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13 Questions

13 Questions with Thom Morecroft

The Liverpool-based songwriter takes part in our 13 Questions feature on the back of his new single, ‘The Beast’.

Thom Morecroft is no stranger to gig-goers around Liverpool.

The hard-working songwriter has been a staple of the local scene for quite some time now, his storytelling sitting on the framework of alt-country and folk influences.

His work is no better showcased than on the 2019 album, The Feng Shui and the Sushi, which was met with widespread acclaim.

Like many artists, Morecroft has been blighted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, with touring coming to a grinding halt and the only exposure readily available seemingly being from the vaults of one’s home.

You can’t keep a good man down, though, and Morecroft has been finding ways to keep busy, releasing new music during the downturn. Most notably, his latest single, The Beast, which was recorded live at Parr Street Studios and seeing release on local label, 9×9 Records.

We caught up with Morecroft shortly after the release of The Beast.

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1. Your new single, The Beast, was released last week. How’s the reception been so far?

Thom Morecroft: “It’s been very good so far. One of things I wasn’t expecting was the moral support I got for releasing something so personal, from other musicians in Liverpool. It’s also just been good to see word spread a little bit organically to people who’d not really heard of me before, too.”

2. It’s a live single which is not something that’s too common. Any specific reasoning behind this?

TM: “I think going through lockdown, live music has been one of the things I’ve really missed, both as a musician and as a fan. The label had suggested releasing The Beast as a single, and I realised we’d recorded and mixed this live version at the last album launch.

“As luck would have it, it was also the song that had been caught on film. It’s also a song I have struggled to capture in a studio setting, whereas in concert (for whatever reason) it just seems to take care of itself. I felt it was important to release something live at the moment, I knew I wanted to release this and it just so happens it works a lot better in that setting.”

3. Your album, The Feng Shui and the Sushi, came out at the back end of 2019. Were you planning on touring it before the lockdown came?

TM: “I had a 14-date UK tour lined up, and managed to honour nine of those until lockdown. It was oddly the most enjoyable and pressure-free tour I have done, and it seems really strange… in fact I think the word I’m looking for is nuts… to think that I was out gigging until the middle of March, and saying to people, ‘come out and see my show please. The last gig was in Wigan on the 15th of March, and the week after the country was in lockdown.

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4. It was one of the first releases for 9×9 Records if I remember correctly. How did signing with the label come about?

TM:”Neil [Tilley] had decided to start up a record label. I’d known him for some time from my performances at 81 Renshaw (a fine record store and then-venue in Renshaw St). He approached me about releasing the album through 9×9 Records. It’s been great working with them; people don’t get the opportunity to release tangible, physical records anymore.”

5. Back to lockdown, whilst artists are desperate to get back out and play live, artistically, has there been anything you’ve found beneficial from the extensive downtime?

TM: “Before the lockdown I was a jobbing musician, so Covid put a pause on that. It was a scary time; not just financially for me, but for the whole world.

“However, the one positive I have gleaned from lockdown has been time. I have released an album (digitally) every month through my Patreon account, and I’ve got more songs ready to go. I performed some of these on a recent live stream, and now I can’t wait to get back to live gigs to play what I’ve been working on.”

5. Back to lockdown, whilst artists are desperate to get back out and play live, artistically, has there been anything you’ve found beneficial from the extensive downtime?

TM: “Before the lockdown I was a jobbing musician, so Covid put a pause on that. It was a scary time; not just financially for me, but for the whole world.

“However, the one positive I have gleaned from lockdown has been time. I have released an album (digitally) every month through my Patreon account, and I’ve got more songs ready to go. I performed some of these on a recent lives tream, and now I can’t wait to get back to live gigs to really what I’ve been working on.”

6. While I would say that you’re music lends itself to the folk/acoustic scene, your voice is quite unique and very powerful which separates you from a lot of your contemporaries. Who would you consider to be your musical influences growing up?

TM: “As a little kid, I loved Tamla Motown singles. And skiffle. I must have been the only six year old obsessed with Lonnie Donegan! When I was eight/nine, I discovered (and became obsessed with) The Beatles, and my older brother started bringing home folk and acoustic music (The Humblebums being the most notable influence for me) and more contemporary ’90s guitar-driven indie bands (Oasis, Blur, Pulp, Semisonic etc.).

“As I reached my teens I became acquainted with classic rock (Queen, Led Zeppelin, The Who, Bon Dylan), and then American alternative rock (R.E.M., Blind Melon, Pearl Jam, Alice In Chains, Nirvana) with a bit of ’70s prog (Pink Floyd, early Genesis) but also ’70s singer-songwriters (Joni Mitchell had a big impact) and the more contemporary ones (Damien Rice mainly).

“I remember getting into The Band and then John Martyn later on in my teens, and started to find I was going out playing with just an acoustic guitar instead of in bands. All these different artists and genres still have a big influence on what I put out today.”

Thom Morecroft - The Beast

7. Your quite active on social media. I’m guessing you find it to be a great tool to reach wider audiences?

TM: “Part of me wants to say I don’t really understand social media and that it’s in the way of music rather than helping it, but I can’t deny that sometimes someone will share something quite casually that someone else (who only knows that person a little bit) sees and falls in love with enough to become a fan of your music. Reluctantly, I accept the magic of this.”

8. Some fun questions now, films or boxsets?

TM: “To experience something truly new and magnificent: film. For comfort and general time-pass-entertainment: boxsets. The latter has become a real past time for my partner and I. But, when she inevitably falls asleep, I will put on a film. There is something so complete and wonderful about a great movie. Because of the way we watch TV now, films have become like 7 inch singles.”

9. When were you last told off?

TM: “I get told off every day. And in fairness, I do something quite stupid every day. Rachael very gently told me not to slam the front door to get it to shut because it would break it. She is correct. Don’t even ask what happened when I lost the bin bags.”

10. Vinyl, CD, MP3 or Streaming?

TM: “They’re all great in different ways, but nothing beats hearing something for the very first time on vinyl.”

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11. Which bands/artists are you currently listening to?

TM: “Paul Brady‘s Hard Station has been my great discovery of the last year – it’s tremendous. I’ve very recently come around to the first Roxy Music album, and have rediscovered Dogman Star by Suede as an under-appreciated classic.

“In terms of new artists, I think Flyte are really great. Locally, both new albums from Robert Vincent and John Witherspoon are spectacular. I really like Leonie Jakobi‘s new single, You’re So Special, and I’ve dipped back into Calum Gilligan‘s EP  recently too – he’s such an incredible songwriter. But the thing I really want to do at this very moment in time is listen to early John Renbourn albums.”

12. What does the rest of 2021 have in store for you? A new album on the horizon, perhaps?

TM: “I have a lot of new songs written and recorded from over the last year, and I’m so happy with some of them as they are I’d like to release them as singles. I’d love to make another album again as soon as I can; I know exactly what I want to do, and that almost never happens.”

13. Thanks for taking the time. Is there anything else you’d like to say?

TM: “Find me on social media where I’ll be doing regular live streams, and join me as a patron on Patreon if you want to hear all my secret new music. And find The Beast wherever you get your new music, and have a listen. Thank you for having me, I’m off to watch Friends and pretend it’s 1995 (and regress).”

The Beast is out now via 9×9 Records. Purchase from Bandcamp.

By Simon Kirk

Product from the happy generation. Proud purple bin owner surviving on music, books and LFC. New book, Welcome To Charmsville, available from all major vendors.

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