THOMAS WYNN AND THE BELIEVERS INTERVIEW


Florida band Thomas Wynn and the Believers have been gaining a reputation in the US for some time. Their most recent album, Wade Waist Deep was also one of our favourite records from 2017.

Their rootsy music fuses together different sounds and influences, creating an original slant on the crossover genre. They are currently on tour with The Temperance Movement showing everyone just why they've even been named #1 rock band and #1 country/folk band for seven consecutive years by the Orlando Weekly.

PG: THIS IS YOUR FIRST EUROPEAN TOUR, HOW ARE YOU FINDING IT SO FAR?

TW: It's been wonderful. The Temperance Movement have brought the crowds, and it's definitely been to our benefit.

PG: WHAT'S IT LIKE ON THE ROAD WITH THE TEMPERANCE MOVEMENT?

TW: We're doing 16 gigs here in the UK, then about that many again in Europe. Its been great. They are great guys to work with, very kind, very good players and that's a plus. We get to see some great rock and roll every night. They've been kind enough to bring myself and my sister Olivia on stage to sing a song of theirs every night which has been fun as well.

PG: YOU DO A MIX OF ELECTRIC, ACOUSTIC AND DUO VERSIONS OF YOUR SONGS, WILL YOU BE MIXING IT UP DURING YOUR SHOWS?

TW: We've made a few different sets lists throughout this run, but tonight we will stay electric and showcase the full band. Hopefully, when we come back in July to do Ramblin' Man Festival and maybe do a headline tour, we can do a little bit more of our repertoire and put the whole gambit in a 90-minute set.

PG: YOU AND OLIVIA HAVE BEEN SINGING TOGETHER SINCE YOU WERE KIDS, HOW DID YOU DECIDE TO FORM THE BAND?

TW: We used to sing together at home and then we sang in choirs growing up together in church. We started writing our own stuff, and it made sense. We like to do it together, and we continue to do it together.

PG: HOW DID YOU MEET THE REST OF THE BELIEVERS?

TW: Well, we've just kind of fallen in together. Chris Bell is an original member. He was in another band in town, and he kept coming round and playing, and he kept sitting in until I said "are you in the band, man?" and he said “I think I am!” and it moved into the Believers at that point. Dave, the bass player, has been with us since the beginning in a different capacity, he was running merch and helping roadie for us and then moved into being our solid bass player for the last 6 or 7 years. He was friends with Ryan, the drummer, and we needed a new drummer, and that worked. Colin was in another band in Orlando. I went to see him, and he wasn't there, so I called him and said "hey where are you at?" and he said, "oh, I'm no longer in that band." So I said "ok, do you want to be in ours?" and he said "sure," and that's how it happened. He joined four years ago, so we've had this steady line up for four years. It's wonderful to be able to know that we're not going to have to show someone else the parts again. We can write music together, I can write a song, but the group builds it.

PG: THERE ARE A LOT OF DIFFERENT STYLES OF MUSIC IN THE BAND: ROCK, BLUES, GOSPEL. WHO ARE YOUR BIGGEST INFLUENCES?

TW: A lot of rock, blues and gospel artists. I grew up listening to the Beatles, James Taylor, The Band, Pink Floyd, Jeff Beck, The Allman Brothers. It's a pretty wide array of 60s and 70s music. When I was a young man I listened to heavier stuff, and that plays a factor as well. I was a big fan of Soundgarden, I still am. Everybody had a different background, and everybody has a favourite genre that they bring, and they bring that influence into the group which is pretty cool.

PG: YOU SOUND A BIT LIKE JOHN FOGGERTY AT TIMES.

TW: I don't mind that comparison at all. It's been said before, but the weird thing is that I didn't have any of his records growing up. I heard the songs that were on the classic rock radio, but it's interesting that people said it's reminiscent of that and I'm glad for it.

PG: YOUR DAD WAS ALSO A MUSICIAN, HOW DID HE IMPACT ON YOUR MUSIC?

TW: Yeah he was a drummer for Cowboy, and they were on Capricorn Records back in the late 60s and 70s. Capricorn also had the Allman Brothers amongst others. They had some regional success and in my opinion not nearly as much as they were due, but it takes a lot more than just talent to get recognition.

PG: DID HE GIVE YOU ANY ADVICE?

TW: Absolutely, he would encourage me to write and practice. I played the drums too so I did scales and paradiddles and my rudiments. I played for time and practised as you should, but at a young age. I started writing songs, because that's what motivated me and that's where my passion for music lies. As a drummer his focus was to play the song, it wasn't to show off his musical prowess.

PG: THE REST OF YOUR FAMILY ARE PRETTY MUSICAL AND CREATIVE TOO, DID YOU EVER THINK ABOUT REFORMING A FAMILY BAND?

TW: You're going back a long time. It would be great, we've talked about it, at some point there may be a resurgence or revisiting of it. At the moment we're doing what we're doing, and my brother has a new band with his wife - White Tigers - they're having fun doing that. When I'm not playing with the Believers, I'm playing with my wife's band Hannah Harper and the Lionhearts. We're a musical family, and that's what we do. It's what brought us together, taken us apart and brought us together again.

PG: MANY OF YOUR SONGS ARE EMOTIONAL AND HAVE A GREAT PASSION AND REALISM TO THEM, ARE THEY BASED ON REAL EVENTS OR JUST A WONDERFUL IMAGINATION?

TW: Unfortunately yes, there's maybe some hyperbole but why not. Most of the time I've found it much easier to glean from personal experience, and at the time it was great and I have lots of songs that I write from that perspective. I have been trying to branch out a little bit and make more of the overarching of the song from personal experience but not necessarily the small detail.

PG: DO YOU HAVE ANY FAVOURITE SONGS TO PERFORM LIVE?

TW: Any song is always fun, but every night one song will impact me more than the others. I think that it depends on how I'm personally feeling. What that does for me is make it real, and it is real.

PG: YOU CAME FROM A RELIGIOUS UPBRINGING, HOW IMPORTANT IS FAITH TO YOU?

TW: It's very important but not in the same way as when I was younger. I'm much less rigid than when I was raised, in ideology and dogma. But I still believe in the way that I do; it's not my place to tell anyone their dogma or ideology is incorrect because all that does is breed dissension and wars and too much hatred. I'd rather accept people.

PG: WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING IF YOU WEREN'T MAKING MUSIC?

TW: I'd love to have a mushroom farm, I'd love to raise rabbits. I've done extensive research on both of these subjects, and you have to be home to do these things, and I'm not. I'd do metal work; I did metal art for a while. There are lots of things I'd do if I didn't do this, but I do do this, and I love it. Maybe at some point, they'll be some time for it, who knows.

PG: WHAT'S NEXT?

TW: We're gathering songs for a new album, we're writing more, we have a lot of gigs going up and US festivals and over here and hopefully by the summer we'll be in the studio and hope to bring you some new music by the end of 18 or early 19.

#blues #rock

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