Margaret River based producer/singer/songwriter ASKYA’s first two singles garnered immediate traction, being placed in multiple top-tier Spotify playlists worldwide. In fact they gained enough attention for him to get a call from Triple J inviting him to play at The Drop Festival in Busselton this weekend.
“I was pretty surprised when triple J called me up. At first, I didn’t know if it was a prank call or not, but I feel good. I feel like I’ve been ready for something like this for a while. It’s a bit more difficult living in Margaret River, I feel like I’m a bit far away from the industry, so it feels really good to have some industry support.”
When Around The Sound spoke to Tom Boerema, the 20-something human behind ASKYA, the sense was of a young artist who has all of his ducks pretty much lined up. Any self-doubt is dealt with pretty efficiently and he speaks confidently about the short journey to here and what could lie beyond.
“I don’t think I actually thought it (being a musician) was possible to begin with. I was working as an engineer and I left my job and thought I would try something different. I think my girlfriend convinced me to try music and I suppose you always worry a bit about income and things like that, but after a while you realise that, if you work hard enough, things just work out. Now, in hindsight, I don’t see myself going back to a job and it’s also given me time to work on some other things.”
Sounds pretty easy, doesn’t it? But listen to Boerema’s music and it’s fairly evident that there’s a mountain of talent behind this young producer and songwriter. His voice has the rawness and vulnerability of a John Martyn and, combined with the electronic soundbeds that Boerema creates and lyrics that belie his youth, he makes some achingly beautiful music. It’s small wonder he’s found a sizeable audience in a short amount of time.
Having spent a year working between Margaret River and Switzerland, where his girlfriend hails from, means that Boerema has a whole swag of songs in various stages of readiness. When we will get to hear them is another matter, though.
“I have a lot of songs and I want to try to get myself to recording and producing them. The perfectionist in me means that if I’m producing a song myself, it’s never finished, because no one tells you it’s finished so you just keep working on it. My plan is to release acoustic versions and electronic versions of each song. Both of those types of music have been big parts of my life and I think, more than ever, it’s possible to do that, especially with playlists. People might like a song, but they might prefer the acoustic version, or whatever.”
New music is imminent, that’s about as much as can be said right now, but we’re sure it won’t be too far off. When we suggested that the strategy of releasing acoustic and electronic versions of his songs should play well with his audience, Boerema’s quick response was, “We’ll see.”
“I’m planning to do that this weekend. I’ll start just acoustic and then move into electronic, so I hope it’s not too much of a shift.”
Quiet self possession rules Boerema’s roost, but it’s good to see that there’s a balance between his well-placed confidence and a tiny bit of doubt. It’s the doubt that keeps the artist true to their compass.
As for the company he’ll be keeping this weekend? That’s when Boerema really got excited.
“Angus Stone was the reason I started playing guitar, so that’s cool.”
We suggest you get to The Drop early in Saturday so you can check out ASKYA’s set. It will be a wise investment of your time.
More on The Drop
Supported by triple j and the World Surf League (WSL) the 2019 line-up for The Drop features brother-sister duo Angus and Julia Stone Australia’s favourite electric-dance actClient Liaison, surf rock legends Hockey Dad, 2 x ARIA Gold Accredited The Jungle Giants and rising star Alex the Astronaut. As well as Brisbane’s melancholic pop mastersBall Park Music who will be stepping in for The Jungle Giants on the Newcastle leg.
The Drop Festival is a proudly local and environmentally sustainable event. Encouraging a lifestyle of good food, art, family fun and community culture to be enjoyed with your favourite people.
BUSSELTON WA – BARNARD PARK – SATURDAY 1 JUNE – SELLING FAST