Wednesday, April 03, 2019

10 Questions For: Thom Artway


We had the honor of being able to talk to one of the most talented artists in the Czech Republic. And, as we could confirm in this conversation, his music is a reflection of the person he is: open and sincere. These are our 10 questions for Thom Artway:

Sounds European!: Let's go back in time. What are your first memories with music? What artists did you like to listen when you were growing up? When did you start experimenting with music yourself? And what were your first steps as a professional?

Thom Artway: I listened to a lot of Czech musicians who you unfortunately can't know. We had an old vinyl player. I remember my brother showing me how to change the vinyls properly to avoid scratches. I could spend a couple of hours listening to those vinyls. I used to sing in school competitions – but at that time I was really shy. I first started to be more professional when I came to Prague. Music was everywhere. I played on the street on a daily basis.

SE!: From the start, you were a huge success. In 2015, your single "I have no inspiration" was an immediate hit, being in the top positions of the Czech charts for over one year. In 2016, you won two prestigious Anděl Awards, for best male singer and discovery of the year. Nowadays, you are one of the most acclaimed artists of the Czech music scene. How was it for you to see so much happening in your career in such a short time? And how do you feel, seeing your work being so well recognized by the critics and the public?

TA: Well, I'm nearly 26 now. I wrote my first song when I was 17. So it was nine years ago. I don't know what happened exactly with that young shy guy. But I'm pretty sure that when I started believing in myself, everything became easier to me. The Anděl Award was very important to me. It is like the Grammy, I still really appreciate it.

SE!: In your first hit, you said: "I am young lost man. I have no inspiration now to write a song". Even though you rose to prominence stating you had no inspiration, we want to know: What inspires you when you are writing songs? And, in a more general sense, what artists inspire your work – when writing, performing or in any other aspect of your life as an artist?

TA: I'm inspired by people I've met, for example. They have a lot of exciting stories to tell, but they will never turn them into songs, so I'm trying to do that. I have to admit that, in the beginning, I used to listen to Coldplay, Glen Hansard and Damien Rice. Those artists gave me huge inspiration. After watching an interview of Glen Hansard, I went to sing on the street for the first time in my life. I've been playing ever since.

SE!: Worldwide pop music has seen a solid, stable market for folk-pop artists. We see your work into that genre, but with a very personal signature of yours: your melodies are happier, more optimistic and even more uptempo than the average folk-pop artist. What can you tell us about it? How do you see your music, in genre and style? What would you like people to understand and feel, when listening to your songs?

TA: My first album was not as uptempo as the second one. I enjoyed those intimate moments when I was playing for 30 people in small cafés. Then I started to play bigger shows – slow and sad songs did not work on a big stage. Maybe because of those experiences I recorded more upbeat songs. The truth is also that I'm now much happier personally. I'm sure it is also one of the reasons I'm writing much happier songs. But every big concert is still an adventure for me.

SE!: Another thing that draws our attention about your work is the language: your singles are all in English. Why did you choose to write your songs in English? And how do you see the matter of languages in music, as a whole and specifically in the Czech Republic?

TA: When I was 16, 17, I was listening only to songs in English and I was inspired by them. That's why I started to sing in English. Nowadays, I'm trying to sing in Czech as well. But only at home.
I have to practice Czech pronunciation because my mouth is used to English. Young Czech people can understand English better and better, but yeah – if I sang only in Czech, there would surely be more listeners in my country.

"The truth is also that I'm now much happier personally. I'm sure it is also one of the reasons I'm writing much happier songs"

SE!: Your work has been crossing several borders lately. You have toured all over Europe, performing in festivals and important venues in cities such as Budapest, Groningen, London, Paris and Vienna. How is it for you to perform in other countries, and explore different cultures? What are your best memories of these experiences? And what is the importance of being on stage for you, as an artist?

TA: I never thought I would play in clubs all over Europe. It is like a dream came true, for a Czech guy. So every concert outside of the Czech Republic is very special to me – more like a bonus.
People who came to see my gig could have had a hard day in work, school. Every time, I have to realize that I should do my best for them.

SE!: Your new album, "All I know", is scheduled to be released this spring. Based on the four songs we know from it, "In your mind", "All I know", "Sleeping next to you" and "Can't wait", our expectations are huge! What can you tell us about it?

TA: Thank you. It was a beautiful process to work on this album. As I'm more experienced now, I know more what the final result should sound like. I'm excited about what people will say.
The album was already released in the Czech Republic. Now it is time to show it to the world!

SE!: Besides your new album, what are your professional projects for the near future? What can your fans expect from you in 2019?

TA: Concerts! Also I'm already working on my next album! (laughing)

SE!: If you could choose anyone, who would be some Czech and international artists you would like to collaborate with?

TA: With my favourite Czech singer Meky Žbirka, then Coldplay, Glen Hansard, Damien Rice.

SE!: We would like to finish this interview with a song of yours. What is your favorite song by Thom Artway, and why?

TA: By the time the interview is out, my album is released, I guess. Go and listen to the song "Many partings". There is something beautiful in that song. I'm not quite sure what it is. Maybe you will tell me! Thank you for a lovely interview!

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