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LETTING RESONANCE DO ITS MAGNET MAGIC 

I just found out an album I performed a little bit on has just been released, and it is absolutely chock FULL of great songs – definitely for lovers of hits from the 60s/ 70s (like me!).

It's the project of two dear friends and musicians extraordinaire –AG Berg and Ken Maiuri– over on the East Coast of the US. It was a blast, and not only do I just love these guys, but I also feel so lucky I got to be involved with their talent once again.

You can find the album "C'mon C'mon" by K & A Surplus on Spotify or Bandcamp to listen to and aborb the good vibes!

To make matters even cooler, I was delighted to discover that another guest musician on their album is a guy by the name of Connor Kennedy. Connor is a quite recent addition to the Steely Dan band. And, well, unless you're totally brand spanking new around these parts, you probably know why this is of interest to me and feels worth mentioning.

Although I haven't met him, it feels amazing to find myself yet again –how to describe it?– in converging circles... or grazing elbows... or sharing some point in some path of some one or thing that's connected to the music that's been my #1 source of inspiration and generally just a very strong guiding light since I was just a kid.

Maybe I should stop being so surprised and excited when this happens, since it's been honestly a become a bit of a recurring theme for me, in various ways, some more subtle than others. But it still feels like a total miracle to me every single time, that persistence and devotion to doing my music the way I do it, and then following and responding to resonance when it arises, keeps allowing for cool things like this to pop up for me.

I'm feeling super grateful, so I just wanted to share this with you today, all while hopefully spreading some good music around. Do check the album, it sounds awesome.

Anyway, finding out about this other artist being a guest on the album too gives me an encouraging BOOST to keep going. And keep going I shall. Two weeks ago, I received the finished master of my new album (coming out in NOVEMBER!) and just yesterday the artwork was finalized! It's becoming really, really real now, even though self-releasing is always like... totally riddled with moments of doubt and wondering how in the HECK you're going to pull it off.

One thing that would really help me out with this in fact, is if you'd consider doing a kind of "pre-order" option that's available for the album by clicking here. This would help me fund the last steps of getting the thing made physical, while simultaneously securing you your own copy when it's ready to ship out. Win/ win!

Meanwhile, I hope that you, too, keep on plugging in and devoting time and energy to what matters most to you, and the people you resonate with the most. I hope that for you –as it does for me– it delivers you with the highly rewarding, pure joy of gooooood alignment in all that we're up to!!

INSTANT KARMA 

No smoking on the train. No "please"s, "could you"s, or "would you mind"s. Just: NO.

A group of 6 drunk mid-to-late-20s guys decided to SMOKE A CIGARETTE on my train last night. 

Everyone was looking around like “what the...?” These boys ('cause their behaviour made it clear they weren't yet grown men) were acting like entitled brats (+ drunk and/or stoned). 

Normally, I’m kind of intimidated by groups of guys like that, because I’m so small. But no one else was doing anything about it (and what's so ironic is that the woman sitting in front of them was in full KLM flight attendant attire, haha. But I do NOT blame her for deciding to be "off-duty" and just ignore it!)...

I don’t know why, suddenly this time - there was just 0% hesitation...

I stood up from my seat, walked right up to them, looked the smoker dead in the eye, pointed at the cigarette and said: 

"Put it out.” 

Everyone on the train started to watch now. It got TENSE. 

"What?" he said, smugly holding the cigarette somehow more obviously than before.

I repeated myself slowly, unmistakably: “Put. It. Out." 

The woman who was seated in front of me had a cold and was coughing. Their smoke was definitely gonna make it worse. Plus, eww nobody wants to inhale your 2nd-hand carcinogens! So I added, "This is making people on the train sick.” 

They started ganging up on me with crap like “we’re almost done” and “look it’s best if you just let us finish," and the one smoking, "I’m getting off at the next stop anyway"... 

One guy said in Dutch (thinking I wouldn’t understand since I addressed them in English): “Mmm, lekker wijfie” (loosely: "mmm, hot chicka"), and more demeaning things to which I replied sarcastically, “ik spreek ook Nederlands. Ik begrijp alles wat je zegt, dus... goed gedaan.”

("I speak Dutch, too. I understand everything you're saying, so... way to go." It was all I could think to say under pressure, but clearly it surprised them, and that guy shut up after that.) 

By now, I was trembling... I realized the 6 to 1 imbalance I was in the midst of was entirely my own doing, because I couldn't just sit back and let it slide.

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[VIDEO] SPEND A DAY WITH G.T. THOMAS 

On 9 Aug, 2019, I documented my whole day on video – you can see the chapter-list overview for a feel of what it consisted of! 

