I was admittedly late to get on board with Tom Williams and The Boat, when excellent single and title track of their second album Teenage Blood landed earlier in 2012.
Their new single Too Young recently made the A list on 6 Music and is a perfectly pacey and perky three minutes of angsty pop-rock, despite its realistic subject matter. Containing Tom’s compelling vocals and buoyant guitar lines throughout, the song is also perfectly complemented by an excellent animated video.
After making Too Young my latest jam, effectively my favourite song of the moment, Tom tweeted me to say thanks, and even graciously agreed to a quick interview for Something for the CV.
CV: So Tom, this interview came about after you contacted a fan, and you’ve said before the more bands can interact with their fans the better, so where do you draw the line?
TW: It doesn't have to be a constant, 'Just sat down on the loo' approach, it's just that there are some bands that obviously have their labels running their Facebook and Twitter feeds. I find that pretty unacceptable, kind of abhorrent, I mean how much do you care about what you do?
CV: Does it remove the elusive mysticism and folklore that many of your own musical idols (Dylan, Springsteen) have? Is that even possible to have in the digital age?
TW: I think you can still muster that if your material is strong enough, but I know what you mean, it's a trade off. Springsteen was always the Blue Collar storyteller and so did trade off his 'accessibility' to an extent, but obviously this was way before the age of social media. Dylan, Zeppelin, all the opposite... Mustering an air of mystique is one thing, and being so absent from your own work that people forget you're there, is potentially a different part of the same side of the coin.
CV: You used PledgeMusic to fund your album, was that the best way for you to keep your fans involved as much as possible? Do you think Bob or Bruce would have used it in their early days?
TW: I think Dylan wouldn't but I think Bruce might have, or at least I think fans would presume he would, whichever is more important. I loved the experience, and the guys at Pledge are really genuinely enthused and excited about what they do. I think it massively benefited us, and made the whole album campaign very special indeed.
"There are some bands that obviously have their labels running their Facebook and Twitter feeds. I find that pretty unacceptable, kind of abhorrent."
CV: On to the new single Too Young, which contains the line 'I think we're too young, to really know what's going on', do you think that applies to bands, including your own?
TW: Not so much for bands no, often I think the younger the better! There's a certain disregard for influences when you're younger which is so refreshing. I think nowadays, and it's something central to Pledge, bands need to really know how to do everything themselves and that includes booking gigs, designing websites, making t-shirts, duplicating CDs, recording music, syncing mailing lists, communicating with fans and a million other things. It requires an entrepreneurial and intuitive spirit to drag yourself above the rest.
CV: Finally, you’re from Tunbridge Wells, recently chosen for the Grayson Perry C4 documentary as the best place to learn about the middle classes, do fans and critics have a preconceived notion about you based on where you come from?
TW: I'm not sure, and if they do I certainly don't take much notice! Tunbridge Wells has the fantastic Tunbridge Wells Forum, which actually just won the NME Best UK Small Venue award. The venue has always struggled for the sake of local bands having somewhere to play a loud rock show. There are plenty of loungey, acoustic type venues about but the Forum is one of a kind, and having toured the UK in similarly sized venues, we're very lucky indeed to have it.
I played my first gig at the Forum and the guys there put me in the studio for the first time aged 19, so they've helped massively. They also helped fund the vinyl run for the first album 'Too Slow', so I really can't thank them enough.
Tom Williams and The Boat are playing a number of festival dates over the summer, and album Teenage Blood is available now.