BY HAZEL REID
On the eve of releasing his two new EPs, talented kiwi singer-songwriter Thomston called to talk about new music, performing unreleased songs on tour and his creative process. When we spoke late last year, he was on a high after performing to a packed Auckland home crowd and was days out from moving his whole life to Los Angeles.
I had to begin the chat by asking why he released two EPs at once, named after very different parts of the world – London and Los Angeles. Thomston explained that he had “made a lot of music over the past few years and a lot of it was me trying out things, I made a lot of varied stuff. Making two EPs was a way of me bringing some coherency to the broad spectrum of music I make – it kind of fit neatly into two categories”.
Thomston’s super pumped for fans to hear the new tunes. It was first going to be an album, but releasing two EPs allowed him to put more music out as he felt like “there was some good stuff that wouldn’t have sat cohesively together on an album. So, it’s a device to get the music out in a way that felt like an intentional project”.
He goes on to say it’s rare to find him sitting down at a piano to write a song, “I prefer getting inspired by hearing the production and working on that, letting it shape the direction of the song”. Due to the length of time, “every single song probably started in a different place”. To really put a timeline on things, Thomston shared that all of the writing was done for these EPs around June last year with the production side of things finishing in April this year.
Fans are always asking about new music and Thomston admits that he struggles to sit on music for a long period of time as it makes him ‘a bit stir crazy’. He even released music before mapping everything out with the EPs to engage with people who were following and to see how they reacted to the songs. “The process of releasing singles before everything was done was really weird but I’m happy with [how] things rolled out – it was super natural”.
The double EP release comes off the back of his recent tour in Australia and New Zealand, with Thomston recalling fondly of people loudly singing his hit tune Acid Rain. Looking back, he also remembers the first time he ever heard a crowd singing the songs, “it was so special to me, I couldn’t believe it – it’s just the coolest thing”.
Almost a year later, Thomston had a venue upgrade for a fresh Auckland show to share and celebrate his new music with a ‘special’ crowd of fans, friends and family. “There is a song on the Los Angeles EP, Godsend – I had never played it or posted a snippet, but I played it for the first time and by the end of the song, people were singing along to the chorus and going crazy for it. So I did it again at the end, and even though people had only heard the song 15 minutes before, they were singing it so loud – it was definitely a highlight”.
After creating music all over the world, Thomston said he would be really intrigued to see how he’d work with the Max Martin camp because all the writers are so fine-tuned with their pop sensibility. “I have so much respect for what they do, making the best accessible pop [music] is hard to do and I don’t think people realise that”. Musician-wise, he thinks Kehlani is “the best in every way – I think she’s so incredible and love everything she does”.
As he adds two more bodies of work to his belt, what could be next on the agenda for the kiwi artist? “I think next year is going to be a crazy hectic in terms of touring, I have a lot planned. I think I tweeted ‘how ridiculous would it be that I released an EP named after London and never play a show there’, I’d love to go back – people in London hit me up all the time asking when I’m coming over there”.
Talking goals in a year’s time, he shares “by this time next year, I should probably have an album coming out or ready to go, we’ll see how long it takes – that may be a bit bold. I should be done with touring, I should be back in L.A, my stuff won’t be in storage, and I’ll have a nice apartment. I’m excited for next year, it’s going to be a lot of patience paying off, I’ve been quietly working hard to get things finished and in position so that 2020 will be the year I really go out there and take the music to the people.’
Thomston’s EP’s Los Angeles featuring hit tune Casual and London are out now and available online/streaming services.
From tour managing boybands to working massive events and interviewing international talent, HAZEL REID is in love with the craziness that is the entertainment industry.
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