Born in Nottingham, but now based in London, Drew Thomas is one of the UK’s most exciting emerging indie artists at the moment. Having spent the past years touring throughout the UK, including sets at Reading and Leeds music festival, Drew is building a brand new sound for the masses. We speak with this insatiable singer-songwriter about his debut EP Early Hours and much more.
What is the backstory to Early Hours?
Early Hours is my first solo EP and is about vices that people use to cope with change and loss. I decided during lockdown that I wanted to release a collection of songs that really summed me up as an artist and that I wanted the world to hear, even though I couldn’t play live shows like I used to.
I assume artists have a store of songs from which to choose when creating an album. Is it difficult to choose the tracks to go onto the EP?
To start with, I was going to release all of the songs as singles and for me, as an artist, it’s always really difficult to decide what song to release next. I’m really bad at holding songs back for ages and not sharing them until I think they’re perfect or the timing is right, but it felt right for these four songs to go out together.
Which is your favourite track on Early Hours?
I think it is a tie between the lead track ‘Lying on the Concrete’ which I’m really proud of, especially lyrically, but also ‘Somebody You Needed’ because it really sums up my new sound and I’m proud of the production on it.
Would you make any changes to the EP?
Since being a solo artist, I’ve definitely become a perfectionist when it comes to songs being finished, but I think it’s really important to distance yourself from your songs sometimes instead of constantly trying to improve them. The magic of songwriting definitely goes if you spend too long critiquing every part of it and I think Early Hours is definitely at a point where I’m happy to share it with the world.
How did you choose the name Early Hours for the EP?
I was actually really stuck on what to call the EP to start with because I knew that the songs felt connected, but I didn’t know how to sum it up properly. The name Early Hours was decided because all of these songs began as simple voice notes or ideas, either after a party in the early morning, when I couldn’t sleep in the middle of the night or when I had to be up really early for a job I hated; so, the name just felt right. I also feel like I’m only at the start of my career as a solo artist so the name fits that perfectly too for a first release.
What was the writing and recording process like?
I’m lucky enough to work with a really great producer called Natt Webb who has really helped my latest songs come to life. In the past, I’ve always been used to writing songs and then building them in a rehearsal studio with a band, so it’s really refreshing to go to a studio and do it in a different way. Each of the tracks was recorded on a different studio session over a few months and there was instantly something really special in each of them.
Who are your inspirations?
I’d say my biggest inspirations are the people around me that I write about and the things that happen in my life. In terms of artists: Fleetwood Mac, Bon Iver and Dermot Kennedy probably top my list right now.
What do you think is the best way to discover new music?
Before Covid, I would have definitely said live shows and festivals. I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve seen a new artist live and ended up listening to their entire back catalogue when I got home. At the moment, naturally, Spotify or Apple Music seem to be the best place to discover music from artists you haven’t used before, but it’s not the same as holding a pint and watching it live from a big field in the sun.
What are your future plans?
I’ve got a music video shoot coming up for the first track of the Early Hours EP which is ‘Lying on the Concrete’ and I’m planning to hit the studio again to get some more songs recorded next month. To me, music is the most important part of my life and no matter the situation I seem to be in, it always pulls me through. I’ve got so much still to share with the world and I can’t wait for everyone to hear what I’ve been up to.