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The Eighth Note: Tom Scrase

Last edited: 03.10.17 | Comment? | By










‘The Eighth Note’ is 8 quick Questions with Wellington Musicians.

A chance for us to catch up with people & see what they’re up to, or introduce you to a new musician/band and their music.

Today’s guest is Tom Scrase, co-founder of the Thomas Oliver Band and currently a member of Battle-Ska Galactica as well as other musical projects.

Who are you? Tell us a bit about your music:
I’ve been playing music since I was six, starring with piano and moving to drums at high school. I’ve been fortunate to be playing in all manner of bands since moving back to Wellington to study music in 2005. Playing covers helped me to understand playing for the songs and how to be versatile, plus you develop stamina! I co-founded the Thomas Oliver Band in 2005 and had a great 9 years with them getting to tour with Joe Cocker, Cold Chisel and Fat Freddy’s Drop. At the same time I joined Strike Percussion and had the opportunity to tour China and South Korea. I’m now composing for dance regularly and have incorporated Taonga Pūoro into my live performances. My solo moniker is People Of The Sun.

What have you been working on lately? Any new tracks or albums on the way?
I recently composed and toured with Footnote Dance Company which will see an EP of music from the show. At the same time, I’m close to the mastering stage of my debut EP under the ‘People Of The Sun’ moniker. It’s a mix of ambient and hip hop elements with a world percussion bent. I’ve also got a new work Hurihuri which is a half hour live music and integrated dance performance as part of the Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast in April next year which I’m excited to be part of!

Where is the best place people can follow you & find your music?
My Website is the best spot to find links to projects I’m involved in. I’m not prolific on social media and have preferred to use SoundCloud to upload media. I’m likely to release my music through Bandcamp, so keep an eye out there too!
Tom Scrase
People Of The Sun

What were the 3 most influential albums to you growing up?
The earliest memories of music I have are of Paul Simon’s Graceland. The rhythms, production and songwriting are just so good. It’s such an uplifting album too and the nostalgia from taking road trips with my family hold a special place. In that same era I was listening to The Moody Blues and singing along to all the albums with my dad, most notably In Search of the Lost Chord. Singing about Timothy Leary as an 10 year old is a hilarious reminiscence. Tool’s album Ænima was a profound influence as a 15year old. It taught be discipline and musicality on the drums and opened my eyes to progressive music and concepts. All the associated acts like King Crimson, Pink Floyd and Rage Against The Machine just poured out of that time in my development.

Which other Wellington musician (s) would you most like to work with?
I’ve played on the same bill as a lot of heroes of mine but I’d really like to contribute drums to some Fat Freddy’s Drop recordings. And I’d be totally happy to play a solid groove with their live 12-20minute versions of them!! There’s something satisfying about a hypnotically constant groove.

What’s your favourite Wellington venue to play in?
I have enduring memories of Bodega and San Fran gigs with The Thomas Oliver Band but my favourite venues are where the audience is really there, present and for you alone so my favourite so far is the Saint James. A standing ovation after a sellout show there with Strike was pretty special, especially with my parents in the front row.

In your songwriting or composing (or the band’s songwriting) how do the compositions and songs take shape?
My compositions vary a lot in their form, structure and instrumentation and I’ve yet to refine any style or mode of composition. Often I’ll have a vault of grooves I want to work with and they might be at the back of my mind when coming up with a chord sequence. I prefer to write at a piano and explore where chords might be leading me. Ambient drones are a big part of creating a feeling and mood for each track at the moment. If I’m writing for dance I can have a lot more direction to the structure and even things like tempo, time codes and goals of what the music should achieve and I love working in that manner so that style of storytelling is creeping into my solo work.

Where/when is your next gig?
I’m still busy with a handful of bands including covers bands so I’ve got a number of pub and jazz gigs in the near future but my main band BattleSka Galactica will be part of the Wellington SkaFest on November 4th at the Grand and there’ll be a few summer tours with them. Raglan, Leigh Sawmill and some more surf friendly spots tend to appeal as a few of us are keen to get a wave while on the road!

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