If you take my advice for any country artists to listen to, make sure Seaforth is one of them! I was delighted to spend some time with members Mitch and Tom to chat about working with some of the most talented people in Nashville, why Australia produces such great country artists, my future wedding song, and so much more – enjoy!
Ciara’s Country (CC): Anyone who knows me will have often heard me raving about Aussie duo Seaforth – every song of theirs makes its way to the top of my playlists, and they just seem like all-round great guys! I’m absolutely thrilled to have Seaforth’s Tom Jordan and Mitch Thompson here with me today – thank you both for joining me!
Mitch Thompson (MT): Thank you for having us!
CC: Are you in Nashville at the moment?
MT: Yep, bunking down in Nashville. We actually haven’t been able to leave here in about two years now!
CC: Where’s on your bucket list for when the world opens up?
Tom Jordan (TJ): Genuinely for me it’s the UK! It’s funny because we were in London for C2C in March 2019 just before everything shut down. I’d never been before but I’ve always had this weird like fascination with the UK, so when we landed in London, I was so stoked. We got to the hotel at like 7pm and our management calls us saying ‘boys, we’re gonna have to get you back on the first flight tomorrow morning, they’re gonna shut down the borders,’ so we flew straight back! I didn’t get my chance to see the UK, so it’s the first place I want to go.
CC: You’ll be making a lot of UK fans happy by saying that! What is it about the UK that you like so much?
TJ: For me, so much of my life growing up was inspired by UK music and TV shows. There’s just something about it!
MT: Naturally have an affinity with the people because it’s kind of our ancestry anyway, coming from Australia. With anyone I’ve met from the UK, I feel like we immediately have this bond, we have very similar personalities, ways of life. It’s just beautiful over there too, it feels like such a great escape from wherever we are at the time. I was there when I was younger, but there’s still so much for me to see!
CC: That’s high praise indeed when you come from one of the most beautiful places on the planet!
MT: Yeah, Australia is pretty special, but it’s that thing where if you grow up somewhere beautiful, you take it for granted. It’s just what you know, so then going out and seeing other places, you have a crossover appreciation for where other people live. Like maybe you don’t notice it as much being in Europe, but you’ll come to Australia and be like ‘Oh, this is nice!’ and I’m like, ‘Yeah, let’s do a swap!’
CC: You’ve been living in Nashville for a few years now – is there a difference between the way you were producing and writing music back in Australia and how you are now in the US?
TJ: Yeah, definitely. Mitch and I mostly worked just the two of us together in Australia, we didn’t co-write a whole bunch, we just really focused on developing our sound as Seaforth. Obviously Nashville is the home of country music songwriters so as soon as we came here, I feel like we were instantly influenced and inspired by the talent around us. I feel like the best way to get better is to surround yourself with people that are better than you, and there’s no better place where people are more talented and inspiring than Nashville.
CC: Is there anyone that you’ve met in Nashville who you’ve been really inspired by, or who has helped you hone your sound?
MT: There’s so many, honestly! When we started coming out, we had a circle of two or three people we’d write with and that circle just kept expanding. We managed to be able to work on a record with Dan Huff who was our dream producer, so I think we learnt so much about putting a record together and tracking a full band with him.
We’ve also written songs with people like Liz Rose who has written so many amazing hits. Seeing how she puts a song together, the way that she feels about stories and songs, was such a great way for us to learn what we should be doing and taught us not to be so precious about certain things. I feel like we’ve learnt little bits from so many people, and we’re always continuously learning.
CC: Nashville is definitely the home of country music, but I’ve been really interested to see how many Australian acts are making their way over – you guys, Brad Cox, Morgan Evans, The McClymonts – why do you think Australia produces such great country artists?
TJ: There’s so much talent in Australia in general, but the thing with Australia is that it’s so far away from everything that travelling to the US or the UK is such a hefty trip, so a lot of that talent hasn’t historically made the jump to the US or the UK, but now people are starting to do that more. For us, we were inspired by Keith Urban – he’s Australian, and so people like that have paved the way for artists like us and Brad Cox, all the people you mentioned to be inspired to make the move.
Australia has a really great growing country scene. There’s a lot of talented artists down there, so we’re super excited to get back there and play shows because we haven’t played any real shows in Australia since we started this whole band!
CC: And it was the place that inspired your band name, Seaforth, which comes from your hometown of Seaforth in Australia. Can you tell us a bit more about how that name came about?
MT: Yeah, Tom and I met when we were three years old, and we grew up in a suburb called Seaforth. I’ve got to be honest – picking band names is the hardest and worst thing to do! We sat down and wrote like 300 different things, I’d write a name, he’d write a name, so we went back and forth until one of us had written Seaforth somewhere, and then we thought ‘that’s the one’. We wanted to take a piece of home with us, it’s part of our story.