CHAPTERS: 
0:00: Morning routine

1:23: Commute to studio

2:06: Writing and Meditation

2:55: Secret Announcement

3:16: Instagram Photoshoot

4:12: Practice Songs

6:25: Korg Volca Drum mini-tutorial 

8:36: Commute home

9:31: Recap

Here's the link to watch it: instagram.com/p/B1COV_HhhjA/

But... what’s NOT listed in that chapter list isss: bumble bees, deer, pigeon, mouse (hands and voice) and a lot of GOOFINESS, as that is my standard modus operandi. This is the first time I feel like I've made a video for online where my ACTUAL personality is really accurately depicted! I'm very happy about this.

My personal favourite part is the MINI-TUTORIAL that I included about *recording motion* on my drum machine.

It made me wonder if I’d kind of like doing video tutorials. Should I make more?? (NOTE that if I did, they wouldn’t be this choppy. I really needed to shave seconds off to get my 1 hr 17 min of footage down to less than 10 min.)

ENJOY! And please let me know your favourite part of the day you spend with me, and why, and if you do any of the same things I do during the day!!

BURNING EARS, PT 2: ESQUIRE MAG  

My name was mentioned in the media in a couple places, recently. Last time I wrote about the mention on the Yous & Yay podcast interview with Benny Sings. Today, I get to share about my name in an Esquire (Netherlands) article, by Vanessa Oostijen (who –if she happens to read this– I ask to please read on for a correction to an error in your reporting). 

The article featured Colin Benders– the man behind Kytopia, where I've had a studio since April.

From my studio, I'm producing my album (due in Nov) & prepping my live act for a US tour as one-woman-band on synth, bass, drum machine, & vocals. 

Having a studio outside my home for the 1st time in my 20 year music career has been a game-changer! The amount of focus I’m able to give to my work has skyrocketed.

It also enables me to be in routine contact w/ my mix engineer for the album: Iwan van Wijk (also situated in Kytopia). We were working on the mix when Ms. Oostijen was researching her article.

Unfortunately, without running it by us, she inaccurately reported that Iwan was producing, while referring to me as “singer Gwen Thomas.” 

So, for the record: 
G.T. Thomas is the producer of that album. Iwan van Wijk is mix engineer. 

I don't usually call myself "a singer" as my title, since A) there are others with that emphasis working much harder to be recognized for that skill than I am; & B) my focus is on production and being an all-round musician. 

Is it still the case that in 2019, in a music collab between a man & a woman, it's assumed that the man "must be" the one in charge? Maybe so, maybe not. Either way: it would’ve been good for Esquire to confirm our roles with us before printing with this outdated stereotype rearing its head.*

Nonetheless, I reframe this experience as A WIN. Because!: 
If I hadn’t spent the last two years establishing myself as a worthy musician/ synthestist/ music producer/ performer on par with any of the other Kytopians - and moved my work to my studio in that building, I wouldn't have been there when research on the article took place at all. 

It‘s my own hard work that got me in the room so my name wound up mentioned in Esquire.😎


 

* EXTRA THOUGHT ON PROPER CREDITING: 
If more women were recognized for the work they do in this field when they do it, then the less of a novelty it would get reduced to being. 

The longer we perceive it to be novelty, the more upheld the stereotype remains – in a vicious (and completely unnecessary) circle. 

So that's why in the media, proper crediting of women is so important, and when it's not done properly it is so stunting.

BURNING EARS, PT. 1: YOUS & YAY PODCAST  

In the past month something cool happened. There were 2 instances where my man got a text message from 2 different friends to say that they’d heard or seen *my* name mentioned somewhere in the media. The first was on a podcast called Yous & Yay. 

It was an interview with Benny Sings, who I’ve collaborated w/ several times in the past, and the interviewer, Pepijn Lanen (also known for Faberyayo and De jeugd van tegenwoordig) said that he had particularly dug some songs I worked on with Benny. Well, wouldn’t you know it, one of them called “Rebuilding the Omega Man” also happens to be one of my fave tracks I ever worked on with someone else. You can give it a listen if you want: bennysings.bandcamp.com/track/rebuilding-the-omega-man-2

It was pretty mindblowing for me- that an artist in such a different scene than me had A) ever heard of me/ knew of my involvement; and B) said he thought the songs Benny & I worked on were “suuuuuuper sick.”

So I just want to commemorate this flattering mention by sharing this “yay!” moment (pun intended) here in my blog, and saying THANK YOU to Pepijn, for the enthusiasm about those songs!

(Stay tuned for the story behind the 2nd random media mention: in Esquire Magazine!!)

[AUDIO] THE G.T. THOMAS 2019 LIVE SOUND 

As you know, I've been learning to perform bass, synth, drum machine, and vocals simultaneously for my new LIVE solo act as a one-woman-band!!! (A feat which I call simultiinstrumentalism – from "simultaneous" + "multi-instrumentalism.") 

