Sunday, 11 December 2011

Tommy Reilly - Interview

There’s no denying Tommy Reilly won over everyone’s heart with his catchy indie pop song writing, and his cheeky chappy personality in Channel 4’s Unsigned-Act back on 2009. However after a year or two in hiding working on his new album, due for release early next year, I couldn’t help but jump at the chance to catch up with him on one of his intimate tour dates, up in Scotland this month. And I seemed to have picked the best venue to meet up with him – with a ball pit in the middle of his dressing room and a couple of footballs kicking around: some fun games were on the cards before the gig. Priceless!

So firstly; It’s been well over a year now since the release of the last album, "Hello, My name’s Tommy Reilly". What have you been up to since then, working on the next one?
Well yeah, I’ve made another one, in the summer. But I didn’t really want to put it out this year. Just because when I got round to thinking about it Christmas was coming up, plus I didn’t really fancy doing it this year, so I’m gonna do it early next year.

So the new material you have been working on. How does it differ from the last, have you been influenced by any bands you have been listening to? 

Well it’s a bit different, because on this one I got lots of friends in to play on it. The second one was just me and one other guy; me and Roddy Hart. And on the first one it was kinda the same, just myself and Bernard Butler. But on the third one I wanted to get a band together, so I got a couple of guys from a band Admiral Fallow, and my friend Gordon from Frightened Rabbit came, and played a little bit. So there was about four of us, and Paul Savage. So it was kinda nice to have a band, and you know they did a lot. It was nice. And I have chilled out; I guess I was a bit of a control freak on the first one, but on this one I was like, ehh people can do what they want. And when you’ve got people you trust and you like what you do it’s more relaxed. I think I’m the most happy with this one – because I have let people do what they want.

Obviously you won Channel 4’s Unsigned Act back in 09. If you hadn’t won the show do you think you would have carried on with music or?

Yeah, I mean I guess the whole thing was just to try and get more gigs, and I was kinda at a time when I was getting gigs which were good ones but just at home. But I wasn’t getting to play any where else, and I like travelling around, and this one was in London. So the interview came up, and there was an ordination, so I thought maybe I’d get a gig in London if I went. But I think I’d still be playing yeah.

In the show Hip Parade came 2nd, with Scarlet Harlots coming 3rd. Do you keep in contact with any of the bands or Judges such as Alex James?

Yeah I spoke to Rob recently from Hip Parade; well he’s sort of my mate’s cousin so we used to see them before the show, so I speak to those guys now and again. But Scarlet Harlots not so much. But it was cool, made some good mates at the time and it was fun, but I guess everyone’s busy doing gigs and stuff now. 

You were part of a talent show I guess, but what do you think of other "talent" shows such as X Factor?

I love watching them. I think they are really funny. I think some of them are good entertainment, but I guess it’s a problem in some ways. The only reason I considered doing Unsigned act I suppose was because it had to be your own songs. And whether it was me performing or writing a song for someone else, all I ever wanted to do was write my own songs. And that’s something I’m really interested in at the moment, is trying to write songs for other people. I’d love to hear somebody with a different voice performing them. So with that show I did it because it had to be original. I think there’s a problem though these shows, because there are so many people coming out and they can’t all be successful. And so it’s a shame, it’s not nice. 

Where's one of the weirdest places you’ve heard one of your tracks?
Oh well in a casino. One of my mates, I guess he was in a casino and heard it. And one of them was on a jukebox in a pub once. So that was weird. And they put it on for a laugh. But it was weird when "Gimme a Call" first went into the charts, and hearing it on the radio on the chart run down. Had all the mates round for a beer listening to it. Just really weird. Kings of Leon then me! I mean I have not really had a hit like that since, but that was a weird one off.

What can we expect next then Tommy. Any festivals maybe?

Maybe yeah. Guess I wasn’t really playing this year because I was recording. But we did Alex James’s harvest festival, which was a lot of fun, and a couple of wee things; like Home Game up in Fife. But next year, yeah hopefully some gigs. But I do want to counter that with this new interest in writing for others, and I’m gonna spend some time on that. 

Ok so one last question! When I told some guys I was interviewing you, they all wanted to know if you really don’t like coffee? (Originated from Tommy’s hit, "I don’t like coffee")

I don’t, no. It’s kinda all hot drinks really. It’s a weird thing though. No hot drinks. Not even tea or hot chocolate. Just hot drinks – not into it. I’m weird!

By Ailsa Morris

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