By CA Marshall
Probably one of the newest, coolest, and most talented ofIndie Artists to hail from Manchester as of late are our December 2016 Artists ofthe Month: TAMSYN. This is a band who defied all odds in our fan voting panelon our December 2016 Starlight Music Chronicles event page on Facebook and werevoted in by our judges for the win. Why? Because they are insanely talented! We often find Indie Artists fare better on our judge voting panel because the panel consists of professionals who have vast knowledgein the music industry. Our decisions are not primarily based on social medianumbers and fan votes, they are focused on the Artists history, musical background, branding,and talent. This month was incrediblytough to decide a winner for December and will probably result in a carry over for our2017 AOM events. With that being said, TAMSYN seemed to have that ‘somethingspecial’ about them that stood out for our Judges. Their sound evokes a time when the discovery of IndieArtists in Manchester was like finding a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow: the punk-rock-Brit-pop period of the 1980’s. Bands like New Orderwere discovered in this same time period and TAMSYN has that New Order sound yet, they are completely stand alone and original in their make-up.
The band consists of Alexander Anton (vocals), MichaelPenfold – (rhythm guitar & lyrics), Phil Hammill (lead guitar), JoelCheetham (percussion), and Zacharia Taylor-Fray (bass). Michael, Joel, and Phil(brothers) originated the band and the addition of Alex, Joel, and Zach completethe epic sounds of TAMSYN. The bands self titles EP released this year andsince, they have been aired on BBC Introducing, made it to the top 10 in theSoundwaves Music Competition 2016, and now have our Starlight Music Chronicles Artistof the Month win under their belt. We assure you, this is a band that iscaptivating in its execution, completely original in sound, and dynamic inpresentation and presence. If I had to describe this band in one phrase it would go like this: the haunting and romantic sounds of TAMSYN are the New Order of the millenium - their sound, look, and vibe will enrapture you instantaneously even after only hearing one song it will leave you wanting more. There is no end in sight for this band and there is no doubt that they will absolutely go the whole distance with their music career!
Here is our *Exclusive Interview* with the band:
SMC - Hello TAMSYN! Welcome to the SMC AOM Alumni! Wherewere you and what was your reaction when you found out you were our DEC 2016AOM winners?
TAMSYN - Hello! We were delighted to be chosen as yourartist of the month for December! As an unsigned band, it really is lovely toreceive recognition for our work so thank you very much. We were actually onour way to a radio interview when we got the news so it was an excellent gee upbefore we went and performed live on air!
SMC- So let's get into the chronological history of theband. Can you tell us how TAMSYN came to be?
TAMSYN - We started life as just Michael, Joel and Philjamming away in various projects a few years ago. Once we built up a collectionof songs we felt could lead somewhere we needed to recruit a singer and bassistwhich is where Alex and Zach came in! Alex had just arrived in Manchester fromAthens with the purpose of finding a band to emulate his idols from the citysuch as the Smiths and Oasis. Zach has recently started at Salford Universityto study music and was looking for a band to join, luckily, he found us!
SMC - We see you were on BBC. Tell us about how that cameabout for you.
TAMSYN - The BBC here in England have a brilliant set upwith their Introducing shows giving unsigned artists the opportunity to havetheir music heard. We had been trying to upload ours to the Manchester one fora while with no luck so decided instead to try Merseyside. Thankfully for usDave Monks heard ‘Want You To Care’ and played it on his show. For us it’s sorewarding to have our music selected for such a prestigious platform and we’revery grateful to have these outlets supporting us.
SMC - Your song 'Things Change' was launched on YouTube inSeptember. We LOVE the video! You have that Grease T-Birds Bad-Boy thing goingon.....is this your everyday image?
TAMSYN - Thank you! Ha-ha our everyday image isn’t quite asT birdy! We felt with we needed a costume for the video that reflected thetimeless, classic nature of our music combined with our modern tastes. We chosethe stripey tops as they seemed a bit more fun and cheeky than plain tees orshirts with our TAMSYN jackets. Our everyday image is more relaxed and casual!
SMC - The song itself is gorgeous and reminds me of NewOrder.....it's a very fresh sound! Tell us what the song writing process for'Things Change' was like for you.
TAMSYN - Thank you very much! The song underwent a lot ofchanges in the writing process, which influenced the name! It originallystarted life as a very basic track called ‘Lost To Be Found’ but it just seemedto keep evolving. We began trying the riff with a slide before experimentingwith dynamics and a swing beat. Even in the studio we added parts on a lapsteel and included some keys too until it all just seemed to come togetheruntil we were left with the finished song which we are all very proud of.
SMC - The whole self-titled EP 'TAMSYN' is actually abeautiful work of art....you have made a HUGE fan out of me! I am looking at possiblycoming to England next year too....can you tell me where I might find youperforming live?
TAMSYN - Thank you! We’ve got a huge gig at ManchesterAcademy 3 in December this year and are currently in the process of bookinggigs for 2017. We can’t say too much just yet but we have some exciting thingsin the pipeline which will hopefully be announced soon. We aim to play twoshows a month if we can so you will definitely be able to come and see us!
SMC - What do the next 3 months look like as far as careergoals for more video content, touring, etc?
TAMSYN - We are in the process of planning a new video forour next single ‘Want You To Care.’ We’re aiming for a release in the New Year.We’re teaming up again with our director from ‘Things Change’ Jack Dearsleywith a view to making this one even bigger and better than the last! Not onlyare videos a lot of fun to shoot, they really are a fantastic way to get yourmusic out there. We have also opened discussions about recording either a newsingle or EP next spring and will absolutely be booking as many gigs as we can.
SMC - Tell us about your spot as finalists of the SoundwavesMusic Competition....
