Having just reviewed the magnificent Concentrate, Tom Williams And The Boat agreed to a casual questioning from Can You Hear This. Tom Williams, lead singer and lyrical genius, answered all of our questions.
I think that it’s easy to understand why “Tom Williams” is in the band name, but why are the rest of the group “the boat”?
I think it was just trying to not be the ‘somethings’ and be a word that still might hint at a group of people but be a bit weirder…we were also into stuff like Noah And The Whale and Johnny Flynn & The Sussex Wit which was all pretty new in 2007 when we were trying to think of a name! That kind of name has got a further reach though, all the way back to the crickets, heartbreakers or wailers.
So it’s nothing about carrying the group through rocky waters or anything…? Anyway, the music comes together perfectly on your debut album, something which surely requires good band chemistry. How and when did all of you meet?
We all met at an acoustic club in Tunbridge Wells called the Grey Lady. We were all either playing in other groups or solo or friends of friends, after a couple of line up changes we found the eventual line up pretty quickly and organically.
And from the start, who would you cite as the artists that influenced and inspired your sound and for you to start making music in the first place?
I was listening to Springsteen in the womb as my mum was, and still is, a huge, huge Bruce fan… As for other key influences, – Dylan, Neil Young, as well as newer bands like Radiohead, Teenage Fanclub, Pavement and The Pixies. Not that diverse but all vital to our debut and overall sound.
Speaking of, you have got a tour coming up to promote the album. What has been the best thing that has happened to you while performing?
I just love loud crowds, there nothing better than hearing a big roar at the end of a song, or even during a song. We have a song called Strong Wheels which we sometimes end with a jam of The Chain by Fleetwood Mac, hearing the cheer of the crowd from The Avalon Stage at Glastonbury last year was pretty special.
We know that working as a group can cause a great deal of friction (Jonah gets tense quickly). Who is the driving force behind the group and who is the one keeps spirits high?
It’s hard to tell, but all the members cheer each other up when one of us gets down or grumpy – we’re six people so it’s family size!
Other than your own songs, what are some of your favourites?
All of the bands mentioned before, but in-particular I’d say My My Hey Hey by Neil Young, Gold Soundz by Pavement, Stuck Inside A Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again by Dylan and Atlantic City by my old favourite Springsteen.
Not all that surprising. Please surprise us, does anyone in the band have any peculiar talents or skills?
No, none at all 🙂
Terrific. Your house is burning down Tom, which item do you grab and why?
I grab my two Gibson acoustics, Sheryl and Mary the two women in my life!
That’s more than one item but if you were quick I guess you could grab it all. What’s the best moment Tom Williams & The Boat have experienced thus far?
It’s all been ace, honestly! Here’s to a great summer!
Thanks Tom and good luck, I think you’ve got a great year ahead of you.