Pairing Paul T's beats and Tom Whitelaw's vocals, Sons Between Guns are a match of musical styles and philosophies. Paul has had success in the past with music contributed to Good Looking, whilst Tom has forged a path in providing music for some of London's theatres. After meeting a few years ago, they realised they shared the same passion for music, and hit the studio hard. The result is the Red 1 EP, and we spoke to Tom to find out more.
You’ve both taken alternative routes to Sons Between Guns, - tell us what you’ve done in your respective pasts?
Paul has had a big involvement in the electronic music scene DJing with the Conflict Agency and collaborating on productions with JD Cruz and Adam F. He also released work under LTJ Bukem’s label and performed overseas in the Far East and in Europe. My involvement in Music couldn’t be further from that. In 2008 whilst trying to figure out what I wanted to do musically I was given the opportunity to compose and record music for theatre. After a few years of working on productions for a couple of theatre companies, I found that I had learnt how to record and mix music and had dabbled in a pretty diverse range of composition, from string arrangements to ambient soundscapes. It is fair to say that when we started recording together it was a new direction for the both of us.
Bearing this in mind - how did you meet?
We met in a beach hut. There was an all day party going on and I had been invited to come along. There was a guitar lying around that people were messing about on and I quietly started playing Red Telephone by Love. I think it struck a chord with Paul, because his ears pricked up and he started telling me about seeing them live at Glastonbury, he then asked me whether I knew any drum and bass, so I played the hook to Brown Paper Bag. After that we spent the rest of the night talking about music, discussing with we both listened to and how we both recorded music. It was clear that we shared the same eclectic tastes and it wasn’t long before we were recording ideas in a studio. I had never really sung before, so for some time we worked on instrumentals. Paul heard me singing Bowie songs at another party, which I don’t really remember to well, and off the back of that he convinced me to start singing on the tunes that we working on. A very short time later we had completed our first song and kept going with it.
How would you describe your music?
We like to create a particular mood with our music. We are both inspired by visual influences as well as musical ones and quite often our music starts with an image, which might be from a painting, photograph or film. So rather than think of a narrative, we’ll take a central theme and vibe off it. We end up with songs like ‘9 Miles’ and ‘Galatea’ from our Red1 E.P which are a touch surreal. We hope get into people’s imaginations.
What will the upcoming touring involve?
Our new live setup gives us a lot more freedom on stage. The guitar won’t be used as extensively and we will be mixing songs together live for the first time. I think it will be more representative of what we are doing in the studio. We like playing over projected film too. Old clips of 1950’s burlesque dancers and stop motion animation, that kind of stuff. Hopefully we will be making more of an emphasis on this in our upcoming sets.
Your music has contributions from both electronica and acoustic music – how do you make things work between the two of you?
After writing songs together for the last 18 months, we have become more instinctive. Now we bring ideas together with a clearer objective in mind. We have both had to be brutally honest with each other when working on some tracks. If a guitar part, vocal or beat isn’t working then it comes out. We focus on the vocal and the beat. Once they are solid and we have created a groove that we can listen to for a few hours without getting bored, we’ll starting adding other parts. Being patient is a big factor too. We might listen to a 4 bar beat, looped for an hour, until we’ve come with a bass line that works with it. Patience and prosecco. Works a treat.