Tom Aspaul has dropped single, Tender, which was notably The Guardian’s Single of the Week a few weeks ago, and is on the verge of his album release, Black Country Disco. Giving 80s synth-pop and Italo-disco a place in the West Midlands, Tom has defied the notion that all LPs must come out of London. He spoke with The Fountain about the success of his crowdfunder and his forthcoming plans, which includes a video.

TF: You have a new single out, what has the reception been like to Tender

I do have a new single out! The reception has been fantastic – I feel like I may have touched a nerve with some of the lyrics. A lot of my friends (who were well aware of the situation the song is written about) were texting me saying they had had a ‘little cry’ listening to it, which, though wasn’t the desired effect, is definitely something! Mad it was The Guardian’s single of the week too! Still processing that a bit.

TF: How would you sum it up in one sentence?

Melancholy, Italo-disco inspired pop banger!

TF: What is your plan for the remainder of the year, do I note a crowdfunder for an album release?

If all goes to plan, it’s jam packed! The album comes out September 14th, which is just, unbelievable to say. It feels like it’s been forever, but it’s also gone so fast. Time is such a weird concept at the moment. Around the same time as the album I’ll be releasing a short film, inspired by the album and including four songs from it. I have never done any sort of visual for my music, so I am SUPER excited about that. I’ve just finished shooting this week – it’s a love letter to the West Midlands. After that, no respite at all, I’ll be pushing forward with a remixed and reworked version of the album. So lots to come!

TF: How is that going? What can people expect from Black Country Disco, why should they support your release?

The crowdfunder for the album’s physical release, which is on vinyl, CD and cassette, is going really well! It’s so hard to find the funds independently to get this sort of thing off the ground upfront, so I paired up with QRates who have allowed me to crowdfund the cost of manufacture! I somehow managed to cover the costs within 17 days of the crowdfunder starting, so I’m super chuffed and relieved, it’s happening! One less thing to think about.

Black Country Disco is designed to be listened to on vinyl – it’s more or less one continuous mix, split over two sides. Sonically it’s influenced by disco and synthpop from the late 70s and early 80s. My Mom’s record collection basically. It tells the story of my relationship in London breaking down and having to relocate home to the West Midlands after 15 years away. Not your typical break-up record! It’s been quite transformative for me, learning to produce, run my own label, do my own press and PR etc all while dealing with my new surroundings and new found single life! People should support independent music I think, there are heaps of incredible artists out there doing it for themselves. I think me doing this record in the Midlands is a massive statement of intent too, London has sucked the rest of the country dry for creative talent and the majority of this record was made right here in the WM – life doesn’t begin and end within the M25!

TF: Where is your favourite venue for playing live, where is the next place you look most forward to gigging? 

I’ve not actually done that many gigs, only a handful, it’s a shame because before lockdown I was really starting to get into the swing of things, with a new band and newfound love for performing live. I’d been booked to do Pride in Birmingham, Hull and Prague (!) and I was looking forward to doing a UK/Ireland mini tour, all of which was scrapped. So hopefully if you ask me this time next year, I’ll have toured already and I can tell where I enjoyed playing the most!

Black Country Disco is out on 14th September, click here to crowdfund/order the LP