RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW WELSH ARTIST TOM COLLINS
What made you decide that music is a thing for you?
I feel like I was pretty late coming into music. I wasn’t heavily influenced by any sort of band or artist from my childhood and I didn’t study music in school. When I turned 17 everything changed. I used to watch my mate’s cover band and then it came to me that I just wanted to get up and perform. Ever since I’ve been writing songs, playing gigs and recording music.
Introduce yourself and your musical history.
I’m Tom Collins, I’m 25 and I’m from North Wales. I jumped into music at the age of 17, getting a cheap acoustic guitar for Christmas. I practiced and practiced until I could play songs by Oasis and Coldplay. At first, my mates laughed at me as I was nowhere near good enough to string three chords together, but I was determined to prove them and myself wrong. I went onto play pub gigs and some more established support slots for the likes of; The Sherlocks, RATS and Andrew Cushin. I have played in venues such as; 33 Oldham Street, Cavern Club and The Jacaranda. I auditioned for The Voice UK 2022 and was shown on national television. I have also worked closely at a songwriting retreat in Spain called La Sierra Casa, performing and writing songs with The View’s Kyle Falconer who has been a true inspiration.
Name me your 3 favourite Albums?
The first 3 that come to mind are; Oasis – Definitely Maybe, Coldplay’s A Rush of Blood to the Head and The Balcony by Catfish & The Bottlemen. All three bands have most definitely had some sort of influence on me as a musician. There’s not really a bad song on either of these albums to be honest. I could’ve picked many more such as the obvious; Rumours by Fleetwood Mac and my music taste even ranges to early Eminem records which is how I got into writing in the first place.
What was the first song you heard that steered you into a music path?
The first one that springs to mind is Talk Tonight by Oasis. A criminally underrated B-Side which I picked up pretty quickly in my early days of learning to play the guitar. It’s still one of my favourites today, the melodies, harmonies and the simplicity of the song just instantly grabbed me. A lot of influence came from a good friend of mine, Callum Roberts who has previously toured with Pete Doherty, he now actually produces my music. His early acoustic tracks were so real and gritty about personal experiences that you can instantly resonate with. After listening to his stuff, I just knew I wanted to write songs like him.
The music industry is the hardest industry in the world to progress in, how do you feel you are doing?
I think I’m doing okay. I try not to expect too much of myself. I taught myself at the end of the day and I know how difficult it is to compare yourself to others. I try my best to get my name out and keep releasing music. The main thing is to just enjoy it while you’re able to do it, I’ll live by that.
I’m seeing a lot of debate about women not feeling safe at music gigs, any thoughts on what we need to do to help?
It’s a joke. Everyone should feel safe at music gigs. It should go without saying. It’s good to see a lot of bands supporting this. I know the likes of; Sea Girls make sure they announce this and let the crowd know that there is support. I think if I was ever to play bigger venues, I’d always make sure everyone is safe and well supported.
As you develop as an artist and develop using socials, what ways do you get new ears on your music? Any tips?
Since my last few releases I have set up PR campaigns to promote my songs, send them off to radio stations (including BBC Introducing) to hope that I can get some air play. Promote music at gigs, keep pushing stuff on socials. I know Tik Tok has a great community for music which I do need to start using more. I was great at it during the pandemic but I’ve not been as active more recently. It’s key to utilise social media as much as possible in my opinion.
Tell us Two truths and a lie about you?
I’ve met Van McCann (Catfish & The Bottlemen) in Amsterdam, my favourite football team is Chester and I have seen Coldplay twice.
What’s your thought on Spotify’s monopoly on the music industry?
I mean, it’s not great is it? They’re making enough money as it is. Tough industry especially when the CD age is dying.
Do you sign up to any conspiracy theories?
Did you buy anything you don’t need in the pandemic?
Not that I can remember, gained a few pounds though haha
What was the worst experience on stage?
Could name a few. It’s not good when a string snaps or when you drop a plectrum. Or even playing in an empty room! It’s all good practice though I guess.
Tell us something about you that you think people would be surprised about?
Not sure. Nothing too interesting. I have GCSE in Spanish? I also do a few good cartoon impressions.
What makes you stand out as a band/artist?
I’d like to say I’m not afraid of writing a pop chorus. Anything with a decent hook is a good song. Some bands/artists are sometimes to afraid of being ‘mainstream’ or adding a pop hook into their songs. I’d like to say I have a warm personality? I don’t take myself too seriously either. Just enjoy it.
I hear you have new music, what can you tell us about it?
Yes! My new single, Leaders will be out on Friday 9th June. It’s a bit of an ‘anthemic indie rock protest’ song. It’s a song for the people. It highlights all the issues in society and how the government has let us down over the last few years during the pandemic and everything else. It’s got grit, it’s got anger. I can’t wait for everyone to hear it!
Talk me through the thought process of the new tune.
It came about when I was listening to some early Sam Fender tracks. I love the way he captures so much realism in his songs, topics that matter and that we can all relate to. I wanted to aim for similar concepts from Fender and Jamie Webster. The next thing I knew, I had a verse and a chorus with a bit of hook going on that felt like a protest ‘the leaders don’t care about us’. It developed when I went to La Sierra Casa in October 2022 which (as I mentioned earlier) is a songwriting retreat in Spain run by The View’s Kyle Falconer. I continued to work on the song with my producer, Cal Roberts and Kyle came in and suggested the ‘I’m shouting can you hear me’ lyric as a fill in between the verse and the chorus. It completely worked and added in what we were missing. He also helped me write a middle eight for the song as I was struggling, it took it to a completely different place and brought me out of my comfort zone in terms of my range and melodies.
What was the recording process like?
Myself and Cal had recorded a rough mix over in Spain and continued to work on it back home in North Wales. The mix had a lot of issues, we struggled to get the guitars right. Eventually, it came together as Cal is such a professional in what he does, making sure everything is as tight as possible. It was finally mixed and mastered by Alan Moffat who has previously worked with The Fratellis. I also met him at the camp. A real top guy and a great engineer. Now, it just sounds unreal!
What was the biggest learning curve in writing the new tunes?
I think first and foremost it was to just push myself in terms of my voice, which you can hear in the middle eight. It’s not something I would’ve even thought of writing but I am hugely grateful to Kyle for that. I know I’m not the greatest guitarist, so to use different chords in different sections and make it sound slightly different rather than go for a formulaic typical middle eight, this was a good step for me and a positive learning curve to take into the future when writing songs.
Would you change anything now its finished?
I don’t think so. Although, there is always room for improvement and I am always looking for a challenge. I’m really proud of this new release. It feels like a new era for me personally in terms of writing. It’s more mature and confident I suppose, which differs from my previous projects.
Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?
If you are reading this interview and you like what you hear, please check us out. It honestly does go a long way. Jump on my journey with me via my socials @tlcollinsmusic and see what I’m up to. Go and stream my music, I’d be massively grateful for any sort of feedback and interaction. Big love, Tom x