Your song ‘Home’ was about getting lost in London, is that right?
[Tom] Yeah, so basically I got onto a bus and fell asleep, after a few beverages, and the bus driver obviously didn’t know I was still on the top deck and drove into the bus shelter, where all the buses are parked at night, turned off the lights and didn’t get me and I woke up about an hour later surrounded by about 40 buses in pitch black darkness on the top deck of a bus just like “oh my god, where am I?”
Was it locked, were you trapped inside?
No it wasn’t locked, they have an emergency button so I got my phone light out, found the button, pushed off and then I could see a little glimmer of light in the distance and found my way. I was only a mile away from my house so I walked home. I’d been at a rubbish party that I wasn’t really about and it was just a bit of a weird night so I ended up writing a song about it the next day.
Do you find yourself doing this a lot with song writing, finding inspiration from situations like that?
Yeah I try and write about things that have actually happened to me rather than things I can’t relate to. I find it really hard to make up stories about wizards and Gandalf and Lord of the Rings type things so I try and keep it as real as I can. I don’t always try and get that, if my friend’s got a good story I’ll try and work that into a song but it’s gotta be something that’s happened to somebody.
Can you tell us a bit more about any of the songs you’ve got out at the moment?
I’ve just released a song called Play Dead, I think it was last Friday, it’s doing quite well on Spotify and stuff; it’s made it onto new music playlists. It’s basically written about me and my girlfriend if there was a zombie apocalypse, what we would do.
Have you got any more songs coming out in the near future?
I’ve got a couple of acoustic songs that will be coming out before the end of the year, three of my favourite songs. Just me and a piano, or a guitar, kind of stripped back and then in 2017 I’ll be working on my album and that’ll be coming out in 2017 at some point. Grafting to get stuff done.
How has the tour been? Have you done touring before or is this your first taste of touring?
I’ve done touring before but normally it’s one gig a day and this has been, on some days I’ve had three gigs and although they’re only a 20-minute set, it’s more the driving to a different city so it’s been a bit tiring. More so the travelling but it’s been wicked, I’ve met loads of nice people, been to loads of cool student unions on the way so it’s definitely been beneficial.
Something you want to carry on doing?
Yeah absolutely. I’d be well up for doing it with a couple more people cause I’m doing it on my own and with one of my mates but it’d be nice to do it in a van with a bit of a band and a bit of banter we can have on the way and all that stuff.
What comes first for you? Is it the song writing and being able to get your thoughts out there or is it more to do with the experience of touring as an artist and being able to develop yourself on tour?
If I’ve got new songs and people haven’t heard them, it’s a good place to try them out on tour cause you can get people’s reactions straight away and see what they think. I like writing songs and going out and gigging them and seeing what works and what doesn’t work and seeing what ones I need to scrap [laughs].
I hasten to ask this but have you had any bad gigs with bad audiences? Have you had any poor experiences?
I was in Bath for one of the Coffee House things at a sports university and the sound was a bit iffy and it was really early in the day, I think it was 11 o’clock. People had obviously just woken up, it was Fresher’s Week, everybody was really hung over; the last thing they needed was me just belting out full blast on the stage. I think everybody was just a bit like “oh no” but that’s definitely not the worst gig I’ve had.
What sort of things do you have on your playlist, what do you listen to and find yourself inspired by?
Tom: There’s a lot of good music going round at the moment, I’ve been listening to a girl called Ray BLK, she’s got a song called My Hood, she’s absolutely amazing. She was on Jools Holland last night actually, she’s wicked. There’s a guy called Sam Henshaw who I just did a gig with recently, he’s a soul, kind of blues, bit of rock artist and he’s wicked. Big fan of Jack Garratt, he’s got a load of good stuff coming out so there’s loads of good music going round at the minute: I’ve got a playlist of tunes that are all my favourite and it’s up to and it’s up to 150 tunes so it keeps getting bigger every week cause there’s so much good stuff out at the moment.
Do you find the music you listen to is very similar to the kind of stuff you like to write or do you feel the music you listen to can be a completely different experience?
I try to break away from stuff that sounds like me so I can develop my sound by listening to artists that are different. As long as it’s a good tune and a good song I’ll be into it. I’m not like “I only listen to rock music”, I listen to a bit of everything.
Looking to the short term future, long term future, where do you see yourself in a year’s time and five year’s time?
That’s a good question. A year’s time, hopefully playing some really big gigs. I just warmed up for Sam Henshaw at the Village Underground on Monday and he sold it out, there was 850 people there, and I was the support act so I was expecting nobody to turn up but everybody was there and his crowd were really enthusiastic. You know when you go and see a gig at the MEN Arena and people just talk through the first act, his crowd were really good and very nice. I think my goal is in a year’s time to sell out that and do the same thing; have someone warm up for me.
And how about long term? Are you not looking that far ahead?
Five years is a long time. I’d like to play Wembley cause that would be amazing, that’s a big goal but 5 years is a long time as well. Yeah, that’s the ultimate goal, I think, sell out Wembley 3 nights in a row; it’s a big goal though [laughs].
Interviewed by Matt Bunby