Popping Up is our recurring look at new artists making noise on the music landscape. Because, hey—Madonna and Britney were once unknown, too.
For our latest Popping Up feature, we turn our ears to Brooklyn, where singer-songwriter Greg Thomas is about to self-release his first EP. “I planned on recording Atlantic/Pacific as a low-fi demo,” Thomas tells us. “But it turned into a full production, being recorded over five days at The Bunker Studio in Brooklyn with a number of friends active in the jazz and indie rock communities.”
Greg’s five-song debut, full of smooth vocals and snappy guitar licks, arrives next week. It caught our ear, and we have a hunch this handsome crooner might strike a chord with you, too. Head below to learn more about how this Illinois transplant went about setting his words to music.
HOMETOWN: Arlington Heights, Illinois (a suburb of Chicago).
WHERE HE’S BASED NOW: Brooklyn
GREG’S INFLUENCES: Spoon, Death Cab for Cutie, Beck (particularly Sea Change), Radiohead, John Mayer (Continuum), Sigur Rós and Bon Iver.
ARTISTS HE SAYS WE MIGHT BE SURPRISED TO FIND HE’S INTO: Huey Lewis & The News and Toto.
ON HIS LOCAL MUSIC SCENE: “More than anything, I am really influenced by the local bands in my community in Brooklyn,” Greg tells us. “There is so much talent there, and I can’t count how many nights I’ve gone home after a friend’s show and stayed up until 2 a.m. working on songs because I was moved by the show.”
HIS DEBUT RELEASE: Atlantic/Pacific, which he says “started as a demo of a number of songs I had written since moving to New York in 2006, working seven days a week between a pharmacy and a major record label I was interning at.” Greg continues, “The title of the EP comes from the subway station in Brooklyn where I would spend my mornings waiting on the platform with my headphones on, listening to demos from the night before and writing lyrics and stories on the way to work.”[wpaudio url="http://idolator.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/04-Comfortable.mp3" text="Greg Thomas - Comfortable" dl="0"]
HOW GREG DESCRIBES ATLANTIC/PACIFIC: “I think people can expect it to be a lot bigger and more complex than just a guy with an acoustic guitar. I was lucky enough to work with some musicians who really helped me open my songs up and create a unique sound for the record. I hope people are surprised and intrigued.”[wpaudio url="http://idolator.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/02-Vested.mp3" text="Greg Thomas - Vested" dl="0"]
ON LOCAL CORRESPONDENTS, THE MUSICIANS HE WORKED WITH ON HIS EP: “When I started writing a lot after a long break, I decided to try playing an open mic at Bar 4 to test out the new songs. Jessi Robertson, an amazing singer-songwriter, came up to me after I played and said that she would love to get me involved in Local Correspondents and get me a show at Bar 4. That really prompted me to form a band and start trying to book gigs. Local Correspondents put on some great shows and tribute nights, and their support really pushed me to want to record the EP. I owe everything to them, and more people should know them.”
Greg Thomas performing “Vested” at Bar 4.
RELEASE DATE FOR ATLANTIC/PACIFIC: August 17.
WHERE YOU CAN CATCH GREG LIVE: “To celebrate the release, I’ll be playing a show with my band at The Living Room in NYC on 8/18 at 10 p.m. I have a show in Chicago at Martyr’s on 8/24, and I am playing in Red Hook in Brooklyn on 10/3 at the Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition—right across from Fairway. There will be more additions coming as well.”
WHAT HE REALLY WANTS TO SAY TO IDOLATOR READERS: “Listen to ‘Rosanna’ by Toto and tell me it’s not the best song ever written.”
OUR VERDICT: Hmmm. At first we thought Greg was loco with the whole Toto thing (we’re a touch more Hall & Oates, ourselves). But he just might have a point with “Rosanna.” And as far as the dreamy Atlantic/Pacific, we’re just surprised no major label has snatched this guy up…yet.
Grab Atlantic/Pacific from iTunes, Amazon or Bandcamp on Tuesday, August 17. Learn more about Greg Thomas on his official site.