DOORSTEP INTERVIEW: therunningchelsea | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Welcome to Doorstep Interview, where we find out more about the amazing bands and artists we have right here in the north east. This time, we asked Tom Hollingworth, aka therunningchelsea, to tell us more about his project. The results were both insightful and wonderfully creative.

Tell us a bit about yourself. Who are you, where are you from?

My name is Tom, and I am the accidental product of a nurse and painter enjoying too much wine at Christmas. I spent my childhood running from farmers in fields in Suffolk, my Uni years running from rats around lakes in the West Yorkshire Sculpture Park, and now I don’t know where I am running around. Are those bridges I see before me?

What inspired you to first start making music?

I can’t really remember. My parents say I was that annoying child as a toddler that used to go up to strangers on holiday and sing songs at them. I remember jumping around on the furniture in my living room quite a bit when I was little, with Queen ’86 on the video-player, pretending to be Freddie Mercury. I started to learn the piano when I was six and the guitar when I was eight. Music has always been there.

Who would you say are your biggest influences?

Most of the people I find inspirational are contrarians, and by nature, pranksters. They recognise the absurdity in everything but still look to pluck a star out of the sky. Possessors of the spinning flower trick from the sermon.

There are certain people and things that have helped me see the world in way I cannot turn back from, gifted me a new way of thinking and feeling, sometimes for good, sometimes for bad, that cannot be undone. I get up each day in the hope of discovering another one of those doors.

I remember watching Live! Tonight! Sold Out!! as a kid and being mesmerised by Kurt Cobain as he played all kinds of tricks on himself and others. I recommend everyone watches Hans Teeuvan’s Live In London concert. It’s packed with provocation and ideas. The last thing that gave me that Stendhal effect, was Rick Alverson’s film The Comedy. It’s an incredible look at a group of people born at the end of greed.

My close friends have a huge influence on what I make too. They also give me energy to do it, for which I am truly grateful. These spinny, beautiful people. I love them!

How would you describe your sound?

runningchelsea sound descriptor

“Not quite Cinderella, not quite Castor Troy”

Where do you see yourself fitting into the local music scene?

I am an alien. I’m not sure I have craic? Some corners have welcomed me, others have not. I tend to fit in with those who don’t fit in places. Not quite Cinderella, not quite Castor Troy.

Tell us a bit about your live performances. What can we expect from a gig by therunningchelsea?

Utter deceit. Wall-to-wall insincerity. Embarrassment. Anxiety. You can expect your friends to lean over to you and whisper coldly in your ear – “Why did you bring me to this shit, you absolute cretin?” Everyone gets a free cup of Coolade at the door. I’m generous like that.

What do you think has been your biggest achievement so far as an artist?

Learning to tie a cherry stalk using only my tongue.

Have there been any major challenges so far in your musical career?

Music is a part of my life, not a career. The challenges and rewards of it are ongoing and limitless. Day-to-day, I try to distract the God of Sloth when writing and practising. “Look, there’s a pig flying behind you.” etc., I tell him, again and again. He’s really stupid and falls for it most times. In the playground, I try to avoid the ‘climbing the ladder’ crews. It’s too draining singing to vampires! I love playing to lovers, people Craig Finn might say have ‘hot soft eyes.’

What else have you got planned for the future?

I am currently working on songs for a new album. The aim is to have them mixed and mastered at Blank Studios by the treasure that is Sam Grant at the back end of the year. They are developing quite differently from the way the ones on my last album In The Future, We Will Spinn did. A lot has unravelled since 2013.

Also, my friend Jan Kissam and I are trying to help get work by some talented people we know to more people. We hope to have some of these delights in the public domain through Nijinsky’s Asylum next year.

therunningchelsea plays at the Profumo EP launch at The Cluny, Newcastle on Monday 14th September.

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