Known for making waves across the alternative scene with his resonance and anthemic energy alike, rising star Drew Thomas is back with his next single “All My Friends”. Having taken the leap to go solo, he continues to lead the charge for musicians striving to make a difference, with anecdotal tales and relatable lyricism that will have everyone on their feet in no time.
His latest single explores one of the most prevalent conversations out there. From building homes and bringing children into the world, to the pressure of settling down, we can all sing along to “All My Friends” in some way. However, it’s Drew’s unparalleled approaches and humbling relatability that make his latest single such a stand-out tune.
In conversation with Noctis, Drew Thomas explores his sound, successes and the deeper discourses behind his new anthem…
Hi Drew. Thank you for chatting to us today! Your new single “All My Friends” is an absolute tune! What inspired you to first get into music? Any musical heros or influences in your earlier years?
Thanks for having me! Music is in my blood. My mum used to play me loads of 70’s records by artists like The Monkees, Fleetwood Mac and Queen when I was growing up and my late grandfather was a great pianist so I’ve definitely inherited something from him! I used to be obsessed with T.Rex/Marc Bolan when I was growing up and I think you can hear that classic rock-pop sound in my music nowadays for sure.
How would you describe your sound? Do you prefer to stick to a certain genre, or experiment with a blend of different styles?
I call it grit-pop. I love big soaring choruses, gut-hitting lyrics and playing around with as many instruments as I can. I’d say I’m definitely influenced by lots of different genres though – I find the more I tend to challenge myself creatively and out of the box I try to think, the better my art becomes.
When you embarked on the creative process for “All My Friends”, where did you start? Was it a stream of consciousness or a more developed and practiced technique?
I’d say most of my songs are 100% reliant on a stream of consciousness. I had the simple line “All my friends are having babies” which I thought was too blunt and tongue in cheek to actually release. It grew arms and legs though and pretty quickly I had a full song. The process of producing it in the studio was so seamless and it all came together very quickly.
You were born and raised in Nottingham in the UK. How has the city inspired you throughout the years? Any local hotspots or highlights that hold significance for you?
I love Nottingham. There’s something in the water there when it comes to music as well because the scene is brimming with really great artists and writers. My favourite place in the world to play and hang is a place called the Bodega – it’s a bar in Hockley (an arty area of the city) and you will find me there every time I am in Notts!
“All My Friends” explores the pressures of settling down, whilst seeing your friends buy houses, have children, and get married. However, you offer a resonating rebellion for those who feel this pressure too. Was there a particular time or experience that inspired this narrative?
There was a day during lockdown where I was mindlessly scrolling on Instagram (as you do) and I just saw so many of my old friends posting about getting engaged, having kids or generally growing up. When I was in my teenage years, being a independent musician kinda fitted life’s narrative but I started to realise that I wasn’t on the same mental level as those people anymore. Emotionally, it felt sad to start with but then I thought “fuck it”, I fucking love music and can’t imagine settling down any time soon. I’d been super private about my sexuality and private life too – even in front of my friends and family so this song was the first time I think I really expressed myself bluntly.
You delve deeper into the heteronormative expectations that are present in modern society, and the challenges faced by the LGBTQ+ community as a result of stereotypical relationship culture. Could you delve further into this?
As a bisexual person, I feel like a need to come out and explain my sexuality every time I meet someone – it’s very strange. I am in a long term, same sex relationship but the process of actually settling down, whenever that could happen, is so much more complicated. I wouldn’t change how I think or feel for anything but as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, even if you can financially afford to do so, you have to make certain sacrifices or compromises to build a family or live the heteronormative narrative.
What are you hoping listeners will take away from your latest anthem? Any thoughts or emotions you’re hoping to portray?
Primarily, this song is a rock party anthem and doesn’t need to be anything more. I do always sneak in some retrospective and deeper lyrics in all my songs but it’s so important that people take what they want from a song. Music is so universal and once the world has it, they can enjoy it how they wish.
If you could take “All My Friends” onto the stage of a dream venue, what venue would that be?
I would always naturally go to answer a question like this with GLASTONBURY or READING & LEEDS but I think my dream venue would be anywhere now where the entire audience is there to have a good time and enjoy some big old singalongs. Live shows are the biggest reward and the whole reason I do what I do, so as long as everyone there is having the best time – that’s the dream.
What can we expect from your new music? You infuse a nice blend of pop and rock into your repertoire. Will we see this continue?
I’m working on a bunch of new songs for 2023 but there’ll definitely be something out there before that! My sound has definitely become rockier over the past year so expect some balls-to-the-wall rock tunes on the next EP
We’re quickly approaching the end of 2022! Any new year’s resolutions or goals for 2023 and beyond? Where do you see yourself heading next?
I’m a very impatient person. I generally want everything NOW but I’m trying to set more reasonable goals for 2023. I’ve got a bunch of live shows planned for next year and I hope to release a bunch of new music too. I’m working on being a better person and more honest with myself creatively so I can’t wait to share the journey with everyone.