Ahead of the release of their second album, Teenage Blood, I had the chance to interview Tom Williams of Tom Williams and the Boat about the upcoming release, fan funding their album and why vinyl is the best.
How has your experience been using fan-funding to make the record? Has it given you more freedom in how to go about making and releasing the album?
It’s been a very heartening experience. The average sale on there is huge, I can’t believe people are willing to spend so much on our band, it’s an amazing feeling. It felt like an exciting risk and I think it’s really paid off.
This is a fairly innovative method of making music that wouldnt have been possible a few years back. How do you think the future of the music industry will be with a growing divide between independent and big-four label music?
I think people, more than ever, are aware of the constructs of the industry and how it works, and so people become obsessed with notions of, ‘authenticity’ which is a very silly, and very ‘indie’, to worry about. But on the other hand people like to know where a band has come from and they like to pigeon hole their music. I think people pride themselves on finding their own little pockets of good music on the internet, so I think it’ll all plateau out into a situation where a band can find their own little corner of the internet and quietly pay the bills via their bandcamp account!
How have your experiences with your first album affected the making of the second? Are you worried about a ‘sophomore slump’?
I think that as a result of angrier material on the first album, like ‘See My Evil‘ or ‘Get Older‘ that we tried to write more melodic stuff for this record. There’s still alot of darker broddier stuff but I think in large, the music’s got a bit lighter and the lyrics darker which I think is interesting.
Here is the debut single from the new album
What’s your personal favourite track off the new album and why?
I’d say maybe track 4, Trouble With the Truth. Recorded completely live with no overdubs, we’re just playing really great. At the end there’s a really great slow build on a G chord that is my favourite thing we’ve recorded I think.
Are their any new influences shaping any kind of shift in direction or are you aiming to pick up where Too Slow (my top album of 2011) let off?
Yes I think so, I think if the last record was Tom Waits, Bruce Springsteen and Nick Cave I think the new record is more Tom Petty, Teenage Fanclub and The Band.
With the title of the new album being called Teenage Blood, and much of Too Slow being focused on the anguished teenage years, what is it about adolescence that produces these songs?
I always appreciate youthfulness in art or music, I think it’s the pre-occupation that produces the best stuff. Whether it’s David Shrigley, Jean-Michel Basquiat or The Kingsmen the Undertones, I think it usually works!
When, where and with what inspiration do you write your songs?
It’s usually when I have a chance to relax, have a lazy morning with the radio on and no-one’s home. It’s usually on the edge of my bed with my favourite guitar Sheryl!
You’ve been very positive about releasing your music on vinyl, why is this?
Most of us in the band are vinyl collectors and I think it’s just the ultimate format. The Artwork is huge and it just sounds better! Very luxurious.
Did you see the Brit awards? What did you think, too commercial or an accurate representation of the industry?
I watched about 3 minutes I think. I switched off when Noel Gallagher came on haha!
If you could go back in time to live through a musical era, what would it be?
I loved early british invasion, so maybe 62-64? Would have loved to be a mop top!
And finally, who are you listening to at the moment? Any top picks for bands/artists to look out for in the future? And are you going to any interesting gigs in the year?
Saw The War On Drugs the other night in Brighton, their album Slave Ambient is fantastic. I’m liking the new Eugene McGuiness stuff, new Bruce Springsteen, Django Django, Sharron Van Etten, Mark Lanegan, and Dinosaur Jr!
Massive thank you to Tom and his Boat for the opportunity to do this, and I’ll leave you with the title track and second single to be taken from the album, as played live before a show!