In the market for some new music? It can be tough to find new bands when there’s so much wonderful pop music staring you in the face, but we dug for you: You’re going to want to listen to Tommy and the High Pilots, just the kind of chill, happy music that’s perfect for summer.
OKMagazine.com talked to Tom Cantillon, the lead singer of the band. Hailing from Santa Barbara, CA, he described his sound, his inspiration, and the band’s new album Only Human. Oh, and he Vined for us. Sweet!
OK!: How would you describe your sound?
Tom Cantillon: Alternative rock with some Americana pop influences. I said New Wave Americana once, and I haven’t heard that one so I don’t know if you could deduce something from that!
OK!: What are you guys working on right now?
TC: Our record came out [June 10], called Only Human. We’re getting our song “Out of My Head” played on different radio stations. And yeah, getting on the road—that’s the big thing for us. We’re hitting the whole country and a couple dates in Canada.
OK!: if someone hasn’t heard of your band before, what song should they start with?
TC: Our new mission statement song is “Get Up,” which is the first song on the record. But “Where to Start” is one of our song as well, aptly named. It says a lot about what we do I think. Lyrically, it’s quirky and real.
OK!: What motivates you to start writing?
TC: I just have the bug. I started writing poems in like 4th or 5th grade. I would always ask [my teacher], ‘I have an idea. Can I go and write it down?’ and he’d always say, ‘Yeah, go ahead,’ then he’d ask me to read it. I didn’t play music at that point but I was always writing. My parents were writers.
OK!: Is there a story taking place on this album?
TC: Yeah. There are 10 songs, and accidently they are united by the same idea: we are only human, hence the album title. It’s a pick-yourself-up-and-dust-yourself-off record. The lyrics fall on the side of inspirational, motivational, fall-down-but-don’t-live-down and pick-yourself-back-up. It’s something of a pep talk to people.
OK!: What’s the best concert you’ve ever been to?
TC: That’s tough because I’ve seen a lot of my heroes. Probably Tom Petty. It’s insane to see someone 63 years old and you’re 26, 27… How can I not play that hard for a half an hour when these guys are up there for 3 hours every night playing that hard?
OK!: So I’ve heard you play in LA for some TV starlets. How did that come about?
TC: I know Chelsea Kane—she was on the Disney Channel and she’s got a new show now. She used to see my old band in LA, and we hung out a couple times but I hadn’t seen her for awhile. We got booked on a Haiti benefit that she was putting it on and she came up to me and said, ‘Tommy, I don’t know if you remember me but…’ So now she comes out and sees us in LA.
OK!: What’s the most embarrassing artist in your iTunes?
TC: A guilty pleasure of mine is Matchbox 20. I think they’re so underrated and under-appreciated. That first record of them is amazing. It quietly sold 20 million copies over the decade and I’ve heard they’re the biggest band of the 90s that no one wants to admit [they like].
What do you think of Tommy and the High Pilots? Is this your type of music? What’s the best new band you discovered recently? Tell us in the comments below or tweet us @OKMagazine.