Thomas Tantrum
UK Tour
August - October 2008
Questionnaire & Photography: Steve Bateman

"I wanna talk, but I wanna talk though, I wanna talk though, I wanna talk, but I wanna talk… Shake It! Shake It!"

It could well be one of the catchiest lines that you'll ever hear in a song, but there's plenty more where that came from. Especially as on top of the band's art-punk, sweet bubblegum pop and frenetic musical compositions - which typifies Thomas Tantrum's youthful vitality, sound and Englishness - lead singer Megan has one of the most characteristic and insouciant voices that you're ever likely to hear to boot! Which ultimately, is the glue that holds the quartet's staccato melodies and rhythms together.

TT's tasty tunes have also helped the up-and-coming group gain kudos from the likes of The Futureheads, Glasvegas and Lily Allen - who was so enamoured with what she heard on Zane Lowe's Radio 1 show, that she immediately wrote a gushing MySpace blog and made the band her # 1 MySpace friend, where they have remained until this day!

Hailing from Goatee Beach, Southampton, Thomas Tantrum are Miss. Megan Thomas (vox + guitar), Mr. Ken Robshaw (drums + b.v's), Mr. David Miatt (guitar + b.v's) and Mr. Jimmy Shivers (bass + b.v's), with the collective's name originally suggested to them by a friend, which conjured up images of old '70s punk monikers in Megan's mind.

Record-wise, the group has so far released four 7"s - Armchair, Shake It! Shake It! (Marquis Cha Cha Records), Swan Lake (Cool For Cats Records) and Work It (Sindy Stroker's Records), with their eponymous debut album - produced by Embrace's Richard McNamara - set to follow on September 1st. And although still a relatively new experience for them, the band has been getting their name out there through good old-fashioned touring.

After speaking to the very lovely and beautiful Megan at Glasvegas' Oxford Zodiac show in June (who Thomas Tantrum were supporting on the night), she has now had time to answer an Exclusive R*E*P*E*A*T e-mail Q&A, following a super busy couple of months. But before reading it, why not check out at the same time, as once there, you'll find a selection of sprightly songs, filled with short, sharp shots of pure indie goodness, that you just won't be able to get out of your head!

Not only are Thomas Tantrum one of this year's burgeoning 'Bright Young Things', but moreover, their music suggests that they are in it for the long haul and are without question, stars-in-the-making…

Lucy: Your band have been quite quiet for the last few months. Are you looking forward to playing gigs again?
Katie Jane Garside: I think I give very obtuse ans

1. At what age did your love of music first begin, and when did you decide that music was something that you wanted to be a part of?

"I think I loved music from a very young age. From when my Grandad used to put music on in his living room for us to dance to, and my parents put Pet Sounds by The Beach Boys on the car stereo on long journeys. When I got to about 8, I think I formed my first band, or duo, with my best friend at the time and we called ourselves Twice Two. We never really wrote any music though, just sang along to PJ & Duncan on The Karaoke Machine and wrote them love letters, ha ha ha - I don't believe I am telling you this. As I grew up and my music taste became more acquired, I'd always go to gigs and look on admiringly and wish it was me up there!"

2. Can you remember the first song that you ever learnt to play?
"I think the first few songs I learnt to play, were all Nirvana songs, as my friend Anthony said he would teach me to play guitar and he loved them! I think the first one was Come As You Are."

3. And then, can you remember the first song that you ever wrote?
"The first song I ever wrote is more tricky, but I was about 14 and I wrote it on my Grandma's piano in her house in the Lake District. It was about how much my little sister annoyed me. She didn't like it very much!"

4. As a band, how would you say your personalities and musical ideas blend together?
"We are lucky in our band that we all get on really well together, share the same sense of humour etc. and always have a laugh, so that's the main thing. Especially when you have to spend a large amount of time with each other, like we do. In terms of musical compatibility, I'd say that we are all individually into different genres but that's what makes our music so individual. However, there are also a lot of bands that we all share equal passions for and get inspiration from."

5. Using only 1 word for each band member, how would you describe everyone including yourself?

"Ken - Vitamin C, Dave - Bachelors Degree, Jim - Potpourri and me… Insanity Plea."

6. Is it fulfilling for you all, to think that your work is now starting to be noticed?
"Yeah, definitely. The last few months have been amazing and we're gaining tons of new fans every day. It's quite weird to think that people are sitting in their rooms listening to us, or driving home from work and listening to us. We couldn't believe it when we first heard Shake It! Shake It! played on Radio 1 - we were all at my parents' house having band practise and all went a bit crazy."

7. When it comes to music on Thomas Tantrum's Tour Bus, which artist / group do you all agree on, and if you were asked to compile a 'Back To The Bus' CD, which acts and songs would you include?
"Between us, we have a very eclectic taste in music, but there is a fair bit of common ground we share on music too. I think the staple CDs we might have, would be Talking Heads - Stop Making Sense, Elastica - Elastica, Daft Punk - Homework, British Sea Power - Do You Like Rock Music?, CSS and a whole ton more I can't even think of. We spend so much time in the van, that we go through phases of listening to one thing over and over. On the 9 hour drive back from Darlington once, we listened to nothing but Dub."

