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Ditto Blog

We Chat With Tom Lee-Richards

Tom Lee-Richards plays a special brand of folk that melds elements of reggae and calypso together to create something unique and thought-provoking.


Your new single, ‘As Far From India’, is a brilliant tune and really gets the feet tapping. There’s also the distinct sound of water droplets in the background. How did this idea come about and did you sample the sounds yourself?

Thanks Anthony! I love that you hear water drops. That makes total sense but those sounds are actually vocal clicks - a part of the mouth percussion loop I am singing in the background. Almost everything percussive was created in the studio with a microphone. Mouth percussion is a big part of what I do live and it made sense to add as a bed for 'As Far As India'. I think it accentuated the theme of childhood as a continuous rhythm of life, among other things - Like, I also think it sounded cool.

You worked with producer Countbounce (Jarryd James, Dan Sultan), how did he help shape the sound on this track and have you worked together on any other tracks?

Yes, Pip Norman aka Countbounce and I have worked together on quite a few yet to be released tracks. My buddy from 'Hudson and Troop' put us in contact a year or so ago and Pip was drawn to my song 'The Wearing Kind'. This was a different sound for him and required a different approach. We agreed we should explore 'The Wearing Kind's' calypso influences in a fresh way that suits us, whilst staying true to the subtleties in the songwriting. I grew fond of Pip's signature sample and beat driven approach and the wisdom he brought to the process. It made sense that we should do it again so we did! When we started on 'As Far As India' we already had a palette of favourite sounds including a lot from the classic Juno 6 synth and the rest was just a matter of exploring.


The video clip features a number of home videos, are these videos from your childhood? If so, what’s your favourite memory from these videos?

All the video footage was sent in by new and old friends and I just chose the funniest or most classic childhood moments that also reflected the song best. I liked the idea of using footage from a range of different people and I love that the moments still feel connected and nostalgic despite jumping decades and locations. As for my favourite memory none of the footage is from my childhood but I see myself in a few of the video characters - Mostly the reoccurring rat bag pulling faces actually. The lyrics should give you an idea of my own memories though.


You’re officially launching ‘As Far From India’ on April 8th at the Wesley Anne in Northcote. You mentioned a cartoon character/animal dress up theme on your Facebook page; can you tell us more about that? Sounds like a world of fun!

Yeah haha I'm sure that idea will develop on it's own depending on what costumes people turn up in.
There will also be some surprises on the night involving Chase Burns who did projections for White Night. Chase also happens to star in the video and was keen to convey some of the feeling of the song's imagery with projections. It was that conversation that inspired me to ask people to immerse themselves in an aspect of their own childhood at the launch i.e dressing up as their favourite cartoon character or animal. There is something about committing to a fantasy character that reminds me of looking at the world as a kid as well and that is a big part of what the song's about.

All things going well, what is the number 1 thing that you would like to happen in 2016?

This is a tough question but a good one. Apart from traveling more with music I would like to hear the music I release on the soundtrack of a good film. Speaking of, the next single is just around the corner!


Tom plays the Wesley Anne on April 8

Follow Tom Lee-Richards on Facebook | 'As Far As India' is out today on iTunes