• Louis Parker

The Musical Journey of Tom La Haine

By Louis Parker

Tom La Haine's music set up Credit: @tomlahaine on Instagram

As Tomas Shaw sets up for the video interview, the mass of old school Hip-Hop and movie posters that line his bedroom wall is hard to miss. He is wearing a red vintage football shirt, a dark, ‘one all over’ haircut and is hidden behind the stubble of a beard.

The Brighton born, Manchester-based music producer is preparing to release his next EP under his alias ‘Tom La Haine’ following the nine-track EP ‘The Fuzz’ which he self-released in October last year.

Listen to 'The Fuzz' here Credit: Tomas Shaw

“As lockdown was changing and summer was starting to get a little more enjoyable in some ways, I didn’t make a lot of music and I feel like my music taste changed a lot over that time as well,” says Shaw, 21.

“I sort of deviated away from all of the Hip-Hop stuff I was listening to and trying to make as well and getting into different types of music and different sounds, I think my new music is a reflection of that.”

Tom’s music has seen a progression from old-school Hip-Hop, MF Doom style instrumentals to more ambient and experimental music - still relying heavily on sampled drum loops and melodies, no doubt carried over from his years of producing Hip-Hop.

“It was such a weird time for everyone in many ways and I think emotionally these tracks are reflective on a lot of things I was feeling and was happening around me. Sometimes I don’t really know with my music, I guess it’s kind of an internal monologue being reflected out in some ways.”

Along with the EP, Shaw released a music video for the third track of the EP ‘August’ directed by Brighton based videographer Beck Cooley, 21, which includes psychedelic colours and patterns (watch below).

Watch 'August' by Tom La Haine, Video by Beck Cooley

“Over lockdown, I was obviously pretty bored and was almost aimlessly spending money on things to keep me busy,” Cooley explains, “I came across this old VHS camcorder on Ebay for like 20 quid. We used this for the shoot for ‘August’.

“It’s fun to use as it feels less serious than if we were using some more high-end digital gear and I think this made the shoot really spontaneous and almost random. Tame Impala released a video for ‘Is It True' I think around the same time me and Tom were talking about making a video. It had all these weird repeating pixelated colours and was labelled a ‘visualizer’ rather than a music video’.

Cooley says that looking back this was in the back of both of their minds, even though they didn’t discuss it. “The main sample in the track is very repetitive and that gave us this idea to just have all these short repeating clips throughout as the song builds on itself. There’s also all these cool fan-made music videos of Boards of Canada songs using random archived videos all over YouTube. I love them and they definitely inspired that kind of ‘homemade’ take on the video”

Eddie Kniveton, 21, who is close friends with Shaw and Cooley said “watching their progress, Tom on the musical side and Beck on the video side has been crazy. Over the last couple years, they’ve improved hugely and I’m so gassed [excited] to see where this will take them.”

Shaw is set to be releasing another long-play album later this year, which he says will showcase his progression even more away from Hip-Hop and into ambient electronic music.

“I do this thing quite regularly where I have X amount of songs and I just decide that I hate them all and they’re the worst thing I ever created, and then the next day I love them again,” says Shaw, “I have this sort of weird relationship and I guess a lot of people who do creative things feel the same way.”

Follow ‘Tom La Haine’ on Instagram to keep in the loop with all of his latest releases and listen to our chat below.