I had the chance to catch up with Tom Walker mid way through his sold out UK tour to discuss touring with The Script, writing with Steve Mac, ACDC and his upcoming album.
Hows the tour going so far? Yeah super man, its been great so far. Every show’s just been wicked and although I haven’t actually been drinking on tour, but I went out with my girlfriend last night, we don’t get to see each other very often so it was good to spend some time her and go for a night out.
When did you decide that music was what you wanted to do? I went to an ACDC concert when I was nine with my dad in Paris and saw Angus Young play guitar, and just thought that’s fucking awesome, I want to do that. Then about three years later I got my own guitar for Christmas and just since then I’ve just been playing. I bought a bass of my mate for £60, some drums and some recording gear. I formed a band, started singing when I was 19 and it all went from there.
When you’re sitting down to write a song, what’s your process? It depends what’s going on, I find it really difficult to just sit down and write a song. I have done it but it’s normally I’ll just wake up in the morning and some random lyric will just pop into my head with a melody and I’ll be there in bed trying to sing it into my phone without waking my missus up. Or I’ll be driving somewhere and I’ll have to use Google assistant like a dick to try and get it down quickly.
Whats the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given? I met George Ezra like three years ago at a New Years Party and I asked him what the best advice he could give me was. He was just like its nice to be nice and that stuck by me
What would be your best advice you could give to someone trying to start out? Having a recording set up is so important. It’s such a cliché but you have to just keep going at it. I had to get a job as a photo booth attendant where I was working four events a week, each time for five hours and the rest of the time I was just doing music. The job allowed me to do music, I never had weekends to do gigs but I just tried to get out there as much as I could. I remember there was a moment where I was like this is taking fucking ages. I was about to quit and suddenly it all came along at once, I got a manager, a year later I had a label and then a year later I had a publishing deal. I wish I’d collaborated more, collaboration is key, you can’t do everything on your own. Get a wicked team and just stick by them.
You’ve just come back from the US touring with The Script, how was that? That was sick man, those boys are so nice. Out of everybody I’ve ever toured with I think it was my favourite, Firstly, It was America and I’ve never really travelled there before. We drove 6000 miles across in America in 23 days and that was so sick. It was fucking hard work and we didn’t have a bus so after gigs we’d drive 8 hours before reaching our hotel. It was so mint though, I got to see the Salt Flats and we played Radio City Music Hall. We went out with the script boys a few times and they’re such genuine lads, the whole tour was just so much fun.
You’re playing a lot of festivals this summer, what do you think’ll be your highlight
Were playing 35 or something mad, its going to be awesome. I think Boardmasters will be really cool. We’re playing before Fat Freddy’s Drop and then George Ezra is headlining so I can’t wait for that. I’ve booked the two days after off and after my set I’ll be getting fully on the sesh and watch those two.
If you were curating a festival, who would you book?
Arctic Monkeys are one of my favourite bands, Foo Fighters, Muse, ACDC. If it was dead or alive Ray Charles would have to be there too
You worked with Steve Mac on “Leave a Light On”, what was that like?
He’s just so good, and I feel like he’s just cracked the formula on writing hits. He’s worked with a ridiculous list of artists, he’s had like 4 songs in the top 20 at one point. It was a proper insight into songwriting, he really knows what works and encourages you to try new things and run with them whilst still respecting and championing artistic individuality. I went into his studio. His studio is so sick, it looks like something out of starship enterprise.
When can we expect an album?September. I can say that now and I’m so excited for it. It’s called “What a time to be alive” and it’s going to have sixteen tracks and there’s loads of new stuff on there. I just want to get It right, I have one chance to release a debut album and I really want to make it perfect. We have loads of material ready to go and because the current single has done so well everything going a bit crazy. Leave a Light On is currently the most played song in France and I’ve only played two gigs there, it’s crazy man but I’m loving every minute of it,.
Later in the evening we returned to Rescue Rooms to watch Tom perform. He played a slick set featuring classics such as “Fly Away With Me” and “Just you and I”. Throughout the night, his raspy vocals shone and the slightly heavier sound that comes from his live show was very well received. The crowd loved the mix of old and new including new song Dominoes before he closed the night with his current single “Leave a Light On” which has had over 50 Million plays on Spotify.
Throughout the show, it was clear that the humble, down to earth Tom Walker I’d met only a few hours earlier was exactly the same character standing in front of the packed room. Seeing his face light up every time the audience showed him deserved appreciation showed how much his recent meteoric rise means to him and It won’t be long before he is selling out venues far larger than Rescue Rooms. He’s recently said it is a life goal to sell out the MEN in his home city of Manchester. If “Leave a Light On” is anything to go by, it won’t be long until this is a reality.