Singer-songwriter Tom Clay is the Flight Brigade bass player looking to make a name for himself as a solo artist. He’s been in the studio this year and hopes to have live dates soon. We caught up with Tom, who has a claim to fame of being Robert Carlyle’s hand double in 28 Weeks later.
First up, tell us bit about yourselves - what were you all doing before you started making music? I bummed around for a few years trying to be an actor and then had a few different jobs to bring money in before deciding that it was now or never.
What was the first style or genre of music you really got into? Was their a particular song or artist who inspired you? I thought myself to play the guitar listening to blues, BB King, Muddy Waters. I used to spend hours trying to work out what they were playing and play along. I did not sound good!
Tell us when you realised you wanted to get involved in making music and playing tunes to people? I’ve always wanted it, it’s the thing I find myself most at home doing but there was always a reason not to go for it, fear, not really thinking I was good enough. I just realised that most people feel like there not really good enough but do it anyway, so why not get over yourself and get on with it.
If you could go back in time and give yourself one piece of advice that day, what would it be? I wouldn’t. Don’t get me wrong, I made plenty of mistakes and bad choices but that’s all part of life and I wouldn’t want to change anything. All those choices, bad and good are what make us who we are.
How do you set about writing tunes? Is there a common starting point for all your work? It usually starts with something I can hear in my head, I sit down with the guitar and nine times out of 10 it will completely change into something else over the course of writing. There’s no formula you just have play and keep out of the way while it happens.
If you music was a person, how would you describe their personality and where would they live? It’s an old friend, no real home just travels with you with a back pack.
What are your top three “must haves” while you’re on tour? Guitar, coffee and porridge.
It’s a magical experience watching the songs take shape.
What have you been listening to this year so far? I’ve been playing a bunch of festivals with the band so I get to hear a lot of live music. Highlights have been Ben Howard and Death from Above who are awesome.
Do you have any pre-set rituals? Not really, I try to have a nap if possible, though that rarely happens!
What was the most significant moment of 2014 for you and why? For my own music it was getting into the studio again and recording, It’s a magical experience watching the songs take shape. With the band it has to be playing Glastonbury, I always said I wouldn’t go until I played there, so it’s nice to tick that box.
What have you been listening to this year? Can you give us a top three records of 2015 so far? I forget where we were by Ben Howard was an awesome second album (though that was 2014), My love is cold by Wolf Alice and How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful by Florence + the Machine were also Very good.
If you could collaborate with any living artist, who would it be? Ryan Adams.
How is the rest of 2015 shaping up for you? Where can we see you play? I’m on tour with Flight Brigade at the moment so I’m trying to book in some dates around that, people can check my site www.tomclay.co.uk for live dates as they come in.