) I cut off my hair and left full time music behind as I went to the Police academy. I’ve been in law enforcement ever since.
Of course, it is interesting for me if your day job has an influence on your music. Exactly it has even if you don’t notice it, but I wish to know how you define this influence by yourself.
As far as music being influenced by my day job, I’d say in a way it does. I pour everything into music, it’s like a weight being lifted off my shoulders.
What about hobbies?
I build stained glass windows! I took this up a few years ago. I absolutely love it!
I typically wake up at 2am and hit the studio until around 4, sometimes 6am. I head to the day job, and on the weekends carve out some time out to work on stained glass.
Nice window! Does your hobby brings you a new vision of music?
Building stained glass windows and composing music are very similar actually. Being a musician yourself you will understand what I’m about to say.
I draw out a pattern and intend to follow it in the beginning, but as the build comes together, it often changes. The basic design is the same, but little things change along the way.
Building these is actually very relaxing!
Which music has a great influence on you? It may be a musician or band, an album or even one song. Or even a whole genre…
Musical influence is so broad for me its honestly hard to say. For me personally, when I was 10-25 years old I was a rocker. I was heavily into bands like Bride, Megadeth, Metallica, Guardian, Skid Row, Motley Crue and bands like that. From 25-35 years old I started getting into Movie scores, and Classical music; Frederic Chopin, Antonio Vivaldi and all of the other greats. I became obsessed with Vivaldi’s “the Four Seasons”, it amazed me how one piece of music could be manipulated into themes that ran throughout the composition as a whole. In fact this is what inspired my locutus doulos project. From 35-up to now I have primarily stuck with listening to instrumental music, I spent almost a year listening mainly to Zoe Keating, Piano Guys and 2-Cellos; that style is where my heart and soul are, but I also listen to allot of Mumford and Sons, Newsboys, Royal Blood and my daughter has got me into Twenty-one Pilots; Tyler is a genius when it comes to composing, and I love his quirky but deep lyrics!
So all in all… I listen to and am inspired by many artists.