Every Monday we will be bringing you an unsigned singer or band as part of our Independent Music Monday feature. This week, we caught up with Tom Kay find out more about him…
Where are you from and how did you first get into music?
I'm from Hull, UK. My family are pretty musical. Both my Dad and my Uncle play guitar, so they were always playing, going to see bands and had a lot of friends who played on the local scene.
Who were your musical influences when you were growing up and who are your influences now?
I was surrounded by great music when I was a kid. I loved Uriah Heep, Ozzy Osbourne, Steve Vai and Gary Moore to name a few, then I got into songwriting and my taste in music became much more diverse. I'm influenced by many artists nowadays but a few of them that have had a big impact on me are Ryan Adams, Radiohead, John Martyn and The Smiths.
How would you describe your sound?
Well I'm always trying to evolve as most artists are, so I can only really describe the last couple of albums. From The Outside In (2016) was an acoustic album with some country/americana elements but it also had this slightly ambient sound with lots of big reverbs on the acoustic guitars, I guess that was my nod to John Martyn and albums like Solid Air and Bless The Weather, they have this warmth to them that I tried to capture with that album. And then my new album Wither & Bloom (2017) is completely electric, there's a lot of ambient guitar sounds, eerie vocals and samples. It's quite a raw and emotional album and I suppose it's a slightly experimental album too, lyrically it's quite heavy but the songs are still of a singer/songwriter style.
What's your local music scene like?
It's pretty good! There are lots of talented people in Hull and there are lots of people producing some great music. There's a lot of people that are overdue much more recognition than they get from the City, there are lots of people working really hard to give artists a platform to be seen and heard but ultimately there's tons more artists out there and it's up to people to seek those out. They are out there but you've got to dig a little deeper and find them for yourself. But there are tons of great artists around.
What do you have planned for the next 12 months? Any albums or festivals?
I'm just finishing a short run of dates. I've still got Leeds, Manchester and a support slot with Scott Matthews at Cottingham Folk Festival. Scott is a great songwriter who has supported the likes of Robert Plant and Foo Fighters so I'm looking forward to playing alongside him.
I'm working on a new single which should be out before the end of the year and there's a new album in the works for 2018.
The main thing I'm focusing on is a project I'm currently playing guitar for called 'The Broken Orchestra'. The project was started by producers Pat Dooner and Carl Conway-Davis in Hull around 7 years ago and they've had some great success in Japan and have had regular airplay on BBC 6Music and Radio One in the UK. But they've never played live. We've been putting together a show to finally take it live and it's coming together nicely and we've got our debut show coming up on 25th August in Hull.
Is there anyone who you'd love to collaborate with?
I love collaborating with other artists. There's tons! Collaborating with Ryan Adams or Johnny Marr would be a dream come true. I'd also love to work with Thom Yorke. We can all dream, right?
Any funny stories surrounding your live performances?
I played a little intimate acoustic gig once and there was a few other acts playing too. One of the acts playing approached me before taking the stage and asked if he could borrow my harmonica! I was stunned! Nobody ever borrows somebody else's harmonica. All those germs! He seemed like a nice guy and all, but I have to say, I politely had to say no to which he pretty much begged me and explained to me that he brushed his teeth nearly every day! He was deadly serious too! I could barely keep a straight face!
What is the one thing that you want readers to know about you?
That I love sad songs! If you do too, head over to my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/tomkayofficial, drop me a like and we can form some sort of cult or something! And on a more serious note, thank you for the continued support!