It’s been some time since Australian fans have had their Michael Tomlinson fix, after indie rock favourites, Yves Klein Blue, which he fronted, called it a day back in 2010. In the years between drinks he’s packed up and moved across the seas to London where he met the rest of the musicians who would make up the new band, Many Things.
With a new EP What We Are now out through Dew Process and a brand new DIY video for the single of the same name, the band’s profile is on the rise. Ahead of Many Things’ appearance at last weekend’s Blurst Of Times festival in Brisbane, Music Feeds managed to catch up with Tomlinson to talk about, well, Many Things.
Watch: Many Things – What We Are
Music Feeds: It’s been a while since audiences have heard from Michael Tomlinson, musically speaking, after Yves Klein Blue called it a day in 2010. Can you let us in on what you’ve been up to in that time?
Michael Tomlinson: Oh man. Many Things. I was doing some solo recordings in 2011 before I met Macks. He said he’d like to be in a band again and he knew some people who would be up for it too. He introduced me to Fred and Gabi and there we were: Many Things.
Musically it’s been long and rewarding journey, we’ve been through a lot together in these past years. It’s made us stronger as friends and as a band. The equipment we used and the shows that we began to play started to shape our sound and we were lucky enough to work with some pretty amazing producers who help shape and refine this even more. Now we’re very hands on with the production and I feel like we have something that is distinctly ours.
MF: Many Things seem to have had a crazy year, filled with touring, recording and releasing your EP, What We Are. What’s the mood in the band like at the moment?
MT: It’s really good! We’re in the van now driving to Hamburg for Reeperbahn Festival! We’ve got some exciting gigs coming up (including Blurst of Times Festival in Australia) and we picked up a couple of Zane Lowe plays in the last fortnight! So that’s just great.
It hasn’t been a particularly easy year but it’s made it all worth it to see people responding to What We Are. We’re really proud of it and hope that we can deepen and expand on it with the forthcoming LP!
MF: What can you tell us about the formation of the Many Things sound? There seems to be a wide range of influence there.
MT: We used to describe our sound as a mix between Arcade Fire and LCD Soundsystem, then that actually happened! We don’t sound all that much like the Reflektor record so I guess we can’t say that precisely anymore. Someone on YouTube said it was like Kanye mixed with Nick Cave and I was pretty chuffed with that. It all occurs quite naturally but I guess we’re marrying all kinds of stuff. What else would you expect from the band called Many Things?
MF: There seems to be an overriding positivity to the songs on the EP. Even on a track like Chains, where you’re broaching tough subjects like heartbreak, there’s an uplifting element to the sound. Was that intentional?
MT: Most of our songs, especially songs like Chains, have their roots in feelings of sadness and pain. Therefore most of our songs are a process about turning something that hurts into something that heals. A friend taught me about acceptance and surrender. As I understand it, if you can just accept that pain it becomes just one of the things that you feel. If you refuse to accept it, it becomes everything you feel.
For almost everything you would mourn there is something worth celebrating, and after all everything is alright. So I guess that comes through in the songs. Maybe not just the words and not just the music but everything altogether.
MT: I’ve worked with Simon before on Yves Klein Blue stuff so I was really excited to introduce Macks, Fred and Gabi to him. As well as this I was excited to do some songs with him because when we first were in the studio it was the mixing sessions for Ragged & Ecstatic and I didn’t know him very well. Since then we toured together and hung out in Berlin, I even went to his wedding! So it was very much going to record at a friends house. A friend whose house just happens to be an amazing studio!
Every single time I hang out with Simon he teaches me A LOT about music. This was no exception. It was an incredible time for all of us, we really enjoyed being at Golden Retriever and his approach to recording. We got a lot out of it. In short Berkfinger’s a dude and I’ve got we’ve got a lot of respect for him. We hope to do more stuff with him in the future.
MF: The video for Chains is a really interesting ode to retro VHS videos and TV sets. Can you tell us about the idea behind it?
MT: I guess the idea was for it to be a visual representation of how it feels on the inside to be torn apart with sadness and anger. I’m into the idea of distorting, warping and twisting things so that they flow into one another. When I write it out like that it sounds kind of destructive, but I think it’s [an] extremely beautiful thing. I felt using video and digital/analog interference was an effective way of expressing this. I think we all kind of understand [and] relate to the idea of [the] world as a video if that makes sense?
Watch: Many Things – Chains
MF: How far are you looking ahead with this project? The EP has just dropped, but do you think we can expect a full-length release in the future?
MT: Yes you can! We’re just planning it now but it won’t be long. We’ve finished tracking drums though if that gives you any indication.
MT: Both were extremely positive experiences! We were so lucky to go on the road with two such incredible bands. Though their fan bases are both super dedicated, they are also lovers of music and we had such a warm reception each night. On the final day of the Poly Spree tour we slept in the van and when we woke up, we went for a swim on Brighton beach. It was the perfect way to finish up such an amazing couple of months.
MF: Many Things have garnered a reputation in the UK for energetic and euphoric performances. What can fans expect from a Many Things live show? When do you plan on making your way back to Australia with Many Things?
MT: We are playing The Blurst of Times Festival this October!!! I’m so excited to finally be coming back to play shows! The guys are super excited as well but a little bit worried about the spiders (British people ACTUALLY think every single inch of Australia is absolutely infested with deadly animals).
I’ve assured them they’ll be safe as long as they don’t stray from the pack. I’m so looking forward to taking them to see all the sights and sounds of Australian touring, including all the awesome bands on the bill at Blurst.
To answer your question about our live show, we approach our live shows like a celebration – we’re all here together let’s make the most of it!
Many Things’ What We Are EP, which was recorded in Berlin and London, is available now. Many Things performed at The Blurst Of Times festival in Brisbane over the weekend, and will perform at the Sydney leg on Saturday, 25th October.
Photos: The Blurst Of Times 2014 – Brisbane, 18/10/14
Photographed by Charlyn Cameron