By Chyrisse Tabone, Rock At Night Tampa
Interview with UK indie artist Nigel Thomas
Rock At Night hasn’t spoken to you since your previous album Travelling Man was released in 2016. Bring us up to speed on what you have been up to!
Well I’m an actor so I’ve been busy with that as well as the music – a number of short films and adverts, plus I’m just editing my 80,000 word diary from The Foxes days which I’m looking at getting published at some point. It’s full of great and funny stories and some really sad stuff too.
Your new album Well Well is quite eclectic with its collection of genres. You have hard rock, blues, ska, and even a vaudevillian Forby-esque tune in the mix. Does the mix of genres reflect your mood or are you in an experimental stage in your life? Were you influenced by a particular artist or album when you came up with Well Well, which to me, is almost like a concept album?
Each song was just how I felt at the time and when it all came together, it all just worked. I didn’t have a particular feel or sound when we went into the studio, I just wanted what was best for each song, so there was no holding back or thoughts about how commercial it would be.
The song “Rita” sounds full-blown Delta blues! You even have a harmonica added. Have you always liked the blues or was this new territory for you musically?
I love blues – but the harmonica was a last minute addition which my hugely talented, successful musician (and old uni friend!) Ed Rome put on for me and it gives the whole song a new dynamic.
Do you have any particular favorites on the new album? One or two that have special meaning?
I love the energy of “Stepping Up” and I’m so happy with how “I’ve Seen Forever” came out. I was really worried after we’d recorded the basic backing track for Well Well as it felt like a bit of a dirge at the end, but I’m glad I stuck to my guns and what I had in my head came out after all the over-dubs.
The accompanying music videos for the singles are really well-done! You even have a video for the political-tinged song “I’ve Been Thinking” that pays homage to Donald Fagen’s Nightfly video. Can you give us some background on how the concept of the various videos emerged?
I’ve always been a Steely Dan/Donald Fagen fan, and the idea of doing a homage – not in musical terms but visually – struck me quite randomly after listening to The Nightfly and how nice it would be to see a little more of the poor late night DJ’s life. I’m very lucky to have worked with Infinite Film again on that one, they did a fantastic job in getting exactly the right atmosphere on film. For “Alchemy Rose”, it really just started off because I walk past the PRS Building in Streatham a lot and really wanted to film on the roof which they kindly let me do. The idea of being rejected by big labels/the music business was too fun a concept to not play, and I do love a good true story.
Do you have any plans to tour now that Well Well is out?
I’d love to but it depends on how things pan out – if I can get on a support tour, I’d jump on it. Sadly touring full band these days is expensive (the musicians I use are amazing and deserve to be paid) but watch this space.
Before you know it, 2020 will be here! Do you have any musical plans on the horizon?
I’m always writing, so I’d love to start work on the next album next year – there’s still a lot to do with ‘Well Well’ though and getting as many people to hear it as possible. My main aim at this point is to work as hard as I can…and then get lucky. You need both. Whatever happens, I love what I do and am very lucky in that sense, to be able to do it.
You can read Rock At Night’s review of the albumWell Well HERE
I grew up in a household full of rock music, studied journalism in college, and then became a scientist.Although my science career has served me well, music has always played a major role in my life. I grew up reading "Creem" magazine; I play several musical instruments as a "hobby";and it seems a camera has always been in my hand. Now, I am combining what I love the most--music and photography--serving as editor of Rock At Night. I travel between the US and UK seeking my dream! My motto: life is short...no regrets. Chyrisse
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