Where are you currently based and what is the music scene like there?
Hey, nice to meet you 🙂 I suppose the place you could say I’m based right now is between London and Reykjavik. Both these cities have vibrant music scenes.
How did you first start playing music?
I started playing violin when I was about 7 years old and have been playing various instruments since then. The first song I remember writing was for the Boyband I formed when I was 9, we had big dreams but sadly they never came to much.
What have you been working on recently?
At the moment I’m working on getting my album ready for release which, for the past few weeks has taken up most of my time. Aside from the album I’m working on setting up my YouTube channel (Tomtheroad) and enjoying the creative freedom of writing whatever style of music I feel like writing, this music goes in my videos. John Carpenter is an influence of mine and I’ve been having fun writing some intense synth horror music, because why not.
You’re new album ‘The Fire Awaits’ is out now, what influenced the sound and songwriting?
It’s called “The Fire Waits,” but I forgive you 😉
It all just fell into place really, I had the idea that I wanted to record an album and was producing lots of music quickly to develop my sound, all these songs stated coming out in a similar style to what became the record. Then my friend asked me to record ‘All That She Wants’ in the style that you can hear and I was like ‘boom,’ it’s right in front of me.
How did you go about writing the music for The Fire Awaits?
The purpose of writing an album was to tell a story with the music, have a beginning, middle, end and take the listener on a journey. So, for instance, when writing ‘The House Of Plenty,’ which is the last song, I began with the idea that I was writing the final song on the album.
Most songs on the album I would write on anything that wasn’t the guitar (which is my main instrument), this was to take me away from the writing habits I picked up over the years and to attack each piece from a different angle. The drums were the first instrument I used to write ‘Rabbit Hole,’ and piano for most of the others.
Where and when did you record and who with?
I recorded the bass and drums in Greshams School’s studio with bassist Alex Crosby, drummer Richard Warlow and engineer Sie Medway Smith. Once we had the rhythm section down I took everything back to my studio in London and recorded the rest there, bringing in Sam Horan to play lead towards the end.
What programs/instruments did you use?
I use Ableton Live and love it. I used whatever instruments I had lying around in the studio, we had a collection of world instruments that I used on the opening track, a Japanese harp and a Oud-like instrument made of skin that sounded amazing. The rest was the standard bass, drums, piano and guitar.
What did you find most challenging and rewarding during the creation of this your debut album?
I found it challenging to exercise restraint when writing each part and arranging the whole song. The initial tendency was to overplay individual parts so that they sounded great when played solo, but cluttered up the entire arrangement when played ensemble. I kept having to force myself and everyone else to play less, everything was written with the final goal in mind.
The rewards came when this actually worked and the pieces fit together to become greater than the sum of their parts, listening to the working mix from the recording days and realising you don’t have to do much to get this sounding awesome is a great feeling.
You recently covered “All That She Wants’ why did you choose this track and how did you decide on how you would cover this track?
My friend Angelika Abramovitch was shooting a film and asked me to record this song in the style you hear. In one way it was the catalyst for the entire album.
Your latest single ‘The feeding Hand’ is out, what influenced the writing for this track?
The music of ‘The Band’ and of ‘Gene Clark’ were the influences for this song, it was one of the only songs I wrote on guitar and I had great difficulty taking it from the acoustic song that it began as, to the full arrangement that you hear on the album.
Who are you listening to at the moment?
I found a great playlist on spotify called ‘20 Italian Sci-Fi Themes’ that is just fantastic. It’s super trippy.
What do you like to do away from music?
I like to travel, keep fit and learn new skills. Boxing is a love of mine and I keep it up as much as I can, unfortunately due to the fact that I travel so much I’m not able to join a club for an extended period of time.
You’re life involves travelling in a motorhome and performing across the UK, how did this idealistic lifestyle come to be?
It was really the video for ‘The Feeding Hand’ that sparked it all off. The lifestyle was one I had dreamed of trying out for a while but had never seriously considered it, I had the album to write and a life in London, things were good but something was missing. Once we recorded the video I began to think more and more that this was what I should be doing, so that’s what I did.
What do you find most challenging and rewarding whilst travelling in a motorhome?
Staying organised and productive is quite tough since there is no real structure to the day. I try to keep my own schedule that I can use to get things done and stay on top of the constant work that comes with running any business. You know what? Actually living in the van is pretty tough, and I don’t mean the lack of creature comforts, I mean that I’m traveling all over the world right now and the van is currently parked in a field in Shrewsbury, in the last month I’ve haven’t spent one night in it.
What’s planned for the remainder of 2019?
The plan is to get the album out, start playing acoustic shows in the UK and Europe to promote myself and actually get to spend some quality time in my van. The first stop is Cornwall where I will learn to surf, you’ll have to watch my YouTube channel to see if I actually manage it.
Any secrets that you care to share?
I’m such a bad football player, every time I play, I manage to come away with a knee injury that stays with me for years. It’s so bad that I now operate a ‘no football’ policy, whereby I refuse to play even the friendliest of games. Maybe I should get lessons.
Favourite food and place to hangout?
Dumplings, I bloody love dumplings. Doesn’t matter what country they are from, or what kind of dumpling they are. If it is called a dumpling, I’m going to love it.
I recently spent a month in St Petersburg and was introduced to an ‘anti cafe,’ called Zifferberg, where you just pay for the time you spend there, meaning all the coffee and cakes are free! This particular cafe had a grand piano and a couple of guitars. People would talk, play music together and have conversations for hours, I met some wonderful people and on my third day asked to make an english breakfast for everyone. Good times.