I decided to share THREE tracks with you today!! Here's a link to these, on soundcloud:

found.ee/gtthomas2019LIVEsound

These recordings represent what the new G.T. Thomas LIVE act sounds like, and what you can expect if you come to a show in the second half of this year – which I hope you will. Show dates to follow!

By the way, I think I've settled on the genre "Progressive Dream Pop." What do you think?



Songs in the playlist come from two separate recording sessions and include: 
Future Moving 
Shut a Mouth 
Wants to Want To

[VIDEO] THE NEW G.T. THOMAS SOLO ACT 

"Wants to Want To" by G.T. Thomas – Live, solo in The Stairwell at Kytopia

Here's a little taster of my whole "voice/ bass/ synth/ drum machine – all at the same time" dealie that I'm up to nowadays!! What genre would you say this? Does it remind you of any other artists? Do the lyrics make you think of someone? Questions? Comments? Anyone care for a mint?

NEW SOLO G.T. THOMAS APPROACH OFFICIALLY IN THE WORKS 

Remember when I was at that artist residency in Woodstock last summer? And how I was loaned a wee, teensy bassie to play while there? And I discovered it was not only possible but also *easy* to play it at the same time as I played on my Moog Mother-32s?

Well, that was an Ibanez Mikro bass, aaand... I've picked up one for me, for keeps!

This bass will also be a part of my new solo act, currently in development, obligatory “stay tuned” ;) (That’s what *she* said- to her new bass!!!)

Also, you'll see me accidentally being all matchy-matchy with my new Korg Minilogue!!

This instrument, too, is a delight – and exactly what I needed for my G.T. Thomas solo act, version 2.0, which I’m currently developing for shows later this year. I will be sharing a lot more info about all of this over the coming weeks and months on social media, as it’s becoming my primary focus for work in my new music studio.

These shot were taken at home, not in the studio - right after these particular pieces of gear arrived in the mail. Hence the sweatsuit. But... I like the look a lot, and I’m seriously considering this as my live outfit. You heard it here first, folks!

HI-TOPIA 

Moving in to my new studio, feeling vibrant. Definitely not mad at the colour of this bathroom door.

Here's my new studio and the garden out my window.

BYE-TOPIA 

👋🏻BYE-TOPIA! Today, the fine folks at Kytopia in Utrecht removed the sign from the building they’ve occupied with their music/ creative studios for quite some time. I took this selfie a few weeks ago when I was there attending an AVID workshop. The night before, I’d attended the last ever edition (to occur in this venue) of Modulation (a synth event I’ve been attending for 2+ years and performed at once).

I wanted to share this photo today, just to inform everybody that, even though they took down the sign from this building, it’s not the end of Kytopia. They found a location to temporarily relocate the studios to, and business will carry on more or less as usual for those creative inhabitants, in the new location! 🤘🏻💗✨🎶

AND- my own exciting news is that – I get to move in with them!!

Over half a year ago, during some personal goal-setting, I declared to myself that April 2019 would be the first month I would have a studio out of my house. (In the 16 years I’ve had been building my music studio, it finally felt like time.) Only prob was I had no leads!

I’d actually been looking much longer, but with no set deadline because in Amsterdam, everything is mega expensive or with a bunch of people who aren’t really thrilled that you play music near them, or if it IS a spot specifically for music it’s really grody in some way (usu. crappy, smelly spaces reminiscent of a practice space).

I feel that, somehow, by putting a deadline on it, I actually made myself more likely to find something suitable. I took my April 1 date seriously, and now not only do I get a studio, but it’s with the cool Kytopians I’ve been getting to know and like for the past couple years!!! I’m really excited! 🍾🎉🎸🎛🎤

MEET YOUR HEROES 

This man right here has impacted my life and motivated me to a degree that is usually reserved for one’s closest friends and mentors. I realize that may seem a little weird. But it’s okay because i think maybe I’m just a little weird, so weird’s my normal and I’m used to it. 
 

It was a dream come true to shake his hand. To be able to tell him he’s my fave. To talk a little 1940s sci-fi with him. To thank him. To experience him in his realness in that moment. And to get/ give a little side squeeze for this photo. DF: Thanks for making time for me, and for all the IDEAS and muuusic!!!


 

Here we are, talking A.E. van Vogt after the Steely Dan show in Dublin last night.

Yesterday, I graduated up a level in what I view as “the school of my soul’s own carefully sought after lessons”: the school of getting myself into a place in my life, where it would make sense/ be any kind of *organic* development for me to exchange words with this huge source of inspiration to me.

Since I was 12, this man’s work has been shaping my brains. Not only have his musical creations massively influenced the way I process and write *music*, but he has also had a tremendous impact on the development of my intellect, humour, types of relationships I’ve formed, career choices – all of which, I’m sure most people can agree, are things that ultimately play a significant role in a person’s outlook, experience of life, and sense of purpose.

