Today, TOM JOSHUA unveils his new single ‘Undergrowth’, taken from his forthcoming debut EP of the same name, due for release on 9 October.
Produced by Cam Blackwood (George Ezra, Billie Marten, British Sea Power) and recorded at London’s Voltaire Studio, the rousing upbeat single is rooted in the surroundings of Tom's hometown, inspired by surreal dream-sequence and conceived while out walking his dog.
“At the time of writing ‘Undergrowth’ I’d been walking my dog around Egglescliffe; a sleepy mostly nonviolent town I grew up in. I'd already started writing a few lines of my last released song ‘Knock on a Hollow’ about a drummer living above the parade of shops by me. I had a bunch of nothing ideas, a few little boppy guitar loops sitting redundant on my voice notes and the neighbourhood on my mind.
One of them nights I had a pretty vivid dream of me, a little nomad waking up in the middle of the night with a floor tom on my back walking around the estates where I live, I found a place to set up my drum; a fenced off green in the estate next to mine where the people let their dogs off to drop their morning businesses.
I started to play the drum and loads of odd people came out of garages, and biffa bins skeletons came out of the hedges and the flowerbeds to come watch me do some terrible one man one drum busking. They seemed overwhelmingly grateful, big bunch of weirdos.”
The track is accompanied by a nocturnal video shot in the small hours of the morning around Tom’s hometown by North-East based videographer and director Jodie Canwell (Michael Kiwanuka, Eliza Shaddad, Amber Run).
“The whole thing felt like a funny bones book which I liked to read as a kid and seemed a nicely absurd premise for a video. So I amassed a possy of friends and convinced them to take to the streets in the middle of the night in some skeleton outfits I bought on the internet and a brown paper bag I found in my dad’s office.”
Growing up in a small village in Stockton on Tees, Tom Joshua takes a wealth of inspiration from his surroundings. The North East as a whole has always been a fertile ground for artistic growth; a mix of leftover industries and the long-felt effects of disproportionate government policy. Middlesbrough and the towns and cities nearby are stoic in their self-sufficiency, their history, and their respect for often overlooked beauty on the doorstep.
“I’ve always considered the skyline you can see from the flyovers between Stockton and Middlesbrough pretty epic and unique - you have miles of industry, stretching out to the coast met further along the way by some massive hills. The contrast of the landscape feels thoroughly Teeside, both bonny and rough in equal parts."
Tom’s love of harmonies stems from an early appreciation of Simon and Garfunkel, Fleetwood Mac and more recently Sigur Ros, melded together with potent lyricism inspired by favourites such as Nick Drake, Feist and Big Thief. There’s an innate warmth to Tom’s writing that makes you feel like you’re part of the story he’s painting; part of his world, and welcome no matter what.
Tom Joshua first broke onto the scene in 2017 with self-released debut single ‘Meteor Showers’ which attracted a great deal of media support from BBC Radio 2 and BBC 6 Music, clocking up over 1.5m worldwide streams. Over the past 18-months, he has played support shows across the UK with artists including Brooke Bentham, Bill Ryder-Jones, Ed Prosek, Darlingside, Billie Marten, Siv Jakobsen and many others. His 2020 live dates and festival appearances are currently being rescheduled for next year.