Photo credit: Joyce Lubotzky
Around The Sound’s Ash Lee talks to Thomas Keating about his new single Cold Night, inspirations, the strange, amazing year that was and the future beyond.
Hi Thomas, how are you? What have you been up to today?
Hi, I’m well. Today I am just in the studio tracking some vocals for my new album!
Congratulations on your new single ‘Cold Night’, can you tell us what it’s about?
I wrote this track a couple of years ago just when I had moved to Melbourne from Sydney. I could not believe how cold it was and I barely knew anyone. I was feeling really lonely and sorry for myself. The cold and the loneliness of living in a new city inspired this track.
Is ‘Cold Night’ from a larger body of work? If so, when is it due to be released?
Yes, it is! It is from an EP that is due for release early next year!
Now that Covid restrictions are easing, will you be playing any live shows in the coming months?
I am definitely planning to! I am currently in the process of talking to a few people about doing some shows. Hoping to get down to Melbourne next yearn for a couple of shows.
Which do you prefer, performing live or working in the studio? Why?
I am definitely more comfortable in the studio just because I am such an introvert.
If you could choose anyone in the world to collaborate with, who would it be and why?
I would love to collaborate with Nick Cave and Warren Ellis. I feel like these two are such an amazing team in the way they produce records together.
What’s the best career advice you’ve ever been given and who was it from?
The best advice I would say was from a retired AnR guy named Paul Bayliss. He told me “Not to jump them canal” and break my career down into stages.
What does the next 5 years look like for Thomas Keating?
I just plan to keep making music. Release a couple more albums and tour as much as I can. I am also studying so I would love to be a qualified mu7sic teacher within the next five years too.
What do you do in your spare time?
I mostly hangout with my Fiance and family/friends. Dine out quite a bit, I like going for runs.
Any new artists you’d like to recommend to our readers?
An artist that I really got into this year was Pheobe Bridgers. I think she is a great songwriter and a really exciting artist. She was meant to come out here this year supporting the National but obviously, that has been cancelled, unfortunately.
In one sentence, how would you sum up your 2020?
Strange and amazing.
Thanks Thomas, all the best!!
Brooding and enigmatic, Thomas Keating announces his yearner of a new single, Cold Night, out now. Inspired by distance, a cold Melbourne winter, and dreary early mornings, Cold Night is an exciting addition to Thomas’s glowing discography. The track is also accompanied by a stunning clip, directed by Kieran Gilfeather.
Evocative of Elliot Smith, Phoebe Bridgers and Angie McMahon, Cold Night is a broody rambler, made for grey mornings and stomping through puddles in the rain. Thomas’s gentle voice wraps around a slow, steady beat as delicate strings float around the arrangement, like the silver lining on a cloud.
The track was mixed by Thomas himself, produced by Gordon Burke and mastered by Nick Franklin, and reflects a deep sense of yearning, of wanting, as Thomas explains, “A few years ago, I moved to Melbourne for the year. I moved in the middle of winter, I was living in Fitzroy and I was feeling pretty down and lonely since I hardly knew anyone in this new city, and I could not believe how cold it was! I was working at this café at the time and I would start at 6 in the morning and walk to work. I came up with lyric for the chorus as I was walking to work one morning.”
Directed by Kieran Gilfeather, the video for Cold Night is dark and intimate, as Thomas is silhouetted both seated at the piano and beside another figure in a car, driving the streets in the glowing night. It’s mysterious, almost incomplete, and keeps the viewer on their toes as the story progresses. Wordless frustrations peak between the couple in the car, until the only thing left in sight is the rear window. “Kieran and I came up with the concept together. I wanted to do something with the video clip that expressed the yearning and lonely feeling I was experiencing when I wrote the song,” says Thomas. “I wanted to use the video to express the difficulties that can be experienced in a relationship, how love can be beautiful but also complicated at the same time”.
Cold Night is a highlight for Thomas in what has been a challenging year, as he explains, “It’s been a really interesting time. It has pretty much taken touring and performing off the table for me. I moved into a new studio though, with a bunch of other musicians, so I have actually really enjoyed the time writing and collaborating.”