MY final interview of the week…
is with Nigel Thomas as he tells me about his new song, Alchemy Rose. I ask the songwriter how his solo work differs to that he performed with The Foxes; what we can expect from his sophomore album; what sort of music he is inspired by - Thomas selects a few albums that have made an impact on him.
I ask whether we will see any tour dates and who, given the chance, he would support on tour; which rising artists we need to get involved with; if Thomas gets time to unwind away from music – he ends the interview by selecting a top song.
Hi, Nigel. How are you? How has your week been?
I’m great, thanks – BUSY! I’m filming a music video in Soho this week for the new album and have another shoot in Scotland next week.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
Hello. I’m Nigel…and your name is?
What is the story behind your latest single, Alchemy Rose?
It’s a song about people who take things at face value and don’t do anything to check whether or not something they say, or share online, is actually true. It only takes seconds to check a fact…I’ve helped on one; there is no real Jack and Rose on Titanic. You’re welcome.
Your sophomore album is out next year. Are there particular themes and stories that influenced the music?
A lot of it is influenced by world events and the crazy times we’re living in: on the other hand, I want the album to also show that we’ve never had it so good. It’s easy to be gloomy - bad news sells. There’s a track on the album called Settle Down and I mean just that. Everyone needs to calm down and think a bit more. A lot more.
How does life as a solo artist differ to your work with The Foxes? Do you take a lot of what you learnt from that time into your current work?
Absolutely. I had a wonderful time with The Foxes. We toured the world and made some music I’m very proud of – being a solo artist gives you more control but it’s also a lonelier way or working. I’m very lucky that I get to work with a number of great musicians which has really opened up the sound of my music.
In terms of musicians; what sort of stuff are you into? Who were you raised on?
I’m into everything and I think the years of D.J.ing and running Death Disco with Alan McGee really broadened my musical horizons. I was brought up on the best - The Beatles, Steely Dan and Squeeze and I love Elliott Smith, Paul McCartney; Blur, R.A.T.M., Radiohead…
What do you hope to achieve by the end of 2018?
Well. The album is finished and ready to go. I’m hoping, by the end of the year, I’ll know how I’m going to release it and have the tour dates coming together. I’m so excited to get the new music out there!
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music so far – the one that sticks in the mind?
Hmm; so many! Probably back in The Foxes when we quit our day jobs and the next day we were in a Jacuzzi outside a lovely house where we were in North Carolina sipping cold beers before our first gig of the tour thinking: ‘Yes, I could do this for the rest of my life’. I was still thinking that when we slept on floors for other gigs, so I knew I was on the right path.
For a purely musical side, I’d say the Alchemy Rose launch party. It was the first time 90% of the songs had ever been played live and hearing the reaction from the packed out crowd was quite incredible.
Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?
Which mean the most to each of me? Interesting. I’m liking the mysterious approach! For my pure side, I’d say Rubber Soul by The Beatles. Revolver and Sgt. Pepper get all the fame and glory but, for me, Rubber Soul is the most perfect, complete album; full of haunting lyrics, sweet melodies and smoky feelings.
For my rebellious side, I’d say Mosley Shoals by Ocean Colour Scene – rebellious, as it’s not a very ‘cool’ album to like but I really couldn’t care. It’s great; every track perfectly formed and always a reminder of being a teenager.
For my dancey side, I’ll go with Fuchsia Riot by the Bobby Hughes Experience. I first heard it in a dank cellar pub in Brighton and it took my breath away with its complex rhythms and mix of melodies. A lovely, lovely album.
If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
Well. Obviously, Paul McCartney as I could not only meet him but sing for him while he mimes (sorry, Paul!). I’d love to support Blur or Graham Coxon. Such great musicians.
Can we see you tour soon? Where are you playing?
There’ll be a big tour next year for the album and there may be one or two surprise gigs coming up soon so keep your eyes on my website/Facebook page.
You have enjoyed some packed and celebrated gigs. It seems like the stage is somewhere you love being. Would that be fair?
That would be more than fair, yes. I’ve always loved performing; whether it’s acting or music. There’s nothing like being on the stage and giving your all. It’s truly a magical thing.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Practise. Practise. Practise. That time you might want to spend making yourself appear cool? Stop it and practice.
IN THIS PHOTO: Calico Jack/PHOTO CREDIT: Danté K Photography
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
I’m a big reader, so I do a lot of that. I’ve just finished Stephen King’s book about writing, On Writing, as I’m planning my own novel. Would you like to be a character? I’m also a titanic geek.
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
That’s very kind! I choose Is It Like Today by World Party. I love the idea of chatting to God in a song. How did it come to this? Well, quite
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