Talking To...Jon Gomm

Before Jon Gomm's recent gig at the 101, Fatea's Matt Tighe managed to waylay him for a quick chat.

MT So what started you playing the guitar?

JG I was so young I can't remember, but apparently when I was 2 I was transfixed by Mark Knopfler playing guitar on TV. It was all I wanted for Christmas. My parents bought me a ukulele, and by the time I was 4 I was taking classical guitar lessons.

MT Obviously your style of playing is extremely unique. What would you say has contributed to creating your sound?

JG I have a huge range of influences, from folk, blues and jazz to metal, funk and various bits of world music. And I've always loved guitarists who experiment and do something different. When you start so young, and with very traditional styles, if you see somebody breaking the rules it's really exciting. So I started breaking rules.

MT How does the new album, "Secrets Nobody Keeps", differ from the past two albums?

JG It has different song on it. I don't know, I don't think in terms of albums, I just write songs, so it's hard for me to answer! It sounds different, because I had a wizard producer called Whiskas working on it, and he did some nice things to the sound of my guitar and voice.

MT Has this tour been prompted by the album or is it something thats been on the to do list for a while?

JG Actually, this tour is like a break. I travel a lot now, to some pretty culturally different places, and so I asked my manager to arrange this little mini-tour on home soil, so I could just keep in touch with my roots. For me, touring in the UK and Ireland is just fun!

MT Where else are you covering on this tour?

JG This tour is just around England and Ireland, then it's getting into festival season, and I have a few to play around Europe. Then we go to Canada for a few gigs, then a tour in Turkey I believe!

MT During your career you've played in a wide range of places. Is there anywhere that you'd like to play that you haven't been to yet?

JG I really want to go to Japan. I've read a lot of Haruki Murakami novels, that's probably why.

MT If you could join one band, past or present, which one would it be?

JG I'm not a band guy, I like being the band on my own. It'd be awesome to play songs I cover with the original artists, like Radiohead, Chaka Khan. It has been discussed, so who knows! Maybe it'll happen. Some people may be aware that you're not signed to a record label and are in fact, a completely independent artist.

MT Can you explain why this is and maybe give us an insight into your views on the music industry?

JG The mainstream industry is a pretty awful place, really hugely money driven and with music as an artform very much secondary. It's funny, being independent is so easy now, and actually a great way of being active and promoting your music. And a lot of the techniques independent artists have pioneered, like the use of social networks and youtube, mainstream acts are spending huge sums trying to copy.

MT What's your opinion on music education? Do you think experience trumps qualifications?

JG Music education is wonderful, but it's not for everybody. I am a really schooled guitarist - I studied at The Guitar Institute and Leeds College of Music. But in terms of actually getting a gig, nobody asks to see your certificates! It's audition based, and that's how it should be. People can make great music with no academic training at all, of course.

More details about Jon Gomm's tour and release news can be found here:

Photocreadit: Ben Barber

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