BBC Radio 1 is a big deal over in the UK, and in the music realm in general so when Tourists got to play a live showcase for it – score one for their bucket list. On top of all of that they dropped their current single, “Quiet Room,” in mid-June and they’ll soon have another come the end of the summer but between now and then you’ll have to read what their own Tom Wilkinson said about their single, being actual tourists and more.
Kendra: How did you guys come together? Was this a lifelong friendship that manifested in music, or did you all not meet until later in life?
Tom Wilkinson: The latter I guess. The writing process began a few years ago when Scott was looking for people to start a new band with. He found Jamie on MySpace and connected with his songs immediately. Then they met in a local club by chance and got things started. Matt, Lloyd and I were in other bands at the time which then split. We all came together as a five-piece around 18 months ago following a line-up switch. It’s great because we’ve still got this buzz of being in a new band, yet we’ve got all this material behind us already.
Kendra: When you all did get together, was the sound instant – or did it take awhile to get the kinks worked out?
Tom: To an extent the sound – or at least the foundations of it – were already there when me and Lloyd joined 18 months ago, and then we just brought our own influences to the mix. It was obvious from the first practice that we were all on the same page – Things clicked right away. To me that’s just as important as the sound – If you don’t get along then you’re fucked. You hear stories of bands that hate each other and they’re still making music, and inevitably it gets shittier and shittier and you just think what’s the point.
Kendra: Well it’s all worked out now and you have your new single “Quiet Room” out and about. I heard some lighthearted sounds in there that reminded me of the Disneyland parade; electronic but entertaining. Was the happiest place on earth for tourists (and a lot of locals) an inspiration at all?
Tom: Can’t say it was! It’s cool that you hear that though – I really like how people are hearing different influences and get different vibes from it. It definitely has lighthearted, feel-good qualities about it, while at the same time having more dark, solemn tones, particularly lyrically. The verse and chorus create quite a weird contrast in that sense.
Kendra: Living in England, you guys are no stranger to tourists yourselves. What’s the oddest thing tourists find interesting about where you call home?
Tom: Well we all grew up in a small seaside town called Torquay which is where we’re living now. Ironically it’s full of “tourists.” It has its flaws but it’s a real beautiful place. Watch Metronomy’s video for The Bay – It makes Torquay look like Monte Carlo.
I haven’t really answered your question. Fawlty Towers was set in Torquay – That seems to be everyone’s favorite Torquay fact.
Kendra: Back to the music. Do you guys have more where “Quiet Room” came from?
Tom: Definitely. That’s the most exciting thing for me. I keep forgetting that people are judging us on the last few singles we’ve released and that they haven’t heard the other stuff we’ve recorded. We have the next few singles lined up which I think are our best yet. We’re sitting on some new demos and are back in the studio with our producer James Bragg at the end of July. We’re aiming to have our debut LP out next year.
Kendra: How was playing the live showcase for BBC Radio 1?
Tom: Yeah it was sweet! It was pretty nerve-racking when we realized how many were there but as soon as we started we felt at home. It was quite surreal setting up with all these top, super-professional BBC sound engineers and producers… The guys that do the sound for the BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge and Maida Vale studios, asking us all these questions about our gear. We were trying to play it cool but didn’t really have a clue what they were talking about.
Kendra: Are opportunities like that something you’ll always pinch yourself over?
Tom: Not really to be honest because it felt like it came at the right time and that we had deserved it. We’ve worked really hard since the five of us got together 18 months ago and shows like that are the reason we’re doing it. BBC Introducing and Radio 1 presenter Huw Stephens had some really cool things to say about us after the show, so we’re keeping our fingers crossed for more opportunities like that. We definitely feel ready for it.
Kendra: Now, you have a few shows scattered about this summer. Will you be adding to it?
Tom: I think that’ll be it for the summer, unless we squeeze in another hometown show. We just played our first headline London show at Sebright Arms which was wicked and we’re recording a live showcase for our local BBC Introducing show in July so it’s been pretty busy.
Kendra: Lastly, what’s up with you guys for the rest of the year?
Tom: We’ll have a new single out at the end of summer – It’s a real slick, 80’s-inspired synth-pop track. We’ll be organizing some Autumn shows to coincide with that. We want to keep releasing every few months to build on what we’ve been doing over the last year. Then I think we’ll spend a few months hibernating in the winter, finalizing stuff and getting things in place for the album next year. Watch this space.