The Internet has marked a change in the New Zealand music scene - providing artists with the opportunity to become well known all over the world, without the need to even leave their bedroom. Thomston is the perfect example of this - at only 20-years-old, he's accomplishing what most people would only dream of at that age. Since releasing the 'School Night' EP on Soundcloud back in 2013, he's been slowly on the rise - working hard to develop his sound, and foster his creativity throughout the process. He's since released another EP, and is set to release his debut album in 2016.
Though he only played his first public show in New Zealand at the end of February, Thomston spent much of 2015 on tour in Europe - playing at Summer festivals across the UK, Denmark, Switzerland, The Netherlands, and more. The crazy schedule is set to continue, with 2016 set to be his biggest year yet - and he's more than ready.
We photographed Thomston wearing his shoes from the brand new Converse Chuck Taylor All Star II Collection - a shoe which is perfect for those who are always on the go, and ready for more in 2016.
We spoke to Thomas about his upcoming year, about which he says, “I'm finishing and releasing my debut record, which is such a milestone for me.” A debut album is a hallmark moment for any artist, so it's no wonder that it's a point of excitement for the year - “I'm mainly just excited to see what comes from releasing the album. Seeing how people react to a collection of songs that I feel really strongly about.”
Creatives often have different ways of dealing with stress and busy times, and Thomas lists his essentials for getting through 2016 as the following: “Staying healthy, drinking lots of water, pawpaw ointment, Chuck [Taylors], Kaarage dons, and pep talks with friends.”
His day to day routine is ever changing, and between playing live shows and recording music - it looks to stay that way for a while. Thomas says, "My day to day routine changes so much depending on where I am and what I'm doing but I'm a very restless person, who struggles to sit still for long periods of time. I find that being on my feet is the best way to get ideas flowing. Walking around my neighbourhood at night for about an hour is my favourite way to write music. In studio I'm also that annoying person who paces around the room staring intensely at the ground with my brow all furrowed, it was caught on camera once which made me realise how stressed I look 90 percent of the time. Bad case of resting stress face. I'm working on it."
Songwriting can become difficult when writer's block becomes a problem. We asked Thomas about how he deals with this, and he said, “I have a song called 'Expiry Date' that was the outcome of my first ever “creative block”. Up until then, I assumed writers block was a myth. Listening to it reminds me that I have pulled through in the past and that I can pull through again. Also repeating the mantra that my best work is always ahead of me is so helpful.” He has an ideal working environment to avoid creative blocks too, however it's different for writing and producing: “For producing, somewhere clean, comfortable, bright. For writing, somewhere outside, quiet, empty. Somewhere I can really collect my thoughts.”
Thomas' relationship with his fans extends two-ways - in a world where fans can be fickle and find someone new to love overnight, he understands the importance of this relationship, and fosters it by replying to fans on social media, and allowing them insight into his world through the likes of his Snapchat account.
Ahead of his first ever New Zealand show last month, Coup De Main invited a couple of fans to meet Thomas, as well as ask him a few questions. Read the mini-interview below…
CHRISTINE & LUCY: Where do you get your clothes from?
THOMSTON: That mustard yellow bomber, I got from my friends dad - 'cuz I steal my friends parents clothes, 'cuz that's what I do. But I just got a bunch of clothes from Korea this morning. They took like a month to arrive, right on the day of the show.
CHRISTINE & LUCY: What artists do you have your eye on for 2016?
THOMSTON: Other than myself… <laughs> I really like Tink - she's like R&B, she's Timbaland's protégé, she's awesome. I'm also looking to see what happens with Låpsley's album. Another big one is Wafia. She came to New Zealand last month and stayed at my house, and we made songs for 10 days. We've got a bunch of cool songs.
CHRISTINE & LUCY: I found you on Soundcloud when you released 'School Night'. How do you think the Internet has helped you?
THOMSTON: I think being in New Zealand is super isolating, and every time I go overseas I go to London or LA or Australia, and I meet so many people. I just don't really meet people in New Zealand, so I think the Internet has really helped just break down that border. So I'm very grateful for it.
CHRISTINE & LUCY: Do you write from personal experience? 'Cuz you have a lot of coming of age songs.
THOMSTON: Yeah. Pretty much all of my songs are based completely in my reality, but there are some songs that are kind of based on friends' relationships, or hypothetical scenarios stemming from said relationships. I just like observing what my friends do and how they live their lives, and writing about that. It just means that I have a bit more to draw from, 'cuz I'm super boring. I don't do anything myself.
CHRISTINE & LUCY: This isn't a question, I'd just really like you to do something with Troye [Sivan].
THOMSTON: <laughs> He's doing super well. When he tweeted 'Collarbones', that was insane. I put it up the night before, and I went to sleep and I was gonna wake up and see what the reaction was. I opened Twitter and there were no notifications, I was like “OH man, no one likes it.” And then I refreshed, and there were like 360. It was because he'd tweeted it, and all his fans had jumped on. Most of them were like, “Dad, Dad, ily,” to him, and kind of probably didn't even listen to the song, but that's okay.
CHRISTINE & LUCY: Have you ever had an on-stage malfunction?
THOMSTON: So we get on stage, and we're about to start, and I hear the click in my ears, and I'm ready. I look at the drummer and he starts playing, and we realise that nothing is coming through the front of house speakers. Then I peer at the back, and I see my sound guy is running down the stairs - he went to the bathroom. I awkwardly walked off stage for a bit, breathed deeply in the wings before coming back on.
The new Converse Chuck Taylor All Star II Reflective Print Collection are available now online (click HERE to purchase) and at stores across New Zealand, for just NZD$150.
Watch Thomston's music video for 'Anaesthetic' below…