Beards & Truths #6: Tom Williams & The Boat


It’s been a few weeks since my last ‘Beards & Truths’ due to my computer being on the brink of a nervous breakdown, so apologies. I’ve also decided to make ‘Beards & Truths’ either a fortnightly or monthly thing too, so I can FINALLY start ‘Shit Film Of The Week’.

Anyway, I return with the wonderful Tom Williams & The Boat. Their single ‘Concentrate’ first caught my ears 6 months ago, a catchy buggar of a song about, of all things, a wrongly accused suicide bomber. 

Who are Tom Williams & The Boat?

We’re a six piece band from Kent.

Where are you from, what kind of boat is it and where is it going?

Collectively we’re from in and around Tunbridge Wells…I’d say it was a wooden row boat, it’s kind of meandering away from land I’d say.

Musical Influences?

Previously I’d say Springsteen, Neil Young and Nick Cave, and more recently, Teenage Fanclub, Big Star and Pavement.

Current listening habits?

Loving the new Girls album, ‘Father, Son, Holy Ghost’, I think that band are one of a kind, it’s great to see hipsters take such good care of such a unique song writer like Christopher Owens.

You’re the only unsigned band to get a morning to night playlist
on 6music. That must’ve been an amazing feeling.

It really was, it was the most amazing thing. I think we made a lot of friends releasing the first album ourselves and a lot of people at places like 6 music and Radio 1 really admired the determination with which we managed to push everything through. I think with the new album, we’re going to do it a bit more, ‘properly’ whilst still keeping our really small team around us.

Recent single ‘Concentrate’ has interesting subject material. Can
you tell us about it and how you came up with the idea?

It was part of a concept EP I wrote in about 2008 about a young guy who get’s wrongly accused of being a suicide bomber, and get’s ousted as a result…We recorded 4 ep’s from 2007-2009, a selection from which eventually made it onto our debut in 2011.

Where do you get your inspiration when writing songs?

All sorts, but usually from listening to music. If I ever go through a phase of not listening to much new music, and just re-listening, I often don’t write at all.

How many beards in the band?

I think about 3 half beards at the moment…I kind of went for it during the recent new album sessions, I wanted to be the beardy-man-recording-an-album-guy…but I’ve clipped it back now…I think it was at about 2.5 cm all over now it’s at 7mm…feels good, more like a long stubble.

Who produced your album ‘Too Slow’ and how did you arrive at it’s title?

It was co-produced with a guy called Simon Askew who we met when we recorded a session for Huw Stephens on Radio 1 at the BBC’s Maida Vale studios…he’s one of two full time recording engineers there, recording live sessions on a daily basis… We picked Too Slow because it was one of our favourite tracks on the record and we wanted to bring more attention to it, give the tracks some focus, almost hang the album off that track. I still like that track.

What’s been your album of the year?

Ah I can’t even think but at the moment I’ll go with that new Girls record.

Favourite venue to play?

Shepherds Bush Empire was a joy recently supporting Slow Club.

What is the preferred band drink of choice?

A local ale I’d say.

Do you or the band have any unusual talents?

Chris who plays piano can do an amazing quiet shout. It’s as quiet as a whisper but as hoarse as holler.

Would you rather have one marshmallow now, or two in 5 minutes time?

One now please

Any gigs you’d like to plug?

Last London show of the year on Tuesday Nov 15th at The Wheelbarrow in London, it’s free too!

Any friends bands we should know about?

Check out Binko Swink, Shield Your Eyes and Storybooks.

Finally Name a really shit film

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.

Tom Williams & The Boat ‘Too Slow’ is out now. To purchase the album and all sorts of other wonders visit


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