We chat to the wonderful Thom Morecroft about his new single The Beast.
Liverpool Noise: Your latest release is “The Beast” – is a very brave choice of single. It’s a magnificent song, but given the subject matter, why this specific track?
Thom Morecroft: Well, I’m a bit of a contrary little bastard. I kept seeing ‘advice’ articles pop up over lockdown that said ‘musicians should release upbeat music right now’. Now – I’m all for upbeat music, but there’s just something in me that gets really irked by that stuff. So I thought ‘right, I’m gonna release the most personal, confessional piece of music I have – that I’ve always wanted to release – and it’s going to really matter to me.’
LN: Also it’s a live version, which rings out every emotional nuance of the song. A very brave decision, but vindicated. How did it feel, when you were performing, that it was being recorded?
TM: Well, you’ve hit on another reason I wanted to release this now… It’s strange to think now that three months before lockdown, I played this full-band show in Studio2 – with no social distancing – to a sold-out room. I don’t take that stuff lightly; I was overcome with gratitude for the people who made it out that night. People probably headline Glastonbury and it does nothing to their brain BUT there was so much going on for me, I honestly forgot the gig was being recorded and filmed. Luckily, James Thorne (one of my best friends, bass player and producer of the album we were launching) had had the foresight to hook up the desk to his laptop. But looking back, I’m so glad he did because releasing a live single felt like a really special thing to do in the middle of all this, and I can’t really imagine ever getting this quote right without a live audience.
LN: Covid came at the wrong time last year – for everyone. When we are allowed to gig again, have you any thoughts about supporting your most excellent debut album, The Feng Shui and the Sushi?
TM: The musicians I feel for in all this is those in their late teens and early 20s who should be having those formative years of establishing themselves live and meeting the other musicians on their scene. I’d be a completely different person now, if this had all happened to me at 21. The people I met, those first really good live music experiences – honestly, it breaks my heart to think of people who’ve missed out on that and I hope they make up for it.
But yes, speaking personally for me now, it felt horrific to have all those dates across the UK cancelled, when I had all this vinyl I was ready to go out and flog. Those early tour dates in January and February were so positive, and I felt really confident (probably for the first time in my life) about going out and selling myself to people. I was ready to hustle! And there is going to be some serious amount of travelling going on when gigs come back for me to finish what we started with that record. I envisage small intimate gigs BUT with big, emphatic performances.
LN: How are you surviving the Covid clampdown? There is a rumour circulating that you have been doing some free-lance work for Kenco as a coffee-taster? Is that true?
TM: Well, I have in some ways been one of the more fortunate people in my profession to receive self-employment support in the last year. I’ve spent the year writing and recording A LOT of new material. And through the subscripton-platform Patreon I’ve been releasing an album every month, which has been a real silver lining. It’s given this horrific period some semblance of meaning for me (which I’m afraid to say, we have to take wherever we can find it at the moment). I have also been learning and posting the Beatles back catalogue from A-Z; at one point I was doing one a week (for one of which I wear a Klee t-shirt in the video). But I’ve scaled that back to once a month. All of this has left me an improved, more confident musician, particular with regards to recording. And of course, there’s been The Beast single release.
That being said: the SIESS, which I know I’m lucky to have, is sporadic, which makes it difficult to live off of. I’m applying for jobs in care-work currently, but if anyone’s got anything going for me please let me know! Now, addressing the rumours regarding Kenco: I’m afraid to say I haven’t been working as a coffee taster because that sounds like an outstanding job. I’ve got really nice coffee if you’d like to try some?
LN: Any roadmap with regard to the recording of a new album? I for one are eagerly looking forward to one!
TM: From a creative perspective, I feel very sure about what the record I want to make next will be like. Something about sequencing new songs together every month really drives home what an album is and what an album should be. The Feng Shui and the Sushi is definitely the sound of me with a great band in a fantastic studio – it’s very polished, and for that exact moment it was the perfect thing for me to do. What I’d like to do next is to bring the raw mess of what I do live and in my home studio to that. There would definitely be more folk-pop acoustic guitar driven songs too. For the moment, I’m really considering releasing an indefinite run of singles from my recording at home. And then, eventually, once I can get back into a studio, we can marry those two approaches (the mess and the polish) together.
I couldn’t tell you how it will happen though. Let’s see where the next year takes us…
The Beast is out tomorrow. Pre-save on Spotify here.
Feature Image Photo Credit: Tom Miller