Sunday, 21 October 2012

Interview: Tom Williams & The Boat

 After the success of their second album, Teenage Blood, Tom Williams & The Boat have spent the summer playing at numerous festivals, and most recently supported folk duo Smoke Faeries at their Kings College Student Union show. Although often compared with folk acts, on the album, the band's raw sound moves from upbeat to contemplative to dark and moody and as the nights draw in, it has firmly cemented itself in my autumnal playlist.

How did the band form?
We met at a venue in Tunbridge Wells, called the Grey Lady.

When did you first pick up an instrument?
Aged 6 or 7 I think, I started with the violin and then moved onto the sax, but dropped them all for guitar age 15!

When you were growing up, who were your music influences?
My mum played a lot of Springsteen, in the womb!

Earlier this year you released your second album, Teenage Blood. How has your sound evolved since you started out as a band?
I think I've got better at listening to the band, it's their ideas that make the union worthwhile.

You've had an exciting summer playing at a whole host of festivals after the release of your album - has it been a turning point for the band?
It keeps getting better and better year on year, we can't complain. The journey continues!

What's your favourite venue to play at?
I love the theatres in London we've been lucky enough to play at, I'd love to be able to sell them out on our own merit. Shepherds Bush Empire and Koko were very special.

And which venue would you love to play that you haven't played already?
Brixton Academy is on the hit list...

Tom, you've appeared on Steve Lamacq's Round Table reviewing the singles of the week - what would you be recommending right now?
Ooh, I love the new single by Rough Comforts who supported us in Canterbury recently, Jessie Baylin a song called Hurry Hurry, and the new Grizzly Bear sounds great.

You hail from Tunbridge Wells in Kent - how would you describe the music scene there?

And are there any other good local bands you can recommend?
Certainly, Two Wounded Birds from Margate, Stray Dogs from Tunbridge Wells and Standard Lamps from Brighton.

You sold your own brand of beer on tour earlier this year. Is this something we'll see more of in the future, or might you branch out into other products?!
It did phenomenally well, it was amazing! Would love to, it's important to have fun, who knows!

You've been touring recently - how do you keep from getting on each other's nerves when surrounded by the same people every day?
I don't know, it's important to keep a sense of humour, but the M1 can certainly chip away at that... A good gig fixes everything for sure.

You released Teenage Blood after raising funds through Pledge Music by offering unique items and experiences to fans. How do you feel about this current development in music sponsorship? Does it make you feel more connected with your fans?
It does yes but it also means you can put your own record out in a way that people can keep track of and understand, it's great.

And leading on from that, with illegal downloading so rife, how important do you feel it is to build a close relationship with your fan base?
Very important, they'll be there for you when the chips are down.

Finally, what's next for the band?
Writing for the next album and playing a string of shows towards the end of the year...

For information on their upcoming shows visit:

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