Spotlight On: Andrew Thomas

U.K based singer-songwriter Andrew Thomas draws from a wealth of influence having grown up with a passionate record collector giving him a taste for british pop and rock from an early age. Today he’s released the latest single from his solo record “Backs Against The Wall” titled “Goodbye (To Life on the Inside). We were pleased to be able to ask Andrew a bit about the record and the remote-recording process it took with Canadian producer Mikey Scott. 

Listen to the track now on Spotify and read on for the interview below.

You say that “Goodbye (To Life on the Inside) is about second chances. Can you tell us about a time or experience from your own life in which you found yourself seeking that and why you felt it was important? 

AT: I’ve made mistakes that I will regret for the rest of my life. I’ve been given a second chance by a lot of people and for that I’m so grateful. I never want to hurt or let them down again. 

What advice might you have for someone who currently feels like they’re standing at a similar crossroad, trying to determine the best path for themselves to take towards a better future?

AT: I think it’s very important to make mistakes. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you do get things wrong. Also, learn to forgive yourself. I feel like we’re all on a journey and sometimes things will get tough. You’ll be presented with situations that have impossible choices. Make a decision, if the consequences aren’t what you hoped, then learn from it and try not to make those same mistakes again. 

If you had to pitch this song to one of your biggest influences to appear on their record instead of your own “Backs Against The Wall” which one would you pitch it to for the best shot at a placement?

AT: I think I’d pitch it to Stereophonics. I’ve always been a massive fan and love Kelly Jones’ vocals. I think it would really suit their style. 

Your dad was a big fan of records and you’ve said he collected every single that hit the British Top 40 charts from the 1960’s onward, which you’d then of course listen to and this was a big part of your upbringing. Do you recall the first single or set of singles that really drew you in? 

AT: I think it was probably hearing “Baker Street” by Gerry Rafferty. I remember asking my Dad if I could learn the saxophone. He told me it was too expensive. He did buy me a record player though. My other earliest memories are listening to Nirvana and Take That. The two bands couldn’t be further apart in terms of style, but I loved them both.

What was it about them that called you back for repeated listens?

AT: I think music has a way of speaking to you. Especially when you’re a child and the world can feel such a big and scary place. There was part of me that was drawn into that whole grunge scene. I loved bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Therapy, Offspring as well as folk indie bands like The Levellers. My cousin Mark was a huge influence with this type of music, but I was so young and no one I knew listened to anything like this. So that’s why I also liked pop music such as Take That. 

You can definitely hear a lot of 90’s rock and BritPop influence on the track but it’s interesting to note you enlisted a Canadian, Mikey Scott, to produce it. This isn’t the first time you’ve worked with Mikey, but how did you first come across him and why did you want to collaborate again with him on this one? 

AT: So, Mikey’s been a friend for a number of years now. I’ve always loved the 90s Britpop sound. I met him through a member of our family. I first worked with him at his studio here in the UK on another band (On The Rise) project. When he went to Canada, I’d started setting up a little studio of my own but could only do so much. It’s been amazing to continue to work with him remotely. He’s an extremely talented musician and producer.

As you mention, this was a remote collaboration that allowed you both to work separately in your own spaces. How did you find the process and what is it about this type of working-relationship that you’d say you prefer compared to traditional same-studio recording collaborations?

AT: It’s been so rewarding. Learning how to use studio software and being able to record my own music to a high standard has been very rewarding. I’m looking forward to expanding this and getting friends in to work on their projects also. When I send the tracks to Mikey, he usually adds drums and bass and a few little extras to really pull the whole thing together. He really serves the song with his playing and production. 

What’s one thing you find challenging about promoting your music in 2021? 

AT: This single and the last are the first songs that I’ve ever promoted. I’ve always used the excuse that it’s a hobby, but more recently I’ve really found some self-belief in what I do. It’s allowed me to reach out to a host of clients regarding my music. I’m still very much learning with regards to networking and promotion. I know that playing live is a huge tool so I’m looking forward to doing more of that next year. 

What’s the biggest change you’ve noticed in the U.K music scene since the start of the pandemic? 

AT: Like everywhere the pandemic has taken its toll. There’s been numerous popular music venues close down which is heartbreaking for fans of grass roots music. Some of the more popular ones have been saved through investors or crowd funding schemes. I just hope that we can continue to have live music, but I think we’re all living in fear that there may still be further restrictions yet to come. 

You also play and write in a band called On The Rise which we mentioned briefly above who recently released a new single called “Coming Back For More”. Can you tell us a bit about what this track’s about?

AT: This was a song that I wrote for my wife Lizzie. When we met, I was playing in a covers band and she was up dancing when we played a Levellers track. It’s always been a fond memory, so I wrote a song about it. 

I played the song to Hannah, the singer of On The Rise. She made a few small adjustments with some incredible gospel style backing vocals. It’s a really fun track. I love writing music for On The Rise as it allows me to embrace the pop side of my writing which I wouldn’t release as a solo artist. 

Finally, what’s one band who’d love to hop on some gigs with as we enter 2022?

AT: I think it would be Crowded House as they’re such a massive influence on me. I love mellow guitar music with nice tight vocal harmonies. I’d love to play alongside The Bros. Landreth or Jamestown Revival also as they’re new music discoveries for me and completely changed my outlook on songwriting. 

Thanks very much for your time Andrew!

Listen to “Coming Back For More” by On The Rise on Spotify

Still need some ear candy? Here are some recommendations from the interview.

“Baker Street” – Gerry Rafferty
“Playing With Fire” – Crowded House
Follow Andrew Thomas on Spotify, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram & check out his website.

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