New single ‘Stranger At The Door’ is out now.
In a rather large departure from his last project, Tom Anderson, former vocalist with indie outfit Venus Demilo, has released his first single as a solo artist. It heads effortlessly into alt-pop territory, with a lush and warm exploration of hooks and melody. Seductive and sultry, it retains its charm and endearingly low key atmosphere despite the slickness of the production.
We spoke to Tom about the single, his upcoming music, and working with a wealth of collaborators.
Overblown: Your new single is called ‘Stranger At The Door’. What inspired the song?
Tom Anderson: The first version of this song was written when I was 18 and at the time I felt like I needed to present myself as being a bit cooler than I actually was in reality. I haven’t thought about the lyrics too deeply since then and when I listened back when it turned up on Spotify I thought I’m not actually like this at all. It’s a bit of a caricature of the person I wished I was when I was younger.
Overblown: It is your first single since departing Venus Demilo. Do you feel like you have something to prove with this release?
Tom Anderson: I don’t really see it as a point to prove because what I’m doing now is separate to what I was doing with Venus Demilo. It was difficult for us to call time on the band as every single one of us gave it everything we had for two years and it definitely feels strange releasing a song and not having your mates there to share the excitement/nerves with you. Maybe there would be a bit more pressure if we had all fallen out but luckily they all still tolerate me! Three of them were responsible for my hangover on Sunday morning after a night out that ended up with a sit-down Chinese at 4 am.
Overblown: It is a move away from your previous work stylistically. Why do you wish to move in this direction?
Tom Anderson: When I was working with Venus Demilo I would take the skeleton of a song to the practise room and then they would put the ‘meat on the bone’ with their parts. Due to that when I started working on songs separately from the band it was always going to sound different. To give you an example Ryan is an exceptional rock/pop punk drummer and when we played live especially the raw energy of his parts were an enormous part of our sound.
The direction that I’m now moving in is the one that I always have been on behind the scenes; I spent a long time trying not to write Pop songs between 18-21 because of the stigma that is attached with the genre. I then had the realisation that if that is the music that I naturally create and like, then fighting against it for the sake of trying to be ‘edgy’ or cool in the eyes of other people is the worst thing I could do. To use a horrible but true modern cliche you’ve got to do you.
Overblown: You have spent the last six months writing, producing, and collaborating with artists like Gazelle, Toni Cross, Gal Pal, and Kova. Did you find this an enjoyable approach? Does it enable you to do things that you couldn’t do before?
Tom Anderson: I love working with other artists, potentially more than I enjoy working on my own music. It’s my job to try and keep up with these brilliant musicians and stay on a level with them where we can write and produce music together. They could come up with an amazing idea for a sound out of nowhere and you have to think on your feet about how you’re going to create it. I love the challenge. I’ve also found that I’ve learned something new from every artist that has passed through my studio. In this style of music, most people are self-taught in both their instrument and writing, therefore, they’ve usually come up with their own unique approach to creating ideas which is always fascinating to see. It’s the best job in the world.
Overblown: You produced the track with Chris Taylor. What did he bring to the table?
Tom Anderson: Chris’ ears work in a different way to regular humans. I’m still amazed now at how he can listen to a mix and work out immediately where the kinks are. He’s also relentless in a tracking session and doesn’t let you leave until you’ve nailed every part. In short, going back and working with Chris on this and other upcoming tracks was a no-brainer. On ‘Stranger At The Door’ he recorded the vocals (which he nailed despite my really bad flu at the time), added bass parts and did the full mix on the track.
Overblown: What’s the plan for the rest of the year?
Tom Anderson: I’ve got a shed load more tracks to release, I’m about to start rehearsing with the band for the live shows and hopefully write loads more songs!
Overblown: Finally, what’s the strangest thing that’s turned up on your doorstep?
Tom Anderson: My neighbour Rose turned up on my doorstep with a puppy on Friday night. There aren’t many better things to open your door to than a puppy.
Find Tom Anderson on Twitter.