Life for Tom Showtime is good. His new album, The Jam Thief, has been out for a month now and is doing well. And as he rightly claims, “It has been great to sit back and watch it go." Otherwise, the lad has been jamming with a drummer and double bass player, bringing to life tunes from the album on a futuristic jazz tip.
“I’m really getting back into playing the sax again,” explains the talented musician. “I found that spark on tour with N’fa Jones recently being the one-man band as DJ and horn section. It’s been great practicing again and getting my ‘chops’ back. Moving forward I hope to be playing with bands more regularly as well as spinning records around town. Being a DJ, producer and saxophonist is tricky, but sometimes it’s hard to know what to practice or focus on. Hopefully when you see my shows or hear my album this all comes across - that I’m making the beats, adding the scratches and playing the sax parts.”
Where he finds the time to do all of this is the next question. But his quest doesn’t stop there. For he has also teamed up with local crew The Psyde Projects on a funky track called Funk Pants. “It’s available as a limited 7" from Northside Records, Wax Museum or Obese,” Tom explains. “I’ve also just released Spaces & Places – Melbourne’s Finest Remixes on which I brought together eight local producers to rework the lead single off The Jam Thief. It features remixes by Lotek, Amin PaYnE, Copycat, Mr Moonshine, SNESmega, Jects, KelBeats and Skomes, as well as my own Double Down Mix.”
Otherwise – if that’s even possible – Tom explains that he’s been going back to his roots making heaps of trip hop and down tempo beats with, as he terms it, ‘loads of instrumentals, plenty of head nodding and sofa rocking sounds.’ “I’m more or less working towards a new album and considering how long this one took to get out I’d better get cracking! I’ve got a track coming out as a 45 on the UK label Passin Me Jazz next month which is a cheeky remix of The Pharcyde's Passin’ Me By. There’s also a few new bootlegs to add to my Your Word Against Mine collection, which will be available for download very soon.”
So to celebrate all of the above and probably a whole lot more, there will be a block party slash laneway festival slash album launch extravaganza! “It’s happening the Queens Birthday weekend at George Lane Bar in St Kilda and will be the debut show for my new band. I’ll be performing under the backdrop of a freshly painted RekaOne mural, as he’s been responsible for all my cover art and design, it’s the perfect setting for launching my album. Lots of guests and party rockers will make it a tremendous day party!”
And expect the soundscapes to come from anywhere and everywhere. “I always play across the board; I love playing my down tempo beats, interesting background beats with hints of jazz and funk. It’s great playing long sets of this style, listening to my favorite tracks and sharing it with people. Sometimes you want to take it up a notch by pleasing dance floors with some ‘hands in the air’ party hip hop. It can be more gratifying because of the energy it creates and with that, I’ve been really enjoying the some new sounds; mid tempo breaks with familiar hip hop samples, just with big bass lines and bigger beats!”
“As well, I’ve been playing more and more of my own gigs lately, playing tunes strictly from the catalog and getting a great response from the crowd. I played these sets in Sydney and Newcastle recently to complete strangers and they went mad for it, I sold heaps of albums at the gigs, which is a new and exciting experience for me! Back in Melbourne I played with N’fa Jones at his EP launch at The Grace Darling with the talented Justin Smith on drums, it was packed and we really lifted the roof off! Good times right there too.”
More recently, he admits he’s been fortunate enough to hook up with two really talented cats in Zvi Belling of The Public Opinion Afro Orchestra on double bass and Conrad Tracey, the owner of Revolver Drums and what he calls an ‘all round percussion genius.’ “We’re playing as a trio with myself on sax and turntable duties gives us a real modern jazz sound, but with a definite hip hop and funk flavor. Using samplers we can really take the tracks that I’ve made in the studio and deliver them live on stage.”
So fans, expect to hear tunes from The Jam Thief and EP3013 with extended sax solos and scratch sections. For newbies, get down to understand what you’ve been missing. “We’re all keen to morph this thing into working band, playing new material and evolving it into an ongoing thing,” says Tom. Sounds like a good plan, no?
Tom Showtime's [AUS] The Jam Thief is out now. The launch party takes place this Sunday June 10 at the George Lane Bar, St Kilda.