Tom Flynn released his debut single Von Strictly on Bedroom Bedlam back in 2008. Since then interest in his music has been quickly building, leading to the release of his first EP Zinga on UNO Recordings (in February 2009) and a quick succession of follow-ups on Anabatic, Broken Records / Don’t Fix It Music, Jengaa Records and most recently, and perhaps most notably, the release of the Magia and Hotel Rooms EPs on the Deadfish Audio label.
Hearing Tom’s incredible flair for producing top quality jackin’ house inspired us to get in touch with him. Not only has Tom answered a couple of questions for us, but he’s also kindly put together an exclusive mix for us all to check out with a monster tracklist including a couple of his own tracks and remixes (Just Can’t Play, Miami Lanza, Jupiter and his remix of Booka Shade’s Regenerate), and others from the likes of Matthew Dear, Tim Green, Mark Broom and Nick Curly. Thanks again to Tom, and here’s what he had to say…
Can you tell us a little bit about your first big break then after being such a dedicated producer and in love with music so much from an early age?
I guess my first big break was being asked by Andy Caldwell to remix his track with Grandma Funk called Funk Nasty. I had been sending tracks all over to people, with some good responses, then out of the blue one day Andy got in touch and said he’d been listening to the tracks I’d been sending to him and wanted me to remix his latest one. Remixing someone like Andy for your first remix is quite daunting as I’d had him in my music collection for years, but luckily he loved what I did, and the remix went down really well. I also owe a lot to my boy Worthy; the help, advice and encouragement he gave me was, and still is, fantastic.
Perhaps a bit about Pete Tong too, we like to call him Uncle Pete, did he really sign you up first? How and when did that happen, and what did that mean for your music?
Haha, Uncle Pete. I don’t know him well enough to call him uncle yet, but yeah, he was the first person to sign one of my tracks. Again, demos were sent out and I happened to get lucky in the fact that he was just starting up his new label for young aspiring producers called Bedroom Bedlam Records, a spin off from his Fast Trax TV show. He said he really liked the track and wanted to sign it to the label. In terms of what it did for my music… Well, it got me some good plays but the track, looking back, I don’t think is the greatest I’ve done, so it didn’t do great things for me. However just speaking to him and having him play my track on his show did my confidence and belief the world of good which means more to me than anything, that confidence made me know I was on the right track.
Do you have some defining records that have taken you from chapter to chapter in your life as a music lover and then producer?
When I was younger I would tape the Top 40 on cassette religiously. Then I’d do edits via tape to tape of the tracks, cutting the bits I didn’t like or doubling bits I did like. The one track from that era that stands out was The Clash – Rock the Casbah. Tracks that really stand out and changed my way of life would be:
Michael Jackson – Smooth Criminal,
Paul Van Dyk – For an Angel (a special vocal mix that was made in about 97 that is the hardest thing in the world to find!),
Celeda – Be yourself,
Jazzy M – Jazzin The Way You Know
Gloria Gaynor – Never Can Say Goodbye
Cassius – La Mouche (DJ Falcon mix)
Da Mob ft. Jocelyn Brown – It’s All Good
Modjo – Lady
Tim Deluxe – Just Won’t Do
Faith Evans – You Used To Love Me
Trentemoller – Gush
There are so many more and ones I may have forgotten, but those records have a very special deep meaning to me and something that I will always cherish. They changed the way I looked at music and my life, and gave me the most amazing memories.
You’ve released music on a few labels (UNO, Anabatic, Jengaa…) and, as is clear with so many independent labels these days, they all carry a signature sound. Is there an element of ‘I need my record on that label’ or is it a case of the label choosing you? Is there something about DeadFish at the moment that really suits what you’re about?
The DeadFish sound is something that I’m very much into, it’s quirky and bouncy and really allows me to be creative, unlike 90% of labels out there that want 4 kick drums, bass line and a repetitive set of high hats! I never make a track thinking this is for that label or this or for those guys. I make what I feel and what mood I’m in.
In terms of labels choosing me, a good example is the other night Claude Vonstroke emailed me asking if I had any tracks for him for a release on dirtybird. That’s probably the only time where I will sit down and think, ‘Yeah, I’m gonna get something weird going on for him’.
You talk a lot about your other much loved hobbies – yoga and golf. Now, these are pretty calm sports really and certainly very focussed ones. How does that tranquillity turn into fantastic tracks that get people up and dancing? Any ideas?
Haha my golf, yoga and meditation are the three things that I make time for everyday. As for how they turn into nice tracks, well I guess the calmness enables me to really get into my music and be creative. I love twiddling knobs and buttons all night and really getting into a sound, although sometimes that can be a curse as much as a blessing. I guess I just like a balanced life.
Can you tell us a bit about your One From The Vaults mix?
I wanted to just drop a couple of old ones in there as it is ‘From The Vaults’ but it’s mostly about what I’m playing now and what I really feel. I did squeeze in a classic at the end though – Vonstroke’s remix of War Paint!
Finally, what’s in store for Tom Flynn in the near future? Will you be out DJing much? Will there be lots more production and some releases to look forward to?
There are quite a few things coming up. Another EP on DeadFish has just dropped called Hotel Rooms, I’ve just remixed Worthy’s Hot Mizzle (that will be out soon), there’s an EP on Anabatic after that, an EP on Fondation Records and an EP on Jamie Anderson’s label Art Form after that… I also have something for dirtybird in the pipeline but can’t say too much yet!
As for DJing, I have taken a break from being on the road. I am waiting for the right booking agency and management to sign to. I’m sure once I get those things sorted I will be up and running and watching my Friends DVDs in hotel rooms all over the world! Love it!
TOM FLYNN – ONE FROM THE VAULTS MIX
1. Mark Knight – Drug Music (Acapella)
2. Tim Green, Emerson Todd – Nail Clipper
3. Hermanez – Soms
4. Dani Casarano – La Tulipe
5. Tom Flynn – Just Can’t Play
6. Nick Curly – Say Something
7. Mark Broom – Supersnout (Tim Green remix)
8. Tom Flynn – Miami Lanza
9. Tom flynn – Jupiter
10. Steve Parker – Klik Klog
11. Matthew Dear, Seth Troxler – Hurt (Martinez remix)
12. Booka Shade – Regenerate (Tom Flynn remix)
13. War Paint – War Paint (Claude Vonstroke remix)