Thomas Truax is an American singer-songwriter and inventor, best known for his collection of weird and wonderful self-made instruments. Featuring but not limited to, a drum machine called ‘Mother Superior’, made out of “old bicycle wheels, a motor, spoons and various percussive bits.”
Another of Truax’s ensemble is the Hornicator, an old modified gramophone horn.
“I started banging on this horn and realised that it had a really cool sound once you put your head inside it, so I started running it through a loop pedal and started making rhythms on it and it turned into this strange beast all of its own.” Truax tells me in a cramped corner of Portsmouth venue ‘The Loft.’
“Thomas Truax is a genuinely humble man, not looking to bask in the glow of any past or present successes, but constantly seeking to evolve, much like his instruments, much like his music.”
Truax’s venture into the world of self-made instruments was something he admits he stumbled upon, “It came from doing a lot of bands with humans, eventually for one reason or another, usually just before you get a really great gig, somebody would fall off the wagon and you’d suddenly find yourself without the band and you’d have to not do the gig.”
“I got offered a gig at one point as a solo thing, I didn’t want to do a solo thing but I told the promoter about this drum machine I was building and he said ‘oh bring that down and do a gig.”
Truax harnesses this talent of invention to craft a sound that’s both nuanced and hard hitting in its delivery. He and his merry band of found goodies transport you to a raw and unapologetic dream sphere.
“I’m an ethereal dude, man! Well I don’t know, it could be that I just have a naturally stoned brain or something.” He quips. “I don’t have a dead set plan on what the next song that’s going to come out of me is, when I have some idea of it, it turns into something different, just like the instruments.”
“I’m never sure what it is and I’m never sure how to describe what it is that I’m doing exactly so I’m kind of screwed with the idea that I actually have to just go out and do it and hope other people can figure it out and explain it to me.”
Truax intricately weaves his preference for night time into his music, with titles such as ‘Why Dogs Howl at The Moon.’
“Maybe that’s the ethereal thing.” He tells me, “ I like the Sun well enough but I tend to be one of those people that when the Moon’s finally out I’m like ‘oh wow that’s really nice’. It’s one of the most stable things at the moment that you can turn to, it’s fairly predictable, but always mysterious.”
After a brief stint as an animator for shows such as MTV’s ‘Celebrity Deathmatch’ and Cartoon Network’s ‘Robot Chicken’, Truax decided that his pursuit of music was paramount to him.
“I was actually fed up with music when I started doing animation and I was actively looking for something that was a more reasonable way to make a living.”
“But I realised that these guys are so passionate about animation, I’m not one of them, they’re into it like I’m into music. That was a revelation to me, kind of thinking ‘I got to do what I really love.’”
Truax is currently working on a new album, which we can expect to hear “in December or January, probably January.” He’s halfway through his UK tour. The tour was, by his own admission, “supposed to be the tour for the new album but it’s just taken longer than I thought it would to finish it.”
With dates coming up in Manchester, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Newcastle and London, to name a few, Truax is set to be busy over the coming weeks.
Thomas Truax is a genuinely humble man, not looking to bask in the glow of any past or present successes, but constantly seeking to evolve, much like his instruments, much like his music.
The remaining shows for Thomas’ tour can be found at https://www.thomastruax.com/shows/
By Joe Parker
Photographs by Oscar Williams.