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INTERVIEW: Tom Low

Hi Tom, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
Hi VENTS! I’m very well thanks…

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Phone”?
“Phone” is the title track from my new EP. It’s a track I wrote and recorded last year entirely on my phone.

Did any event in particular inspired you to write this song?
I was at my girlfriend’s and wasn’t feeling particularly sociable so I sat on my own and just tried to record anything I could think up on my phone. I was messing about on the keyboard, came up with the little organ intro and thought it sounded like a phone ringing. I thought I’d try and make the whole song sound like a phone. It started as a little joke but I ended up really liking it.

Why naming the EP after this song in particular?
Well it was the first one I recorded for the EP, I didn’t know at the time it was going to turn into an EP but after I finished it, I thought I should try and make a whole EP on my phone so it seemed like a natural title.

How was the recording and writing process?
The most fun and free I’ve ever experienced. After feeling really inspired by The Beach Boys’, “Pet Sounds” and “SMiLE”, I wanted to push myself to write more original and elaborate pieces of music. Being able to record and compose literally anywhere I went was amazing. I was at it constantly for months just adding bits of instruments while sitting about at home or at mates’ houses, even on the bus! Also, I decided not to put a deadline on finishing it which helped a lot. That allowed me to get it to a standard I wanted.

How and why did you recorded the whole thing using the phone?
It’s the GarageBand app so it’s not that much different to using a computer. I programmed in the drums, bass and some of the synths. Then, I used the built-in mic to record any real instruments and vocals I wanted. The vocal effects and guitar amps on the app are amazing. The guitar solo on “Phone” was done at 3am with an unplugged electric guitar but you’d never be able to tell. It was a unique way of working and being able to say my EP was recorded on a phone seemed more interesting than saying it was made in a studio. Also, in the past I’ve only been able to afford 1-2 days in real studios and always felt too much time pressure to get anything I was happy with so it got rid of that problem. I wanted to prove there are other ways of working when you’re skint…

What is it about the 60s that you enjoy it so much and what role does that decade plays in your music?
I love certain elements of that decade but I don’t think I use it as much as I used to. I do love the inventive attitude of the period. Saying that, the fact that the best people of the 60s were so forward thinking inspired me to try and ignore the 60s. I realised that The Beatles and The Beach Boys weren’t trying to sound like musicians from 1910 so why would I try to sound like something from 50 years ago…

Besides The Beatles what other band influence your music?
For this EP, some of my big influences were The Beach Boys, Mac DeMarco, Penguin Cafe Orchestra and Beck. I tried taking things from anywhere, even TV theme tunes! I wanted to rely on my own ideas more than any specific decade’s influence though. David Bowie, Damon Albarn, St Vincent, ELO and Yellow Magic Orchestra also inspire me a lot…

Where else did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?
I wanted to make songs that sounded like the subject. I always loved the way “I’m Only Sleeping” by The Beatles sounds sleepy so I wanted to develop that idea. I had the names of the five EP tracks in mind before I’d finished the tunes so once I’d composed a portion of them I’d mould the sound to fit the titles. Then the lyrics came quite easily as it was quite obvious that they would be about the subject too.

Any plans to hit the road?
I’m supporting C Duncan on his upcoming UK tour in February and March which is going to be great.

What else is happening next in Tom Low’s world?
I’m always writing and recording so more new songs and new gigs!

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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