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 Thom from unsigned band Hanging Valleys find out more about them…
Who is in the band, how did you meet, where are you from and how did you come up with the band name?
The band consists of myself (Thom Byles) and Michael Phillips. We met working together at a post-production house in Soho. We were runners there which basically means we run all the errands, make the teas and coffees and other menial tasks. There was definitely a feeling of camaraderie between the runners and I just really clicked with Mike in particular. We would head out at the weekends to the national parks and beautiful spots around the UK in search of adventure. After a while we traded the mountains for music and it’s been keeping us pretty busy ever since.
I was previously releasing tracks under my own name and had always used nature as imagery both for the visuals and in the songs. When Mike joined me it no longer felt right to release as a solo artist so we threw a few names back and forth and landed on Hanging Valleys.
Who were your musical influences when you were growing up and who are your influences now?
Ohh, this question is a tricky one as there’s so many, I’ll keep it fairly concise. I guess growing up I listened to a lot of The Doors (Mum’s fave), Clapton (Dad’s fave), Metallica, Incubus, Sigur Rós. Nowadays I’m really enjoying Grouper, I’ve got Khruangbin playing right now and I’ve got tickets to see Jose Gonzales in September!
How would you describe your sound?
I’m not so good at describing these with words so I’ll borrow from a review we had: ‘the tracks have echoes of cold swirling storms in them, a cozy blanket of huge reverbs and beautiful falsettos’.
What is your latest single called and what was the influence behind it?
'Fundamentals' was our last single, the track addresses one of the fundamental lessons we all have to learn in our lives. Unfortunately it isn’t always eggs royale and sunsets, frequently there are tough periods where you just have to hold on tight and ride out the storm.
What’s your local music scene like?
Amazing!! I’m lucky enough to live on the outskirts of London. So much great music coming through here and a whole array of venues from tiny and intimate to beautiful churches to arenas.
What do you have planned for the next 12 months? Any albums or festivals?
We have our second EP coming out on June 8th and then we’ll be playing a special release show at The Waiting Room in Stoke Newington on June 12th.
Then I’m really excited to be back in writing/recording mode for the next few months (My favourite bit).
Is there anyone you’d love to collaborate with?
Hmm I’m not sure, maybe Jon Hopkins. I heard a stunning cover of ‘Goodbye Horses’ he work on with Hayden Thorpe from Wild Beasts. I like when two names who normally live in two different genres combine to create something you haven’t heard before (check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HwOuRC-LFLk).
Any funny stories surrounding your live performances?
Oh boy, there’s a few unfortunately hahah. Our music doesn’t really suit slapstick on stage but that hasn’t stopped us yet. I’m not very happy to have to relive this particular one hahah... We played a show and I have no idea how this happened but when we came on stage the mic for the lead vocals had been swapped with the backing vox mic. Mike who was on backing vox and has a voice that can be heard above a freight train, launched into his part and gave the audience quite a shock. We soon realised what had happened and after the first song we went to swap the mics (the sound engineer had stepped out for a smoke... classic) in doing so we managed to punch a hole through the very low ceiling, which made a formidable BOOM and the mic got wedged up there. Hahahaha I think if someone had been filming that we might be a household name by now.
What is the one thing that you want readers to know about your band?
Gosh, that’s a hard one. Nothing really, but if they would like to know anything they are more than welcome to hit us up.