Australian singer/songwriter Tom West has delivered a taste of his latest LP in the newly released single “Got It Cheap.” The leisurely moving and upbeat track was one of the early songs he composed for a new album — titled I’m Livin’ with a release date TBD — and West’s goal was to step out of the box of the “picky-guitar style” he had been doing for a few years, culminating on the track “Easy, Love” from the 2015 album Oncoming Clouds.
“Not because I don’t like that style anymore,” West tells Vanyaland. “I rather just felt like going back to basics to a degree to see what I could do, to keep myself interested. So I think that’s part of the difference you can hear between the style of ‘Got it Cheap’ and ‘Easy, Love.’”
Featuring production from Collin Pastore, who produced Lucy Dacus’ 2016 effort No Burden, the song came from West feel a bit jaded at his place in the world, overwhelmed by the advertising and pressures to consume anything and everything that bombard us in our day-to-day lives.
“As time went on, I realized that there is a cheapness, in many ways, to the way that society values people and our relationships,” he says. “I’d just been fired from doing cover gigs because I hated doing them and I was shit at it, so was working in a bar. All my friends were either grinding out full-time jobs or broke as fuck like I was. At the time, I was on hiatus from a relationship and, as much as I hate to admit now, was embarrassingly dabbling in Tinder and just feeling lost. I’d walk a lot and smoke weed and think about how fucking strange everything was and write parts for the album and play around with musical ideas.”
What started out as just messing about with loose concepts for a record down the road took on a much more serious tone when West’s father became ill and eventually passed away.
“With my old man getting sick and dying, this idea of the cheapness of our lives really became the stepping stone, or starting point, into the whole album which took on a bigger scope than I could have ever originally imagined,” West says. “I think that the story of the album was ultimately very cathartic for me.”
When the recording of the first batch of songs was completed at a makeshift studio in the Adelaide hills, West and his bandmates were beyond happy with them, especially “Got It Cheap,” leading to a bit of an unconventional celebration.
“We were pretty pleased when we listened back and thought it was a cool song, even though it had a pretty unconventional form,” he says. “At the end of the week, we cleaned everything, got rinsed, and danced all night to Michael Jackson, which was way more fun than it should have been.”