Resident MC for Glasgow’s Walk n Skank nights and regular MC for Mungos Hi-Fi, Tom Spirals is a big name in Scotland’s reggae scene right now. Join us below as he shares tour stories and warns us not to take acid before a gig.
SSC: Hi, Tom. In your own words, for those unfamiliar with your name, could you tell us who you are and what you do?
TS: I am an artist from Glasgow, Scotland, mostly known for my work as a reggae/dub vocalist. I record and perform with lots of different producers and sound systems such as Mungos Hifi and Dreadsquad or bands like Samson Sounds and Digital Foundation. Alongside the rest of the crew, I also run a sound system event called Walk n Skank every Thursday night in Glasgow.
SSC: So what started it all off and how did that lead you to where you are today?
TS: I started in a punk-metal band when I was 11 called ‘Dark Ages‘. We split up after artistic differences when we left primary school… then I had a short period of time in a very beige indie band before eventually discovering ska music and forming a ska reggae band called ‘Ska Ya Man’ when I was around 15. After years of playing with Ska Ya Man and a detour down a psytrance rabbit hole, I eventually found the opportunity to try singing on a sound system, in Cusco Peru in 2012. I loved it and since then I’ve been on a mission to create music that works with sound system culture.
SSC: Who are the main influences for you, doing what you do?
TS: Mungos Hifi have to get a BIG mention here… they were the first reggae record I ever bought and listened to and they’ve taught me so much on this journey, both personally and technically. Vocally, I have to shout out YT for being a constant source of inspiration and to be honest, ALL the MCs I meet on the circuit – I’m always being inspired.
SSC: What, would you say, is the highlight of your music career so far, and why?
TS: My tour in Australia/NZ with Mungos Hifi at the start of this year was an absolute dream. For so many reasons, it was EXACTLY what I needed to do and all the shows over there were pure fire! I have to large up Oren from The 4’20’ Sound and Ali from Wakamana for helping set it all up.
SSC: Any moments you’d rather forget?
TS: Honestly, no… it’s all led me to where I am now. Even the mad situations – like being given 5 drops of LSD before getting on stage with my band at the tender age of 15 or being forced to go busking at Xmas in Amsterdam with a guy dressed as Santa Claus worked out ok in the end!
SSC: You’ve just dropped a new EP entitled ‘Flex Like Water’ on Pure Niceness Records – fancy telling us a bit about this release and how it came about?
TS: Francesco (Tiberias Towa) and I met out in Italy in 2015 and had a wicked jam at a session in a festival before having a proper conversation. We kept in touch and when Francesco came to play in Glasgow, we recorded the EP together over 3 days… ‘Flex like Water’ was actually written at about 2am on the last night of work and recorded at 4am!
SSC: Who should we be keeping an eye on? Any artists and/or DJs standing out to you right now?
TS: Escape Roots – he is such a versatile producer, it’s always a pleasure to work with him and I know he’s only just getting started. Vocalists wise, keep your eyes on a French MC called Dougy… he’s absolutely wicked and whenever I’ve had the pleasure of working with him, he ALWAYS brings full vibes!
SSC: Other than reggae/dub, are there any other genres or artists you are particularly fond of?
SSC: What’s on the horizon for Tom Spirals? Anything exciting coming up?
TS: A BIG tour in Eu/India/Australia and Nz at the end of the year with my brother Anders from Samson Sounds. I’ve got an album in the works with Escape Roots and quite a lot of other features on the way too!
SSC: And finally, if you could give one piece of advice for those wishing to follow in your path, what would it be?
TS: Don’t take the acid before the gig.
Keep up to date with all things Tom Spirals via his Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/tomspiralsmusic/