Mustard had the pleasure of speaking with John Tibbits. Together we discussed their relationship with music, their influences, their upcoming EP “The Light of the Flame”, and so much more!

1. Mustard is grateful to have you join them at Music Shelf. How are you doing today? 

I am excellent, thank you for having me!

2. Mustard wonders what your relationship with music was growing up? 

I am lucky that I grew up in an extremely musical family. My Dad is a great songwriter in his own right and my mum has an amazing voice. In fact, pretty much everyone in my immediate (and wider) family has some musical talent. I started on the recorder as a 5-year-old (which I wasn’t especially good at), did up to Grade 2 on the violin, before picking up a guitar aged about 11 for the first time. The rest is history!

3. When did you first begin songwriting? Who are some songwriters that influenced you?

I first started writing properly aged 14. It’s a bit corny but my Dad was definitely my biggest influence at that period in time as he’d have a big pile of songs lying around the house that I’d largely plagiarise (sorry Dad). Songwriters such as Bob Dylan, Frank Turner, Thom Yorke, Nick Harper and Roy Harper also had a huge influence on writing style and topics.

4. Is there a song or album from any time period that had a significant impact on you?

A song I listened to on repeat when I first started writing was the Transatlantic Sessions version of Time Machine by Declan O’Rourke. It is a wonderful song about learning how to live through living set to acoustic guitar and a variety of Celtic and American instruments. To be honest, getting exposure to awesome musicians like Aly Bain and Jerry Douglas on Transatlantic Sessions was super inspiring too.

5. What is your songwriting process?

I think most songwriters would be lying if they claimed they had a set process when they write. The most typical way I write is to work up a topic (my upcoming EP features topics from political cynicism to growing up to love), then write a chorus about that topic, then write verses. I’ll have chord sequences/riffs that I’ll have written previously and then hope the words fit!

6. On your Instagram we can find you playing some shows. Do you have a pre-show routine? 

My pre-show routine mostly consists of profusely sweating, shaking, and trying to remember my lyrics, followed by a moment of calm and excitement!

7. What three words best describe your live performance?

Passionate, captivating, improving

8. Do you have any upcoming shows?

I’m playing a show on Sunday 14th May with more in the pipeline.

9. Last week you released your debut single “Our Moment.” Could you share more about this single?

This is really a song about loving music itself. During the first few years of my working life, I let the stresses of professional services distract me from my real passion: music. Our Moment is about the rush of emotion that I, and I’m sure many others, feel when a new great song reveals itself to you. It features playful drums and infectious rhythm guitars, which provides listeners with an immersive musical canvas that creates a cool backdrop for my vocals to be painted on top of.

10. Mustard has observed that “Our” often includes another human. Was this single inspired by someone close to you?

The ‘Our’ refers specifically to my partner Lily. However, it’s also aimed at the listener who hopefully is having a moment like the one I described above whilst listening to the song.

11. What can listeners expect from your upcoming EP “Light of the Flame?”

The E.P is five tracks long and hopefully will take listeners on a musical journey. This is a record that captures an array of themes: growing up (Stupid and Dumb), romance (Find the Key), political cynicism (Light of the flame), a passion for music (Our Moment) and embracing life (Make What You Will). Me and Jak (my producer) had a lot of fun recording the EP, and allowed ourselves to experiment with different sounds, especially on Light of the Flame.

12. Mustard wonders: is the flame red or blue?

The flame is a metaphor for the liberal democratic norms which I hold closely and had presumed were the core of most modern societies. However, as the song suggests, we’ve strayed too far aware from the light of this flame and towards more vicious, illiberal forms of political society. It’s probably a red/orange colour though to be fair!

13. Is there anywhere readers can pre-save your upcoming EP?

Yes, there’s a link on my linktree! There will also be marketing in the next week or so to provide readers an opportunity to pre-save it.

14. Where can readers listen to your music?

Readers can catch my music on all mainstream streaming platforms! They can also follow me @johntibbitsmusic on Instagram, where I post the most content.


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