theaussieword.com special interview with Tom Boy.
How and where did it all begin for you? What drew your interest to the music industry?
It actually started around 7 or 8 when I was having a contest with my sister to see who could sing higher. I won, so the career choice was obvious. I thought, what industry could I enter that will make my life incredibly difficult, deliver supreme highs and lows, and have me second guessing my worth as a human being at every turn? Oh, the music industry! And here I am.
What motivates or influences you in your quest to make great music?
(Laughs). You make it sound like I’m doing something noble! No, no. Us musicians, we’re selfish! We write because a) we want to get laid b) we use music as a means of catharsis in which to feel better or c) we’ve come to terms with the fact that musicians can’t make a living now so we play for the same reason we masturbate – IT FEELS GOOD.
What are your biggest goals you hope to accomplish as an artist?
I want to dismantle the boys club that is the music industry (he says with 4 dudes in his band). I want to make it easier for all artists to speak their truth and guide their own careers without some old, out-of-date mother-fucker telling me “what works” and “what sells”. Musical is a form of self-expression and it’s time that artists get through the gate who don’t happen to be the same ol’ shit over and over just because it worked the first time.
What can we expect from you in the coming months? Any plans to tour?
CALLING ALL BOOKING AGENTS! Honestly, who has the money to tour? It costs Dante and I $600 minimum to put on a show and pay our band properly. You wanna know what I get paid? BEER TICKETS. I’m sure we’ll still get around to releasing some more singles and if we’re lucky, hop on some opening local slots. But until the streaming world decides to pay us our GODDAMN money, mamma’s gonna be right here in Canada.
Tell us a bit about your latest release and how would you best describe your music?
“Nothing to Lose” is a moment of truth. Facing your inner-demons. A self-pep-talk in order to get your shit together. The music is generally a mash-up of up-tempo synth-pop bangers with some truly depressing stripped-down ballads. Think: Lana Del Ray suddenly meets Khalid and after a night of drinking they fool around and she gets pregnant but Khalid admits he’s gay so they can’t be together but they realize they have a really good business opportunity so they stay together and agree that they’ll see other people and bring every member of Phantogram into the fold.
Give us an insight into your creative process. What gets you writing songs?
Is there a hidden meaning in any of your music?
We used to do the hidden meaning thing. Now we write songs for the 30 second listener cause we know what’s it’s like to be inundated with an overwhelming amount of content every-single-fucking-day.
Success, what is the secret to it?
You should probably ask someone else.
What has been your biggest career highlight so far?
Meeting Eugene Levy at an event totally unrelated to music!
Which stars of the music industry do you find inspiring?
Artists who can manage to eek out a living. That’s impressive to me.
Are there any new projects in the pipeline?
I have this master plan, it’s HUGE. For most, probably unbelievable but I think I will achieve it someday: I’m going to pay off the debt I’ve accrued from putting out an EP. MIND BLOWING.
The music industry is huge, where do you see yourself a few years from now?
Hopefully on a stage reminiscing about how I used to be so poor but now I’m only house-poor with a bad back.
What is your favourite and least favourite part about this line of work and why?
Favourite: The riders (if you get one).
Least Favourite: The riders (you usually don’t).
Name a few of your favourite Australian artists.
The shape of the music industry has changed significantly over the years, including the use of social media, how do you feel about the industry as a whole and what does it mean to you in getting your records out into the public eye?
The music industry is doing very poorly what the movie industry has seemed to do very well. Subscription services are great, payouts are shit. The whole scheme is upside down. Social-media is fine, if you like that sort of thing. But this whole you-have-to-be-a-business-not-just-an-artist thing is tired. Most people choose art BECAUSE they loathe business. Now they want us to combine the two. You’re nobody if you’re not a brand. I love having visibility, and I love being heard but I haven’t quite figure out how to enjoy the business side of things as much as I love sitting in my bathtub and writing a song.
How do you plan on cracking the international market?
I’ve heard trolling on the internet really gets conversations going. Maybe a meme or two?
Do you collaborate with others? Who is on your wish-list?
We haven’t. We will. I’d honestly just like to write a few ever-greens with some solid writers for other artists once in a while.
What advice do you give for someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?
Turn around! Run! And never look back!
Kidding. (kind of)
I’d say this: wear your thick skin, persevere, and never make fame or money the goal. You will mostly be sorely disappointed. Find super specific niche goals within the goal of being an artist and be happy with many smaller achievements.
A message for your fans. How do you best interact and respond with your fans?
Come to a show.
Any last words?