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INTERVIEW: TOM SANDERS GIVES INSIGHT INTO HIS MOST PERSONAL WRITING FOR UPCOMING ‘ONLY MAGIC’ ALBUM

Tom Sanders is songwriter and London based musician, who is known as frontman of rock band Teleman. In the last couple months, he has began releasing music for the first time under his own name, and over a longer period of time writing a collection of tracks for his debut album in December, ‘Only Magic’.

Welcome to Gigsoup, Tom Sanders, how are you?

Yeah you know. Ok considering everything. Thanks for asking

Your debut album ‘Only Magic’ is to be released December, how has the process been writing the record?

Pretty mixed bag actually; often very spontaneous and natural, at other times extremely complicated and riddled with confusion. I scrapped entire sessions that I’d been working on for days or weeks, only to start them again from scratch. I kind of lost focus for a bit, but then it all fell into place. It’s not ideal, but sometimes when you’re embarking into unknown territory, you need to get a bit lost to work our where you’re going.

Tell us more about your latest single ‘Little Human’, the track sounds quite personal – is it meant to be?

Yeah it is personal but its also universal inasmuch as the essential message is that life isn’t perfect but stop complaining and get on with it. In general the whole album is the most personal thing I’ve ever written; Many of the lyrics are written in a plain, direct way where as normally I’d obfuscate my message behind metaphor and allegory. In this particular track, it started as a song for my daughter. I was freaking out about how quickly she was growing up – I felt like I was losing pieces of her. I wanted to share some thoughts about how to navigate life, not that I really have a clue!

When it comes to writing towards your solo project, is it a very different experience to writing with Teleman?

Yeah there’s the obvious mixed blessing of having no one else’s opinion to consider. Sometimes I really missed having someone to bounce ideas off, or to tell me when to stop working on something. On the other hand, I think the album has a stronger core identity; I was able to write more openly about personal themes, and musically to be more fearless. That’s not say that the music is some kind of left-field experiment (its actually the antithesis) but rather that I could do much less in terms of arrangement and instrumentation that I’d consider necessary if I was writing for Teleman.

How have you found being in lockdown creatively? Has it been beneficial for you?

I wouldn’t have been able to make this record without lockdown so in that respect, yes. Corona virus has had a massively negative impact on my band as we can’t tour which is the engine behind everything we do. But lockdown came at a time when I was actually really needing a break. I’d began to find that performing live, and even networking and promoting our band was creating a knot of anxiety in me. Then suddenly someone hit the pause button and all these worries were alleviated

As a songwriter what would you say inspires you?

I’m constantly inspired by the simple magic of creating a song. You sit down and there is no song. Then you connect with your thoughts and emotions, play around with some chords, and the song starts to appear. I’m still blown away by the fact that with the few notes in a scale so many billions of songs can be written. That in itself inspires me to write. Probably about one in 20 of the songs I write will be something that I end up recording or releasing. But when you realise its a good un’, its a very satisfying feeling and it becomes addictive to chase that certain something. In terms of lyrical theme, I very rarely start with something in mind. But I mostly end up writing about simple human experiences, struggles with the world, relationships, and the self. I think it must be something cathartic for me.

Around advice for a new artist starting out, what most important tips would you let them know?

If you’re a singer, sing honestly. Don’t try and put fake emotion into your words, it’ll sound boring. Write honestly and write specifically. People need to be put in the picture and will lose interest very, very quickly. Make music that you love, that you would listen to. Never, ever make music cos you think other people might like it, or that the radio might play it, or that it might make you money.

What else can we expect later this year?

Another single, a couple of socially distanced and live streamed shows and then Christmas unless that gets cancelled.

You can find more information about Tom Sanders at...

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