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INTERVIEW: Tom Moriarty

Hi Tom, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Yeah, good thank you.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Better Than This”?

Better Than This is from a future album I’ve been working on.  We recorded a few of the tracks last year and this was one of them.  I wasn’t planning on releasing it so far in advance of the release of that album but I felt something needed to be said at that time.   Right now there’s a few people doing whatever they can to nurture a lot of hate in society.  They want to turn people against each other and make us feel we are less than we are, break our faith in ourselves.   So I felt it was time to put something out there saying that this hate is bullshit created by people who want to control us and actually we are better than this.  

Did any event in particular inspired you to write this song?

Ha, so many events but the theme I guess is like I said above, essentially we are better than those in power want us to believe.   That’s why they spend so much time demonising people in society and telling people someone else is to blame for people’s hardship when all the time it’s them.  There’s a lot of that going on right now…  but let’s not go there. Although we really do have to be aware of the rise of the extreme right, that doesn’t end well.

Any plans to release a video for the single?

No plans at the moment sadly.

How was the recording and writing process?

Interesting question.  The writing process started with me picking up a Cittern for the first time.  A Cittern is a traditional folk instrument, 5 notes, 10 strings. It’s like a big mandolin.  I went into that folk instrument shop in London, Hobgoblin, and there it was. I picked it up and the first thing I played was the opening chords to Better Than This.  It often happens when you pick up an instrument you’ve never played before.  They talk to you.  They kind of tell you what to play.  So that’s where that song started.  The writing process for this song was long.  I just let the lyrics come to me inspired consciously and subconsciously by what was going on around me.  I spent a lot of time thinking about what this song was about, about what we are as a race, what we can be. Essentially, it’s a song of hope.  

The recording progress, did a few demos, went to a big studio in Belgium called ICP, worked hard for 5 days and nights.  Then the tracks were mixed by some very talented producers.  Better Than This was mixed by Jim Lowe, producer to the Stereophonics. Other tracks hae been mixed by Adam Kasper, who’s produced Nirvana, the Foos, R.E.M., Soundgarden and Pearl Jam. Yeah I know.  He heard all the demos of the album and really liked the album, he called it a “stellar batch of tunes”.  That’s very high praise coming from a dude like that.  Was honoured he was up for mixing a few tracks. 

How has Eddie Vedder and Ray Lamontagne influenced your music?

It’s interesting because they get mentioned a bit because my voice is somewhere between the two of them.  Someone said once the rage of Vedder and the soul of Lamontagne, which is one of the best compliments anyone could have paid me.  I don’t have the breathy high register of Lamontagne though.   As for Vedder, love the rage, love the honesty.  I’ve always been a fan of Pearl Jam from way back.   They’re just great singers, they go there, 100%.  That’s what you have to do.  

Does the new single mean we can expect a new material – how’s that coming along?

Yeah there’s some new material on the way.  There’s the rock album and there’s another album I’m working on which is like the follow up to The Road, a more folk rock blues album.   I’ve got a bit of material backed up because of an accident I had a couple of years back when a dog bit the end of my left index finger off.  I’ve basically had relearn to play with just 3 fingers, so no gigs, no recording for a couple of years.  I’m doing my first solo gig back in a couple of weeks.  It’s in a chapel in a hill top village in southern France where I live these days. Great acoustics for solo voice & guitar.

Any tentative release date or title in mind?

No release dates in mind right now.  When it feels right.  It might be that the folk rock album comes first, maybe next Spring.  We’ll see how recording goes this Autumn.

Does the re-release of your first album is any indication of the direction you are taking with this new record?

Not so much, the re-release was all about wanting to make that album a better piece of work.  At the time of making that album it got a little compromised by the amount of people that were around me.  Being the first album I went with that advice but in hindsight I felt I wasn’t doing the album justice.  So there were some songs on there that I took off and added others that, for me, are more part of that family.   The three songs I added are with their siblings now.  I think it’s a better work now, a better journey. There’s a greater connection between all the songs, lyrically and sonically. 

How much would you be blending your classic roots with your much modern influences?

I guess we’ll see.  I guess my music is organic with a roots vibe and that will continue with the follow up to The Road.  The rock album might venture into new territory a bit.  And then there’s that collaboration idea with David Guetta, some kind of hard rock house thing…  yeah ok, that’s just in my head.

Any plans to hit the road?

Next summer I hope to get on the road, a few gigs, a few festivals.

What else is happening next in Tom Moriarty’s world?

I’m going trekking and camping in some mountains with my dog for a couple of weeks.

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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