CC: I would love to know some of those band names that didn’t quite make the cut.
TJ: We went back and found some! One that we stuck with for a minute before we landed on Seaforth was Swamp Goats. We were genuinely calling ourselves Swamp Goats! Mitch sent me one of the first songs we wrote together and I saved it to iTunes with the artist title ‘The Himalayan Swamp Goats’, and then we shortened it to Swamp Goats. We did our first proper writing trip to Nashville and LA as Seaforth/Swamp Goats, and in LA we got a little intoxicated one night and got matching goat tattoos to signify our commitment to the band, so we both have small goat tattoos on our arms!
MT: The Swamp Goat lives on!
CC: I think I might have found it harder raving to everyone about all these beautiful songs I was listening to by ‘Swamp Goats’ instead of Seaforth!
TJ: For a moment we were like ‘shall we just stick with it? I feel like people won’t forget it!’
CC: You never know, you might decide to take on a side project in another genre that could be Swamp Goats.
TJ: Yeah, Swamp Goats could be a reggae band, maybe rockabilly.
MT: I feel like it’s got to be the complete opposite of what you think it’s gonna be! That’s why I thought it’d be funny for us to be Swamp Goats and playing all these sweet love songs.
CC: Many of your fans know you maybe formerly as Swamp Goats, now as Seaforth, but I’d like to get to know you a bit more as Mitch and Tom. What are some of the similarities and differences that you both have?
MT: It’s funny because I feel like Tom and I are essentially brothers at this point. We’re very much on the same wavelength with personalities and musical goals, but as people and what we like, I feel like we’re like the complete opposite! I’m just a simple guy – I love fishing, I’m a bit of a handyman, I like to fix things and do random tasks. That’s pretty much all there is to me – and music of course!
TJ: It’s funny for me, because I feel like a lot of people have hobbies outside of what their profession is, but my hobby is literally making music! It sounds super cheesy, but I like just sitting in my home studio making trap beats and the like. That’s my hobby – the way some people will go and do fishing or rock climb or whatever, but I’ve never really had that and so I feel like my whole life is centered by music which is very overwhelming at times but also super cool.
CC: I’m really glad that you mentioned that one of your interests is indeed music – that is of course where we know you from, and I wanted to take a little trip down memory lane. You first came on my radar with a track you recorded with Mitchell Tenpenny called Anything She Says. How did that collaboration happen?
MT: I feel like Nashville is a pretty small town like with artists, but Mitchell is on the same label as us, and we have mutual friends in town that we would write with. I think we met Mitchell backstage at a Luke Bryan concert and we totally hit it off. We ended up opening a couple shows for him acoustically on a very early tour of his before his song Drunk Me went number one – we were actually with him when it went number one! Then we ended up organizing to write with him, just like let’s get in and see what we can make.
We ended up writing Anything She Says that day – we actually sang the original demo but it wasn’t til a few months later when we were both sending it back and forth like ‘you should cut it,’ ‘no, you should cut it,’ and Mitchell was like ‘alright, I’m doing it, but do you guys want to feature on it with me?’ So then we got on that, and the next tour was named the ‘Anything She Says Tour’, and the rest was history! We love Mitch.
CC: I think any story that starts with ‘backstage at a Luke Bryan concert’ is going to have a good ending! I really like that song, but the song that definitely made me fall in love with Seaforth is Everything Falls For You. I kind of feel a bit selfish because I almost don’t want to tell people about that song, just keep it for myself so I can have it at my future wedding, but it’s just so good I have to share it!
MT: Thank you so much, that means a lot!
CC: Was that a song that took a long time to come to fruition, or was it one that was ready to go the moment you thought of it?
TJ: We wrote it with a buddy of ours named Derek Sutherland who we’ve worked with a few times, and he has a really special way of crafting lyrics and putting spins on things that are quite unique. He actually had the title Everything Falls For You, and explained how when you fall in love with someone, it feels like your whole world starts to like revolve around them and it’s not just you falling for them, it’s your whole world falling with you in a great way. We were just like ‘dude, that’s incredible!’ and we wrote the song itself in a few hours.
We cut Talk About and Everything Falls For You on the same day – we were originally going to cut a different song with Talk About, but we were working with Dan Huff, and we sent him everything including EFFY, and he was like, ‘this is the song! We’ve got to do this one – it’s a super special song.’ So it was really cool that he kind of influenced us to really pursue that song. It’s really cool. I think the intention for it was to have that moment with love, so it means a lot that you would say that, because we actually we played it at a wedding the other day!
CC: Well, I have no plans for getting married in the near future, but I will definitely be hitting you guys up when the day comes.
MT: Do you want to put a random fake date in the calendar and we’ll figure it out, then you’ve put it out into the universe.
