To expand the content that we bring to our audience, we have introduced our latest feature to Nexus in the form of a ‘Nexus Meets‘ section. ‘Nexus Meets’ aims to bring you interviews with various individuals and artists that work throughout the industry at varying stages in their careers. The section is made up of ‘Nexus Meets… Artists‘, with more content to come in the near future.
Kicking the feature off we have artist Tom Williams who we managed to catch regarding the release of his latest album ‘All Change’ where we discussed influences, the album and the evolution of himself as an artist throughout his music career so far.
How did you get into music when you were growing up?
I learned instruments from an easy age, violin saxophone and I sang, but I started playing guitar 15. I promptly gave up all my other instruments!
What made you want to be a musician?
I enjoyed playing the violin and saxophone but the guitar gave me a real sense of ownership over the music I was playing. It deconstructed the magical sounds coming out of my headphones that I had fallen in love with and made me realise that I could also put those sounds together
How do you approach songwriting? Melody first, lyrics or other?
I used to write both simultaneously but now I think I need to have some kind of lyrical direction in mind before I start or else the song suffers. It usually ends up vague and rudderless.
The way the album was made is very interesting, would you mind telling us a bit about the process?
I was invited to spend a week in the studio at Leeds Beckett University as part of an, ‘Artist In Residence’ programme. The university helped pull a band together and I ended up treating it like a normal recording session. We worked 12+ hour sessions, did two new (previously unheard) songs a day and recorded live as a band in the main room. We ended up recording 15 songs in 8 days and I took the recordings down to London and Ian Grimble who mixed the record beautifully. We added strings, gospel singers and a few other bits but all the original playing from the Leeds Beckett students is on the record.
Do you have a favourite song on the album?
I love them all like my ugly children… They’ve all been lots of fun to play love and seem to stand up and still scan which is a minor miracle. The album was made very quickly.
You’ve mentioned previously that you’re more aware of production in music. How has this helped you during the formation of your new album?
Writing, recording, mixing and mastering an album is normally such a lengthly and protracted process, giving someone who hadn’t been involved in the recording the chance to mix it give them a chance to approach it with fresh ears. This is certainly my most produced album so far I think. Production for me is a chance to subliminally affect the way someone feels about the music. It’s wallpaper and lighting in a series of rooms they’re going to live in for the next 40 minutes.
What characteristics of your own do you feel you’ve managed to capture in this album?
I like this album because it was made so quickly. A lot of the decisions made, whether it be writing, arrangement, production or mixing were made very quickly and instinctively. I can look back at it now and marvel at it in a way, I almost don’t recognise myself in it but I like it more for that. I’d like to work at this pace more for sure.
Where did you find most of your inspiration for the album came from?
Just from everyday life I think but as I said above it was all quite instinctive. Songs like Everyone Needs A Home or Little Bird might be about the refugee crisis in the Mediterranean or hysterical fear mongering mass media but songs like All The Time or What A Shame are about wishing that me and my wife both weren’t so busy all the time so we could actually see each other. Everyone has thousands of thoughts a minute so I think the more of them you can get down in 30 minutes of an album the better. I think I’ve only managed to get about 4 down on this one!
What plans have you got going forward now that the album is out? Festival appearances? Tours?
Playing festivals all summer, touring the UK in September and playing a big London show in November. All live dates can be found at: https://www.songkick.com/artists/161083-tom-williams
If you could sum up this album in three words or less, what words would you choose?
Big, colourful, confident.
If you wish to hear more from Tom and check out what live dates he has lined up, you can find all relevant information by following the links below.
Tom Williams Facebook
Tom Williams Spotify