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Interview: 2017 Must-Know - Ten Tonnes

Interview: 2017 Must-Know - Ten Tonnes

Now 19, singer-songwriter Ethan Barnett - a.k.a. Ten Tonnes - got into playing guitar six years ago after acquiring his first guitar from a car-boot sale for the bargain price of £15.

Having originally been learning how to play the drums, The Beatles are to thank for inspiring the Hertford native to explore wanting to make his own music, resulting in his debut 'Lucy' EP - the title-track of which sagely reminds, "Haven't you learned / That in dreams you can't get burned?"

P.S. And of course, elder brother George Ezra is mighty proud:


Can't tell you how excited we all are! @ten_tonnes has released his debut EP 'Lucy' and its on Spotify. Check it out

A photo posted by George Ezra (@george_ezra) on

MUST-LISTEN: 'Subtle Changes', 'Lucy'.
YOU WILL LIKE, IF YOU LIKE: The Kooks, Catfish And The Bottlemen, Miles Kane, Mystery Jets, Bombay Bicycle Club, Lewis Watson, Peace.

COUP DE MAIN: Who or what are your main musical influences/inspirations?
My big 3 are The Beatles, Bob Dylan, and The Smiths. The Beatles are the first band I heard that made me want to make my own music and also switch from learning drums to guitar. I didn't get Dylan until I was like 16, but then I discovered the albums he had made and just fell in love with it. In my family I'm the only one that likes The Smiths and I quite like that, their music is very special for me.

CDM: How does your songwriting process work?
It's very scattered and messy haha. I generally write little bits and pieces lyrically, and then little guitar ideas, and then put some of those bits together. Sometimes I’ll just write the whole bulk of a song in five minutes though. I play guitar and try to write a little bit every day and that works well for me, I feel my odds of coming up with something good increase that way.

CDM: Do you write your lyrics specifically for the songs, or do you write poems or prose and then evolve them into song-form?
It's a bit of both really. I definitely start all my ideas off with a piece of prose, sometimes that might just be a little couplet or a couple of words, but then I’ll sing that over the chords I'm working on and then flesh it out from there.

CDM: Lyrically, what's your favourite song that you’ve written so far?
There's a few that are yet to be released that I really like lyrically, I know that's an annoying answer, but yeah there's some new ones I think are cool. 'Lucy' is the one I’m proudest of though, I’m was very pleased with that one when I finished it.

CDM: What do you think is the difference between a good song and a great song?
I think lyrics are the most important aspect to take a song to that next level, but I don't think there's an absolute golden rule, I wish i knew!

CDM: At what age did you write your very first song ever, and what was it about?
I never finished it, but it was quite a jangly tune about not being sure where you stood with someone - I would've been fourteen at the time. I always quite liked it though, you never know, I may use it as a B-side or something one day.

CDM: What was running through your mind while writing your song 'Lucy'?
I originally wrote the riff and the first verse when I was in my first year of Uni, but it had a different chorus section after it etc. I came back to it a month or two later and changed it all up and wrote 'Lucy'. I spent a while revisiting what I had done and making little changes for a while. The song is about dreaming and how that differs from real life.

CDM: What do you hope for people to take away from listening to your music?
Just to enjoy it; have a bit of fun. Hopefully people know what I’m going on about and can relate to it as well. I want to make good tunes that people can sing along to and can soundtrack their day the way my favourite music soundtracks mine.

CDM: If you were a country, which song would be your national anthem?
I think I’d go with 'All You Need Is Love', I think that'd be a great tune for singing in stadiums with hundreds of other people. At the Olympics and all that when my country wins gold haha.

If T.E.N. T.O.N.N.E.S. were an acronym, what would each letter stand for?
Toilet Engagement News The Only Night Needs Everyone Sleeps - something like that haha.

CDM: You’ve been regularly updating your Spotify playlist lately, so if you were to suggest five of your songs for us in New Zealand to listen to this Summer, what would they be?
I have indeed! I enjoy making it way too much. I'd go with these tunes, I think they're good Summer tunes:
Twin Peaks - 'Walk To The One You Love'
Fidlar - 'Why Generation'
The Rolling Stones - 'Beast Of Burden'
The Beatles - 'The Ballad Of John And Yoko'
Mac DeMarco - 'The Stars Keep On Calling My Name'

CDM: When can we expect to hear a Ten Tonnes album?
There'll be another EP out in March 2017; album is pencilled in for 2018!

CDM: What’s on your bucket-list?
Having an album out would be massive, so that's pretty high up. Maybe like go for dinner with Tom Hanks?

CDM: You’re one of our 'must-know’ artist picks for 2017... who are yours?
There's a singer called Jade Bird who's great, so her and a band I saw the other week from Louisiana called Motel Radio, so those two probably!

Click here to check out more of Coup De Main’s 2017 Must-Know Artists.

Watch Ten Tonnes perform 'Lucy' live at Reading + Leeds 2016 below...

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