In October, Thomston will put out two EPs that chronicle two different edges of his emotional range – falling in love and falling apart. But there’s one cohesive message throughout the two – nothing depressing. That mission and cohesion has taken a lot of self-reflection to be able to confidently pursue, but after you read this, it’s obvious this is an artist that fully gets where he’s at. Nic Kelly in bold, Thomston in not-bold, after you hit play on these two new songs.
How are you? Are you good?
I’m really, really good. I’m back home in NZ which is feeling… weird? So nice. Not weird! It’s weird how not weird it feels. I landed and instantly my accent had gone back to normal. It’d gone kind of American because I was sick of people not understanding when I just wanted a glass of water. I’d ask for a glass of water and they’d be like, a glass of what? I was like, use your deduction skills.
Where’s your head at? Lightweight’s out, Deal’s out, Casual’s out as of this chat going live. Are you feeling comfy with all this vulnerability going out into the world?
Yeah! Yeah I am, actually. I think for the first time in ages I’m not super stressed. When Acid Rain came out I was super stressed, and then it did really well, so I was like, awesome! And then when The Heights came out I was super stressed it wouldn’t do as well as Acid Rain, and then it also did pretty well. I think over the last two releases I’ve been like you know what, I’m going to stop constantly refreshing my Spotify numbers every five seconds and I’m gonna just, be happy and be excited that people get to hear it.
Did you delete the Spotify For Artists app from your phone?
I didn’t. I didn’t, because I still check it every day. But I’m trying to commit to like… I guess it’s like that meditation thing where people lock themselves in a retreat for like, a week and they don’t talk. I might do that with the Spotify For Artists app. Or I might just delete it. I might just do that.
No I like that, it’s a good exercise in restraint – like it’s there, but you’re not touching it. Do you practice any meditation or mindfulness stuff?
I probably should, but honestly, I just do a facemask and then I feel reborn.
Self-care comes in many ways. Do you do anything else or is that the extent of your self-care routine?
That’s kind of it, honestly, it’s all skincare stuff, because I had really bad skin in high school & immediately out of high school and then I’m like you know what? I’m going to take this into my own hands. So I just do a sheetmask and, zen.
It’s working! It’s looking clear!
Thankyou thankyou, there’s a breakout coming from being on the plane though.
Lightweight hit me, in a way that a lot of songs haven’t for a long time, and I knew you would do that to me this year, I knew it would be you, and now Casual‘s doing the same. What’s Casual to you?
It’s just about how in modern relationships, because we are so connected all the time through the internet… I SOUND LIKE SUCH AN OLD PERSON WHEN I TALK ABOUT STUFF LIKE THIS.
No this is really interesting to me because I feel like you have always been really traditional with the way you talk about love and relationships and connections in your music, and now, it’s a bit more about internet culture and the modern world – so keep going because it’s really interesting.
Yeah, it’s about how for the first time in human history we have this baseline connectivity and baseline accessibility, so we’re always reachable. Instead of relationships being moments where people come together, relationships have become all-the-time, non-stop, which I think has opened us up to some weirdness in terms of interpersonal moments. I think it can be a good thing and a bad thing. It’s teaching us how to be more selective, because the people we find are people we’re with all the time.
Was there a moment you found yourself being more selective and cynical about the relationships you choose to pursue?
Yeah, it was after my last one, it had been this weird thing where we entered into it expecting it to be this really casual thing where we lived in different countries and it wasn’t a big deal. When I was there we’d hang and when I wasn’t, whatever. We’d maybe chat every now and then. But it very quickly became a very traditional, full-on relationship. But since we’d entered into it thinking it wasn’t going to be that, it ended up being a little bit messy. She liked to make me jealous, because it got my attention and dragged me back in. I definitely learned a lesson about what, as a person, I need to be fulfilled in a relationship, and that didn’t work for me.
Did you find you were transferring that fulfillment you wanted from romantic relationships to your friendships as well and you were kind of looking for the same level of fulfillment from those?
Uh-huh, 100%, absolutely. Wow. That hit different. That read like my horoscope.
They say I’m the Co-Star of interviewers.
But it is that! I did really pour myself into my friendships, I spent a lot of time with a lot of my friends and it was really, really intense. I think I’m in a good place now, I’ve figured out what I need emotionally and that’s really important to learn about yourself, I’m glad I did it at 23.
What do you need?
I just need an outlet for my love and affection for people, so I like to help people, I think. And I like to be there for people. If I feel like I’m not that person people can call when they’re going through something, I feel like I’ve failed. We’re getting really deep here Nic.
The feeling of someone else not feeling like they can rely on you to be that go-to call, that’s a hard one. I hate talking about myself in these conversations but I definitely found that after my last breakup, which is going on about a year now, I found I had a couple of go-to’s but the people who I wasn’t go-to calling were a bit upset about that. It’s messy. But it really defines the reliance you can place on other people.
Anyway… YOU’VE GOT TWO EPS! THIS IS GOOD!
YES! I do!
One’s called London and one’s called Los Angeles, what’s the difference between the two?
I had written a song called Los Angeles a little while ago and knew I really wanted to put it out, it’s my second favourite song after Acid Rain. I love it, so much. I had a bunch of songs and I’d written them with all sorts of people. Some I’d written all by myself, one I’d written with the GLADES kids, a couple with Taka Perry who’s a little genius…
I love that you call them “the GLADES kids”, because it’s so accurate, they’re so wholesome.
Even though one of them’s older than me. I feel this really weird paternal thing. And they’ve since surpassed me in their streaming and everything, yet here I am being like “MY CHILDREN.” I still feel really protective of them. Anyway. The only mission statement I had with all of these songs is that they wouldn’t be depressing. I’d written all these songs with all these different people and it sounded all over the place. The moment I wrote London I was like – wait. Los Angeles is bright, extroverted, guitars, songs about falling in love. London is songs about missing the mark, relationships falling apart, but done in a really dark, driving way, rather than wah-wah-wah. Except Two Years, that’s wah-wah wah.
You’re allowed one of those moments. With the exception of that song – have you met that mission statement?
I absolutely have. I listened to the masters recently, everything’s so cohesive and it feels so right. I’m way prouder of this than I’ve been of anything, ever.
The double-EP is out October 18. For an early listen, Thomston’s touring the East Coast for a few days this month – at the Lansdowne in Sydney on Thursday 19 Sep, Melbourne’s Workers on Friday Sep 20 & the Black Bear Lodge in Brissy on Sunday the 22nd with Keelan Mak supporting. Tickies are here.
Pic at the top: Liz Strupat