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Thomas Truax Plays the Lexington on 5th November and Releases Single with Gemma Ray

Merging a fevered imagination and solid songwriting with a mad scientist’s brain for weird gadgets, American singer Thomas Truax is a true one-off. Returning with new single ‘Save Me’, he’s been touring the UK to coincide with its release.

Truax has brought in British pop-noir chanteuse Gemma Ray for a warm and poignant duet. The song begins with a pair of down-on-their-luck barflies and ends with a spider who has spun his web in an unfortunate place. It’s the first single from Thomas’s upcoming ninth full-length album. Thomas and Gemma are joined by underground luminaries drummer Brian Viglione (Dresden Dolls, Violent Femmes) and Pete Harvey (Modern Stories, Withered Hand) on strings. All of the above feature on additional music on Truax’s upcoming album.

Gemma Ray’s album ‘Lights Out Zoltar!’ earned her an Independent Music Award and on its release her album ‘Milk For Your Motors’ was named Mojo Magazine’s ‘Album of the Week’.  More importantly, she often plays guitar with a knife.

UNCUT magazine says “Truax is shaping up nicely as one of the great rock eccentrics” while Splendid magazine called him “one of the five or ten best singer/songwriters in the world that you’ve never heard of… an exceptional talent.” His evolving “band” of self-made sound sculptures include a motorised drum machine made of bike wheels called ‘Mother Superior’ and a souped-up Gramophone called ‘The Hornicator’ (but he never leaves his trusty guitar Hank out of the equation too long).

Thomas is gearing up for his forthcoming gig on Sunday 5th November at the Lexington. SEEN was lucky to get him to answer a few questions…

Thomas, ‘Mother Superior’ and the gloriously named ‘The Hornicator’; where and when did your passion for home-made instruments start?

I was the kind of kid that liked to attempt to build things like Frankenstein monsters and robots in the basement. I took an ancient broken turntable/radio that my parents intended to discard, and turned it into what I called a “synthesizer.” But it was really just a scraping needle bouncing across things I’d glued to the turntable, which I’d combine with the white noise and sounds of radio static you got from turning the knobs. I fell in love with rock music as a teenager and formed a number of bands which had the typical sad fate of breaking up always just at the point when I felt we were starting to get somewhere. Eventually I got fed up and decided to build my own drummer. That was a predecessor of ‘Mother Superior’ (even mechanical drummers can quit on you sometimes, but then you just build another). 

You’re described as ‘one of the best singer/songwriters that no one’s heard of’. Does this bother you?
Yes.

That situation will surely not last for long! Do you pick up new inspiration for instruments when you travel?

Indeed I do. Your eyes and ears tend to open more widely when you travel. I often wish I could fit things in my car like suspension bridges and roadworks machinery that I come across, so I could take them home and record them. But the ideas they inspire I stick in my head, and later they come out again, in the best cases as some kind of delightful portable mutant.

Gemma Ray and her penchant for playing a guitar with a knife… did that aspect of her musicianship draw you two to collaborate?

 I was already a fan and had great admiration for her singing and playing style, but I suppose it would be fair to say that when the knife came out, it was clear I had no choice but to collaborate.

Apart from playing the Lexington on the 5th, where else in London will you visit?

I’ve heard there are dinosaurs roaming free under the tower at Crystal Palace, and the Hornicator always insists on visiting the odd instruments on display at the Horniman Museum, which is only natural I suppose.

Excellent choices! Get your rickets for Thomas Truax’s show on Bonfire Night here

The Lexington
96-98 Pentonville Road
London
N1 9JB