Q&A Scene: Rhys Toms ~ aka BLACK SUMMER

Tell us about your new single/ album/ tour?

My new single is called ‘Sadness’, and features Chloe Campbell. It is more of a chilled song but still has the same vibe that I put in my other tracks. I feel it’s a song about two people trying to make a relationship work but one of them is more interested in the drama side of it. They aren’t on the same page but they keep trying.

How would you describe your sound in food form and why?

I would describe my sound as like a spicy burrito, because it’s like a spicy bag of interesting stuff, with a side of Dr Pepper (because I love Dr Pepper).

Which of your songs resonate most strongly and why?

I would say ‘Young Like Me’ and ‘Sadness’ because I feel that i have grown up and learnt a lot while in the process of making these tracks. I am really proud of them.

Tell us a quick, on the road, anecdote.

When I was in LA filming my first video for my song ‘Young Like Me’, we did some filming in the Hollywood Hills. In the video it looks like I set fire to the Hills when of course I didn’t but while we were filming a local person walked past and was very worried thinking I actually was setting fire. I got some weird looks that day.

Where do you draw inspiration from?

I draw inspiration from all kinds of places. I listen to Jazz, 80s music, rock as well as lots of electronic. I like to draw inspiration from retro video games and listen to lots of different types of genres.

Which song do you wish you wrote?

I really wish that i wrote the song ‘Luv You Give’ by Tommy Trash (NGHTMRE Remix)

What’s next for you?

I am starting the process for my next single and hopefully bringing out an EP. I also hope to keep collaborating with other artists.

What’s your scene?

I like hanging out at the mall, programming video games, hanging out in my studio and drawing.

Musical wunderkind Black Summer, otherwise known as Rhys Toms, is back with a luminescent new song Sadness, featuring Bahamian vocalist Chloe Campbell, set for release on March 23.  The perfect followup to 2017’s Young Like Me, which has racked up over three million streams across multiple platforms, Sadness is an exciting offering from the accomplished producer who is still yet to turn 15 years old.  Black Summer has also dropped a truly spectacular video to accompany Sadness, directed by Tim Maxx.

Sadness is perfectly crafted; undeniably hooky, with masterful production that sinks and swells around eighteen year old Campbell’s expressive vocal.  The track is steeped in heavy emotion, something that Rhys has woven within the music with the skillset of someone years his senior.  The arrangement borders on subtle, yet percussive patterns and dense synths duck underneath the lead melody in impressive layers.  Speaking of the inspiration behind Sadness, Rhys says, Sadness is a track that I wanted to give a chilled but also energetic vibe to.  It’s about two people not quite connecting – one of them is in love with the drama of the relationship, but they can’t figure out how to make it work.  I wanted to relay this feeling in the track so I used these dark muted synths…we recorded Chloe’s vocals in LA and then I took her vocals and further built the track around them.  She brought this amazing life to the track with her awesome adlibs and harmonies.”

The clip for Sadness is epic, and sweeps the audience into the atmosphere in much the same way that the track itself does.  Set in multiple breathtaking settings, Rhys walks across a desert, along a stormy beach, through a forest and into flames, following the elusive Chloe throughout the wilderness.  Working alongside Tim Maxx who also directed the impressive Young Like Me clip, Rhys explains, “We shot the video while Chloe and I were both in LA…the story of the video is two people who are trying to connect but they can’t get to the same place at the same time.  Like in the song, they’re in two different mindframes.” 

It’s been a wild ride for Rhys, since he was Unearthed by Triple J at the tender age of 11 as one of the country’s most exciting young producers.  Young Like Me, his most successful release to date, was debuted on national television across Channel 9’s Children’s Hospital Telethon, and attracted a lot of international attention after being added to high rotation on triple j, and in its wake Black Summer appeared at Groovin’ The Moo.  Now still only 14 years old, he has a fantastic attitude towards the industry and is thrilled to be working towards some live performances for 2018, saying, “I still can’t believe that I’m doing what I’m doing now – it is literally a dream come true.  I’m so grateful for the opportunity triple j gave me to get my music out there, they really gave me the confidence to do what I love!  Over the years I have learnt so much about music theory and the industry… I love anything to do with computers, from programming video games to making my own music.  I love to travel and see new parts of the world and performing live is one of my favourite things to do!”

Sadness is released today, March 23rd. 


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About Mary Boukouvalas 1576 Articles
Mary is a photographer and a writer, specialising in music. She runs Rocklust.com where she endeavours to capture the passion of music in her photos whether it's live music photography, promotional band photos or portraits. She has photographed The Rolling Stones, KISS, Iggy Pop, AC/DC, Patti Smith, Joe Strummer, PULP, The Cult, The Damned, The Cure, Ian Brown, Interpol, MUDHONEY, The MELVINS, The Living End, Foo Fighters, Smashing Pumpkins, Rage Against The Machine, The Stone Roses –just to name a few - in Australia, USA, Europe and the Middle East. Her work has been published in Beat magazine, Rolling Stone magazine, Triple J magazine, The Age Newspaper, The Herald Sun, The Australian, Neos Kosmos, blistering.com, theaureview.com, noise11.com, music-news.com. She has a permanent photographic exhibition at The Corner Hotel in Richmond, Victoria Australia.

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