Freo blues-rock luminaries Tom Fisher and the Layabouts are set to launch their new release Spend a Little Time this month with a series of shows across Perth, Margaret River and Albany from Saturday, February 15 until Sunday, March 22. Tom Fisher spoke to BRAYDEN EDWARDS about channeling both the “trendy and the old school” with this release, taking it on the road and what’s in store for 2020.
Your new EP is called Spend a Little Time… How much time did you actually spend on it?
(Laughs) A lot of time actually. We play live so often that the songs were well and truly road-tested, but as far as the recording process goes it was actually pretty swift when we were in there. Working with (producer) James Newhouse is great as far as getting it done. He’s super professional.
And how does it differ from your previous records? Is there anything musically or lyrically that felt like a departure from what you had done before?
I think it holds true to our roots. Sound-wise it more leans off the back of the last EP, Half a Man, but probably the blues and rock outweighs the country sounds a bit more on Spend a Little Time. Lyrically, probably a bit more situated around this stage of my life and how it affects myself and people around me. All from a place of love and respect though.
For those that haven’t heard you, where do you feel like the inspiration for the Tom Fisher and the Layabouts’ sound came from?
I’ve always loved a vintage sound in a way I guess. I love a classic rock riff, particularly with a southern American influence. I love country; trendy alt-country or old school Willie and Waylon style. I guess it’s great riff-based American style blues/country/rock. For folks who haven’t seen us, we always tend to win the punters over. We do such a different array of gigs, festivals, etc but always seem to fit in.
And what are you listening to now that might shape the music you write next?
Very much looking to put this one to bed and writing some new stuff. I’m listening to a lot of soul; old soul and new soul like the Teskey Brothers. I’d love to incorporate some more of that into our show but with a southern, rocky edge. Like when Duanne Allman was sessioning at Mussel Shoals. Maybe get some horns in. The track Don’t Cry off this EP is starting to lean down that path I feel.
And what song on the release means the most to you and why?
They all mean a lot really. Some relate to friends and family. I think it’s hard for me to write a song nowadays that isn’t directly affecting me in some way. When I was younger I could make lyrics up about any random theme, but I feel I need a story behind it at this stage of my life to feel fully fulfilled with my writing. Old Man of the Blues was the single we released last year that won a WAM Song of the Year award in the Blues and Roots category so that is always nice to get a bit of love for an original song.
You’re set to take this record on the road too with a bit of a regional tour, what are you looking forward to most about that?
Regional is huge for us. We are lucky enough to have a great regional fan base and travel somewhere great most weeks. There is only so much you can play in town and we have done so many miles over the last 10 years. But we love it and some of our regional shows and festivals have just been the greatest of times.
What’s next for the band in 2020 and beyond? Any other shows or new music we can look forward to?
Haven’t looked too far post this release. But we do have a bunch of great shows and festivals to announce post-launch tour. We have a few half-done new tunes that will get the time they need once Spend a Little Time is released. We will head east to tour the EP. But we’ll mainly just keep playing and enjoying music as that’s why we are all in this game at the end of the day.