Alex Anton

“What Manchester does today, the rest of the world does tomorrow.” This well-known phrase was coined in the Victorian era, but still rings true today. On the other hand, Noel used to shout out: “Good evening town. Are You Mad Fer It?”

The way I see it? As far as the music industry is concerned, Manchester is the centre of the fooking world. You see, I was born in the early 80s, so I was a raised within the blossom of the Britpop, in the illustrious 90s. Madchester: Everything Everything, Chemical Brothers, James, Doves, Charlatans, Buzzcocks, Happy Mondays, Peter Hammill, Inspiral Carpets, New Order, Elbow, Joy Division, Stone Roses, Oasis, Smiths, 1975, Pale Waves. Even Take That, man. 
I mean the bloody list is endless.

Have you ever been to Manchester? The city is built around a profound gloom; however, the bands mentioned above are a confirmed booking for a trip into the light and around the sun. I recall the time when I visited Manny, fueled not only by an obsession but also by a curiosity to observe the places, the roads, the houses, the pubs and the streets that were hometown to my heroes. The feeling was identical, as if I was in a museum. Such an awe!

But, you know what? All the above, refer to the great past days and mainly depict the historical, almost biblical contribution of this city to the history of music. Glorious past, indeed.

In a few minutes time, you will read an interview with TAMSYN’s frontman, Alex Anton. Keep the name for future reference. I am of the opinion that TAMSYN are part of the promising future of the Manchester scene.

One thing you may take for granted: The continuing reinvention of Manchester music.

On February 2, TAMSYN are doing Athens for the very first time, performing in Temple (Iakchou 17, Athens 118 54). See you there, lads!


If I Didn't Love Trouble Then I Wouldn't Love You EP / June 2018



The Basement: Hey Alexander, we are more than excited to have you in The Basement. To start with, kindly introduce us to the band, mention the band members and provide us with a brief bio, to get people to know TAMSYN.
We’re a 5 piece, guitar driven indie pop rock band from Manchester, trying to both honour the city’s heritage as well as create our own. We’ve been together 3 years, and we currently consist of myself in vocals and bass guitar, Michael Penfold in rhythm guitar(he’s also written the lyrics for the songs we have released thus far), Phil Hammill in lead guitar, Luke Finch in percussion and Andrian Sharples as a regular collaborator mostly in third guitar and production. We have released two EPs, numerous videos and have gigged all around the UK and some of the greatest venues in Manchester. 

The Basement: How did you come up with the name TAMSYN? What is the story behind the story?
The original story is very long, but briefly let’s just say it’s like the female version of a libertine, a girl who does what she wants and doesn’t compromise.

The Basement: How would you describe your music to someone that has never listened to your work before?
I want to believe we sound like our influences whilst also creating our own distinctive identity. There’s your British indie guitar hero influences in there, like Oasis, the Smiths, the Libertines, but also fused with our individual favourites such as Radiohead and the National for me(and Panic! at The Disco in my singing) or blues references for Phil in lead guitar. Our sound falls under the “indie pop/rock” genre bracket, but we experiment with other sounds as well. Our song Can’t Love You Any More has dream pop influences, as it’s one of my favourite genres(i.e. Beach House) and we are planning on adding more of that to our formula of catchy riffs and hooks of indie pop.

The Basement: Despite the fact that you were born in Athens, Greece, you live in Manchester for several years now. I guess that living in UK makes the road to fulfilling the dream a bit easier, is that so?
Being in Manchester is absolutely an advantage for any musician, even amongst English cities. It’s a music haven and one of the best markets for an aspiring musician with countless like minded people, venues and chances around.

The Basement: Nowadays, several great bands of the past days, either reunite, or sit back doing anniversary shows, taking – let’s say – the easy route. Many have chided them for this. TAMSYN are a rather young band, however sound like a band at ease with themselves.  Where do you see Tamsyn going in the future?
We want to establish our sound and after we have accomplished that, we want to keep experimenting and trying out different routes. Phil and I have joked about doing an entirely folk record, but such things could well be reality in the future. I also want to make a solely dream pop/shoegaze record so hopefully, we’ll never run out of options and ideas in regards to creating our music. 

