MTV Meets: Tourist
Humble and a perfectionist, Tourist won't believe he's got more than 6 fans...
Tourist is a perfectionist who this year has gone from playing gigs to nobody, to playing sold out shows in London. How on earth has he managed it? An early love of garage music and a determination to make good tunes because "that’s the only thing he can do" has resulted in a wonderful set of tracks, including new offerings featuring Will Heard and Lianne La Havas. MTV caught up with him before his set at Lovebox on July 18th to find out what's good...
MTV UK: Hey Tourist. What were you working on ten minutes ago?
Tourist: I was just working on my double espresso that I need in order to wake up. I’m kind of trying to work on the next big, well not big, but the next single I suppose.
MTV UK: You said it was going to be a big single and then you went back on yourself. Is it going to be a big single?
Tourist: I don’t know, that’s the problem. Because I’ve heard these things so many times I can’t really be objective, but I just have to trust my best instinct and think, ‘Do I like this?’ and if I like it, usually that’s a good judge as to whether other people will. Ultimately if I start worrying about things too much then I won’t write good music, so I try and just let it happen.
MTV UK: Do you have anybody that you kind of play your stuff to when you want to get an outside opinion?
Tourist: I have some good friends who have pretty good taste. If they go, 'Yeah it's rubbish,' then I know it’s rubbish. But I don’t really like playing to people until it’s finished, because you cant really judge it, you know?
MTV UK: When was the last time somebody listened to your stuff and was like, 'This is rubbish, you need to go back to the drawing board'?
Tourist: All the time. I think music is a funny thing. In order to get to a good track you have to wait for ten bad ones. My job is to not let the general public hear the ten bad ones and just the one good one really.
MTV UK: So how’s the general opinion been so far, have you been happy with it?
Tourist: Music’s been the only thing I can do, so I might as well try and do it well, and it’s been cool. People might hate it, but I don’t really care, honestly. If I cared about what people think then I’d be screwed!
MTV UK: If we were in your position we would constantly be wracked with nerves...
Tourist: When you play live there’s always going to be people who are like meh, I don’t really get it or I don’t really like it. If you’re looking for those voices then you’d never do anything. You’d never try because failure is such a big scary thing. But failing is good man. It means you try stuff. I like failing.
MTV UK: We’ve seen pictures of your gigs and it looks like most people are thoroughly enjoying themselves so…
Tourist: I have like ten fans in each city of the world, just ten, but they always show up. You have to remember most of these people are drunk, and when you’re drunk you don’t have an opinion on whether it’s good or not.
MTV UK: You’ve played a lot of international dates this summer haven’t you?
Tourist: I did SXSW in the States, and I did a little US tour. People in the States have this whole EDM thing and if you don’t like it you really will try and go to something different. I think the British attitude towards dance music is a slightly different one to the Americans, and I think that maybe that’s refreshing for them.
MTV UK: Where’s the best place you’ve played in the last two months?
Tourist: Field Day was amazing, I loved it. It was just such a good vibe. I probably played at about 30 shows last year, all of which were probably to about six people, which gets get quite hard especially if people don’t know you. But ultimately it’s nice to be playing to people who know what I do a little bit now.
MTV UK: At what point did you notice that the audience was more than six drunk people?
Tourist: Probably this year. I had a London show that sold out, that was really cool man. It was amazing to see 500 people come to your show; it was a real moment.
MTV UK: So how did you actually become Tourist?
Tourist: I’ve always done music; it’s the only thing I’ve ever really done with any success. I used to listen to house and garage music when I was ten or 11. I could never go out clubbing to it, because I was just way too young, but I could just sit in my bedroom and listen to it. I ended up just liking a type of dance music that was more suited to home listening or listening on a tube. I love sound, I love that sound can touch people in the same way that words can. I forget that I could have gone a very different route, I could have been useful to society!