Preston flamenco and folk guitarist Tom Metcalfe has been described as the North West’s “best kept secret” by Band on the Wall and Quenched Music say his performances “demand respect from the audience.”
The feedback on his many live appearances is overwhelmingly positive and so we decided it was time to have a chat with Lancashire’s guitar strumming legend in the making.
He spoke to us about gigging, EP plans, an exciting new roadshow and the merits of being a Giraffe.
So Tom, lets start easy – How is life as Tom Metcalfe right now?
It’s good thanks. I’m just sat in the back garden now, yeah it’s good. I’m back home from university now for the summer, so filling the space with gigs. It’s my last year next year though!
What’s the plan after you finish university then?
To do music full time hopefully, to pay the bills through gigging and music. I might have to get a job in a Tesco or something to support myself as well but hopefully the gigs will pay my way.
You’re also going to be teaching music as well, is that correct?
That’s right. I’m just starting that now teaching basically anything that has strings on it! It’s really enjoyable, but it’s only just beginning really – I have loads of ideas but for this I don’t even have posters made up or anything yet?
How do you find teaching, are you Mr Strict or does it come easily?
I really enjoy it actually, you look at the techniques in a way you never do when you are just playing guitar or whatever so it is good for me as well as the person I am teaching.
For example I am teaching a lad how to do flamenco guitar playing and I’m having to teach all the hand movements and things really slowly from scratch. As you do that you pick up things about technique again and can change and learn the way you play as well as teach somebody.
As well as your heavy gig schedule, you have spoken about plans for an EP. Where are those plans at right now?
Well I have quite a big plan with the releases actually. The plan is to record one instrumental EP and then release that online. Then three acoustic EP’s which will be one with my current stuff on it, one with my new set of songs on and one which I have been working on with a poet, which is poems set to music.
There is about seven or eight of the things written for the poetry one, the plan is they will be mainly acoustic tracks on the whole. Then next year the plan is to release a full album which will be like the cream of the crop.
Are there release dates for those EP’s available or are you only just beginning to work on them?
I’m due in the studio this week for the instrumental EP recording sessions. The next month I’m in the studio too and the plan is to have one of the acoustic releases out by September and then by the end of the year I reckon all of them should be out.
The EP with the poet, is there one theme running through it or are all the poems different little stories?
Well the guy I am working with is quite a spiritually inclined person. Er, yeah there is a theme I think. We have a song about fracking which is happening around the area. There are lots of Lancashire based images and it has a strong local feel to it I think.
For those who have never heard your music, are there any artists you are constantly compared to?
The ones that sound like me that are contemporary artists like Mumford and Sons. They are the only ones I can think of that I listen to. I like Laura Marling as well and then of course all the classics from Hendrix to Iron Maiden. I love flamenco and I just love music, there is nothing to tie me down to really.
Talking of flamenco, I just came back from Spain and the music is amazing they put us to shame over there I tell you!
You’ve recently posted online details of the “Red Rose Roadshow” can you explain that for us?
What it was is that we were playing a gig last week and it was me Baxter Rhodes and David Shurr all on the same bill. We decided rather than all travel to the same gigs we would set something up.
We thought rather than go to promoters for gigs who then keep the money off the door or from promotion we would basically buy a PA between us, do all the advertising and promotion ourselves and say right we have set up and run the gig for you ourselves, all we need is payment basically.
There are plans to expand it if it goes well, talk of a record label and everything!
What food would you be and why?
Lentil soup, lentils – what a food.
Giraffe or Zebra?
Depends how high the shrubbery is. If there’s high and low shrubbery I would say giraffe because then you see everything!