Michael Green Interviews... Tom Korni
Originally posted on April 3rd 2020 here is a Q & A with singer-songwriter Tom Korni. He talked about his experiences in music.
How did you get into music?
I was always into music; my dad would play all kinds of stuff throughout the house back in the day. He taught me guitar when I was 3. I’m pretty sure I used to go to sleep listening to Pink Floyd when I was well young too. When I got a bit older, I was really into heavy metal and started taking music more seriously, so I tried to start a few bands, and they probably lasted at most a month each, so I decided to just give something a go on my own. I started busking because I’d seen a few buskers about in Cambridge, used to go there on the weekends and that when I was younger. Took an amp, a mic and a guitar with me and went pretty much every weekend. Eventually some people would come up to me asking if I could play at their weddings, parties, all that kind of stuff, and they said they’d actually pay me for it. The prospect of earning money for messing about on a guitar at the age of 13 seemed pretty cool at the time. Been doing it ever since.
Who are your influences?
So as previously mentioned, Pink Floyd are a big influence. I think any music you listen to when you grow up has a massive effect on your eventual taste. Used to love Queen as well. Got into the Beatles at about 14/15 and they completely blew me away. Bit of Radiohead, Oasis, System of a Down, Metallica. Got into hip hop embarrassingly late but Eminem is a massive influence as he is the best lyricist to ever grace this Earth. I think he is an influence on anyone that writes to be honest. More modern stuff would be The 1975 (who I saw in Leeds the other day and they were great), Slow Thai, Tame Impala. Could go on for days really but I think anything you vibe with ends up being an influence.
How do you decide what songs to cover?
I don’t have a set process of picking and choosing. If I like a song then I can usually work it out pretty quickly, because I’ll know how it goes. I generally don’t play stuff I don’t like so there’s not an issue there. I’ll sometimes get requests to play a new song at a gig and they’ll be really good additions to the set so I’ll go away and learn them properly for next time, or even just give it a go if I’m drunk enough. It is fun playing new stuff off the cuff anyway, so I always try it. The only real limit is I’m just playing the guitar, drums and singing, so if there’s some integral orchestra bit or whatever then I usually give it a miss.
Tom performing 'BlackBird'
Do you feel it is important to watch other acts perform?
Yeah I guess it’s pretty important because otherwise I wouldn’t know I want to perform and that. Watching people always gets me going and makes me want to try harder and do different things. If you isolate yourself then you won’t expose yourself to new things which is the opposite of what music is about.
What is your song writing process/inspirations?
My process is all over the place but that’s probably a good thing. If you were doing things the same way over and over then your songs would probably sound pretty stale after a while. I try and play different instruments and use new stuff and just see if I can get a song out of it. Inspiration probably comes from the mood I’m in at the time, but sometimes an idea will just pop into my head out of the blue and I build on it. Lyrics take me the longest to write but I hear that’s pretty common. Lyrically I write about what’s going through my head at the time; stuff I’m worried about, excited about, people that are in my life or aren’t anymore. I try not to think about the lyrics too hard though because otherwise I’d never finish a song.
Do you think it is important to listen to old classics as well as modern music?
It’s important to me at least, because I genuinely like old stuff and new stuff. I think you know if you’re into something or not, and how old a song is shouldn’t really come into it. A load of old tunes sound dated, I get that, but there’s a lot that isn’t, so gate keeping yourself seems like a waste of time to me.
Tips for people who are starting out performing/song writing?
The biggest tip of all is to go out and try stuff. Put your pride to one side and give it a go. Go out and do gigs and get some experience, and if you’ve never written a song before then just try and write one. Obviously it’ll be rubbish, it’s your first attempt, but you’ll get better with practice. It’s the same with literally every other skill. If you enjoy it and you’re willing to put the time in then you’re already on the right road. Once you get better you’ll always cringe at yourself when you think back to early mistakes but they’re funny really. I don’t lose sleep over a dead note I made in 2014.
To find out more about Tom go to www.tomkorni.com
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