A Chat with Tom Peregrine (28.03.21)

My mother once referred to a young person with an old soul as a “husk” and I have to refer to Tom Peregrine as a “husk”. It is by no means an insult but rather a compliment as “husks” have a reverent introspection. Laying his bold vocals atop charming melodies, Germany-based Peregrine has a unique and endearing sound. We speak with Peregrine about his debut EP The Boy, musical achievements and future plans.

OSR: What can you tell us about your EP The Boy?

Peregrine: The Boy is my debut EP and captures themes of young adulthood, moving away for the first time, and finding one’s way in life. You’ll find deeply personal songs that have hints of nature running through all of them. I had a wonderful time recording them in studio with my musical companion Paulina Bartsch (violin, harmonies) and have my good friend Lucas Laufen produce the songs and turn them into what they’ve become. Most additional instrumental bits were played by many musical friends and the process felt ever so great and wholesome. To have this project come to an end only makes me look forward to what’s to come.

OSR: What was the writing and recording process like?

Peregrine: The songs featured on the EP were written over the course of four years (2015-2019) and really are a selection of what I liked most at the time of recording. ‘Inner Strife’ I wrote back in school whilst ‘The Song’ was finished a few weeks pre-recording. Writing songs to me feels like fully opening up and that’s always a somewhat fragile self to show. Some of these lines felt like work to get to, others came easily. While it’s always different, I am glad to have opened up and written these words.

My producer Lucas Laufen discovered me at a small folk festival we were both invited to. Discovering him through a common friend, I had met him at a gig of his earlier that year (2019) and we got to talk afterwards. At the festival, he offered to record my EP and we set a date for September 2019. My aforementioned friend Paulina Bartsch and I had a splendid time and Lucas made us feel right at home.

The base tracks of the six songs were recorded within a day and some additional instruments were recorded right there. I remember kneeling in front of a vintage electric organ to play its bass pedals with my hands to create a bass line to ‘To The Boy That I Was Yesterday’. After that day, university really got hold of me again and I started to come up with cello scorings and debated what kind of instrumentation some songs needed. So over the course of the next few months, I gathered many musical friends to record celli and violin whilst I, too, added some mandolin to the mix. These instruments were either recorded in a studio, quiet apartments or childhood bedrooms.

OSR: If you could change one thing about The Boy what would it be?

Peregrine: It’s beautiful as is but if I could I would record it with all musicians in studio and finish the project within a few days.

OSR: What do you hope to accomplish with your music?

Peregrine: I think I am happy about every accomplishment along the way whether it’s a certain gig or the size of a crowd. At the moment I am hoping to record my next EP/LP with a more diverse set of musicians and instruments, create different soundscapes and still somehow tie it all together.

OSR: What inspires you to make music?

Peregrine: Everything really. I listen to a lot of music, gather inspiration from other musicians and their styles; the way they sing, play their instrument, and the soundscape they shape. Reading fuels my imagination and helps me visualise stories written in word. I get inspired by great and strong emotions whether they are mine or those of the dear people around me.

My biggest influence is and will probably always be nature; I can’t quite explain how exquisitely beautiful and perfect nature presents itself at any given moment. I often feel like it is there whenever I open up to it and I dare to as often as possible.  

OSR: What is your greatest musical achievement thus far?

Peregrine: To have honestly moved people. It is just that.

OSR: What do you hope people take from your music?

Peregrine: Aspiration to let themselves feel more and feel better within themselves. I hope people can relate to the feelings I describe or find another angle to see them from. Some of the songs focus on one’s place in our society and whilst more awareness is brought to such topics, I hope to add to that. I would be ever so pleased if just a single line made someone think about what I try to say or what it makes them feel.

OSR: Do you have any phobias?

Peregrine: I used to be afraid of big bodies of water. I haven’t really had a chance to see if I am still afraid as of lately so who knows?! I am afraid of big heights but sort of tackled that when I started bouldering.

OSR: What is your favourite smell?

Peregrine: Opening my wood workshop and smelling the dried wood shavings is my favourite. Also, coffee!

OSR: What is the best way to discover new music nowadays?

Peregrine: Spotify and YouTube for sure. Both have mostly pleasant algorithms and user-curated content. Sometimes it takes a little searching but there are gems to be discovered out there!

OSR: Do you have future plans?

Peregrine: Tough question to answer right now. I have been looking forward to playing any sort of show with my friends Paulina (on harmonies) and Andi (on violin) or even just rent a cabin on the Danish coast to record and play some new songs.

Thanks to Tom Peregrine for chatting with us. For more check out his official website, Facebook, Instagram and Spotify.

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