MayhemTom – Play Toff Melbourne Tonight 13 October!

by the partae

Where are you currently based?

How did you first start playing music?
I started with violin in primary school, moved to drums, piano, music theory and guitar in high school and beyond.

Please tell us how MayhemTom first came to be:
I started as a bass player vocalist, but moved to vocals alone as we got serious in a funk/rock band. The band was called Electric Mayhem, which is where Mayhemtom came from literally. I decided to put together songs for an album and came back to that name after trying to a few other names, only to find they were all taken!

What’s been happening recently with MayhemTom?
I have just released an album on streaming services, there is a vinyl edition on the way and we have been rehearsing for an Album launch taking place later this week.

Your album ‘The Art Of Flying While Falling’ is out now, what influenced the sound and songwriting?
It is an amalgamation of styles including straight Indie rock artists like Radiohead and The National to more folk/singer songwriters like Paul Kelly and Sufjan Stevens. The songwriting came from a period of stress and burnout during work as an oncologist. I hadn’t played regularly or written anything for over 15 years prior. The sounds are largely organic instruments including drums, piano, strings, guitar. But I love electronic music too and there are some synth sounds blended in too.

How did you go about writing?
Alot of the song came from moods/poetry which were put to chords. Previously I built songs around chords and I always drifted away from standard I, IV, V chords or threw in weird dissonant chords and pulled melodies to match the chords. For this, I allowed the melodies in my head to find the chords, so it is a bit more accessible but there are also some complex arrangements. Even time signatures, such as in the track Alone, which switches between 5/4 and 4/4 was built to fit the lyrics.

What does this album mean to you?
It’s an emotional outlet and what I had dreamt of doing when I first started playing in bands. Getting back to music has been rediscovering myself.

Where and when did you record/produce/master and who did you work with?
I gathered together some professional musicians (Maria Moles drums, Peter Burgess bass, Paul Zubrinich keys) and recorded in a studio in Melbourne called Oaklands. The album was produced by an experienced producer Dusty Teal. The initial recording occurred in May 2021, but we were hampered by several COVID lockdowns. So while the bass, drums and some piano was done then, the rest we pieced together over several sessions later in 2021/2022. Some were back in the studio, the synths were done from home. The vocals were tracked in the producer’s home studio. The strings and backing vocals were done in separate studio sessions.

How did you approach the recording/production process?
I put together some complicated demos with the instrumentation I was after tracked on synth including the string parts. We worked on them as a band and pieced together the arrangements to suit the music and that’s what we took into the recording studio to put down. I then added synths, guitars and flourishes towards the end. The final mix was then mastered using Cloudbounce an AI service.

Who are you listening to at the moment?
My favourites mix currently has Josh Pyke, Talking Heads, Spacey Jane, Gang of Youths and Courtney Barnett. But an album I have on repeat ATM is Samora Pinderhughes “Grief”.

What do you like to do away from music?
I am a busy oncologist, so I deal with a lot of grief and death. Which is why finding my back to music has been so therapeutic.

What’s planned for the remainder of 2022 going into 2023?
We are looking at playing a bit more following the album launch including some local gigs as well as some smaller festivals over summer.

Favourite food and place to hangout?
I don’t really have a favourite food, but I pretty much love most South Indian curries my mum cooks. The band have a bit of history hanging out at pubs around Brunswick such as the Rainbow Hotel, The Standard or The Rose, so it’s always nostalgic heading back there.



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