“Apparently, I have a sound , and people can hear it,” Tom Misch claims modestly. For someone with a cohesive and sprawling body of mellow beats behind him, he seems mildly bewildered that this is the case. “I try so many genres that it’s hard sometimes to pinpoint. I guess my sound is uplifting, soulful, funky — and happy more than it is sad.” It’s a perfect description of his debut album, due in 2018, which brings together low-slung hip-hop beats, glittering disco, and noodling jazz instrumentation in a way only Misch can.
If Misch seems surprised, it’s because his fanbase has developed naturally. He never set out with any grand plan when he began making beats, and uploading roughly three tracks a week to Soundcloud at 16. “ I prefer a more organic approach to making music, but also to building a fanbase,” he reflects. “I don’t want a big push on my music as I don’t want to be as big as possible.” And yet, he’s rapidly become one of the U.K.’s most exciting emerging new artists, gaining 1.1 million monthly listeners on Spotify and playing a sold-out tour of the U.K., U.S. and Europe in 2016. Collaborating with a clutch of fellow trailblazers like Novelist, Loyle Carner, and Zak Abel, he’s accumulated a total of 75 million streams across all platforms to date — and it all started in his bedroom.
In the making of his debut album, he’s also been drawing on inspiration from disco, house, and techno, discovered through the portal of producers like Kaytranada and Motor City Drum Ensemble. The euphoric feel of the 1970s and ‘80s disco (think Earth Wind and Fire or Gwen McCrae), and the thump of nightclubs like Fabric or Corsica, inspired him to bring more movement into his songs. “I want people to dance at my live shows, I want to bring more energy,” he says. “When you’re in a club and you can feel the bass...I want people to have that experience.”
Misch’s sound is true to its roots — he still makes his tracks in the same bedroom studio in his parents’ house, and his mum produces his artwork. (“ Her work is very DIY, just like my music, and feels homespun,” he explains.) But he’s never afraid to explore new territory. “I think it’s really important to make music that hasn’t been made before,” he says. “I’m trying to work out what my sound is, and pursuing that.” Fans might think they know his style, but Misch is a restless experimentalist, keen to spend endless hours honing his craft. One of his favourite new songs is a “Brazilian-sounding” jam that reflects how deeply he feels about his work. As he puts it: “It’s about how you can’t take away my love for music. I’ll always have that.”
- Venue: The Academy
- Date: Thu 01/03/18
- Time: 7:00 pm