By Ben Doy
Things are happening pretty fast for Auckland musician Thomas Stoneman, aka Thomston. The 20 year old recently released his latest single 'Float', and appeared with Wafia and Ta-Ku at the Vivid Festival in Sydney.
Thomston has signed a deal with Sony Music Australia and is being managed by Scott Maclachlan, who has helped guide the careers of both Lorde of Sol3 Mio. He's also set to open for Broods' New Zealand tour which kicks off this Thursday (full dates below).
I was lucky enough to have a chat with Thomston earlier this week.
Where did you grow up?
I was born in London. My parents moved there for a 1 year OE, which turned into 9 years and 2 kids. I moved to Auckland when I was just a baby and grew up here.
So you’ve got a British passport?
I do! Which would have been a lot more helpful pre-Brexit. I’m kinda unhappy about that but I guess that’s like the least of the issues around that… me not being able to tour and travel as easily. It has a much more significant impact on migrants and refugees and all that.
Who were you early influences?
Michael Jackson… who I’m actually looking at a weird painting of at the moment on the wall at the Sony office right now. We had concerts of his on VHS that I would watch when I was a kid.
Do you remember your first performance?
I did piano recitals growing up as a kid; because I learnt piano at a very young age. So those were my first performances.
The name Thomston. It’s an obvious play on your name but what made you choose that?
I was really stuck for a stage name. I wanted something that kinda sounded a bit stately and summed me up… without having to use my actual boring name. I realised that each of the first four letters of my name fit together quite nicely so I ran with it. It ticked all the boxes for me.
Although your career is still fairly new, you’ve been nominated already for a Silver Scroll which is quite an achievement.
Yeah, that was nuts. I went out and had a fancy lunch to celebrate that. It was an honour to be nominated for my writing, especially for a song that is so deep and personal. It was very special to me.
You’ve released two EPs so far and have just released your latest single ‘Float’ through Sony Music. How did your dealing with Sony come about?
They’d actually been watching me for a while, since high school. When I put out my first batch of music I had a meeting with them but it wasn’t quite the right time to sign yet. Then I started getting interest from a bunch of people and met with everyone, but Sony was the one had been there since the beginning and I got such a good vibe from them. So I signed with Sony Australia last July… about a year now. But I’ve been writing ever since.
And how did you and Scott Maclauchlan come into contact?
I played like a little weird acoustic session / competition thing that my friends in high school organised. There was a person there who was friend’s with Scott and was regularly scouting for him. He presented me to Scott and I had a meeting with him.
You recently performed at the Vivid Festival. How did you find that experience?
That was nuts! It was at the Opera House and we played two shows back to back on the same night. It was with Ta-Ku who is this incredible producer out of Perth. That was really special. I was involved inhis most recent project which was an EP he’d done with Wafia. They made a collaborative EP there that I got two cuts on as a producer and writer. So he brought me out to be involved on the Vivid shows. That was really nice of him, he didn’t have to do that.
And you just played your own headline shows in Australia?
Yeah, I just did Melbourne and Sydney. They were really fun. Sydney especially was nuts. I had a great response from all the people there, people singing along and it’s always nice to see that.
You're supporting Broods on the New Zealand tour. Have you played with them before?
No, never. I’ve seen them a few times just as a fan and a friend. So when I had the opportunity to jump on the tour I was all for it!
What can we expect from your set on the Broods tour?
You'll hear some stuff that’s going to be my first record that I haven’t released yet. It's going to be fun. I’ve got a full band that I’ll be bringing out with me. It’ll be loud and sad and fun.
So you’re working on an album now?
Yeah I’ve just finished it. We’ve just started our plan of attack for rolling it out. It should be out this year, near the end of the year is what we’re aiming for.
What other plans have you got for 2016?
Just more touring. I’ve got some things lined up that are yet to be announced and just making visuals & videos… all that fun stuff.
Broods with special guest Thomston
Thursday July 14th: Horncastle Arena, Christchurch - Tickets via Ticketek
Friday July 15th: Vector Arena, Auckland - Tickets via Ticketmaster
Sunday July 17th: Shed 6, Wellington - SOLD OUT
Monday July 18th: Union Hall, Dunedin - Tickets via Cosmic Ticketing