13 years ago, sitting in a friend’s kitchen, I had a sudden realization of the fact I had been unconsciously assuming that I would one day meet the guy. In that moment, it struck me as a strange thing to assume… why would little old me (then 24 and not very sure which way my life nor music career was headed at that stage) ever be worthy of such an honour?

But as I explained my realization out loud to my friend, his reply came very quickly and matter of factly: “You will.”

From that day forward, I consciously resolved that –since I had a confirmation that I would certainly one day meet my hero– I would need to start living up to my potential. I needed to stay on top of my game and work my butt off to make sure I’d be the kind of songwriter and all-round artist for whom it wouldn’t be totally absurd to exchange words with someone of Donald’s talent and stature.

Yesterday I graduated from “little old me” to organically growing my life into a moment like this.


 

I'll leave you with two photos of the 🔝 swag I brought home from this jaunt.

I got the Steely Dan t-shirt. (Weirdly it’s my FIRST! I just never found a style that spoke to me like this one! Does this make me a Show Biz Kid??) A tote. An after-show guest pass. Aaaand, supremely outdoing all of the above... An autograph from Donald in my second edition copy of “World of Null A.”

This book started me on my self-imposed assignment of reading my way through a list of books I’d compiled over the years – all titles and names Donald has referred to in print and interviews.

This and the other books helped me feel like I was gleaning some of the concepts and stories that shaped my hero, thereby letting it mutate into something new within me, and helping perpetuate his influence on me in yet another nutty way. 🥜🌰

POSITIVE VIBES 

Catching up on some cool stuff that happened recently!

On the January 21st, I went to Kytopia in Utrecht, to record VIBRAPHONE parts for my new album. There was never any question who to ask for this task, Julien Moussiegt of course!! (Or “Moussie G.T.” as I like to call him, in an egocentric way of pulling everything back to myself.) He’s an excellent player and I’m so lucky to know him.

In this photo, we could imagine I am telling Julien, “My mistake, I wrote it as a B, but it’s actually a C flat.” 

I’ve been working on lots of my material with Julien for a few years now. He’s awesome because he has a really strong sense of pitch, interval, sight-reading, and playing by ear. So he’s a quick study and a great player. He played for basically 8 hours straight to “catch the vibes” on all 9 songs, and that makes him a superstar. Pulling off a one-man session of that length of time is EXHAUSTING and he played awesomely.

We also had the pleasure of working with sound engineer, Iwan van Wijk.

Iwan is a wiz with all things sound design (and beyond), and I was relieved as heck when he said he’d engineer this recording, inside the historic Kytopia main hall, before he and his fellow studio-inhabitants there all have to move out at the end of March!

Working with a great engineer makes my work as a producer so much nicer. This allows me to just focus on creative direction and conducting the session, and leave the technical details of the day in hands I knew I could trust.

What's even better yet is when the engineer has a deep sense of musicality himself. Iwan's ears are not just tuned in to the technical details, but also the emotion and rise and fall of the music. I'm thrilled that he's also going to be mixing my album later in the year, when we get to that stage.

HIGHLIGHTER 

We need to talk about highlighters. 
My obsession with them. My gratitude for the vividness they add to my life. My noticing that the more I let myself love them unapologetically and enthusiastically, the more of them show up for me, creating a vivid-spiral (the opposite of a vicious-spiral) of gratitude for a thing causing the thing to show up more for me. 

This featured image reads “Highlighters Past Memory Saturation Present.” I have been writing a lot lately, at least 20 min if not 120 min every day. In order to pick out the useful tidbits from whatever I wrote, to let those positively impact my day, I have to do a bit of wading through the wandering gibberish thoughts. This is exactly what I like to do the next day: I go through and highlight the good stuff. The result? 

A page saturated with bright thoughts and described lived experience of good vibes and feelings generated the day before (past memories) – the ones I want to stick with me in my today (saturating my present). 

I wanted to share about my “highlighterishness” today because I realized that being a highlighter (one who highlights) is SO important to me and my artistic practice at this moment, that I’m going ahead and CALLING IT as my “word of the year” for 2019. 

Being a highlighter doesn’t mean I only pay attention to the highlights and pretend the lowlights don’t exist. It means being decisive about what memories from the past I want to turn into my present by letting them saturate the “page” of my thoughts today. Where you put your focus, there goes your energy. I want my energy on the amazing highlights, since I’ve personally proven to myself that that creates more of that stuff, and less of the stuff I didn’t like. 

What you put your attention on (“highlighting” something in your life) amplifies that thing. Like a bright yellow line across it. It technically didn’t change in size or volume, but it stands out and grabs your attention more. Then that thing is more noticeable the next day. So you see it again, and relive all the feelings and thoughts attached to it. That’s why my love of highlighters just keeps growing each day and why I am proud to be a highlighter.

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