Jon Gomm is an acoustic singer-songwriter, based in Yorkshire, with a revolutionary virtuoso guitar style, where he uses one acoustic guitar to create drum sounds, bass lines and twisting melodies all at the same time. The emphasis is still on the soulful vocals and songwriting, and his original material is influenced by everything from Robert Johnson to Radiohead.
Subject to the ever-changing COVID-19 restrictions and rules, Jon is set to to tour with some Socially Distanced gigs in January and February, with a bigger tour to follow in Autumn 2021. The first gig date of 2021 is set to be The Apex, Bury St Edmunds on the 6th January. We caught up with him to answer a few questions ahead of the gig…
For those who may not know, tell us a bit about yourself and your music…
I’m an acoustic solo artist, singer-songwriter type from Yorkshire, but I’m best known for my flashier-than-necessary guitar playing, and my song Passionflower which went viral a few years ago.
What got you into music, and who were your influences?
I started going to local gigs with my dad when I was a little kid, and playing guitar really young. I have influences from Joni Mitchell to Joe Satriani, but also a lot of the musicians who would stay at our house while they were on tour are my heroes. Most weren’t famous, but they were brilliant and taught me a lot.
Your latest album ‘The Faintest Idea’ has been out for a couple of months now – how different was it releasing an album in these times, and how has the response been?
It was wonderful to have that to give me purpose, and that’s what people’s reactions have done too. Everyone has been telling me their favourite song on the album, the little place it’s taken in their life, how it has given some solace, or sense of connection to another person emotionally. But it’s also made me crave real life connection even more.
Understandably, this year has been very tough for the arts all round – but what have you done to adapt?
I’ve done a couple of online gigs. I didn’t want to just stream on facebook or whatever, I wanted them to feel special, so I did them on a secret page on my website and sold tickets – in fact they were Pay What You Want, so they were available for free too. They were both amazing experiences. Learning how to use the tech to stream with good sound and video was the hardest part.
You’re heading to The Apex in January – what’s your connection to the venue?
Actually, I’ll never forget it, because it’s the only venue where I’ve ever had people walk out of a show! Just two people. I said something political and they didn’t like it. I only have one or two songs which have a political meaning, and even then they don’t condemn anyone’s beliefs or opinions. It would be an odd world where people refuse to tolerate artists criticising those in power occasionally. But I totally respect their right to walk! Apart from that, it was just a privilege to play in such a beautiful theatre. The acoustics are perfect.
Are you looking forward to getting back on stage, and what can audiences expect to see?
I actually got to play a gig last weekend. Felt like going back a decade in my life, driving 150 miles to play to a handful of socially distanced people, but it was amazing, just to physically place my new songs inside other people’s minds, and feel their reaction. I loved it so much, and I will never take it for granted again.
How much of a challenge are Covid-19 safety measures proving to be, and what are some of the measures in place for you as an artist?
For me on stage there aren’t any, I’m solo so it’s easy. But honestly there is nothing better than the sincere hug of a stranger who just wants to show me how much my music means to them. I miss that.
The music industry has been through a lot – but what in your opinion do you think the future of the music industry holds, particularly with live music too?
Once the tragedy of the closed venues, the struggle for income for musicians and techs – once that has passed – maybe 2020 will be the best thing that ever happened for live music. It can’t just be me that misses it so deeply.
What would you say fans can do to continue supporting yourself and the music industry?
Buy stuff! My new album is out on CD, Deluxe Edition hardback book, and double vinyl – they’re all beautiful objects covered in artworks, lyrics, stories. If you only listen to music online, just buy one anyway, then when you’re able in the future, bring it to a show and get it signed.
Finally, tell us why you love what you do and a message to your supporters?
I don’t always love what I do: It’s difficult, sometimes painful even. Performing can be magical, but the process of creating and learning to play my music is emotionally demanding in so many ways. But it’s what I have to do. All I have to offer to people who care at all about my music, is gratitude.
Since our chat with Jon, his gig at The Apex has had to be cancelled due to the ongoing pandemic
For more dates, updates and information visit: jongomm.com.