Interview with Tom Leighton of The Bad Flowers

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On Monday my track of the day was the awesome “Living The Dream” by The Bad Flowers. This band have released two addictive EPs, and next month they’ll be on tour in the UK with Crobot and Dirty Thrills—both great bands that we’ve featured here on Real Rock and Roll.

After listening to The Bad Flowers’ EPs, I was keen to find out more about this exciting new band. I invited them here for a chat about their music, inspiration, and more.

 

Interview with Tom Leighton of The Bad Flowers

Introduce us to the band members and tell us a bit about your musical backgrounds.

We have Dale Tonks on Bass and backing vocals, Karl Seliskis on Drums, and myself Tom Leighton on Guitar and vocals; we’ve all been playing in bands since we were kids and we’re all pretty much self taught! We just wanted to play because we love it!

How and when did the band get together?

The band came together in early 2014 when previous bands we were in kinda fell apart; Dale and I had been in bands together for years so when we decided to start this project it was really important we found the right drummer. Karl was the first person to get in touch with us and as soon as we got together for a jam it felt like we’d been in a band together for years! Great chemistry! It was actually that same week we did our first gig!

Wow! That’s brilliant. You definitely sound great together!

Is there a story behind how you came up with the name The Bad Flowers?

Not much of a story really, it was a lyric I wrote in an old song and it kinda stuck in my head, so I pitched the idea to the lads and it stuck! It’s always a hard decision coming up with a band name.

Who were your musical heroes when you were growing up?

All the greats! Led Zeppelin was my first love, they’re actually the reason I picked up a guitar when I found an old Monsters of Rock tape and it blew me away. I know Karl’s the same; he even has a John Bonham tattoo. Dale is a huge Black Sabbath fan, but we all have massively varied taste.

You have two excellent EPs. Who usually writes the songs, or is it a collaboration between all band members?

Thank you very much! The majority of the music is written from a riff or a hook that one of us brings to practice and we just jam with it until we find something that excites, then we tweak it until we’re happy then I take it away and write the lyrics.

What inspires the lyrics for your songs?

Usually things that are going on in our lives, or things from the past, or even things in the media. The song we do called “Living the Dream” is a kind of ironic tune about the state of the economy and the rich getting richer, poor getting poorer. Basically about being skint!

What usually comes first, the lyrics or the music?

It’s normally the music, but I always have lyric ideas bouncing around in my head, so if I think they’ll fit the music I try and work them in.

I understand you’re working on new music. What can fans expect from the new songs?

Yeah, that’s right; we’re really excited about this EP. I think these songs show a bit more maturity. It’s probably some of the heaviest stuff we’ve recorded to date, four songs that’ll blow your head off with riffs and heavy grooves! Can’t wait to get it out there! A couple of the songs we’ve played live for a while and a couple of them are brand new so it’s a good mix of stuff too for people that have and haven’t seen us live before.

Sounds fantastic! I’m looking forward to hearing that 🙂

You have a few gigs coming up, are there any that you’re particularly looking forward to?

Yeah, all of them! We love to play live more than anything, but I must say we’ve been given some great opportunities recently: we have Glastonbudget festival in Leicestershire on the 28th of May, then we have two shows supporting Liberty Lies on the 2nd and 3rd of June—they’re an awesome band and top guys so we’re looking forward to that! Then we’re doing a run of three dates with American band Crobot! We couldn’t quite believe it when we got that phone call because we’re all massive fans of the band so it’s a dream tour for us. That’s on the 21st of June in Milton Keynes, 22nd in Birmingham and the 23rd at Islington Academy in London. Dirty Thrills are also on the bill and we’ve heard great things about them so can’t wait to share a stage with those guys too.

Dirty Thrills are one of my favourite bands; you’ll love them! 🙂

You’ve built up a decent following on social media in quite a short space of time. What tips would you give to bands who are just starting out?

Just keep sharing and keep posting to keep things relevant. We set a small amount of money aside most months to use as targeted promotion if we have a big event or show coming up. We tend to use Facebook more than any other social media site but at the minute the restrictions they have on there mean you have to pay to get your posts out there, which lets face it is a crap deal! So we link everything through our personal pages too.

I agree about Facebook. They need to stop hiding all the posts! Sometimes they even hide my own posts from me! 🙂

What are some of the challenges facing new bands?

It’s always a challenge to get noticed, trying to show what you have to offer. There are so many great bands out there aiming for the same things! But one philosophy we’ve always had is to help out and try and promote bands in the same situation as ourselves, like I said we’re all aiming for the same goals so why not help each other out?

Absolutely. I think that applies to all types of artists. I always try do the same for other indie authors 🙂

Which are your favourite social media sites, and why?

Like I say, we tend to put the majority of our time into Facebook as it’s more interactive with fans, but we use a lot of Instagram and Twitter too, each one has its own strengths.

I’ve seen more and more people move over to Instagram. I’ve resisted so far as it’s hard enough to keep up with the other social media sites! 🙂

What have been some of the band’s highlights so far?

Well, last year was just constant gigging and touring, it was our first full year as a band. We got to do a few really cool support slots with The Sonics and The Sheepdogs two outstanding bands, they were cool shows! We also did a couple of gigs in Vienna, Austria and then one in northern France on the way back! We drove down in our 20 year-old VW van! That has definitely got be a highlight.

 

 

 

What was the last album you bought?

Tyler Bryant and the Shakedown‘s new EP, The Wayside. Superb band, if you haven’t heard them I’d check them out.

Thanks for the recommendation. I hadn’t heard of them, but will definitely check them out!

When buying music do you prefer CDs, downloads, or vinyl?

Vinyl first, then downloads. I honestly can’t remember the last time I bought a CD! How bad does that sound? Haha. I’m glad a lot of bands are releasing things on vinyl again though, it just sounds better! Hopefully it’s something we’ll be looking at doing soon.

Yes, you should, vinyl is definitely becoming popular again 🙂

If you could tour with any other band, who would you choose and why?

At the minute I’d love to be on the same bill as Monster Truck! I mean who wouldn’t want to listen to those grooves every night?

🙂 Any other news for your fans?

Yeah, please check out our website and social media, we’ll be playing all over the country in the autumn so come check us out and say hi 🙂

Thanks for answering my questions, Tom! I’m looking forward to the new music and hope to catch one of your shows soon! 🙂

 

Band links:

Website: http://thebadflowers.uk

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thebadflowersband

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheBadFlowers

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thebadflowers/

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