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Interview with Tom Duggan

Hello everyone, today I have an interview for you with Tom Duggan, a singer songwriter who since finishing his degree has released 8 songs during the pandemic. Today we talk about his latest release Bitter Sweet, his musical influences and making music in lockdown.

Hi Tom, first of all how are you?

I am very well thank you! I hope you are too. I have kept myself busy during the national lockdowns in England to work on my social media skills and I have had plenty of time to think of and develop new song ideas and production techniques.

How would you describe your sound to the readers?

For all of my first seven singles, I would say my sound is particularly clean and acoustic and I like to think that I have a distinctive voice. More recently I've been trying to fill out the 'empty space' in my songs with drums and guitar. I usually put most of my thought into the lyrics of my songs but I've had time to delve deeper into the plugins I have available to me and I picked up my electric guitar for the first time in a while.

Who are your biggest musical inspirations?

My biggest inspiration is a tough question as I am always listening out for new sounds. I would definitely say I've grown up with bands like Lifehouse, Depeche Mode and POWERS and they've had a big influence on pushing me to write my songs down. In fact POWERS responded to one of my Instagram posts recently, so getting that really helped motivate me further. However, my musical influences are far broader. I grew up listening to lots of 80s music and the first huge concert I went to was Depeche Mode and they delivered an awesome set. At school and university I played clarinet and saxophone so I spent lots of time in jazz groups, big bands and orchestras. I love electro-swing which some would describe as 1920s big band sounds to modern day beats. Also, I enjoy the music used on films and TV so the great orchestral scores to epic movies are brilliant but so are the soundtracks to so many TV shows. It's no surprise that I discovered Lifehouse watching Smallville and years later POWERS watching Lucifer.

Can you tell us more about the process behind your new song ‘Bitter Sweet’?

When I first started writing Bitter Sweet, I had no idea what the words would be or what vibe it would end up having. It was very much a layering project. I played around with a lot of drum sounds and plugged in my Electric guitar and kept changing the amp sound until I found drums and guitar that worked well together. After that I played in some cool chords to a click track and that's when the words started to flow in my mind. The overall sound allowed me to see what meaning the words would need.

Did you face any production challenges making this song (or any of your previous songs) due to the pandemic?

Actually the opposite. Back in March of last year I was in my last year of university and they told us to come home. By the time I got back, I had almost entirely finished my course, so that left a void in my life that I needed to fill with either a new job or I could delve into my book of songs and attempt to produce them. With the pandemic, finding the right job was very difficult, so I did the latter and released my first single on my 21st birthday, last June. So, the pandemic got me producing my first songs and my setup hasn't changed very much over the year, so I'm happy and thankful for having something I love to do whilst others are not as fortunate.

You have released quite a lot of songs over the last few months or so, do you have any plans for any bigger projects such as an EP or an album?

At first when I started to produce my songs, I had an idea for an EP or even an album, but as I got more comfortable with producing, I thought it best to stick to a simple singles led plan. This fitted with the advice I was given, because your fans may get excited by news of a new single, but they won't be 10 times more excited by the news of a 10 track album! Also, you can only pitch one song at a time to a playlist curator or radio station, so with lots of singles it gives you more choices. With Bitter Sweet being my first rock/grunge song, if I keep going in that direction, then I may come out with a rock EP but only if the songs feel like it will suit it.

Why have you decided to release all of these songs now? Is it maybe because you can’t tour at the moment or because the pandemic has given you time to work on your music that perhaps you wouldn’t have had before?

Definitely because of the freed up time I have been fortunate to have during this unprecedented pandemic. I'm just happy something good could come out of the time we've had separated from people. I miss being able to play my songs live. My first singles such as Ashes, Hello Desire, Losing Yourself and Broken Trust had all been written before the pandemic and I had been able to perform them all to a live audience and get the feedback of those listening, including fellow musicians. So my music has been a great outlet to express myself whereas before I did that on stage or in music groups at my university and with leadership roles within my course and Student Union.

What’s next for you?

What's next, hmmm, I have several potential singles at various stages right now and I'm going to try to continue coming up with new and hopefully interesting song ideas and delve into different genres to see which brings out the best features of my voice. Whilst I do that, I'm going to upload some covers to my Instagram to show people different genres with my voice and to give myself a better idea of directions to go in. I also still have a lot to learn on social media and then there's Youtube!

And lastly, can you recommend any music for us to listen to? Anything that you have been loving lately?

I like a wide variety of current music and also listen to a lot of 2000's music, especially grunge and soft rock. But as for new songs, I would recommend some upbeat and uplifting music to keep people's spirits high. So I would recommend Hot by POWERS and Love Gun by Tape Five which are both unique and feel good songs, which I feel is a great thing to listen to at the moment. I even did a cover of Watermelon Sugar by Harry Styles this summer so I guess I would recommend the original version!

Thank you so much to Tom Duggan for taking the time to answer those questions for us, there were some really in depth and informative answers there. I wish him luck with any future releases. Makes sure you go to Tom's Instagram and Spotify to give him a follow there so you don't miss anything.

Thanks for reading, until next time...

Listen to 'Bitter Sweet' on Spotify here.

Follow Tom Duggan on Spotify here.

Follow Tom Duggan on Instagram here.

Follow Tom Duggan on Facebook here.

All After Midnight links here.

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