We catch up with front man Tom from local band, Alpaca Factory
In our June 2019 edition we featured Alpaca Factory, a local band formed in 2018 consisting of friends from Brookfield and St Mary’s.
A few years on and we catch up with Tom Gannon, vocals and guitar with the band, to learn about their latest single ‘Face of God’ and how they have been coping without playing live!
Alpaca Factory are Rebecca ‘Churchy’ Church (drums), James Vardy (guitar), Tom ‘Gan’ Gannon (guitar & vocals) and Jono Vardy (bass guitar), apart from Tom they were all at Brookfield School where the band formed, Tom joined through friends and they picked up a young and loyal following.
They are still quite a young band but quickly found popularity playing live within a couple of months of coming together. Initial gigs were support slots for bands playing at Café Totem (Sheffield), Sidney & Matlida and The Foundry, their most recent gig was at The Leadmill supporting fellow Chesterfieldians ‘Rosadocs’, this was back in March 2020, a few weeks before lockdown.
“The music scene in Chesterfield is thriving” explains Tom, “but we have very few venues. It would be great to have a music venue with a capacity for a few hundred to help new bands get off the ground.
“Life has been hard for the band over the last 12 months, not least due to COVID, but also as we develop into our careers, we are finding ourselves spread around the country. Jono, our bassist will be working in London, Churchy will be studying in Loughborough and myself and James will be based in Leeds, I deferred for a year due to COVID.”
The band have continued to demo and record. The present single was written by Tom and it was only due to lockdown restrictions easing at the right time that they were able to get together and complete the track with the final mixing taking place at Foxden Production in Sheffield.
“James and I have been writing on our own over the past year,” says Tom. “James favours a more electronic sound and I’m perhaps a bit more ‘poppy’. I think this is reflected in the sound of “Face of God’, a bit distanced from our usual guitar band sound.”
Tom mentioned the lyrics but was keen that we as listeners make of it what we will, it’s to be listened to and digested personally. He also discussed how song writing changes as you grow, “writing a proper love song at school is a bit of a risk,” he jokes, “it was more about teenage angst and rebellion when we started, now we get the chance to put our feelings into our music, having a much greater level of confidence in ourselves in our post school style.”
The band had planned to release ‘Face of God’ at the Y Not festival but have had to change plans as the festival will not be going ahead this year. “We’ve had some great support from Dean Jackson who’s program, BBC Introducing, features new music from local bands from Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire played on local BBC radio and we can only hope it gets picked up by the national playlist from this platform,” says Tom.
It’s difficult to tell what the next step will be for the young band, with many venues still closed and the band members moving around the country, Tom is excited for the future and is sure they will stay together in one format or another.
To hear the new single check out their SoundCloud account below and as always Tom was keen to pass on thanks to all their fans, friends and family for being so supportive over the years. If you are interested in contacting Alpaca Factory for bookings and enquiries their socials are below.
I asked what challenges face musicians? “As our attention span gets shorter and shorter it becomes harder to grab attention. It takes months to create a three-minute track that must compete with the 60,000 tracks that are uploaded to Spotify each day… that’s one per second!
“The Spotify streaming model as a way to support a band financially is useless, the only way to make money is through playing live gigs and the accompanying merchandise which has been decimated by COVID.”
My last question to Tom, if you could only listen to one track on repeat all day, what would it be? “A Bruce Springsteen track of some sort, there are some strong Springsteen influnences to what I do, as we started out we were very British, but I think we’re taking on a more Americanised sound as we grow.”
Words: Paul Chapman
Images: Alpaca Factory