Four years on from the award-winning (Album of the Year, Best Hip Hop Artist at the Aotearoa Music Awards 2019, Taite Music Prize 2019) debut by Avantdale Bowling Club, Tom Scott has announced the release of 'TREES' on 30 September.

This much anticipated sophomore album is steeped in both secrecy and perfectionism. After providing test pressings for the first masters supplied to Holiday Records in early 2021, Tom went back to the drawing board. A year later we were supplied the masters for what we now can call 'TREES'. No singles, no elaborate marketing plan, just well-thought-out music from a much respected artist.

"Don’t expect the same thing. This one’s simpler. It might be the most political thing I’ve ever written. But it’s not about politics, exactly. And it’s not as personal as the last one. Or maybe it’s the most personal. I don’t know.  It’s a new one. I hope this one still surprises you." – Tom Scott

Earlier this month Tom auctioned off the test pressing of 'TREES' with all proceeds going to a local charity supporting, well, trees. The test pressing, and thus the opportunity to be the first to listen to the new album, sold for $1,410NZD which illustrates the appetite for this new album.

Holiday Records is proud to be pressing another record for Avantdale Bowling Club, after pressing "LIVE" in 2020. 'TREES' was pressed as a single 180gm heavy-weight LP with black vinyl.

See Tom's open letter about 'TREES' here.

Buy the album here.

We had the pleasure of sitting down to have a chat with Tom about the new album, his inspirations and his connection with vinyl. Read the interview below.

Tell us a bit about yourself - Where are you from? How did you get into music? Who are your favourite artists?

My name is Tom. Thomas on my birth certificate. I’m from a place called Avondale via a place called Brixton. I got in music as a young kid sitting around the record player. Was about 3 when I learned how to work the turntable. Used to play my parents records. Shit like ‘Working on a coal mine’ and Yakkity Yak and all that shit. Always loved music. Always thought everyone else loved it as much as me. Now I see my kids with the bug. My youngest in particular. He’s 2 and can sing a whole song. You either got it or you don’t I see now. It hits certain people different. 

Me personally I loved it so much I was dumb enough to make it a career. My mum used to hold me in her arms and say ‘you’re not gonna be a musician’. But this was all I knew. Didn’t really know much else I could do. Was kind of the only thing I ever loved enough to do long enough. 

Some of my favourite artists are Gil, Nina, Curtis, Donny, Stevie, Roy, Alice, Miles, Quincy (all the OGs who don’t need surnames) Some of my favourite lyricists are Mach Homny, Quelle Chris, Billy Woods, Koffee, Devin the dude, Vince Staples, Tierra Whack, Thugga, and on and on. Madlib, Moodymann, Mara TK. I could go on. That’s off top. 

Tell us a bit about the album - What were some of the inspirations behind its creation and the album itself? Can you define the sound/vibe of the album?

This album was sort of a rebellion against the last one. I wanted to simplify things a bit more on this. I made that whole last album as a homage to my home but I never heard anyone in Avondale play it. That made me feel like I was making a useless product that had no functionality. So on this one I wanted to make music that could live more within a normal day. No grand gestures. No life stories. Nothing too dark. Just the everyday struggle of trying to get the rent paid. 

 It’s entirely produced by Christoph El Truento (other than ‘rent too high’ by Haz) so I kicked back on production for this one and let him take the reins. He’s got a whole catalogue of brilliant shit if you haven’t heard his shit, def go do that. 

Tell us about the album artwork - What was the inspiration? Who is the artist/photographer?

It’s a drone shot of the Waitakere ranges. I used to park up there on scenic drive in my teens and hot box the car. Look out at those trees. Zone out. Was my happy place. Still is. So, I got my bro Jamie McCready to take a photo on his drone of the trees. Then my home girl Pinky put the finishing touches on it. Funny story, she’s actually legally blind. 

Tell us why you chose to press it to vinyl - What do vinyl records mean to you?

I wanted to try and relieve that feeling of walking into a cinema without knowing what the movie’s about. When it just unravels itself right there in front of you, without any of your preconceived ideas about it influencing anything.  

Theres no single on this record, there’s no leaks, i just wanted people to take it home and figure it out for themselves in real time. I didn’t want to put any ideas into the listeners head. I wanted them to be excited to unwrap the plastic and put it on. I’m old enough to remember that feeling. 

I think despite how much music we have access to now days, we still all really want that feeling. Can’t beat it. It’s hard to get that on Spotify. When there’s an almost infinite choice, it’s crippling. It makes it feel less important. But vinyl makes it feel special. You get to touch it. You know. It ain’t for everyone. And I love Spotify don’t get me wrong. But it’s just nice to be limited via vinyl. It slows everything down. It keeps you present, you know? You can only play one record at a time. 

Upcoming shows

Friday 11th November - Totara Street, Tauranga
Saturday 12th November - The Factory, Hamilton*
Friday 18th November - Glenroy Auditorium, Dunedin
Saturday 19th November - James Hay Theatre, Christchurch
Friday 25th November - Auckland Town Hall, Auckland
Friday 2nd December - St. James Theatre, Wellington