Tom Furse

You’re more used to seeing Tom playing bass and keyboards with The Horrors than standing among a load of lupins, but Josh Jones caught up with him just off Old St to talk about the new album he’s curated, Tom Furse Digs. Taking five years, he’s explored the enormous archive of Southern Library of Recorded Music, and come up with a classic lounge-lizard’s soundtrack.

Now when you hear Southern Library Music people would think of you rooting around muzak in Houston Texas, but it’s actually a specialist label kind of thing isn’t it?
There is actually a Southern Library of Recorded Music, which made searching what I was doing on the internet quite a bit more difficult. Southern Library actually started in 1960 I think, and if you needed music for a TV show or an advert or film then you could go to Southern and they would commission artists to produce something. It was a pretty select group of composers as well, who would just make music. It would be like, “today guys we’re making a traditional Middle Eastern record.” You’d get these composers from all over the place – Europe and America – just knocking out these albums, singles and 10″ records. 

So did you root around a dusty library?
No I wasn’t doing that. I was rooting around an office in Fulham. I was invited to the archive and I thought it would be a big place with those shelves that have gears on the side so you can move them, but it was more like a cupboard with a lot of vinyl in it. I went through that and listened to all the albums they had and tried to track down all the albums that had got lost from the archive along the way, which took a lot longer.

How long’s it taken?
It’s been a long time that this project has been going, I think I started it about five years ago. I wasn’t working constantly for those five years though –  a lot of it was waiting for records to come along. I kept on thinking about a beach when I was doing it, i don’t know where it came from. It was weird, it was a particular beach with a road next to it and some kids in a red pick up truck, going surfing. It was a bit like putting a soundtrack together for a film that doesn’t exist. 

Did you find you started to dig different things over the five years you put this together?
I did actually – I got more into the flute. When I first went down to the archive, when a flute would kick in I thought it was a bit naff, but then I softened and realised it was an instrument I hadn’t got behind much and now I’m all over it. I’ve got a good friend called Elliot who’s actually very good at the flute. We met him at the club night The Horrors did at the Buffalo Bar when he was just on the dancefloor playing his flute. I’d love to get him involved with The Horrors…

Tom Furse Digs is out from August 7th on UPPM

Photo: Tom Medwell
Interview: Josh Jones


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