Things take a different approach for this edition of Bands Interviewing Bands. First we have singer/songwriter Wesley David, who recently released his debut album Never Late Than Better. The musician has had a love of Rock and Roll since a young age and counts Oasis, Rush and Nirvana as some of his early influences.
Wes is joined by friend & drummer/singer/songwriter Tom McGeoh (stage name: From, Tom). Hailing from Columbus, Ohio, his music comes from direct experiences and he aims to create ‘emotional connections’ in his art.
In this interview the pair reminisce on their friendship and discuss topical subjects such as social media and the stigma around the mental health of men.
Tom: This is crazy to learn about how you grew up in a religious cult. How did that experience specifically affect your music and lyrics?
Wes: I did, my life’s journey since then has been one of recovery from trauma and rediscovering who I am. I think it’s forced me to focus on writing as a way to redefine my identity and what I believe about the world. This was the first record where I made a conscious attempt to capture the story of what I went through.
Wes: So tell me about your single ‘Good Enough’ – the lyrics hint at going through self-doubt I think when we try to live up to someone else’s expectations. What was the impetus behind that ?
Tom: ‘Good Enough’ was inspired by a pretty heavy therapy session that I had. I went through a long period of time where I constantly doubted myself, and this song is all about challenging those thoughts. I was so concerned about what other people thought of me. I hit rock bottom mentally and it got to a point where I had to change.
Tom: I get such a 90s vibe when I listen to your music! Do you listen to a lot of that stuff?
Wes: Is the Pope catholic! Yeah, I definitely came of age with music via the 90s, a lot of post-grunge and alternative rock was my musical foundation as a kid. I still just think it was the most iconic decade for music in a lot of ways. And culturally, I mean, you had Madonna dating Dennis Rodman while Radiohead would be played after OMC or Hanson on Top 40 radio. You’d top it off with TRL with Carson Daly and then go watch Jerry Springer! Just staggering zaniness and variety.
Wes: It’s 2020 and even with everything we know, there is still a stigma around mental health, and admitting anxiety/depression, I think for men especially. What’s important about that for you?
Tom: It’s important to me because I know our culture is capable of positive change. I think the tide is changing a little bit when it comes to mental health awareness but there’s still a lot of work to do. We need to get rid of the shame around going to therapy, taking medication, practicing meditation, whatever it is that helps us. We’re all human and we need to take care of ourselves and each other. Mental health resources also need to be easily accessible for everyone.
Wes: We met almost 7 years ago after we’d both moved to LA – and I’m sparing readers our Arizona tour story where you nearly died on me (!) – What’s changed about the music scene here to you in that time ?
Tom: I still can’t believe that you told the crowd that I had Ebola. I don’t know if the music scene in LA changed a ton but I definitely evolved as a musician. I was caught up in the “Jam” scene on Sunset Boulevard for the first couple years I lived out here and I just wasn’t happy. I started going to School Night (a live music showcase) in Hollywood and it was energizing. I also love what Grant Owens is doing with WFNM (We Found New Music). As musicians and artists, we’re all in this together and it’s awesome to see people lift each other up.
Tom: Social media has practically taken over the role that reviewers once had What do you consider challenging about that?
Wes: I would argue passionately that reviewers, blogs, and ‘zines matter as much as ever, but unfortunately, I think our attention spans have shortened to the point where social media is a faster entry point for most casual music fans.
The difficulty in this is when you want to do something innovative you end up working with influencers and others who are largely beholden to whatever their audience wants to hear – or thinks they want to hear.
I see social media as both good and bad, I think it’s almost comparable to old school record labels.
Wes: You’ve got some more singles coming out soon; the lyrics tell me this is not just business-as-usual playlist pop, there’s thoughtful wordplay. Is there a message you’re hoping to share and what else can you tell fans about your music?
Tom: I’m just trying to be real with people. I want people to connect with that authenticity and know that it’s okay to be yourself. I spent a big part of my life trying to be what I thought other people wanted me to be and I’m done with that. I’m a really deep feeling, emotional person and I think that definitely comes through in these new songs.
Tom: Your album is called Never Late Than Better. What’s the meaning behind the title ?
Wes: The meaning is live now. It’s a play on words and reversal of the title track (Better Late Than Never); you have to live your best life now, because why not? I think if there’s a critique of how I was raised in the religion, it’s that extreme groups are just focused on an idea of the afterlife – they are obsessed with a belief about the future. I don’t have that belief anymore. I think ‘now’ is where there’s joy and excitement. I wish I would’ve discovered all this and done the record years ago, but – I’m thrilled to do it now – even during a freaking Pandemic. If you’re breathing, then it’s not too late to be who you want to be and make your life worth living in the now, because in reality that’s all we really have.
(Right) Wesley David. Photo credit: Cherish Rider Photography (Left) From, Tom. Photo credit: Zury Rose