New Zealand native Tom Lee-Richards summons childhood nostalgia to craft his with comparisons to Paul Simon and Erlend Øye. We spoke to Tom about starting a music career, single ‘Out of the Oddness’ and plans for 2018.
‘Out of the Oddness’ combines the elements and themes of all of the singles I have released so far
First up, tell us a it about yourself - what first got you into music?
I suppose it was listening to my parents’ records before I knew that’s what was happening. That and some genetic influences probably lead to me exploring the sounds pots and pans made and the squelchy noises I could make with my mouth. Eventually, I was making music.
Were there any particular bands or artists you took inspiration from to form your musical and thematic style?
I think the boldness and quirkiness of Björk, Beck and David Bowie inspired me a lot. I also studied Jazz at Auckland University and was exposed to Latin Jazz, which is pretty great. I loved playing Afro cuban bass lines. There is no shortage of influences out there, though.
How would you describe your style?
Tell us about your new single ‘Out of the Oddness’. What’s it about?
It’s a true story about when I was seven, arriving with my Mum and brother at a new school in a new city. At lunch time I was paired up with a kid who took me to a tree he used like a jungle gym and we jumped off this very high wall to swing on this branch. After a few successful attempts I missed the branch and fell badly on my arm. My brother came running to the rescue and carried me to the sick bay with my new broken arm.
When did you write it and where did you record it?
I wrote it a couple of years back and have been waiting to play it live and release it ever since. Pip Norman (Troye Sivan, Jarryd James) produced this song along with most of the Mini-LP I have just released.
How does it build on your previous releases?
It combines the elements and themes of all of the singles I have released so far. It’s more textured and intricate than the single ‘Madness’ while meaning just as much to me and gets even bigger than the more bouncy, straight-ahead single ‘Beside You’.
Which song was the hardest to finish?
Probably ‘The Comeback Kid’ as I tried a few different directions even before getting in the studio, but this is now one of my favourite tracks on the record.
Which songs are you most proud of?
‘Out of the Oddness’, ‘The Wearing Kind’, ‘As Far As India’, ‘The Comeback Kid’.
Which songs do you most look forward to playing live?
‘The Comeback Kid’, it’s just fun.
What are your hopes for 'Out of the Oddness'?
Just for more people to experience the song and feel how I do by the time I get to the end of it.
When and where can we expect to see you live next?
I am currently touring Australia and New Zealand, but have plans to tour Europe in May. You can head to Spotify or Facebook for more concert details as they come.
If you could collaborate with any living artist, who would it be?
Finally, if you could go back in time and give yourself one piece of advice, when would it be and what would you say?
Perhaps when I was a teenager. I would tell myself to let go of what I’m practising, try something completely different and then come back to what I’m doing so that I’m always experimenting with a fresh mind. I might also say to take more risks in front of people. I probably wouldn’t listen, though.
Watch the video for ‘Out of the Oddness’ on YouTube below. For more music go to Tom Lee-Richards’ SoundCloud.