Tom Odell has already had a terrific 2013 as he picked up the BRITS Critics Choice earlier this year and he is one of the most exciting talents to watch out for over the next twelve months or so.
This summer will see him release his debut album Long Way Down and we caught up with him to chat about the record, the success he has achieved so far and what lies ahead.
- You are about to release your debut album Long Way Down so what can fans expect from this new collection of tracks?
I guess it is quite similar to the singles that have been released. It does have quite a live feel to it as I recorded it with my band. I guess it is difficult to articulate.
- Well I gave the album a listen this morning and there is a live and almost raw feel to this record so I wondered why you decided to go with a more stripped back sound?
I really wanted to have a raw feel to it. A lot of music these days is made with a lot of computers and is auto-tuned and they use a lot of technology to get to the sound and I wanted to make an album that I could play live and wouldn’t be different.
I also wanted to make an album that was honest and raw and sound quite human. It was very important to me that the album had flaws and imperfections as I wanted it to be more human and real.
- There is still quite a while until the album is released but have you been able to gage any early response - from critics for example?
It seems good. I am not a slave to reviews as I make music for people to listen to not critics. The singles that have been released so far have got a good reaction, but you never can tell.
- 2013 has already been a bit of a whirlwind so far so have you had time to catch your breath yet and reflect on what has happened so far?
I haven’t really as it has been quite full on since January - the things we have been doing since January has just been crazy. But I have been enjoying it.
I love playing live and I love touring and meeting fans and going all over the world as it is something that I have always dreamed of. It feels really good.
I have worked a long time to get to this point as I have been writing since I was twelve or thirteen, so it is not like it has happened over night. But it has been cool.
- Speaking of touring you have just finished so how has the new album being going down with a live audience?
It’s good, it’s been great. It is the funniest thing when you play an album to someone who hasn’t heard hit but it has been amazing.
What I am really pleased about is what we made an album that we could play live and that we could communicate live. It was really important that we were able to do that and so I am really happy.
- Things are also going well in the States. You have spent some time out there and played South by Southwest so how are things looking out in America at the moment?
We have only been there once or twice but we really do seem to be having a good start. We are about to go on a tour of America at the end of this month - we are also doing some really exciting things in New York, which I can’t say anything about. I am really excited about America.
It’s amazing how music has taken me around Europe and we are going to be going to Japan and Australia in June and it is just amazing how it can take you to so many places.
- How was your South By Southwest experience?
It was amazing. It was amazing to be in Texas as it was everything that I… it really lives up to what you think as everyone drives around in pickup trucks and listens to country music.
South by Southwest was an incredible festival and it was twenty five degrees so it was a nice break from the cold.
- You picked up the BRITS Critics’ Choice Award earlier this year so how was that whole experience - you are the first male artist to ever win the gong?
It was great. It was really good. I think that the BRITS Critics Choice and the BBC Introducing are great for new music.
I have been involved in a few of them this and I just think that they are really great for new music and they really support new talent. It brings the attention of the public to new music.
They increase the consciousness of new talent and to have an entire awards category that is dedicated to new music is really encouraging.
It has just meant that so many more people have heard my music that wouldn’t have heard it otherwise. It has opened up to wider range of people and that is something that I have always dreamed of.
- How surprised were you to win?
I was really surprised actually - I really didn’t expect to win. It has sunk in now as it has been a little while.
It was just the craziest couple of months, it was mad. To win a BRIT award before you have released an album is just mad.
- Going back to the album you have had a hand in producing the record so how important is for you to be involved in that side of things?
I worked with a producer called Dan Greg and he was great. He had done some work on The Vaccines first album and that was always something that I had been a fan of - the fact that it was very live.
So I have always been a fan of Dan’s work and he heard a demo of mine and we met up for a coffee. There was a real mutual appreciate of the same type of music so it really worked.
I am a musician so I come from a place where I arrange the music - it is my thing and so I am very very hands on.
It was great to work with Dan because he really brought the engineering and production side of things. I knew how I wanted the songs to be arranged and so I had a very clear vision of what I wanted.
- You have mentioned already that you have been song writing from a very young age so where did you love of music start? And what bands or artists were you listening to as you were growing up?
I don’t know where my love of music started. I remember when I was about three of four and I saw this band at this fete somewhere and I just remember being fascinated by it - that is one of my earliest memories.
Then my grandmother had a piano that I would go and play. But I have always had a love of it and I have always been obsessed with it.
I listened to a lot of Elton John, Tom Waite, Bob Dylan - I was always obsessed with the piano and I would always go back to it. David Bowie, Ben Folds those are the kinds of artists that I would always go back to.
- And how would you say that music that you listened to growing up as influenced you own music?
I think it has influenced it hugely - I guess everything influences you and it is hard to pin point what influences you more.
I have always listened to a lot of different music so there has never been one artist that has been the one - lots of artists say that there was one artist that influenced them the most. But for me it was a combination of a few. I think they have hugely inspired and influenced me, yeah.
- Finally what's next for you?
We are doing lots of promoting over the next few weeks and then I am off to America at the end of this movie, we are doing a three week tour which I am very excited about.
Then we head back for a European tour and when we get back to England the record will be coming out. I am really looking forward to it.
- Are you going to tour this album for a while or are you looking to get back into the studio at the back end of this year?
I hope so yeah, I would love to get back in the studio at the end of this year. I am already itching to start working on something new and I am writing a lot of new songs at the moment.
I am already starting to think about the next one. But I am excited by touring as I love it, I really do and I can’t wait to do it for the rest of the year.
Tom Odell - Long Way Down is released 24th June
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