Tom Odell talks love, songwriting and Brexit
Tom Odell is the not-so-new-kid-on-the-block. He has cemented himself as this country's bright young thing, finding fame just four years ago when he was discovered by Burberry. His new album 'Wrong Crowd' has shown how much he has grown both in age and in experience when compared to his debut offering 'Long Way Down'. It’s charmingly grittier and hits on deep-seated realities. Just take a look at the video for the lead single 'Wrong Crowd' and you'll see that Odell's mood has altered. Raw, edgy and thoughtful, the Chichester born crooner takes us on a journey of exploration into his mind.
We got up close and personal with the man himself to discuss the music industry's current climate, hornets and Freddie Mercury...
GC: What are the points of departure with your latest album Wrong Crowd from Long Way Down?
TO: Wrong Crowd is far more of a story. It follows a journey from start to finish, which I don’t think the first one did. The first album was based around my largely difficult love life where as Wrong Crowd explores some deeper more delicate topics. I think it’s about growing up, finding some place to belong and perhaps being a bit of an outsider. But of course that involves some falling in and out of love along the way too.
GC: Do you think we need more singer-songwriters in the music industry these days?
TO: Yeah I do. There are so many DJ’s with their laptops and funny hand movements, isn’t it nice when someone picks up a guitar and does something a little more organic. Songwriting still feels like such a powerful art form and I’m pretty sure it will for a long time.
GC: Tell us some “classified information” that comes along with the production of your album or something about it that’s one for the books.
TO: Well we recorded most the album on this farm in Wales called Rockfield. It still has the piano down there where Freddie Mercury wrote Bohemian Rhapsody. One night we were recording and this giant hornet took us prisoner in the kitchen. It was about the size of a hamster. It took us 3 hours running round like little girls to get it out of the building, only to keep returning most nights for the rest of the recording. Eventually we realised it just wanted to hang out.
GC: What would be your worst nightmare?
TO: Waking up to a swarm of angry giant hornets…!? Ermm no, my worst nightmare at the moment I think is similar to a lot of people. I worry about Brexit, and the impact it’s going to have on this country. Bringing in an even more right wing government is going to cause more austerity, and people are going to suffer. We don’t want this country to become a home just for the mega wealthy. We want to be rich in culture and art and kindness not money and banks.
GC: If there were one insanely catchy pop song you’d like to sneakily cover and have as a hidden track for a future album what would it be?
TO: I covered Mike Posner’s, ‘I took a pill in Ibiza’ the other day at the radio 1 live lounge. Its so catchy but, but the lyrics are the pure gold. It’s a brilliant song!
GC: Is there any offbeat city or town you’d like to include in one of your tours in the future?
TO: We did a festival in Portmeirion a few years back. It’s a beautiful and bizarre town, so colourful. They shot some famous TV series there a while back. I’d like to go back and do a gig there.
GC: What are your greatest obsessions?
TO: I like reading. I’m reading this great story about bees at the moment. They are wonderfully complex creatures. I’d like to find more out about bees.
GC: You once confided in another interview that cinema inspires you. Who are the particular filmmakers you religiously follow?
TO: I’m not sure I follow any religiously. But I’m a huge fan of Terrance Malick, his films are so beautifully shot, and are always playing with that idea of Man vs. Nature and exploring the failed American dream. I love González Iñárritu too. I actually met him a few years back, and he was total gentleman!
GC: Is there any song inspired by a film in the new album?
TO: I think they are to a degree. People often ask for a specific inspiration on songs and the album, but it’s so hard to remember what inspired an idea or the lyrics. My songs are inspired by everything I’ve experienced, watched, heard and felt along the way.
GC: Any dream collaboration you’d like to have in the future?
TO: I’d love to work with a film director and score some music to a film. Other than that, I don’t have any many dreams about future collaborators; my dreams tend to be about giant penguins skiing down mountains. Or going to school and realising I’m not wearing any trousers.
GC: How does fashion play an important part in your quotidian?
TO: Not really sure, but I know wearing a suit makes me feel like I have a real job!!