Tom Walker chats to Susie Daniels about coconut-flavoured vegan grub and Lanarkshire’s hidden treasures.
You were on a salad diet last year and lost a couple of stone. How’s that going?
It’s not. I got bored with it. There’s only so much salad you can eat! This tour in the US has been a music and food tour. We did go to one amazing vegan restaurant serving organic food and things with coconut (laughs). Apart from that it’s been burgers and coke!
Where do most of your family live in Scotland?
My parents are fully Glaswegian and we lived in Kilsyth and Cumbernauld but we all moved from Scotland as a family though my gran lives in between the two places now and my uncle lives down the road from her. I don’t remember Scotland as a youngster as I was only two when we moved away but I’m back twice a year to see my gran after a gig to eat some square sausage and see my uncle and cousins.
What will you do after your Glasgow gig on the 29th of this month [March]?
I’ll be driving from a gig in Manchester to arrive in Glasgow on the day of the gig. I’m going to stay for a few days after the gig and probably pop into the town centre. I’ll visit the Chippy Mahal – (laughs) I love that name – in Kilsyth for a bit of nostalgia and some pizza and beers and then spend time with the family.
You were chatting last year about how overwhelmed you were that a string quartet was accompanying your music. Anything topped that this year?
That was pretty special. I have been recording on API desks in Rak Studios in London, the same studio where Sam Smith recorded so that’s pretty special. I’m in Grand Central Station in New York at the moment, I’ve been to Salt Lake, LA, you name it in America. It’s so cool. I love going to LA and New York, especially New York as it reminds me of London.
Jake Bugg recently got really wound up when the crowd chanted ‘Jakey Jakey Bugg’ during a gig in Glasgow. Anything like that ever happen to you on stage where you got annoyed?
I don’t really care. If people pay money for a ticket to see me I’m not bothered what they do at the concert. I once played with Jake Bugg at a concert and it was a charity gig and the crowd were rowdy and he told them to ‘shut the f**k up’. It was a bit much. I mean that’s not the sort of reaction that’s needed. I don’t want bottles thrown at me but there’s no point in taking life too seriously if the fans are just having a laugh.
Do you feel you’ve had a whirlwind tour or did you get to see the sights?
When you’re doing it all on tour you don’t get to see it all. As a young person I’d love to have spent four months touring. I’ve always wanted to go to Vietnam and Thailand. All my mates went and I never got the opportunity.
Your debut album’s out this year – any name or release date yet for your eager fans and an EXCLUSIVE for Student Rag?
It’s going to be called ‘What a Time To Be Alive’ and hopefully will be out in September. Sorry but I can’t tell you any more.
Your voice is not dissimilar to the depth of Rag n Bone Man or Jack Garratt. When did you first realise you could sing?
I started singing when I was 19. I was singing before that but I was crap. I kept singing until I found my own style. I always loved playing guitar and I was in a band called Plastic Highways. The singer in that used to sing all the songs. I sang once and after I sang everyone said ‘you should sing live’.
What artist did you dream of emulating or were you inspired by when you were younger?
Sting! I really liked Sting and The Police. I was a big fan of them. I guess I really loved their tunes and the lyrics without realising it.
Tom Walker plays Oran Mor, Glasgow this Thursday 29th March.