“LEAVE A LIGHT ON IS TAKING ME QUITE A DISTANCE”
Tom Walker says he would have become a chef (a bad one) if making music didn’t work out for him.
Tom Walker says he would have become a chef (a bad one) if making music didn’t work out for him. Luckily it did – big time.
The British break-through act was honored with a Brit Award in 2018, his hit ‘Leave A Light On’ was featured in the top ten of 30 countries and streamed on Spotify over two hundred million times. Also this tune was number six in Shazams yearly list of ‘most shazamed songs ’18’ and featured in the Sony Bravia ads.
Apart from all the fuss about the song, looking a little closer it is a deeply melancholic anthem that deals with a person being in a precarious situation needing help. It weaves together two true stories – a good friend needing aid in the night and Tom’s aunt dying the next morning.
The artist stated once, that he was never really interested in anything besides music – which he really doesn’t need to be, looking at his career. The charismatic 27-year old gave Interview the honor and talked about his take on songwriting, UK’s political struggles and his goals for the future.
JULIA DEUTSCH Is making music a creative outlet for you or more of a way of coping with life?
TOM WALKER I think music is both a creative outlet and a way of coping with different things that go on with life. It somehow feels like a bit of therapy for me. If there is something going on in my brain or something bad happening in my life, I turn to the paper and I immediately feel better, letting it flow out makes it easier to cope with.
JD You started off teaching yourself how to play instruments, did that work out well?
TW I had a few guitar lessons but mostly self taught myself drums and bass. I had a couple of mates that played, which kind of made it easier. I just bought a drum kit off my neighbour, then I got a bass, I already had a guitar, then I bought a crap little key board and everything came together. I was kind of a jack of all trades and a master of none at the same time. Then I started producing myself and I just sat in my bedroom for like 10 years, playing all these instruments. I recorded them and tried to figure out what sounded good and what sounded bad. This pretty much led me to the path that I am on.
JD Which instrument did you play first?
TW I went to an AC/DC concert when I was like nine years old. There I saw Angus Young and I thought he was like the god of guitar. He is just an absolute gem that is running around the stage like a mad chicken man with a Gibson in his hands. I already played guitar at that point but that made me realize even more that that’s what I want.
JD Do you have a favourite instrument?
TW I think my favourite instrument is probably the guitar, but I do like playing drums. There is something really satisfying about beating the crap out of a drum kit when you’ve had a bad day. Like taking all your anger out on the drums rather than on your friends and family. Just beat the drum kit up until it is dead, haha. Guitar is still my favourite, but the drums just got a special place in me.
JD When composing, what comes first for you – the melody or the lyrics?
TW It depends on what kind of song it is. Sometimes I write down lyrical ideas, but I get the melody going while I am doing that. Otherwise I find if I write all the lyrics down, I can’t get the melody. If I just try doing the melody on its own it ends up a bit intricate so I kind of do them both at the same time while I am writing a song.
JD How has your life changed since your big hit ‘Leave A Light On’?
TW Hard to say. My life has changed quite a lot since ‘Leave A Light On’. That was about two years ago and I have definitely gotten a whole lot busier. We’ve been all around the world playing that song and done gigs all over Europe, America, Australia, even went to Mexico. We are going to New Zealand and Japan next year. That song is taking me quite a distance.
JD Do you live the classic life out of a suitcase?
TW I do live out of a suitcase even when I am home now. I don’t know if that is sad or it’s good, haha. Seems just easier to keep all the clothes in there, wash them when you need to and just put them back. Otherwise you don’t know where everything is and I got too many clothes in my life now. I need to give them to charity or do something with it.
JD Is it hard for you being on the road so much?
TW I don’t know. It is not a hard ship for me. I am luckily an artist that can pursue his dream and not a homeless person that has to live out of a suitcase.
JD Have the political issues that the UK is facing with the EU influenced your personal life already?
TW Oh god yes, Brexit is such a disappointment. I am so sorry for all of my friends in the EU that witness a country that would vote for that. Because I certainly didn’t vote for that and I certainly don’t want it. It’s going to make trouble in and around Europe and make touring especially difficult. I can’t imagine getting a fucking visa in order to go to France, which is like 26 miles across the bloody channel. It is absolutely ridiculous and it’s crap.
JD What are your goals for the future?
TW Headline Glastonbury and generally just become a better songwriter who gets to write with other amazing song writers. That would be cool!
Tom Walkers first Album ‘What A Time To Be Alive’ is available via SONY Music
Title Image (C) Frank Fieber
Interview JULIA DEUTSCH