CC: Yeah, that’s the way I’ll do it – I’ll set a date now with you guys and then I’ll just find a husband somewhere along the way. How does that sound?
MT: Perfect, just send the deposit over! (laughs)
CC: I think it’s really interesting that you cut EFFY and Talk About on the same day because they are completely different songs! How are you able to get yourself in the mindset of moving from singing this beautiful love song to a party track like that?
MT: We actually do it in sections – we’ll have a scratch vocal in there when we go into a tracking session that the band will play to, and then after that, you do some more guitars, overdubs. The vocals are usually the last thing, so all we have to do is deliver the emotion, we get in and sing it when it’s almost ready to go!
CC: We recently got the equally beautiful, but maybe not quite so much a wedding song, Breakups. Can you talk us through how that song came about?
TJ: Yeah, that song would be a little bit of a downer at a wedding! That song came from a super real place. As songwriters, you always try to take real experiences, because I feel like people can sense when you’re being genuine. I was going through a breakup at the time, that was really tough, and we were writing with Liz Rose and my buddy Cameron Bedell, and Liz was like, ‘how’s that girl that you broke up with? Have you spoken?’ I was like, ‘no, we haven’t, I miss her, I want to talk to her,’ because they become your best friend.
That conversation just happened, and then the lyrics wrote themselves in a way that we didn’t really realize. That song was like therapy for me at the time, one of the songs that you listen back to a week later and think ‘oh damn, I didn’t realise how much it affected me!’ To see how people have responded to it so far has been really amazing – it’s the power of emotion and songwriting which reminds you why you do it.
CC: Do you find it difficult listening back to or playing those songs that have such deep and personal meaning behind them?
TJ: For a while, yes, but like anything, it gets better. That’s why it’s great to be able to write about it because it’s very therapeutic. It depends where you’re at – like if I’m having a tough day, and I sing that song, maybe it might hit me a little harder. But most of the time I don’t cry!
MT: I was going through a breakup and had COVID at the time when I sang the vocals for that song, so I was like, ‘this is the best time to sing Breakups. This is great.’
CC: I’m glad you’ve recovered from both of them! There’s genuinely not one of your songs that I don’t like which is why I’m already so desperate to know – what’s next?
TJ: I would have loved if you’d said ‘there’s genuinely only one that I don’t like!’ (laughs) As for what’s next, we’ve just been working tirelessly on a new EP that we’re about to wrap! We’re going to get it mixed and put it out as soon as we can. We’re super stoked to have new music on the way. I feel like building a brand and building our social media is good fun, but we’re musicians at heart and we feel the most accomplished and the most inspired when we’re able to put music out and be creative. I’m as proud of this upcoming music as I have been of anything. I think it’s our best work to date, and hopefully people will really enjoy it!
MT: And we head out on tour in the US for the rest of the year with Jordan Davis. I wish that was going to the UK!
CC: That makes two of us. I love the sound of this new EP – what topics might we be hearing on it?
MT: Looking at the tracklisting, it’s all over the shop!
TJ: There’s love. There’s drinking.
MT: There’s one about a show host a specific talk show host, Dr Phil. There’s some magic. There’s kind of everything on it which is really exciting. Every emotion is kind of captured on it.
TJ: Hate isn’t! But I feel like no one wants to hear a song about hate…
CC: Well… (laughs) I’m looking forward to that – maybe I’ll be adding Dr Phil to my wedding playlist. So, one thing that I really love to do is highlight underrated artists, and a great way to do that is to ask the artists I like who they’re listening to. Are there any underrepresented artists that you guys think everyone should be listening to?
TJ: This is very random and not underrated in any way, but I got into grime music last year, like Stormzy and UK rap and stuff.
MT: I love Laney Wilson. I wouldn’t say she’s underrated because she’s friggin unreal. I’m obsessed with Things A Man Oughta Know, I think it’s incredible. Our buddy Adam Doleac is great, I think he’s got a lot a lot to share.
CC: I’m very much looking forward to duets with you guys and Stormzy.
TJ: I think that would be a fitting collaboration. Get him a verse on Breakups.
CC: I’m going to need that! Thank you guys so much for taking the time to chat with me – I’m looking forward to playing Breakups and your entire discography for the rest of the day and hearing new stuff soon!
TJ: We look forward to getting out to the UK very soon, and when we do, we’d love to hang!
It was such a pleasure chatting to Mitch and Tom and I can’t wait to see them live someday soon! You can find all of their released tracks wherever you get your music, or tune in to Ciara’s Country 5-8pm every Friday on www.ukcountryradio.com to hear them on air. Stay tuned on Twitter @CiarasCountry and @Think_Country for more interviews coming soon – thanks for reading!