Interviews

Gareth Thomas breaks down his woozy new tune ‘Wake Up’

Gareth Thomas dives deep into his newest single and self-professed “alarm clock song” Wake Up, a jam born out of collaboration and a brand new synth.

Two weeks back New Zealand’s Gareth Thomas – a character you may know from Fazerdaze and Goodshirt – released Wake Up, a song dedicated to his girlfriend who doesn’t love getting up in the mornings.

The track has a soft psychedelic feel, a slow-burning sunrise that only gets brighter and brighter as it runs through. Eager to learn more about Wake Up, we reached out to Gareth for a run-down. Turns out, he’s always wanted to write a song people could start the morning with.

Gareth Thomas wake up

“I always wake up to an alarm clock song,” he shared. “The song choice can determine the mood I want to start the day in. If I have to wake up in the early hours to catch a plane for a tour, I slip out of bed to the Knight Rider Theme. Most mornings I wake up to Baby by Devendra Banhart, the goal is to get out of bed before the drums start. For a more leisurely morning, I choose Beautiful Day by Voom.”

“I wanted to write an alarm clock song – it’s an untapped genre. All the first dance songs are taken by Ed Sheeran, and Christmas songs aren’t my thing.”

But Wake Up isn’t just a morning song, it was inspired by a handful of key presences in Gareth’s life. A few mates, yes, but also a brand new synth – the popular polyphonic Minilogue from KORG.

“I love my Minilogue synthesiser. The Wake Up song is the first thing that fell out of it the morning it came home. Because this little synth has lots of closely spaced rubberised knobs, you can turn them with pretty much one-finger-per-knob.”

“It’s surprisingly easy to make complex musical swooshes and sweeps with one hand while playing keys with the other. The hands on playing experience with this new toy got me all inspired.”

A critical presence in Wake Up is Gareth’s partner, Amelia Murray from Fazerdaze. Now living together in a unit packed with an almost unhealthy amount of gear, they’re each others’ closest collaborators.

“We’re both total music junkies, our end unit flat has become our musical sanctuary,” shared Gareth.

“Her studio is the second bedroom and my studio is the front half of our bedroom. We manage to fit 15 guitars and 10 synthesisers into our little house! We’re quite content there noodling away at out respective musical projects every evening. We inspire each other along. It’s great to have a second set of fresh ears to listen to what you’re making.”

“I often travel across the hall to help with bass and synthesisers for Fazerdaze. Likewise, you can hear Amelia singling BVs on a lot of my tracks, amongst other things, she came up with the sitar/string melody for the Wake Up song.”

Wake Up went to another place for backing vocals though – the trill of cicadas outside Gareth’s window.

 

“We had one of those summers where the cicadas were singing SO loudly. There’s a tree right outside my bedroom studio that was full of the noisy little guys. I tried blankets over the window, singing under a duvet, but nothing seemed to dampen their enthusiastic chirping.”

“Suddenly I realised that they were actually contributing a sunny day vibe to the song – so I threw the windows wide open and let them join in.”

With a few songs in the can for 2020, Gareth Thomas is warming up to a brand new album named Bits, releasing sometime next year.

“Yes, there is much more to come: two years worth of homemade sonic noodlings, song experiments, and animated videos were finished off while housebound through the six-month lockdown. We’re currently making live recordings of all songs too.”

“Everything is being posted on my Facebook page and Youtube channel while COVID restrictions mean we can’t tour. I’ll be releasing something new every month leading up to the album Bits due mid-2021.”

Until then, listen to Wake Up and Gareth’s previous single My Dog above.