To celebrate the release of his track ‘Lost In Your Love’, we jumped on the phone with The Wanted’s Tom Parker to discuss whether the band will be getting back together, hand injuries, and his favourite Spice Girl.
First of all, we’ve been stalking your Twitter and we’ve seen that you’ve hurt your hand. Are you ok?
I am, it’s all good. It was just a very severe bruise, it’s still quite bruised but it’s all good, getting better.
Took a little knock! pic.twitter.com/EcvYeZHr8t
— Thomas Parker (@TomParker) January 29, 2016
We’re speaking to you because your new single ‘Lost In Your Love’ is now available to stream. What would you say is the main difference between the music that you’re making now and the music you made for The Wanted for anybody that hasn’t heard the track?
Do you know what? I think it’s such a weird one because through the career of The Wanted we went in different directions. We did anything from heartbreak, love ballads and then ‘Chasing The Sun’ and ‘Glad You Came’ which are a bit more dance friendly and club friendly, so I think it was quite a wide variant with The Wanted and I think for me, that’s kind of what I wanted to achieve in the production that I want to do. I don’t want to keep in one genre or one kind of sound. I think if you want to be a good producer or a good artist, you have to move with the trends. I use Calvin Harris as a good example because I think Calvin’s been really clever with the way that he moves. He started with ‘Born In The 80s’ which was a long time ago, and moved more into the dance arena with the song with DISCIPLES, ‘How Deep Is Your Love’, and that’s completely different so you just do what you feel is natural to you in the studio but you also have to look at what’s going on in the dance arena and the charts and see kind of where it’s heading and you have to plan ahead.
Has being away from the group and growing as an individual affected the type of music that you’re now making or have you always been interested in producing the music that you are today?
For the last four years, I’ve had a real interest in production. Even when I was in the band, I would always sit around and watch how stuff was made from start to finish. How vocals were cut, how you master and mix a record. There’s a lot that goes on behind-the-scenes to get to the finished product and I just like that. I think sometimes it’s natural to want a goal to release a single but that wasn’t a goal for me to sing on ‘Lost In Your Love’, the goal was for me to sit in a studio and make music and if that requires me to sing on it, then I’ll sing on it and if it doesn’t, then it doesn’t.
If you could produce a track for any other artist, who would you choose and why?
I wouldn’t like to put a name on it but I’m working with a lot of unknown artists at the moment. People that haven’t been heard of, and that was something that I had a real interest in. Before I got in the band, I started playing the guitar at 15 and it was – and I think it still is the same for a lot of artists – it’s the struggle of ‘How do I get my break?, Where do I get my break?’, where I think some people explore other routes by going on ‘The X Factor’ or ‘Britain’s Got Talent’, which there’s nothing wrong with but I think there should be more opportunities for unsigned artists so I took it upon myself to find new and upcoming talent and start working with them. So that’s the plan for the next 6-12 months. I’m working with a bunch of people already, so hopefully there’ll be some new stuff coming out soon.
Are you working towards an album at the moment or is this just an experiment to see what tracks you can come up with?
I don’t really want to put a date on it, and I don’t want to put a title on it. If, for example, there’s four tracks that I’ve written with some cool artists or some cool singers, then I might put an EP out for sale but, again, it’s just something that I don’t really want to label. These days, there’s so much pressure to put a label on something and say “I’ve got an album coming out,” or “This is the new single.” ‘Lost In Your Love’ isn’t a single, it was just a song that I made and liked and thought I’d put it on SoundCloud for other people to listen to. If people want to listen to it then they can’t listen to it, and if they don’t want to listen to it then they don’t have to. It’s more just a freedom thing for me, to be honest.
Apart from yourself, is there another up and coming artist that you think we need to know about?
There’s a producer called XO who are really cool, you should definitely check them out. I tweeted about their track a couple of days ago, they’re really cool.
You’ve been doing a few DJ sets here in the UK, are there any plans to put on a live show for your fans anytime soon or will you sticking with the DJing for now?
I went and saw Disclosure just before Christmas at Alexandra Palace and they put on such an amazing show. They play live, and because I can play guitar and piano, ultimately the longer term goal is to not just DJ on decks but to create music that is playable live with a band. I’m a massive fan of Chase & Status and they switch it up, they go from doing a DJ set and then do a live set with a band. I think a live set is a nice thing to do because it really changes the atmosphere of the venue whether you’re playing with a band or in a club with a DJ set. The ultimate goal is to be playing live with instruments and live singers.
Obviously we couldn’t speak to you today without asking you about your bandmate Jay’s success on ‘Strictly Come Dancing’. How proud were you and the other boys seeing him take the glitter ball trophy?
So proud. Obviously, in the band, I knew he could dance but that’s a whole different level of dancing on a show like that. I went down on week two and then again in the semi-finals with Max and it was worlds apart in how much he’d come on in terms of dancing and his confidence. Jay was always quite shy in the group but when he was with us four, he felt comfortable. Jay’s a little bit reserved when he feels uncomfortable so it was nice to see him grow in confidence throughout the competition. I’m sure you saw the first week where he was like a little timid soul so it was nice.
Could you ever see yourself taking part in any reality TV in the future?
I think so. Back in the day it was either, you were a reality star or you were TV star or you weren’t. But these days, because everything’s so open with things like Twitter and everything’s just so accessible, I just think there’s nothing wrong with doing those shows these days so if the right thing comes up then I’m totally up for doing anything. I’ll give anything a whirl.
Which show would you like to do the most?
There’s a couple but I’m going to keep them to myself just incase anything comes up.
Another band that has announced a hiatus, like The Wanted, is One Direction. Do you think it’s necessary for a group to spend some time away from each other to explore their own creativity?
100%. I couldn’t emphasise it enough or how important it is to have time off in a band. Especially when you’re in a boyband or a girlband, it just gets so intense. The Wanted boys are all mates and I’m sure the One Direction lads are all really close but ultimately you spend everyday with each other, day in and day out. You just want some sort of normality back in your life whether that’s your parents, your girlfriends, your boyfriends. You need that space away. I’m sure One Direction will come back, I’m sure The Wanted will come back at some point, it’s just that you need time to find yourself for a little bit and find your own creativity.
Before we leave you, we’re going to play a game of ‘This or That’ with band members gone solo…
Cheryl or Nicola Roberts (Girls Aloud)?
Aston Merrygold or OWS (JLS)?
To be fair, I really liked ‘Get Stupid’ so I’m going to say ‘Get Stupid’. Aston.
Mel B or Mel C (Spice Girls)?
Nick Jonas or Joe Jonas (Jonas Brothers)?
Ooh, that’s a tough one! I really like ‘Cake By The Ocean’, I think it’s a really good song. I really like what Joe’s done with the band there so I’ll probably say Joe.
Tom Parker’s ‘Lost In Your Love’ is available to stream on SoundCloud now. Follow him on Twitter at @TomParker.