A personal conversation with Thomas King.We talk with the Austrian rocker about his upcoming tour, his move to Los Angeles, the Grammy Awards, and more.
[By Monica Harris, 2/15/12]
Life is Awesome: Thomas, I was reading some of your history and I noticed that you started playing drums at a really young age and then you started acting and singing. So I was wondering, do you come from a musical family?
Thomas: Well, not really. My mom is a high school teacher, and my dad is a business person. I have the musical talent from my mom’s side, because when she was young she used to play instruments and used to sing. My dad isn’t into performance or music at all. So I must have it from my mom’s side…and I decided to pursue it.
LIA: How old were you when you moved to Los Angeles from Austria?
Thomas: That was 3 years ago, I was 23 years old. You know, I did a lot of music in Austria before, in a cover band, and I started working with a producer, but I didn’t see that many opportunities there. But it’s great for classical music. Austria and Vienna is the capitol for classical music. But contemporary music — there’s really not much going on, and I decided I need to go somewhere where people are excited, where there’s opportunities, and lots of like-minded people. So I jumped on the plane and I came to Los Angeles 3 years ago.
LIA: Did your family support your move down here?
Thomas: 100% and I’m really fortunate. And they tell me whatever I want to do, they support me 100%, and do the best they can to help me. I’m really fortunate in that respect.
LIA: Okay so I read that some people that inspire you are Robbie Williams and Billy Idol.
Thomas: Yes. Robbie Williams is an entertainer, and I consider myself an entertainer too, so when Robbie Williams steps on stage, it’s like the full package – he’s totally connected to the audience. And this is what I love doing. I come from the stage. So I love to entertain. When I’m on stage, and when I feel the interaction with the audience, and getting excited, and just the interchange of passion and love, that’s really what I live for. And that’s what the success of Robbie Williams is. This entertaining quality. And what I love about Billy Idol, it’s like raw energy. He doesn’t need any dancers or anything. He gets out there and he has this raw energy that comes across, and that’s something that I admire, and that also shows in my performance.
LIA: What other things do you like to do besides music?
Thomas: I love doing yoga. I think for me, yoga is very important to balance myself. Because the music – it’s still a music business. It’s not always about singing and having fun. There’s a lot of stressful moments. And yoga helps me find a balance. And it’s great for my body, great for my mind. And I love to travel. I traveled a lot in the last 3 months. I went to Cannes to a music convention and I recorded in Phoenix last weekend. And I’m going on this tour. I’m really excited about traveling because I love to see new places, love to meet new people. And when I need to relax I love going to the movies. Get some light entertainment.
LIA: You said sometimes there’s some stress. Has there been anything you’ve had any problems with in the music business, or methods, that you’ve had to overcome?
Thomas: Breaking into the music business is very hard…Performing comes relatively easy to me, and writing songs, but when it actually comes to the business side…that’s actually a very hard thing to do. It’s a team effort…There’s a lot of team players, like band mates and managers and other people that help out. It’s sometimes really tough to keep everybody happy and on the same page. But I’m really fortunate that I have a great team and I have great musicians and eventually it all turns out well.
LIA: Is there any style of music you wish they’d bring back?
Thomas: Let’s see. I love ‘80s music. You can kind of hear it in my music. It’s very ‘80s influenced. And you know what? I watched the Grammy’s the other day. And what I really loved was that, comparing it to last year – last year they had a lot of electronic music, like computers, and the performances to me were all kind of like a Lady Gaga rip-off, like lots of dancing and lots of show elements. [But] this year it was very organic and I love that they opened with Bruce Springsteen. Like, drums, bass, guitar, voice. Organic band stuff. And I would love for that to come back. And I actually saw it coming back in these Grammy’s. And also when Dave Grohl came out for the Foo Fighters he said, well, what it really comes down to is the musicianship. Pick up a microphone, learn your craft, and be authentic and sing from your heart. And I really wish for that to come back. Because this is the essence of the musician, and the essence of why I’m doing it.
LIA: Tell us about your new EP Last Night Living
Thomas: My EP has been out for 3 months. I’ve had some radio airplay of the single “It Starts Tonight.” And it can be purchased on iTunes and Amazon. We did the release show 2 months ago and we’re going on tour, it’s called the Epic Proportions Tour. March 1st.
LIA: So tell me about the tour.
Thomas: The website is EpicProportionsTour.com. We’re going to start in Phoenix, Arizona on March 1st, and then we’re going … to do some dates in Los Angeles, and we’re going to play a couple shows at the SXSW in Austin, Texas, which is going to be very exciting. I’ve never played there before. So that’s going to be the first time. And after we go to Austin, TX, we’re going to play in Las Vegas at the Palms Casino, and then we go up north towards New Mexico and Arizona and then back to California. It encompasses the southwestern part of the U.S. Twenty dates in 5 weeks.
LIA: That’s exciting! Good luck to you…Is there anything you want to add, any message that you want to give to your fans?
Thomas: The message I want to give to my fans is: be true to yourself, express yourself with whatever you have to express, all with an open heart and in the name of love.
Official site: ThomasKingmusic.com