EP: What’s the Tom Kay story in a nutshell?
TK: I’m a singer/songwriter/guitarist from Hull. I’ve been releasing music since 2010 as well as performing all around the UK. I’ve also played in bands as a guitarist and I’ve worked as a session musician but my solo work is my main focus. I’ve also recently started my own record label ‘Blank Canvas Records’.
EP: We wrote about your album, ‘From The Outside In’ a couple of months back. You’ve got a new album coming, what can fans expect from that?
TK: The new album is called ‘Wither & Bloom’ and will be released on 3rd February 2017. Fans can expect a change in sound for this next one. I’ve not strayed too far but there is no acoustic guitar on the album, which may be a shock to some people. For a while I’ve wanted to incorporate my electric guitar playing into an album. I’m known for playing electric guitar but I’ve never had a solo album where I’ve had that much electric guitar on it. I’ve been playing versions of some of the tracks on ‘From The Outside In’ with an electric guitar live and I started to write new material using it. The album was produced by Pat Dooner and Carl Conway-Davis of The Broken Orchestra who have a very different work ethic to what I have been used to previously. I wanted to create an album that blended my songwriting with ambient and electronic textures and I’m really proud of what we’ve achieved. Hopefully people will dig it.
EP: Who would you consider to have had most influence on your music, and on your life?
TK: Well I come from a musical family really. My Dad plays guitar as does my Uncle. My Mum doesn’t play anything but she appreciates good songwriting so obviously they’ve all had an influence on me. In terms of other musicians, I could reel off so many but Trevor Bolder, Ryan Adams, Johnny Marr, Thom Yorke and Keaton Henson to name a few.
EP: If you could do it all over again, what, if anything, would you do differently, and why?
TK: I wouldn’t be as eager to release early material. I released an e.p and a few albums when I was younger and as much as they were a stepping stone, I was so young and hadn’t really found my sound yet. They’re not a true reflection of what I do so they can be misleading for people looking to get into my music. However, looking back I don’t know if I’d had not made those recordings because they were my first experiences of being in a professional studio with a producer. I suppose it marks a time in my life. I was only about 17 and still had a lot to learn and you never stop learning!
EP: Who are the top three people (apart from yourself) we should look out for? What makes them your top three?
TK: The Broken Orchestra – They have a great sound. As I said Pat and Carl produced my new album and they really have something special. Just great people producing great music.
Battalions – My music is often quite delicate and emotional and I sometimes listen to bands that are the opposite of that to balance things out. My good friend Mark Wood plays in Battalions and they are a great band. Intense, filthy, doomy riffs and great songs. What’s not to like?
Mike Rogers – Mike is one of my closest friends and we’ve worked together for years. I played guitar for him at a jam night when I was just 11 and we’ve kept in contact ever since. He’s a great songwriter and extremely talented vocalist and he knows how to write a good country song or two! I just released his latest E.P on Blank Canvas Records.
EP: What advice do you have for anyone who wants to get into the music business?
TK: Stay true to your music and yourself, work with other people not against them, don’t slag off other musicians and remember why you’re doing it in the first place. If that reason is to earn money then you might as well go and get a standard 9-5 job. Any money is a bonus. And remember the people that helped you in the beginning.
EP: What question do you wish someone would ask you in an interview, but nobody ever does?
TK: I always want to be asked about my guitars and my live setup or what I’ve been using in the studio. Only because I’m a guitar freak and anyone who knows me will tell you that I could talk guitars all day. But nobody ever asks. Maybe it’s a good thing!