Tomi Gray, singer-songwriter and guitarist from Sydney rockers The Ruckus has just completed an ambitious feat by writing and recording 100 demos in 100 days from his home studio. Read on to to find out if Tomi is drained and exhausted or willing to go 100 more!
1. What made you take on such a creative commitment to do 100 demos in 100 days and when did the idea come to you?
I’ve been playing music and claiming it as my defining characteristic for the bigger part of my life. Part of the trip I’m on involved me looking at things like who I define myself as and why? A lot of this process was me having to admit that while I called myself a ‘Musician’ I wasn’t doing enough to actually earn that right in my own eyes any more, and perhaps giving priority to the things that are less in line with why I originally fell in love with music and creating. The biggest part of this project for me was regaining a level of trust in my ability to stick to an intention I set for myself and put some dynamite behind a new trajectory I’ve chosen to fire down.
2. Were some days more of a struggle than others or were the creative juices flowing all the time?
Of course. That’s how life operates in any situation. Somedays were a real pleasure while others it took everything I could muster. I had to sacrifice a lot during the experience as I was determined to put everything second to this goal. 100 days is an interesting amount of time because it feels completely different depending on what side you are considering it from.
3. The 100 demos are rather diverse in genre; have you learned anything about yourself as a writer by exploring these avenues?
I went into this “Knowing” that I was a perfectionist. I would often sit on songs for months, trying to get them to be just right and inevitably would end up finishing very few. Now I’ve had practise in having to learn to let go of the strangle hold a bit which in turn led to me exploring areas outside my comfort zone. The more I let go of what I “knew” about myself, my abilities and the way the process was supposed to go, it was amazing to see things open up everywhere.
4. There’s been a great response all-round to the project and many of the Facebook clips went viral in Mexico in particular. What was your reaction to that?
I was really excited but kind of not surprised, if that makes sense? It’s not as though I expected anything close to the response I’ve gotten from a few of those demos but more, because I went into this entirely without expectation – always returning to and focussing on my original intention which was strictly a personal exercise – when something like that happened it wasn’t even on my radar. I just got to look at it objectively and think, “OK, wow thats pretty interesting!” but didn’t allow myself time to dwell on how to capitalise or recreate it as I had to start work on a new song the next day and that was the most important thing to me. How many distractions come along in everyday life to knock us off our course? The good and the bad are much the same.
5. What’s next for Tomi Gray? Do you have 100 more demos up your sleeve to pump out or will you flesh out some of what you’ve already put forward?
I’m going to move out of Sydney at the end of the month. I’ve lived and learned here for a good few years succeeding and failing and I feel now ready to take off the ‘L’ plates and head out to see what is happening beyond this place. I’ve sold the majority of my things and bought a van which I will live in and convert into a camper as I go along. I’m going to ride into a new town every few days, play music and meet people. I’ve started vague discussions with a few record labels in regards to releasing an album of my favourites from these 100 demos, revisited. Im going to see if I can meet someone also who can teach me to surf. I still write everyday, only I remember now why I wanted to do it.
Tomi Gray’s ‘100 Demos 100 Days’ is out now via all good digital platforms