TAMSYN - It was an incredible experience! We applied onlineand were invited along to an audition which we passed. There were two moreauditions to get through before the final and we believe nearly 400 bands originallyapplied so to make the last 10 for us was crazy. The final took place at the O2Academy in Leeds with an audience of around 500 which was a massive show for usat the time. It was a real pleasure to play on such a large stage so early inour career!
SMC - Can you tell us some fun facts about yourselves thatyou would like to share with our fan base?
TAMSYN - We have a few! We do all have a band tattoo (it’sthe skull and cross bones found on our jackets) which serves as a symbol of ourbrotherhood. Alex was once an academy footballer for AEK Athens, a formerschool choir boy and is currently a model for Manchester based modelling agencyMaverick Models. Our drummer Joel is also an accomplished actor and show tunesinger, currently starring in a local production of Alfie.
SMC - I saw that you are connected with some of the notablesin the music industry here in North America. We have a few friends in common onsocial media.... can you tell us about who of these industry connectionsinspires you?
TAMSYN - Absolutely. We believe we are mutual friends withyourself and music writer Rebecca Singer. Rebecca was one of the first peopleto find us and gave us a brilliant interview on her site. Getting heard is oneof the hardest things for unsigned bands so we are extremely grateful to havepeople like Rebecca and Starlight out there working hard and taking the time tosupport what we’re doing. It’s the greatest pleasure for all artists to receivesuch fantastic backing and it gives us great confidence moving forward, helpinginspire us to release more songs as soon as we can!
SMC - If you could tour with anyone of your choice who wouldthat be and why?
TAMSYN - We would love to tour with acts Radiohead,Morrissey or the Libertines as they are some of our favorite artists and aswell influencing us they are accomplished musicians and performers. Morecurrent bands like the 1975 would be a lot of fun to tour with also. They havedone really well to create their own style and sound and audiences seem to begoing wild for them!
SMC - What kinds of collaborations would you like to do inyour career?
TAMSYN - We would love to collaborate with some of ouridols. Johnny Marr for example has played with both the Cribs and the LastShadow Puppets in recent years and having his experience and expertise can onlyhelp improve us as a band. However, we might also like to push our boundariesbeyond our genre and collaborate with artists with vastly different styles.People like Lady Gaga or Bruno Mars are doing brilliant things and it would befun to see if we could come up with something interesting with them.
SMC - I see you are from Manchester! That's a reallyhappening music scene! I also know that it can be competitive too. Can you tellus what your experience is like in the industry there?
TAMSYN - It is a fantastic scene here in Manchester. There’sso much history and support for indie music. Our experience has been very good.Promoters here are great for organizing live music nights and there are plentyof brilliant bands to help sustain the scene. Festivals like Sonder, which weplayed recently really brought the whole music community together here and wasa shining example of the talent and interest in music around the city.
SMC - What is a 'Day in the Life' of TAMSYN like?
TAMSYN - We’re incredibly busy but it’s great! We all jugglework, uni and girlfriends around the band but we still find time to rehearseand gig. We all socialize together too which helps, we’re a band of brothers.Whilst we are highly dedicated to what we do we still manage to keep things funwhich is very important.
SMC - Can you tell us the inspiration behind the band name?
TAMSYN - The name just seemed to choose us. When wedissolved our old band, we were trying to come up with a concise, catchy name.We noticed a lot of our songs were about girls and at the time there was a girlcalled Tamsyn around. We didn’t name it after her but Joel and Phil alwaysfound it an intriguing name and something about a group of boys with a girl’sname seemed to fit the general themes we were writing about. We wrote it downand we felt like it looked good on a poster. We tried the Jools Holland test onit too (where you have to introduce your band with your best Jools Hollandimpression) and it passed so TAMSYN it was!
SMC - What would you say is your most challenging thing whentrying to break into the music scene?
TAMSYN - Getting your music to people who would be your fansis always a challenge. Luckily for us social media helps us find like mindedmusic fans to share our songs with. Instagram and Twitter are great to discoverpeople who love the bands we do and thankfully lots of people seem to bechecking us out which is fantastic. Hopefully we can keep building and reachingout to people and writing songs that matter to them.
SMC - Our Artists of the Month will all go into an annualArtist of the Year competition in June of 2017. Now that we have three Artistsalready in our AOM Alumni, and 4 more months to go (February - May 2017) howwell do you feel you will fare in this annual event?
TAMSYN - We hope we fare well! We know you folks haveexcellent taste so we understand it will be a strong category. We just focus onourselves though and don’t worry too much about awards (as lovely as they are!)We just want to keep improving and really being considered at this moment intime is award enough in itself for us! If we win we’ll be delighted but we’resure whoever you pick will deserve it!
SMC - How do you feel about music competitions in general?
TAMSYN - They’re fun and it’s nice to be recognized butwe’re not hugely invested in them. For us music is more about community thancompetition. We have still enjoyed the competitions we’ve been in and they havebeen invaluable experience for us. They’re also a great way to see what otherartists are doing, current trends and give us ideas of things we should bedoing ourselves.
SMC - Okay, final question: If you could give one piece ofadvice to anyone beginning a music career what would that be?
TAMSYN - Don’t be afraid to fail. Just keep experimentingand trying things out and if things go wrong (which they will) trust thatyou’ll get them right next time. It’s taken us a lot of gigs to understand howto make our live show work and as well as the last EP went there’s so manythings we’ve learnt in the process to make the next one better. It’s importantto remember that you do this because you love it so when you are lucky enoughto be on stage or in a recording studio it’s vital to enjoy the moment. Theharder you work, the better you get which is something we’ve found has stood usin good stead. Be patient, trust your judgement and make things happen foryourself.
TAMSYN Social Media Links (click to view):