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Aaron Thomas - Chasing Romance

Author: Scott Henderson
Monday, February 9, 2009

Love and wanderlust seem to be the topics closest to Aaron Thomas’s heart. 3D’s Scott Henderson caught up with the singer/songwriter on his return visit to Sydney…

Aaron Thomas might just be one of those true and rare romantic souls. Not once, but twice has he followed the girl around the world, relocating himself, his life and his career for someone else. The first time was an extended jolly in Los Angeles, the city of angels itself, and it didn’t exactly work out. The second time round Aaron found himself in Madrid, Spain with a different girl. “My wife is a Flamenco dancer,” says Aaron, revealing the ending, “so she went over there to get really serious about it, I followed her over and, yeah, it’s a love story.”

Sometimes twice is a charm: Aaron’s second leap of faith certainly paid off and along the road the Tasmania-born, Sydney-raised singer/songwriter got plenty of material to work with. Baring a little soul is all part of the job for such folk troubadour types, just enough to break someone’s heart, not so much as to give the game away. The singer’s first album Follow the Elephants is full of songs about these experiences: “There is all my past and present at one time there on that album.”

Follow the Elephants came out in Spain a year ago and has seen Aaron become something of a well-known figure in his adopted country, especially after winning the Villa de Bilbao prizes for Best National Band and Best Pop/Rock Ensemble. The event was held in Basque country in northern Spain and is nearly uniformly won by Basque musicians. So of course it could only be an Australian who would come in and win over the locals.

The whole experience in Spain has been a humbling one Aaron tells us over a glass of ice water on a particularly humid day in Sydney, but a rich one also. The influence though has also reached into Aaron’s work: “Musically I think the whole flamenco thing is something I really enjoy – the intensity of any gypsy music is quite emotional, the big open throat singing style and I really like that and it has become an influence on me now.”

Working with Spanish musicians hasn’t always been the easiest experience on the other hand, but far from a negative one (“the difference has brought out things I would never have got otherwise”). Recording the album was a difficult partly for that reason, a lack of shared musical heritage, but also for Aaron being in the studio for the first time. “We had no room to polish up and go back to do things again, which is a shame. But at the same time it’s got a natural feel about it, a very honest album, humble and not flashy. It is what it is and hopefully people are friendly and like it.”

Back in Sydney until March before heading off for South By South West in Austin, Texas followed by a national tour in Spain, Aaron Thomas says he’ll be back in the studio for that second leap of faith. “I’ve definitely found my style; accepting your influences is a hard thing to do because you’re always worried about what people will like. I’m just going in the right direction.”

WHO: Aaron Thomas
WHAT: Follow the Elephants through Everlasting / Inertia
WHEN: Out now