“Apparently, I have a sound, and people can hear it,” Tom Misch claims modestly. For someone with a cohesive and sprawling body of mellow beats behind him, he seems mildly bewildered that this is the case. “I try so many genres that it’s hard sometimes to pinpoint. I guess my sound is uplifting, soulful, funky — and happy more than it is sad.” It’s a perfect description of his debut album, due in 2018, which brings together low-slung hip-hop beats, glittering disco, and noodling jazz instrumentation in a way only Misch can.
If Misch seems surprised, it’s because his fanbase has developed naturally - and yet, he’s rapidly become one of the UK’s most exciting emerging new artists, gaining 1.1 million monthly listeners on Spotify and playing a sold-out tour of the UK, US and Europe in 2016.
He never set out with any grand plan when he began making beats - but a collaboration with his sister Laura, on the jazz-inflected ‘Follow’, was a major turning point. Soon afterward, in 2014, Misc contributed to Soulection’s White Label series, weaving together obscure jazz samples, guitar, and vocals to create the perfect summer listen. His ‘Beat Tape’ series collected the best of his hip-hop instrumentals, the ‘5 Day Mischon’ project featured collaborations with grime MC Novelist and singer-songwriter Zak Abel, and his 2016 ‘Reverie’ EP brought the official release of Misch’s most sophisticated songs to date. As well as soulful singers Carmody and Jordan Rakei, he struck up a collaborative relationship with fellow south Londoner Loyle Carner, whose mellow bars flow over Misch’s productions like a breeze on a hot day.
His latest single ‘South of the River’ has string arrangements mirroring disco synth stabs and a funky bassline - it’s an irresistible bop that nods clearly to Misch’s danceable new direction. In the making of his debut album, he’s also been drawing on inspiration from disco, house, and techno. “I want people to dance at my live shows, I want to bring more energy,” he says. “When you’re in a club and you can feel the bass...I want people to have that experience.”
Misch’s sound is true to its roots — he still makes his tracks in the same bedroom studio in his parents’ house, and his mum produces his artwork. But he’s never afraid to explore new territory. “I think it’s really important to make music that hasn’t been made before,” he says. “I’m trying to work out what my sound is, and pursuing that.”