8. Is there a particular band or artist, whose career path and musical output / consistency, you greatly admire?
"Firstly, David Bowie. The consistency and variety of his albums throughout The '70s is incredible. Every one a classic. More recently, Radiohead have pursued a fascinating career path, never letting themselves be compromised and releasing some stunning albums along the way."

9. Complete the following: I would like to write a song as good as… and make an album that equals… ?

"I would like to write a song as good as Ghost Town by The Specials, and make an album that equals Raw Power by Iggy And The Stooges."

10. Interestingly, some songwriters believe that they can communicate better through songs, than they can in real life. Do you also feel like this, and what are the main themes of your lyrics?
"I definitely agree with this. I think I turned to music because I find it a lot easier to express how I feel this way. I can never seem to find the right words in real life and confrontations, but if you looked in my lyric book you might understand me a lot better. But no-one is allowed in there!"

11. What inspires you outside of music?
"More music? Ha! No, I don't know? I like reading a lot, writing poems and horse riding."

12. Is there anything that you can tell us about Thomas Tantrum, which may surprise your fans?

"Would it surprise you if I told you that underneath our clothes, we are all covered in scales. Part human, part dinosaur. I'm The Megasaurus!"

13. In reference to your band name, when was the last time that one of you threw a tantrum?
"Errrm… probably at the weekend. We are all quite highly strung, but it's only because we care about what we are doing so much."

14. Do you have any favourite haunts in Southampton, that you'd recommend to us?

"Although Southampton isn't the most happening of cities, it is still pretty cool. I've lived here since I was 10. Back then, I liked going to the swimming pool and the gymnasium, but I'm not so active these days! I like to hang out at Goblets for some fruit cider and a fish finger sandwich. Lennons Club is good for new up-and-coming bands, as is the Joiners. The Brook puts on some mental cover bands which can be good, if you're in the mood. Talking Heads in Portswood is also not one to be missed. It's a bit farther out of town, but worth the walk for the sorts of bands and club nights held there."

15. I know you love browsing / buying in Charity Shops, but what are some of the best bargains that you've ever found?
"I found a Wizard's cape not so long ago and bought that. I look like something out of the Lord Of The Rings in it. I haven't worn it yet though, but I did make a funny video of me and my sister wearing it."

16. What's your Mobile Ringtone?
"At the moment, it's Shakira - or at least something that sounds like Shakira. The one where she sings, "Even though my breasts are small and humble." Before that, it was this old-fashioned ringtone which sang, "Good morning, how are you? Shut up! Don't give me the small talk, give me the big talk. A million, a million and 6, oh I love tall talk, give me some mooooore, elephants, elephants (I don't know the rest because I always picked it up after that)."

17. If you had to design a Thomas Tantrum gig poster, how would you capture people's attention to ensure that they'd come to see you play?
"I'd keep it simple, have a big bold, stylish logo prominent, the date and venue clearly readable, sharp colours and minimalist design. Then let the band's reputation do the rest."

18. Are there any artists or bands, who you would like to see cover / reinterpret one of your songs for Jo Whiley's Live Lounge?

"Errrm. I'd like to see Slipknot do a cover of Shake It! Shake It! - that would be mental. Literally."

19. If you could form a supergroup as a side-project, which musicians would you most like to play in the band with you?
"I'd put Pete Thomas from The Attractions on drums, James Williamson from The Stooges on geetar and Paul Simonon on bass. Me lead vocals and rhythm guitar."

20. Do you have any special memories of places you've visited, bands you've met, or standout gigs / festivals so far?

"We played at La Flèche d'Or in Paris, which is an absolutely gorgeous venue and was also our first gig abroad, so that was quite an experience."

21. What have been some of your favourite gigs that you've attended as a fan over the years?

"The Strokes at Reading Festival 2001, Billy Bragg at Glastonbury 2008, Regina Spektor at Shepherds Bush Empire and Louise at Power In The Park 1998 (I was very young)."

22. What's the nicest thing that someone has ever done for Thomas Tantrum?

"Hard question! Well recently, Lily Allen put us in her 'Top Friends' on MySpace which was very lovely of her and has helped us out with new fans no end. Big Up Lily!"


23. Is there anything in life that you've never tried, but would like to?
"Always speaking my mind to people and not just trying to be nice to please them."

24. What are your biggest hopes for Thomas Tantrum long-term?
"Well, we are all really excited about the album right now and the tour in September. We've also just confirmed some more support dates with Glasvegas (whom we love), so we can't wait to do those. After this album, another and then more tours. My biggest dream has always been to play on Jools Holland, so that would be pretty cool."

25. Lastly, chips or cream buns?
"Chips! Cream makes me vomit."

A very special thanks to Megan + Thomas Tantrum, and to Kat @ Big Life Management, for all of their time and help.

"What's new with you?"

wers to questions...It's never about looking forward to it. Actually maybe I should change the
script, maybe we are looeir musicm the 3rd album?