The Patch

May 18, 2007

Friday 18th May – Rubbish Update

Filed under: Music & Film — Free Edinburgh Podcast @ 3:23 pm

Sorry for the rubbishness of this post, but I’m busy with exam revision and contemplating just how to react to recent events in life. For your reading pleasure though I give you some words:

Tom McRae has an album out this week. It’s meant to be a bit rubbish though and complete turn in form so I probably won’t buy it. However, he’s
topical at the moment so I can use the interview I did with him a couple of months back as filler. I’m Brig by the way.


Brig – Now this isn’t a usual solo show, it’s this big collaborative effort from all these great Hotel Cafe artists. Is something like this preferable to your usual solo gig?

Tom – It’s very different. For me it’s a different sort of pressure. It’s fun and stressful in equal measure, cos it’s chaos on stage. I go on and do a couple of songs and introduce the acts and they come and do a couple of songs and then we all come on and so on.


B – Does it ever get too chaotic on stage?

T – Well yeah, always. Especially tonight, cos it’s by far the smallest venue on the tour.


B – Yeah, I just saw the stage. It doesn’t really look like it could fit all you guys on there at the same time.

T – But that’s half the fun. The original Hotel Cafe venue was tiny and that was where we all met. It’s a special venue for anyone who knows LA well and these musicians on this tour all went there. There’s always good people playing, even if you’ve never heard of them. The people who run it always hold a good party as well.


B – You’ve done this sort of tour a couple of times in the US before. How are UK audiences comparing?

T – Well it’s been brilliantl actually. The first US one was two years ago, and there were no big names on the bill, nobody was headlining. But here I have a slightly in built audience already so it’s hit the ground running and it’s been a bit easier. I think my audience for the first half hour are slightly confused but by the end are having a great time and have already picked their favourites and that’s what I like.


B – Your last album ‘All Maps Welcome’ had quite a lot of critical praise, but didn’t fair too well commercially…

T – Like everything I do, it died a death. It bombed.


B – Disappointed?

T – Well, yeah, but it wasn’t anything I didn’t expect after three records that hadn’t been promoted I’d got used to it so all I hope I get from releasing a record now is I get to go out and tour it.


B – What about new material?

T – Well, it’s actually sounding a bit more hopeful, a bit more fun.


B – You’re shocking me…

T – I shocked myself really. I think it’s my last chance to release a record that will raise my profle and broaden my appeal.


B – Both your lyrics and your on line diary seem to portray a very cynical, bitter character. Is that a fair reflection?

T – Well a lot of it is me getting my frustration out, When you put so much time and effort and love into making a record that you walk into a record store 3 months later and it’s there for £1.99. Sometimes it only feels that the only people out there helping me are my audience.


B – What makes you smile?

T – Well apart from the obvious like children falling over… Mmm, to be honest being on this tour makes me smile. Being around such great musicians now at this stage in my life where I’m not under the pressure I was under, doing the promotional side. Just having fun.


B – How far does your music reflect your character?

T – Well greatly of course. I put everything I have in it and a lot of that is stemmed from bad situations in my life. I think most music is. It come from the heartaches and traumas that affect us all. I define anyone to name a truly happy song.


B – …

T – Exactly.


B – I’ll come up with one before the end of the interview…

T – …and I’ll destroy it.


B – Now Tom McRae isn’t your real name.

T – Well it sort of is. It’s my middle name, I’m sure there’s a thread on my website forum detailing it. My given name is Jeremy Thomas McRae Blackwell, and when I look at that as a name, Jeremy Blackwell isn’t that rock and roll. But I liked the McRae part.


B – And Tom’s a pretty cool name.

T – Yeah, Tom’s a fantastic name.


B – A couple of years ago you travelled to Niger to write an article for the Observer to write about the appalling poverty stricken conditions out there. How as that experience for you?

T – Well, it’s life changing really. It’s happening every week. And just to go out there and see it first hand is something that just changes you.


B – Do you feel more well known artists should be following in your footsteps?

T – Well, some of them do. Whether you like him or not, Chris Martin has got people interested in Fair Trade. And Bono has gone beyond that stage of caring about what people think of him and has meetings with George Bush and others because he knows he’s going to get some money for a good cause. There’s always a bigger picture – if Madonna wants to adopt a baby, forget the fuss, she’s saved a life. I mean, there’s a baby Bono in all of us.


B – Would you consider going to back to Africa?

T – Definitely. I’d love to visit Darfur. If I could fit in a trip to Darfur before Christmas that would be good. But we’ll see, it’s a bit hairy out there.


B – Now you’re spending a lot of time in the US now. How does life compare out there?

T – Well, I have to say I love New York. Comparing America to the UK, well it’s like comparing cities. Because New York is not America. Los Angeles is not America. But I love New York. It just feels like home.



B – What do you miss about the UK though?

T – Absolutely not one single fucking thing. That’s a lie actually. I miss picking up a newspaper and being able to read about all the world’s issues in one single newspaper. You can’t do that in America. And you can say all you want about the UK, it still has the best media world. And even though it’s the best of the bad thing, it’s something I miss. But I don’t miss anything else. You can’t keep everything else. It’s all gone to the dogs and I think everyone is realising that.


B – Sorry.

T – I love coming as a tourist and I love touring but you couldn’t make me live here at gun point as this moment in time.


B – Last question then. Do you have a word of advice for any young band’s out there?

T – Mmm…


B – Just ‘a’ word.

T – Fuck. That’s my word. But good luck cos none of us know what’s going to happen at the moment. The music industry is in free fall disaster mode at this moment. None of us know how to make money out of a product that’s guaranteed to be given out free a couple of years later. Soon artists will be coming to you with sponsorships. We’ll have Diesel given us Coldplay and whatever.


B – ‘Friday I’m in Love’ by The Cure. That’s a happy song.

T – But he’s had a miserable week.


B – But he’s happy in the end, and that’s what matters.

T – I may have to give you that one. Well done.

Record of the Week

I feel like procastinating a bit more so I’ll indulge with this week’s selection. There have recently been some genuinely fantastic new singles out of late, and now is as good a time as anyg to divulge what some of the best are to my ears. So the six greatest singles of the year so far are:

Candie Payne – I Wish I Could Have Loved You More

Just a wonderul 60s sounding little number that makes you go ‘ooh’. The next James Bond film should be called ‘I Wish I Could Have Loved You More’ just so it can have this as its theme tune.

Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip – Thou Shalt Always Kill

A better guide to life there has never been.

Rumble Strips – Alarm Clock

Wonderfully enthusiastic pop ska that Madness would be proud of. A joy to wake up to.

The National – Mistaken For Strangers

Though ‘Boxer’ is disappointing as a whole, this stood out as Berninger dared to show just what a devastating impact his words and voice can have.

Blonde Redhead – 23

Soothes the soul that one does.

Battles – Atlas

This is what Joe Meek was imagining when he thought of music from another world.  Astonishing.  It really, really is.


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