Saturday, 12 August 2017

KBPS Interview: Tom Lee-Richards

Tom Lee-Richards is a New Zealand born and raised singer who will be touring the UK this summer for the first time. We got to speak to him about his incredible new single 'Beside You' as he explored Paris in a break between performances.

Your new single is called ‘Beside You’. How would you describe it musically?
It’s got a lot of cyclic rhythms in it. I use poly-rhythms that are off-kilter and that became the theme for the chorus, and everything was built around that. It’s quite textured and layered and pretty up. It’s probably a bit more poppy than my other stuff and definitely the poppiest on the release that’s coming; [it’s] a celebration.

What’s the inspiration behind the lyrics?
I was thinking about those times and the exchanges you have with people that can be coloured by the kind of mood you’re in and what you’ve experienced in the day, and what people carry around, either positive stuff or negative [things]. I like the idea of going back to how we want to be seen, what the vision is of ourselves when we let go of stuff. The lyrics of ‘Beside You’ are about being open and in the moment.

What inspired the music video for the song?
Lachlan Dickie, the director, is really talented. I guess I’m looking for people who have a similar vibe to the music that I’m doing, kind of quirky or cinematic and Lachlan has had some really cool concepts in the past and we brainstormed on it and came up with a bunch of different scenes that reflected people connecting in different situations. We wanted it to reflect how we connect in one way or another and how we find ourselves in certain situations and head-spaces. He came up with different ways of trying to connect and then we filtered it down to the most important [ones] and decided that New Zealand was a great place to film it, as well as Australia, there are a few scenes filmed there, this kind of epic, expensive landscape. Then it sort of based itself in the future, which I really liked. I’m really interested in dystopian future worlds.

You recently completed your UK tour; how did that go?
Yeah, I met lots of awesome people, played in some great pubs [like] The Finsbury. Strange Brew was a nice little specialist spot in Manchester. I ended up going to Edinburgh just to hang out with a friend and I thought I’d play a couple of open-mic spots that weren’t part of the tour, and I’ve got invited back to play at the Fringe Festival, so that’s awesome. I wasn’t expecting anything, but you never know who is organising a night!

As part of that you did a Sofar Sounds date; was that a good experience?
Yeah, it was so cool and intense. You’ve got fifty people crammed into a space that normally has five, in a lounge room. It’s like having a classroom of kids looking up at you from the carpet. It’s very intense but it’s also great as they’re just listening very intently and it’s almost like a conversation.

How would you describe your live sound?
I do pretty much what you’d hear live when I perform that song. I use a laptop with samples to kind of help, especially when I’m playing solo. But I also do a lot of looping which you can hear in the background of 'As Far As India’ which is already out there. I use a lot of vocal looping and layer that in the background of the songs, with a lot of layered harmonies incorporated in. With a little bit of mouth percussion, which you can hear throughout ‘Beside You’.

Do you have an album plan for later in the year?

Well I’m definitely doing it though I haven’t yet locked in when and where, but I’m going to come back to the UK to tour a mini LP around the end of the year.

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