After three years writing, recording and producing, Solomon Grey – aka Tom Kingston and Joe Wilson – will release their debut album later this year. Signed to Black Butter records, the duo have so far released two singles which quickly received attention from Zane Lowe and Radio 6. Today they treat us to an exclusive first look at their new video for ‘Last Century Man’, the B side to ‘Firechild’.
The video, which was directed by Tom Lock, is compiled of old CGI footage and presents a visual feast of colour and graphics. The track mixes echoey, haunting vocals, reminiscent of Bon Iver, and fuses the sounds of strings, brass and synths. We caught up with Tom and Joe to talk the forthcoming album and making music.
YOU MET AT UNIVERSITY IN OXFORD. WHAT PROMPTED YOU TO START MAKING MUSIC TOGETHER?
We were both up for writing the same kind of thing. We tried a few things and then came up with our own sound after a while.
YOU WROTE AND RECORDED YOUR FORTHCOMING DEBUT ALBUM OVER A THREE-YEAR PERIOD IN IRELAND AND AUSTRALIA. CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT THIS EXPERIENCE AND HOW IT INFLUENCED YOUR SONGWRITING?
Well, having that amount of time can mean that every option was explored. It was hard work but being in those remote places helped us concentrate and get the result we wanted.
ARE THERE ANY UNIFYING THEMES OF IDEAS THAT RUN THROUGHOUT THE ALBUM?
We don’t quite know where to start with this one. There are many many different themes and ideas that run through the album, some musical, some lyrical. We were both used to the city so one of the main themes that is in there was a harking back to the metropolis. I think we ended up going with “a love letter to the city”. But that really is just one of many. We had our own stuff we were going through as well.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR STYLE OF MUSIC AND WHO ARE YOUR BIGGEST MUSICAL INFLUENCES?
We don’t know, it’s a mixture of dance, indie, alt rock. We fell in love with a lot of the new music from America & Canada over the past 10 years, specifically the East Coast: Grizzly Bear, Dave Sitek, Arcade Fire, James Murphy, Animal Collective, Yeasayer, etc. These albums/tracks all seemed to have a real sense to experiment when it came to production. That’s what we tried to do. Band music that’s written by producers.
We also used a lot of what we grew up with for inspiration because of the other theme of childhood within the album. Tracy Chapman, Peter Gabriel, Talk Talk, Cocteau Twins, Prince. Something about your mind when your younger – things make such a huge impression on you that they continue to have a presence in the rest of your life.
HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE CONCEPT FOR YOUR NEW VIDEO FOR ‘LAST CENTURY MAN’?
We wanted some visual. The director Tom Lock understood our vision.
DOES THE SUCCESS OF THE FIRST TWO SINGLES, ‘GEN V’ AND ‘FIRECHILD’, PUT MORE PRESSURE ON THE FORTHCOMING ALBUM RELEASE OR LESSEN THE STRESS?
No pressure, just glad people like what we do, we just want to keep writing and getting music out there.
WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR ‘ONES TO WATCH’?
Follow our What’s On the Solomon Grey Spotify playlist to see what new stuff we’re listening to.
Live show on 27 February at The Courtyard, London. We now getting the band ready for summer which is a lot of fun. As well as writing some new tunes while in the studio in south London. Very happy with it all though, and looking forward to getting the next single out in May. Hope you like it.
Click here to visit Solomon Grey’s website. ‘Last Man Century’ is featured on the upcoming Kitsuné New Faces compilation, released on Feb 24 2014. Pre-order here.