RGM Introducing – John Thacker

Hiya John thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.

What made you decide to start to become a soloist?

I don’t think there was a day when I woke up and decided today was the day to become a singer/songwriter. I still don’t even know if that describes it. I just feel compelled sometimes to make some noises with my mouth and hands that sometimes form something that I’d like to share with the world. I come from a musical household, so I don’t know if having music so integrated into daily conversation or having someone suddenly burst into song (which is completely normal in my family home) has had some influence. I honestly can’t imagine not feeling compelled to make music, and I’m ok with that. 

How positive are you feeling now restrictions are loosening?

This is the most positive and normal (?) I’ve felt since the start of the pandemic. I’ve had live stuff, in front of actual audiences. I’ve been double jabbed and so has my loved ones, so I feel less in fear like I was at the start of the year. I have health anxiety, and older parents, so I’ve had to spend long periods (as had everyone) indoors – which hasn’t been the worst thing and I actually enjoyed the slower part of life. I can only hope that the numbers stay low and that enough people are vaccinated to hold this off. 

How much are you looking forward to playing live?

I performed for the first time a few weeks back with my band China Moon in the Northern Quarter and it felt electric to be back on stage. I feel like I’ve lost a lot of inhibitions over the last year in my self-development, so being able to bring all this new energy and perform new music live was just incredible. I can’t wait for the next! 

What’s one question you’re sick of being asked when interviewed?

I feel like I’m not interviewed enough to be able to answer this question yet. 

Do you sign up to any conspiracy theories? 

I love a good rabbit hole conspiracy. Mainly at the moment true crime. I love an unsolved mystery and all the possibilities that opens. It feels like there’s some comfort to know there’s still a little mystery left in the world. 

What support is out there for new artists in Manchester?

Manchester music scene is always thriving. There’s so much talent in Manchester, and so many incredible venues. There’s always something happening in the city. Always spots to find the best new talent. I’m so grateful to live in a city with so many opportunities for musicians. 

Who is inspiring you at the minute on the Manchester unsigned scene?

I think my fellow musicians that I’ve been lucky enough to work with in Manchester. Unsigned artists are usually always up for collaborating and working on something, and there’s magic in that. 

What useless party trick /talent do you have/? 

I can kick my leg like pretty high. Like Kimberly Wyatt high. I will guarantee in the majority of social gatherings they’ll be a picture of me with my leg kicked in the air somewhere. 

What was the most fun you have had on stage?

Before lockdown last year we had a sold-out gig in the Northern Quarter with my band China Moon. We were headlining and we sold out the gig. I was overwhelmed. We had the best night, and it feels even more special looking back now knowing that just a couple of months later our summer tour and would be cancelled and the music scene as we know it would halt. 

What was the worst experience on stage?

I’m grateful for every gig that I get. But it’s pretty brutal sometimes playing for the bar staff in an empty venue after travelling miles and rehearsing intensely – which has happening a few more times than I’d like to admit. As long as I still give 100% who knows, maybe that one security guard will become a long-term fan.  

Tell us something about you that you think people would be surprised about? 

I’m an avid Sims fan. I play Sims pretty much every day and would happily hibernate for a week and play on repeat. It’s been so important for my mental health – which sounds crazy, but there’s something about it that just allows me to feel creative and inspired, as though all the stress in the world is a little less overwhelming. 

Tell us a funny story from backstage?

I couldn’t think of a backstage one, but I can think of a on-set photo. I once was a body double with a film with Bill Nighy and I spent time sat in a vintage car with him in-between takes. He’s a lovely guy and gave me some great advice. 

If you had to describe your act to an alien how would you describe it? 

Sounds that try to make you feel something. 

What advice would you give someone going into the music industry?

Don’t try to sound like anyone. They already exist and it won’t sound organic. Find your sound and take as long as it takes before you find it. Take your time, just make sounds when you have to. It’s not worth it otherwise. 

What’s your biggest achievement as a band/Artist?

I’m most proud of my music. Sometimes I take some time away from my songs and when I come back to listen, I can’t believe these songs actually came from me. I’m quite hard on myself generally as a person, so them little moments to revel in your work is so important. 

What makes you stand out as an Artist?

Growing up I found few artists that I could truly connect with in pop culture. Particularly being queer representation was (and is only just starting to change) poor. It was as though I had to piece together the puzzle to form something that validated who I was and what I wanted to be. I don’t want to be a piece of the puzzle for my listeners. I want my listeners to be heard, to hear my music and find something to connect with.  

Right now, whats pissing you of the most? (Cant say the virus )

Netflix cancelling television shows without giving it an ending! Santa Clarita Diet is one of many shows that lasted three wonderful seasons and then cancelled at a peak moment for the show on a cliff-hanger. At least give it a closing episode Netflix. 

Whats your favourite song to play live and why?

I’ve only performed my song ‘Don’t Know (Why)’ from my new EP ‘John Joseph’ once so far. But it felt so incredible. The song is the most personal song I’ve ever written, so singing those words out loud felt significant. I can’t wait to perform it again. 

I hear you have a new EP brewing, what can you tell us about it?

I’ve just released my second EP ‘John Joseph’ and that’s taken a lot of energy, the recording process is magic, but I’ve found the release quite stressful, and I put a lot of pressure on myself so I had to step back from it a little bit and realise there’s only so much I can physically do if I still would like to eat/sleep/watch Netflix shows before they get cancelled. I do have new music I’m working on already; I feel like ‘John Joseph’ certainly feels like the beginning of something. I’m still testing the water of what the next project will be, but when the time is right, it’ll happen. 

What are your plans for the year ahead? 

Right now, my focus is really pushing my new EP. I’m so damn proud of it and I want to exhaust all my possibilities with the promotion. I’d like to do a mini tour for it in the autumn. I’ve got a fair few collaborations in the works so I’m excited for some more releases and my band also are heading to the studio this month. I’d like to have another EP formed by the end of the year but I don’t want to form something that isn’t organic. I feel I’ve found myself as an artist and I’m just starting to scratch the surface with the music I want to make. 

Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?

It’s pretty damn hard being an independent artist and getting people to listen to your music. If you like anything you’ve heard, a share, a like, a stream, adding to a playlist, all can really go a long way with those algorithm things.