It’s over a year since nu-folk seven-piece Tom Joshua have released any new material but this month sees the release of Meteor Showers, the follow up to 2015’s single You Me Alone. Produced and recorded by Cape Cub’s Chad Male, with some post-production at Idlewild’s Edinburgh studio, it’s a testament to the band’s diligent work ethic, despite the time gap between releases.
I caught up with Tom Joshua’s frontman Tom Archer in Eaglescliffe to blow away the cobwebs of a light Saturday morning hangover with a cup of tea and to get the lowdown on all things Tom Joshua. Describing the new track, Archer observes, “I love driving dynamics, big and small, quiet and loud. It’s not as rocky as You Me Alone but it’s quite expansive and it gets wider. It’s got some quite big drumming on it but it doesn’t get really electric”.
To support the single’s release, the band will be playing their first ever headline show at Middlesbrough’s Westgarth Social Club on Saturday 11th February. “The downstairs is the best room in the Westgarth, there’s such a good sound in there, every band I’ve seen there have sounded incredible,” Archer tells me.
You’re kind of like the sum of everything you’ve ever listened to
I also ask Archer to explain the band’s sound to new listeners. “It feels folky because it’s often in open tunings”, he notes, “but [growing up] we had a lot of harmonically rich stuff around like Fleetwood Mac, The Eagles and Dire Straits. In college I listened to lots of folk, but Nick Drake was the one I fully related to because he writes in a way that’s really poetic. The Tom Joshua sound is not down one line, some songs come out sounding like Disney because it’s there in your head from way back but then sometimes they come out a bit dark because I listened to a lot of emo growing up as well. You’re kind of like the sum of everything you’ve ever listened to”.
Archer has also recently done a film score for his friend Elizabeth Evans, “I just sat at the piano and loved it. She said she wanted it to sound a bit like Sigur Ros so I just started messing around with some harmonies! I’d love to have more opportunity to do things like that.” On the difference between writing on guitar and writing on piano, Archer states, “I prefer guitar because it’s what I learnt on but sometimes you are limited by the tuning, with the piano there are unlimited possibilities”.
After the single launch, Tom Joshua hope to keep the momentum building. “We’ve got gigs in Glasgow and Edinburgh and we’re going to try and get around a bit more. Some will be full band shows and some will be smaller, mainly keys and voices. We’re doing a lot with voices at the minute. We have more songs mixed and ready, so the plan is to release them slowly. I’m excited to build the image of what we’re about and let people know more about my music.”
But what about that name? “It’s not really a pseudonym but when I started doing music it was very much just me, so it’s just my first name and middle name”.