Tristram interview

Singer/songwriter Tristram popped in to see us at TMF Towers this week. With a new EP due shortly telling tales of zombie invasions and stolen bicycles we made sure he’d fastened his security chain tightly before we got to know more about him.

Now, some of our readers may not have heard of you. Would you like to introduce yourself?

I'm a musician. I'm 25. I live in Hackney. I play guitar and ukulele. I'm part of a band, that's ended up with my name, but also includes three other people. I’m releasing my EP ‘Someone Told Me A Poem’ on February 22nd through Oh, Inverted World Records, which I’m pretty excited about!

I've always tried to sing in quite a clear sort of way, just because that's what my voice seems to do. Like Elliot Smith, Nick Drake, Conor Oberst and Devendra Banhart with the little vibrato bits. When I was 17 I was in a dodgy metal band, and I used to try and sing like Chino Moreno. Now I just sit in my bedroom wailing Beirut songs.

Also, old recordings of folk songs. I've been listening to a lot of those recently. There was a guy called Alan Lomax that made field recordings in America and England of all kinds of blues, folk and country songs.

Where was the EP recorded?

At the Black Sibin studios in Hackney. Did you know that a sibin is an illegal Irish drinking establishment?

I'm writing that down for future reference. You've travelled to both ends of social horror on the EP by incorporating a song about a stolen bicycle and a zombie apocalypse! What is your lyrical muse?

All the ridiculous thoughts you get that you don't normally tell anyone about.

Is singing about a zombie invasion in a gentle manner a way of reclaiming the zombie song from heavy metal? What if heavy metal wants it back? Are there enough zombies to go around?

There's always enough zombies to go around. They're embedded in popular culture. Also, I've got a lot of love for heavy metal - so I hope we can share.

What skills outside of music do you have that would assist you in surviving a zombie invasion? Would the bicycle have helped (if it wasn't stolen)?

The bicycle would definitely help, especially when petrol started running low. If they were old-school slow George Romero zombies, I could cycle past and chop their heads off.

I like the idea of being eco-friendly in your decapitation. So, when did you start playing music?

When I was 11.

And what artists inspired you to pick up a guitar and sing?

My Dad likes lots of Chicago blues and 60s bands, so that was probably the first stuff I heard. I went through a lot of dodgy enthusiasms of my own before I started listening to anything vaguely credible. By the time I was 15 or so I'd heard The Bends and OK Computer and spent my time trying to sing 'High and Dry' and 'Street Spirit' in bad falsetto.

If the house was on fire what record would you save?

Highway 61 Revisited. Its pretty much the pinnacle of human endeavour. Or Blonde on Blonde.

If you have them filed together you might be able to get both and still make it out alive. What's the guiltiest pleasure in your record collection?

'Money for Nothing' by Dire Straits. That's a formidable song.

Has the internet been a useful tool in getting your music out there?

Undoubtedly. It seems intertwined with the process of making music and getting gigs now.

Do you Tweet?


Which is better - Lego or Meccano?

Lego. Wasn't Meccano for the generation before us, for our parents sort of era? (We are your parents - Elderly Ed.) I think it's made of metal, and I've got a feeling it requires screws. I'm not down with that.

My dad gave me a suitcase of Meccano when I was a kid. You could build some ace stuff. Took longer than Lego though and it didn’t have the little men! What was the last great film you saw?

The Road, last week. I'm not sure if it's great, but the book is outstanding.

What are your plans for 2010?

To play lots of gigs; hopefully involving some festivals and other countries. Also to write a big pile of songs. I'd very much like to get hold of a banjo and possibly an autoharp, and start using this old mandolin someone lent me.

So we leave Tristram trying to decide on which instrument to purchase next and how to best use it for Zombie decapitation.

You can pre-order his 'Someone Told Me A Poem EP' from

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