We were really excited when our sweet friend Thom Byles stopped by to share a song from his new project Hanging Valleys.
Feels so right when soothing music floats your direction and gently washes over you when needed most. English – Mexican singer songwriter Thom Byles knew just what we were looking for when he stopped by to share his good energy. With a sound as haunting as Bon Iver but drawn from that place that only he can call his own. We invite you to come on in for a moment to the world of Thom Byles and discover something new.
– Fresh Independence
Home is where your story begins… please share a little about yours.
I started my life in a small village called Nazeing in Essex, England. I’ve lived in a fair few different places but that one feels the most like home. The village is near woods, lakes and some canals which was incredible to grow up around and explore.
How did music find you and begin to grow within?
My first memory of enjoying music was when my Mum would sit me and my sister in the living room whilst she would do an aerobics video, always the same one hahah. The workout was enhanced by incredible bass lines and 80’s style saxophone which soon had me running around the room projecting my limbs in all different manors and speeds.
Some years later when I was living in Mexico I would ride the bus to school which would take about an hour. My parents had a great collection of tapes and I would audition them on my walkman on the ride in. Things like The Doors, The Kinks, Cream, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Jazz on a Summers Day to name some. That’s when I really started to listen to music a lot. I would have those two hours a day to myself and I could stick a tape in and get lost in the sounds. I knew I wanted to be involved in music and so started out borrowing the school saxophone and having after school lessons. That didn’t turn out so well so I moved on to the piano and then finally on to the guitar where I felt at home.
What is the songwriting process like for you?
It always takes me by surprise. I always try and make time to write but it’s quite rare that something ever comes out of those sessions. Most of my songs come about at the weirdest times. Sometimes I’ll just pick up the guitar briefly while I’m waiting for a tea to brew or for my turn in the shower and then the next thing you know you’ve got the makings of a song on your hands and a freezing cold cup of tea! Mostly I start out with a line on the guitar and then I try various vocal melodies until I find one I like and the rest of the song stems from there. The lyrics come last..
Tell us about your relationship with the guitar & ukulele.
When I first picked up a guitar it was the first instrument that I really felt comfortable with. Especially the nylon string acoustic. I loved how you could make such a complete sound and that different tunings would make it feel and play very differently. It amazes me how each and every guitarist has their own way of interacting with it. What an instrument!
The ukulele was a gift to me from a very good friend. I was travelling a bit over one summer and wasn’t able to take a guitar with me. I fell in love with it. Being limited to only using 4 strings and having a less powerful sound forced me to really focus on the song writing. I haven’t been playing it as much recently by itself but I’ll often use it when recording to add another layer and texture to the sound.