Made to Perform: Tom Misch Talks Jamming and the American Performer Strat
This English singer/songwriter does things his own way. And that's what makes him stand out from the crowd.
By Mike Duffy
A few years ago, Tom Misch was living in the United Kingdom studying music technology at Langley College for Boys. Later, he took up jazz guitar at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance.
This educational background helped shape his current tastes, an eclectic mix that fuses hip-hop, jazz, disco and rock into a sound all his own. And when he took that sound to SoundCloud in 2011, Misch quickly amassed nearly 200,000 followers.
The buzz Misch created there helped birth his debut album, Geography, a critically acclaimed gem that was released in April of 2018 and featured guest spots by De La Soul and GoldLink. Through a worldwide headlining tour and billings at many of the biggest festivals, Misch delivered on the buzz to grow his audience even more, with danceable grooves that are simply inescapable.
Needless to say, a Tom Misch performance is truly something original and all his own, and his influences speak to that.
"I first got into music because my dad plays the violin, so he played a lot of classical music," Misch said. "My sister started playing guitar … it was a Fender Strat, and I just picked it up and have been playing nonstop ever since.
"I'm also a massive John Mayer fan. He's kind of the reason I really got into guitar, as well. He's got that classic Fender sound, quite bluesy, very influenced by Stevie Ray Vaughan, very warm sounding, which is nice, because I'm into jazz. You get a lot of feel and touch into it. I just love that sound."
Now as a touring musician, Misch makes room in his schedule to scratch his creative itch with jam sessions to keep him loose for the enthusiastic live crowds.
"When you're building a setlist, obviously I've got to play my biggest tracks. And then, [I've got to] make sure it all flows and tells a story," he said. "I also want to do a bit of what I love doing, which is jamming. The set is built around that. There's a lot of freedom to improvise."
Misch has recently been playing the Fender American Performer Stratocaster during live dates, and he believes it helps him access the club-ready tones he's been seeking for years.
"I use the American Performer Strat, and it feels comfortable, especially considering it's a new guitar," he said. "There's a new sound there that hasn't really been explored. I'm really into disco, and I love Chic and Nile Rodgers. So this really cuts through for that funky disco vibe. It's a nice, all-around guitar."
Watch Misch do his thing on the American Performer Stratocaster in the video above and visit his official website for a full list of tour dates.