The Basement: Nowadays, loads of bands come out into the light. Some of them often make a debut outbreak, everyone seems to be elated, but then, this success turns out to be an aberration and bands become indolent to experiment and work harder. The success of a band is not only a matter of talent, but also a matter of character and consistent hard work. Would you agree on this?
I most definitely agree, there’s no secret formula and every successful person knows that. Everything depends on hard work and your never ending thirst to evolve, progress and mature. That goes for musicians, athletes and generally everyone who yearns for success in any field. Luck or talent can be factors but for the most part it’s hard work that pays off. And obviously it’s in the person’s character to see if they have what it takes to put in that hard work.

The Basement: I am very well aware of the fact that you are a huge fan of The National. I recall an interview of Matt Berninger, in which he described performing as being “awkward and humiliating”. Let me have your point of view on this one, mostly as a singer and performer. How does it feel like?
You put yourself out there and pour parts of your soul out, in a sense your inner world lays naked in front of other people, so yes I agree with Matt Berninger. I’m not sure I’ve reached the same ease in which Matt exposes himself on stage, I’m still kind of in my shell sort of speak, but I’m working towards that and I feel when I manage to let fragments of who I am show on stage, it’s liberating- and nauseatingly frightening too, at times.


The Basement: You are about to perform in Athens for the very first time, on February 2, in Temple. Playing in your hometown, what aura and essence, do you want to capture?
I don’t think of it like that. Sure it’s important for me and for us as this is going to be our first international show, but at the end of the day we will tackle it like any other and try to be the best we can. I’m sure, if anything, the fact it’ll be in Athens and there’ll be people I know will elate me and help me perform; or ruin me if I get stage fright, haha!

The Basement: Sheffield, Manchester, Athens, Liverpool and Amsterdam are part of the European and UK tour shows put together. I can imagine the excitement for this forthcoming tour. Given this chance let me ask you what comes next. Will there be more from TAMSYN?
In terms of gigging, we’re adding more shows as we go and there’s certainly going to be more in the next few months, especially with the festival season coming up. On the new music front, we’ll be releasing our new single soon, probably at the end of this month. 

The Basement: How are the songs coming along as you are evolving as a person? Is it difficult to write songs when you are touring or doing the various cities inspire some elements of lyrics or music?
I personally always write stuff on my phone as notes, even if it’s one sentence or a verse. Travelling and performing only make way for more experiences, so naturally how you live your life affects your songwriting. We’ve yet to go on a long tour where we’ll be constantly on the road and isolated from everything else, which I expect will influence our songwriting a lot.

The Basement: In terms of music, is there any balance between writing about experience and symbolism? Which condition suits you the most?
I personally tend to write more literally when I’m in an aggressively emotional state, like angry or distraught and more metaphorically when I’m feeling blue, depressed or melancholic. The way Michael writes I know seems very literal at times, but he also likes to leave room for symbolism and let the songs be open to different interpretations.

The Basement: I would very much appreciate if you could share with us, the experience of recording in Motor Museum Records in Liverpool. “Whatever People Say I Am”, the debut album of the Monkeys was recorded there, so I guess this must be something memorable for you.
Recording at the Motor Museum was a delightful experience. It’s a great space with great sounds and its history motivated us to create something good. Seeing the first Arctic Monkeys LP hanging on their wall fuelled our pipe dreams and gave us that extra bit to make them real. 

The Basement: Heading forward, what excites and intrigues you as an aspiring talented young musician?
The possibilities and the hope of turning my countless ideas into something tangible I can enjoy and be proud of.

The Basement: How is TAMSYN’s life outside music?
I think we do pretty normal things in (I’d like to believe) not so normal ways. We still have everyday jobs we’re hoping we’ll leave for music. Apart from that, we enjoy good food, a good play/film and we are regular gig goers. We all also like to travel and are thankful whenever we can combine it with music.

The Basement: Alexander, I cannot thank you enough for the chat we had. Your time spent on this one is highly appreciated.
See you in Athens in a few days.
All the best, mate.

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