Thursday, November 10, 2005

RFC Interview: Tom Vek

Tom Vek is a 24 year old multi-instrumentalist from London who has been generating all sorts of buzz on both sides of the pond thanks to his amazing debut record, We Have Sound. Recorded in his father's basement, the record combines raw garage rock energy, subtle electronic touches and rigid, angular funk. RFC caught up with Tom Vek via email on his current North American tour that will be bringing him back to Chicago this Sunday at Schubas. RadioFreeChicago: First off, love the new amazing debut. You basically wrote, performed and recorded the whole thing in your dad's basement?? It sure sounds one hell of a lot better than 99% of the basement/garage recordings that I've ever heard. (not just in sound quality but also in the writing, instrumentation, vocals, etc.) What's your secret? Tom Vek: Well thanks very much! I've been pretty much locked in there in any spare time I've had over the years. I'm well aware the stereotype of recording in a garage and of that "garage sound," but garage rock wasn't what I was trying to achieve, you know? I was spending most of my time working out how to get it to sound as hi-fi as possible, which I think kinda forced a little bit of innovation and free thinking as I wasn't content with the garage sound, although [the song] "If I Had Changed My Mind" couldn't be any more garage rock. So maybe that kinda outlook on it gave it an optimistic excitable feel. More specifically, working with the producer Tom Rixton helped me to do some things, mainly with computers, that I've never been able to do before. It was like using it as an instrument, only to do things that only a computer could do. RFC: What was the original inspiration for creating these songs? Did you have any strong musical influences that made you want to become a recording artist yourself? TV: The thing is this spans back to when I first discovered instruments and their relationships, which was more from actual instruments themselves than necessarily other music I was listening to. It's [been] so long ago that I can't remember the first time I felt it, but I have felt it ever since, you know? It's just a natural thing. If I didn't feel like doing it, I wouldn't. RFC: Was it difficult trying to get a record deal in America? I first heard your songs on KCRW a few months ago, well before the domestic release of the record. Did the love from Nic Harcourt and Co. help speed up the process a bit? TV: A lot of stuff had happened in the UK that meant there were people who we could talk to and wanted to talk to us. I signed a fairly serious worldwide deal in the UK for the license of this record and some more so on paper. There was already a setup in place, but after playing SXSW some really enthusiastic independents got in touch and amazingly we managed to license it back to an independent, which I think was totally the right thing to do because this record IS an indie record and its really good that its being presented appropriately. RFC: How is the tour going? Do you have any crazy stories from your time in The States so far? TV: Well, my live drummer walked out last night so I guess that's crazy. Looks like I'll be drumming from now on. I did it on the record so I don't see why not. RFC: Finally, what can we expect from your live show? TV: At the moment I'd very much like to know that myself. SPEED ROUND: What's in heavy rotation right now on the tour bus?: The new Constantines record, Tournament of Hearts incredible. Best thing about touring America: Wi-fi access everywhere Worst thing about touring America: Crap tea...seriously. I have actually packed my own teabags this time. Favorite post-show drink: I have to alternate each night to keep it fresh. I think tonight its the "veksterminator" which is whisky and apple tango. It tastes like ginger wine but it makes you angry. Best artist/band from the UK that we haven't heard yet: The Chap ( Tom Vek's Sunday (11/13) show at Schubas starts at 8pm, with openers Mobius Band and Walter Meego. Don't miss this show, this is an amazing line-up and admission (18 and over) is a ridiculously cheap $8 bucks. For more info about Tom Vek, check out Crank up his latest singles at Technorati:


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