Tom crouch

Q&A: Gabrielle Aplin and Me

20-year-old Tom Crouch, from Southampton tells us why touring with pop star Gabrielle Aplin has been the experience of a lifetime…

When did you first discover that you wanted to be a guitarist?

My best friend’s brother got a guitar for Christmas and I thought it was the coolest thing in the world. I really wanted one and then I received one the following Christmas at age 9.

How did you start playing for Gabrielle Aplin?

I knew Gabrielle through a bunch of friends that I began to get to know and then I ended up supporting her at one of her shows, a few weeks later she asked me if I’d like to play for her, obviously I said yes and I started playing for Gabrielle towards the end of 2012.

What has it been like to play for Gabrielle Aplin?

It’s so much fun! All of us in the band are now best mates. The songs we get to play are absolutely amazing. We’ve gotten to go to some really cool places, met some wicked people and experience so many different things.

What ‘cool’ places have you been to?

Going to Japan in August was the coolest experience. The people out there are so unbelievably welcoming and polite, it was so amazing to visit that part of the world.

Do you enjoy being on tour?

Being on tour with people you get along with makes it a lot of fun. One thing that springs to mind that was really funny recently was whilst we were playing in Norwich our dressing room was one level above ground level. So I put a towel on my head and wrapped one around my chest and started prancing around by the window. The window cut at waist level though, I had my jeans on but I got lots of tweets after from people at the gig saying they saw me naked after the show it was hilarious.

As a musician what have you learnt from these experiences?

One of the things that I have learnt is just to completely immerse yourself in the music you play. We went on tour with John Mayer in October, and I watched all 8 shows of his. Having met the guys who play with him, I noticed how much they all got into the music and soak into the vibe (atmosphere) on stage. As the show goes on, they venture deeper and deeper into a focussed groove throughout the set.
Before this I was very conscious of playing exactly in time and absolutely perfectly, and it felt as though my performance was rigid and tense. But since then I’ve tried to dive into the lyrics and the groove of the tune and just enjoy being in that atmosphere.

Has this maturity affected how you are going to approach music in the future?

Definitely! I’d love to still continue working with Gabrielle, continue to write and record with her. But I have also begun to work more on my own original material again, and it feels as though I’m getting close to a place where I’d be happy to release.

What advice would you give other aspiring musicians?

Firstly work on learning your craft. Decide what it is you want to do, research it as much as you can and practice every day, trying to get as good as you can at what you do.