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.