Yorkshire man Tom Findlay (TF) is better known as one half of Groove Armada (GA) (with Andy Cato) and is perhaps lesser known for his input with Sugardaddy (his project with Tim Hutton). He took time out to be interviewed by Glasswerk.co.uk and tell us what went wrong with Kylie and why he loves Prince so much.
AS: After a decade of servitude with Groove Armada, you’re refusing to play the hits. Why?
TF: Not necessarily. We’ll play them as and when the time is right, G8, things like that. We want to keep things fresh and avoid churning out hits that people are tired of.
AS: Any career highlights you care to share from the last decade of GA output?
TF: Learning production skills and the new LP… playing Glastonbury for the first time. Our Mt. Fuji gig in Japan was amazing. In general, the last couple of years have been great. Yeah, I’m still enjoying it! Yes, there’s more competition, less money and too many big labels…
AS: The failed collaboration with Aussie minx Kylie, any thoughts?
TF: We spent 4 hours at Olympia Studios with her before EMI pulled the plug. They were panicking about us getting finished after a delayed start. Shame, it would’ve been massive and brought in some money too!
AS: What can you do with Tim Hutton that you can’t with Andy Cato?
TF: It’s a whole different vibe and dynamic. It’s always healthy to bring new vitality to your writing and production work.
AS: You’ve got your own artist rewarding online record store. How’s that going?
TF: I’m not involved with that anymore. It didn’t suit me wandering around shouting in an office all day! Having to wait… so annoying, I like to get things done. But we released a Sugardaddy record with it which was handy. We swapped their record rights with my label rights in the end, making us all happy. And no more shouting for me either!
AS: “It’s good to get high with the wife” is a Sugardaddy MySpace quote. Home life’s good then is it?
TF: Home life is cool! Growing old disgracefully with your missus is definitely recommended.
AS: What is it about Prince that does it for you?
TF: He’s consistently good. Watching his ‘1999’ video as a kid just stunned me. My favourite LP from my adolescence was ‘Sign of the Times’, definitely a Desert Island Disc of mine. He’s got his own recognisable, clever production sound. He’s a multi instrumentalist. He’s just Godlike. I even bought my ticket to go and see him, I honestly didn’t blag it! I spent the whole time with a great view of his ass but hey, I was there!
AS: Give us an epitaph for your headstone, will you?
TF: “I wouldn’t change a thing” I quite like that. They’re lyrics from Coke Escovedo’s track of the same name, a favourite of mine.
AS: Harmless records / Watch the Ride (Sep 07) album. What brought about your involvement?
TF: Gary at Harmless nagged and nagged before I caved. I figured I owed him for all the records I’d blagged off him over the years. The process was cool though and it helped push an overlooked Sugardaddy too. We had good reviews but we weren’t taking off. I mean we played to 10,000 people in Buenos Aires so we were getting some exposure. We’re working on a new, more focused LP right now though, so we’ll wait and see what comes with it.
AS: Who would you most like to take down mid-concert with a sniper rifle?
TF: Sly Stone fannied about a bit too much at the concert we did with him. After his band had been on stage for 5 songs before he turned up, stayed for 10mins and vanished again, leaving his equally bewildered band behind. After he slouched and slurred through the songs he managed to sing on, he was gone. Maybe I might use an air rifle though!
AS: 2007s top ten LP ‘Soundboy Rock’ was in your opinion your best. What do you think enhanced it?
TF: It’s a little more ambitious I think and it’s got a real late night radio vibe too. There’s a couple of strong singles on there. We basically just knew what we wanted to do and got down to doing it with no compromise.
AS: Mutya Buena (Sugababes / solo artist). How did working with her come about?
TF: Mutya had a record out at the same time and it was basically an A&R man who, after a few months, made it happen. We’d already sent the instrumental track to him. Mutya’s a great singer but a poor timekeeper!
AS: Where do you go when it all gets too much?
TF: I go to Norfolk! It was a frequent childhood holiday destination of mine and as it’s just a couple of hours from my home, well… Nice to get there and to get a nice fish supper!
AS: Any regrets, missed opportunities or things that might’ve been?
TF: Talking about the Kylie thing! I’m always getting asked about it, annoyingly! Should’ve kept our mouths shut.
AS: Jealous of the limo with the blingful GA wheels in the Girls Aloud (GA too) shampoo ad?
TF: I’ve not seen it but I’m gonna! I need to see it! Sounds perfect for our nights out to China Whites (exclusive London club).