Thursday, 16 December 2010
Tom Williams and the Boat: Interview
Nestled under a stained glass window, satsumas in hand (Tom had tweeted earlier requesting them for the band's rider. He's getting a cold poor love.) we spend a night in the rather atmospheric St Pancras Old Church, getting to know the eponymous Tom Williams of 'and the boat' fame. Hailed by Lamacq, beloved by fans for their hands-on approach and more ubiquitous at this year's Glastonbury than Home Counties girls in angel wings, TW&TB are one of our tips for keeping your peepers on in 2011. Don't say we didn't warn you...
For those who don't know you, who would you say influences your music?
Bruce Springsteen, Pavement, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Nick Cave, Tom Waits. The last supper of musicians.
You started as a solo singer. Why did you choose to form a band? It's a reverse of what normally happens...
It was mainly borne out of the fact that I didn't want to be that singer-songwriter guy, but I also wanted the chance to make people dance.
This church is pretty atmospheric. Is it the strangest place you've ever played?
At Glastonbury we ended up playing a massage tent, a café, and a place that had to be powered by bicycles. The only people there were the people on the bikes who got up and left halfway through, so two of our band members had to stop playing and start pedalling so we could power the PA. And our local venue where we started out is a toilet. Literally. It was an old toilet that was bought by the council and turned into a venue.
So you started out in a toilet and ended up at Glastonbury?
From a toilet to Glastonbury – the story of the boat. It could be the title of our next album.
You're good at having back and forth with fans, sending out free EPs, retweeting etc.. Is that important to you?
I really enjoy it. You can get down between gigs and you can feel low between campaigns thinking that people have forgotten about you, but if you keep it going then you keep those relationships alive.
Tell us a bit more about the upcoming album...
It's out on February the 21st. We've been recording it over two years but we've only actually managed eight days in the studio because we've had so little money, so it'll be nice to get it out the way. We're also releasing a single in April which will bring us into the festivals and we're hoping to record the second album over the summer and have that out hopefully by the end of the year.
It's going to be a busy year then?
We're really keen to keep the momentum going because we figure that the upside of being our own bosses is that we have the freedom to release as much as we want. If we were signed to a major they'd only let us put out a record every three years so if we're going to be penniless and poor we might as well get the drip, drip, drip of material out there. When you hear a band for the first time you don't go and see them straight away. It's after you've heard them five times and your mates have mentioned them and then a ticket comes up. It's all luck. You could like a band and never see them live, so I think the constant drip, drip of material is very important in terms of getting us out there.
Time for some boat questions.... If you were a pirate, who would you pillage?
Is that a sexual term?
It could be if you wanted it to be...
Well in that case I would pillage Bruce Springsteen, his talent and his body.
Who would you least like to go on a cruise with?
Ke$ha. She looks so dirty, like she should be in those NHS adverts where the people are wearing those pants that say Gonorrhoea.
Who would you like to take for a ride on your loveboat?
Well that definitely is sexual. I guess Jeff Buckley. When he was alive though. I'm not into dead people...