Thomas Abban is a musician with a guarded mystique. There’s an ethereal ethos in his performance that gets somehow more ethereal and yet stronger with each new work. We were able to chat with him during the pandemic and we got a few insights but he lets the music speak for itself and for him. We are grateful that he was willing to take on a few questions on his release, Deep Winter.
The first time I saw you perform was December 2017 at the Turf Club and I was enthralled. The last time was just last month (January 2023) at The Entry – again mesmerized. You are a private person but each time I see you I feel like I get to know a new chapter. Do you feel like these chapters are being written in real time or that we’re meeting bits of you that have always been there?
I think they are always there but they come to light in real time. I’m not sure change is as much of a time bound process as many believe. I think my way of expression changes in sync with what I’m trying to express at any given point.
You have written about living the nomadic life in terms of music, what do you hope to leave behind for the audience on your travels?
I want to follow my intuition and be driven by creativity instead of peoples opinions or my own career’s “safety”. So if I was to hope for something it would be that I was an example of that.
Are there some spaces (geographical, situational, meteorological) that make you feel more at home?
I haven’t really ever felt quite at home anywhere. But the ocean is the closest.
The new album (Deep Winter) is very tender. It tells a hard love story. There are some great lines (“If I could kill time and not injure you” in Truly Loved You – the whole idea of Judas being counter to Christ!) that bring back to my own stories. There’s a progression in the songs that ends with the upbeat Man. How important the song order on the album to you?
It’s a very important step for me. Like scenes and shots in a movie. I’m thinking mostly of sonic progression and the flow of energy throughout a project. Some songs sound better next to others. Some should obviously begin a record and others are obvious endings, sometimes you even know when you’re writing them where they’ll go.
In your videos and on stage, the visual aspect of the performance is important and impressive. Does that play a role in the song writing and/or production?
It’s definitely all from the same place but it’s not in any kind of linear order. Sometimes you get a visual idea that stimulates a corresponding song and other times they both appear at once. Nothing is separate.