Q+A: 5 Minutes with Sleepy Tom

Let’s light up your Friday with a little bit of retro-disco from Vancouver-based producer Sleepy Tom. Earlier this week the producer released his first single in three years: ‘Call My Name’ via MNRK, featuring Dawn Pemberton and the Vancouver Youth Choir. To friends and family, the artist is known as Cam Tatham however the rest of the world knows him as the (not so) Sleepy Tom who creates magnetic music fit for the dancefloor. The producer has previously worked with a series of well-known artists including Diplo on ‘Be Right There’ as well as Anna Lunoe, Grandtheft and LIGHTS. Currently working towards his next EP, which is co-written with Parker Bossley, we’re expecting his name to become popular on the airwaves in the upcoming months.

Stream / Download: ‘Call My Name’

Join us as we sit down with the producer and learn a little more about his creative process which includes significant amounts of breathwork, yoga and espresso. Find it all in the exclusive interview below.

Set the tone for us. Why the arts?

I can think of no other more beautiful way of living than creating art.

Which comes first when you’re producing – the sound or the idea?

Ideally, it’s the idea, but I try not to think too hard and just let the muse do their work.

Does your material feature any collaborations?

Yes! My next bunch of songs are all co-written/produced by my good friend Parker Bossley.

What’s on your current playlist?

Lizzo – About Damn Time, Punkin Machine – I Need You Tonight, The Vision – Heaven

Tell us about the chemistry you have with your fans on stage.

There is really nothing like being in front of an audience that’s hearing your music. It’s pure fun.

What techniques do you experiment with to get your original sound?

I think lately it’s a combination of live instruments and in-the-box vst. Most importantly is getting great vocal takes–that’s all that really matters to me!

Take us through a day in the recording studio.

On a good day, I wake up and do some breathwork and yoga. Espresso. Then get to work for a few hours of creative flow. Walk the dog. Then back to work for a couple more hours. By then I’ve probably heard the song too much and need food. But on the great days, I’m pulled back in after dinner and usually make some good edits.

Was there a specific moment in your life where you thought, “this is what I want to do”?

I think after I picked up the guitar when I was 10, I sort of just decided that I wanted to make music. My parents never made me believe I needed to have a “real job”.. so I didn’t think twice about it.

What do you keep close by while you’re playing a set?

A towel. I sweat a lot.

Any emerging artists on your radar?

I feel like everyone I’ve been listening to has already emerged!

What gets your creative juices flowing?

Breathwork, yoga and espresso.

Take us through your collection of gear, tech or software that accompanies your creative expression.

I use Logic as my DAW. I have a Sequential OB-6 in front of me for midi and synth sounds. A Fender Stratocaster and Jazz Bass. A couple of Neve preamps. That’s the bulk of it!

Any side projects you’re working on?

I would like to, but none at the moment

How have you refined your craft since you entered the industry?

I’ve tried to become a better musician–playing the parts that make it onto the song. Also, I’ve really tried to become a better collaborator–sometimes your best skill is your mood!

Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you this year?

I have an EP that will be released over the summer. More mixes and remixes. Slowly getting back to touring. It’s going to be fun!

Famous last words?

Relax and get out of the way.



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    Image credit: Lindsay Elliott

By Sarah Britton