More Than The Music catches up with Tom Williams of The Boat ahead of his latest album release ‘Teenage Blood’, to discuss album artwork and the industry.
MTTM: Your new album ‘Teenage Blood’ is being released in April and you recently blogged details of the artwork. Being an artist yourself, what’s the process for deciding how your albums are going to look?
TW&TB: I knew since about July that I wanted the cross to be on the cover. I think it just worked as a graphic symbol, something strong formally, but also coupled with the title of the record and ‘blood’, it morphed into more of an ambulance cross. I also thought that when people can’t write, they often sign a cheque or similar with a cross, it works as a simple declaration of existence, which I thought the album certainly was!
MTTM: More and more bands seem to be turning to pledge sites to get funding to record. Do you think the big record labels have had their day or is there still a place for them as musicians adopt more and more of a DIY ethos?
TW&TB: There are always has been. I think the more bands can interact with their fans the better. People like to feel part of something and music plays a very important part in a lot of people’s lives. Being in a band is a social and communal event, and fan funding our record has just made that clearer than ever.
MTTM: How did you whittle 23 demo tracks down to 10 for the resultant album and are there any you wish you hadn’t cut?
TW&TB: I actually wrote about 130, I still like a lot of them! We just wanted to make a particular type of album, a 10 track, well refined pop album and I think the tracks we chose formed the collection of songs that felt the best. There were some great tracks that we left off but I hope they’ll come out soon in some form or other.
MTTM: Your music draws on a number of different styles, but do you think it’s important to stay true to a genre in order to get a strong following?
TW&TB: I don’t know, I think nowadays with the internet making so much music so readily available to so many people, our generation has the capability of being one of the most well listened yet. I think people take great pride in listening to a variety of musics and so I think it’s less important for bands to stick to a sound throughout their career. Acts are often praised for genre hopping, and shape shifting, Beatles, Bowie, Dylan etc, I think as long as you keep it interesting, for your self and your listener you can’t go wrong. There is no, ‘bad’ just ‘interesting’ haha!
MTTM: When you decided to form a band, how did they end up being called ‘The Boat’?
TW&TB: In late 2007 I think it was, and I think I chose it because it sounded like a children’s story.
MTTM: Finally, if you had to be marooned on a desert island with only three albums and one other person, what/who would you want them to be?
TW&TB: I think it’d be Nashville Skyline by Bob Dylan, Either/Or by Elliott Smith and Darkness On The Edge Of Town by Springsteen, and my girlfriend of course!