Tommy Cobley, former frontman of Leicester band Arcades, has just released his debut single ‘Alive’. Recording under the moniker TOMMY, the song is aptly named with horns, gospel vocals and a powerhouse tune. Having spent the past eighteen months of lockdown crafting an album’s worth of material with producer Gavin Monaghan, this is an exciting first taste of what is to come from TOMMY as a solo artist.
We caught up with TOMMY just before the single dropped to find out more about ‘Alive’ and how he is finding working without being part of a band for the first time in ten years.
Hi Tommy! How’s everything going right now?
Everything’s in a good place at the moment. I’ve been working with some really inspiring people and the live band is sounding huge in rehearsals. I’m very excited to get out on the road after spending such a long time in the studio.
What classic album cover is your current mood?
‘Wish You Were Here’ by Pink Floyd.
“Alive”, your debut single, is released this week – tell us a bit about it and the writing and recording process
Yeah so Alive was one of the first tunes I wrote after moving into our first house with my girlfriend. It’s an upbeat, in your face slapper. Like most of my tunes I wrote it on my acoustic guitar but it really came to life when I jam it out with Ash Sheehan from The Twang. He brought that extra groove and bagginess it needed and completely turned the song into a single. We’ve written a lot together since then. After that we took it into the studio and played it to our producer Gavin Monaghan and i think was recorded, mixed and mastered within 3 days. I remember hearing the final mix and we all said that’s the first single.
It has a different sound, especially the horns, to your previous band Arcades – was that a conscious effort to make a break from the past?
I guess but I think the sound thats coming out the speakers now is the music i’ve always wanted to make. So, on pretty much every tune I’ve recorded all have a horn section, live strings and gospel vocals. I didn’t want any rules or limits when recording these songs. It’s mad because when I’m writing on my acoustic I write with all those other parts in mind now. Ash has brought a lot to the table and has been a real inspiration in my life recently. We’ve also been working with a great female vocalist Ange Lloyd. She features on all the tracks as well and I think thats really changed the game too.
If you could only listen to one record, what would it be?
Wow! Ask me this everyday and the answer will change but one of my favourite tunes is ‘Young Hearts Run Free’ by Candi Station. BANGER!
How does being a solo artist compare with being in a band? Was it difficult to split the band especially after you’d been through so many things together?
So at the start i was like, what do I do now kinda thing. I spent nearly ten years with the guys and when they said they wanted out I aint gonna lie it was a really hard time. It wasn’t until I spoke to Gavin about things and he really pushed me to go for it. I’m a solo artist and i write all the tunes but I wouldn’t be where I am at today without the team of inspiring musicians and friends I’m working with. Everyone plays a massive part and if I’m honest it’s way more enjoyable now doing it this way but when I’m in the studio or playing shows I just feel part of part of a great team.
‘Alive’ has a nostalgic feel but also a modern sound – what did you listen to growing up and how have they influenced your songwriting?
Growing up it was The Beatles for me and they massively influence me for sure. I listen to a lot of Soul, Motown and Hip Hop at the moment and of course your big indie & RNR bands I adore still. I’m really into art and film too I think that plays a huge part in what Im doing now also.
You have some live dates scheduled for this month – how have rehearsals been going and what can fans expect to hear?
Rehearsals have been great and the band is sounding tight as. I’m lucky to be working with such talented musicians and I’m very grateful. It’s going to be an incredible live show. I can’t wait.
What would go on your signature pizza and what would it be called?
You know what I’m a child but sod it… Cheesy, Steak and Chips Pizza with proper Heinz Ketchup. I’d called “The motherfucker with cheese” only to be served between the hours of 1am and 3am AVE IT!
What else do you have planned for 2022?
Playing lots more shows and releasing more music.