First of all, I owe this week’s guest an apology. Thomas Fiss was good enough to take time from his schedule to do this interview back in early September, and due to personal commitments I lost track of the fact that I hadn’t posted it yet. His album, which we talk about, has already been released. Still, I think you’ll all enjoy the interview and go out and check out Thomas’ work.
Thomas Fiss’ career runs from Broadway (one of the two boys to play the son of Patrick Wilson’s main character in THE FULL MONTY) through boy bands (as a member of Varsity Fanclub) and on to a solo career ( four albums, including the current “Chasing Satellites”).
ANTHONY: Hi, Thomas, thanks for agreeing to this interview. Where in the world are you right now, and what are you up to?
THOMAS: What’s up man! I’m always down for a good interview. –I’m literally just getting back into my place in LA. I was just out on a quick radio tour through the Mid-West again. I actually head back out next week for a West-Coast run. Always on the road….
ANTHONY: You’ve been working on the new album for a while now. When is it officially due out, and will there be a new music video for it?
THOMAS: Believe me, I know….haha. I’ve been working on my new album Chasing Satellites for about 8 months and I’m BEYOND ready to let it loose. I think people will be excited with these songs. If you’re a fan of Walk The Moon, The Wanted, Coldplay, U2 and One Republic….You’re going to be all over this thing! I’m planning on having a music video for every song. It’s a HUGE expectation, but I’m determined to make it happen. I already have 2 new videos ready to go and I’m really proud with what my team and I are turning out. It officially releases September 18th, but my single “Let Go” iss available now on iTunes!
ANTHONY: What’s your song-writing process like? Lyrics first then music, or the other way around, or somewhere in between?
THOMAS: Honestly, I just write. It kinda bugs me sometimes too…I have a really hard time shutting down and not thinking of new concepts or song ideas. I don’t have a road map for how I write a song…normally it’s music first, but I’ve had some great songs come from a simple lyric idea. I’m also really picky about how my songs are written and produced. You could ask anyone I’ve worked with and they’ll tell you it’s my way or the highway when we’re in a studio. Not out of pride or ego…I just know what I want as an artist. I’ve worked with too many writers and producers who waste time…who are careless and lazy. If you ever get in the studio with me, pack a lunch and bring coffee, cause we’re not leaving until a song is done. I do a lot of work with Gabe Lopez (amazing producer), he understands, more than anyone, that a 16 hour session with me is out of a vision, not a hobby. The studio is my second home, so I’m very protective of who I let in.
ANTHONY: Has your Broadway experience influenced your songwriting process?
THOMAS: Sure has. It allows me to transport myself into a character when I’m writing…to pretend that I’m really living out a situation or emotion in real time…When I write a song, I live it. Either as a true life situation or in my head….All my lyrics come from a place and have a reason for being sung. Acting has definitely been a trick I up my sleeve compared to other writers or artists…keeps me away from singing about “Dollar bills” or “Hittin’ the club”.
ANTHONY: How does the music you’ve written for the new album compare to the songs on your earlier EPs? How have you grown/changed as an artist?
THOMAS: This new album is my sound. It took me a while to find out what that meant really. It’s crazy to listen back to my last EPs and hear my voice on those songs. A few I’m proud of, like “Jealous of Distance”. Songs like that don’t come to writers everyday….I’m going to be chasing that song for a while. As far as my new album…I’m so proud of every song! The writing, production….it’s all perfect to me. Hopefully my fans, new and old, feel the same!
ANTHONY: Have you collaborated with anyone for this album? And how do the songs from those collaborations differ from the songs you’ve written on your own?
THOMAS: I spent a few months working with a lot of big A-List producers. Which is always an honor, but I was having a hard time translating my vision with outside sources. I think collaborations only work for me when I’m writing for an artist other than myself. I LOVE collaborating on songs, but for this new album, I discovered I was the only one should be writing it. A few people think that doing so is a suicide mission when you get too far into your own work. It might be true but screw ‘em.
ANTHONY: Who are your biggest musical influences?
THOMAS: Oh man, this is a long list! The Dream, The Beatles, Walk The Moon, Something Corporate, The Fray, The Wanted, Justin Timberlake, John Mayer….everything I listen to on the radio influences me, whether I know it or not. I spend a lot of time on Youtube listening to bands no one has ever heard of…There’s so much good music out there…It’s painful to know what makes it to radio rather than what should.
ANTHONY: Will you be touring in support of the album when it releases?
THOMAS: Sure will! I’m pushing to radio now so most of my shows will be focused around radio festivals….Jingle Ball, etc. I’ve been lucky enough to play with some amazing artists this summer. Karmin, The Wanted, Cobra Starship, Austin Mahone, Chiddy Bang, Sammy Adams….They’ve all been super cool. I’m working with MTV-U for a national tour at the end of this year, so stay tuned!
ANTHONY: And my usual closing question for all my interviews: What is your favorite book, and what would you say to someone who hasn’t read it to convince them that they should?
THOMAS: Haha, awesome question! My favorite book is called “The Los Angeles Diaries”. It’s a true story about this kids life growing up during the “seedy” time of LA. If you like a good true story, you’ll dig this one!
ANTHONY: Thanks again, Thomas, for the interview and for the great music. I’m really enjoying the new album!
THOMAS: Thanks so much sir!