Lois Worrow interviews multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Tom Walker
Tom Walker caused a stir last year, with his distinct sound that had him dubbed by BBC Radio One as ‘One to watch’ this year. With his headline tour coming up this year and an album in the making, we caught up with the singer-songwriter from Scotland before his show at The Camden Assembly.
Lois Worrow: For those who might not have heard your music before, how would you describe your style?
Tom Walker: It’s a mix between hip hop, a tiny bit of blues, a bit of pop with a splash of reggae. It’s a few different things, it’s kind of hard to describe music to be honest, I always find it difficult. I don’t think it’s particularly one genre it’s a few things.
LW: Your voice is really distinctive!
TW: Yeah, I think my voice carries it through. My voice sounds the same on every record, but the music around it might not!
“Probably a band called AC/DC…they’ve been the most influential band”
LW: What has inspired your style of music the most?
TW: Probably a band called AC/DC, I went to see them when I was about nine years old. Their genre hasn’t particularly inspired my music, but I went to see them in Paris when I was nine years old and seeing a show of that scale in a stadium… I really wanted to play guitar, and that’s what started my journey really. I think they’ve been the most influential band.
LW: Talking of your career, how did you get to where you are today?
TW: I went to college to study music and have playing it most of my life, since around the age of twelve. I went to uni and did a degree in song writing, then met a couple of really nice musicians and a couple of people in the music industry. But to be perfectly honest with you, I kind of just fell into it. I’ve been working really hard at the music bit, but I was getting a bit disheartened. I’d been really going for it for years, I was kind of about to, not pack it in, but just stop seeing it as a career. The minute I decided that, it all kind of happened for me and I met my manager- and a year and a half later we had a deal. So just at the last minute it all got saved really. It was good timing!
“It’s such a pleasure and honour to work with somebody who has done so many good albums”
LW: What would you say has been your greatest achievement so far?
TW: I’m working at the moment with a guy called Jim Abbiss, who worked on the first Arctic Monkeys album ‘Whatever people say I am that’s what I’m not’. He’s done stuff with Kasabian, The Editors, and The Temper Trap, he’s done about five of my favourite albums. It’s such a pleasure and an honour to work with somebody who has done so many good albums and such a current end producer who still does things, not completely old school, but he has a big SSL desk for instance. He does things properly and has a lot of analogue old gear, so it’s really nice to be making my first EP with him.
LW: What can we expect from your album?
TW: A whole lot of well-written songs that hopefully people will be able to relate to and sounds fucking great when you put it on in the car on the way to work. A lot of exciting stuff! I’m not going to put out anything I’m not 100% with, I’m only going to put out things I’m absolutely proud of. It might take a while to write it, the whole album, and it’s not done yet, but we’ve definitely got a few tracks in the running.
“I’ve probably written about 80 songs over the past year and a half”
LW: How long have you been working on it so far?
TW: Well, we’ve not been specifically been setting out to work on the album but I’ve probably written about 80 songs over the past year and a half. In that process you decide in your head as you’re doing it what’s going to make it onto the album and what’s not. I’m not setting out to write an album, it’s just kind of writing itself.
LW: How many songs do you think you’ve got so far that might make it onto the album?
TW: I’d like to say five, but realistically more like four. It’s almost half done.
LW: Lastly, if you had to pick three of your favourite artists who would you go for?
TW: My all-time favourites would have to be Ray Charles, AC/DC and Sting or The Police, but probably The Police.