Gritty blues-rock for the hardest gangsters on TV
Tommyandmary have done what most wannabe rockstars can only dream of. In six months they’ve gone from hardened buskers to featuring on one of the biggest TV shows on the planet, Peaky Blinders.
We caught up with the White Stripes-like duo to find out why their music was so attractive to former-Pulp bassist Antony Genn – the master composer behind Peaky Blinders‘ excellent soundtrack.
How did you get involved with ‘Peaky Blinders’?
Mary: “We were busking last year on Oxford Street and suddenly Antony Genn (soundtrack composer) came up to us in the middle of a song saying, ‘Oh my god, I really want to record you guys in my studio!’”
Tommy: “Six months later, we needed to record something. So we gave Antony a ring and he said, ‘look, I’m doing Peaky Blinders at the moment – do you wanna send some tracks over, maybe I could use one of them for the soundtrack?’”
What was your reaction when you found out ‘LOST’ was going to be in the show?
T: “We were ecstatic. I was convinced it wasn’t going to happen and I couldn’t believe it initially. We’d worked so hard for three years straight, every day out in the snow and the cold and every kind of weather. To have our song on one of the greatest series on TV is a huge achievement for us.
Were you fans before your song was chosen for the series?
T: I’d never actually got around to watching it. When I finally did I thought the shots, the way it’s filmed and the acting was amazing. It’s very theatrical. Sometimes gangster films can be a full of cliches. But the fact that it’s British helps – it’s not some Italian Godfather-esque parody. The music is all very alternative: blues-rock, new age rock etc which is unusual.
How did you two meet?
T: “I was born and bred in Croydon. One day I was walking down Brixton Road and I saw Mary walking down the street. She was riding a second hand vintage bike and I asked her where she got it from and we got talking. She was missing playing drums and luckily, I’d just started a band which needed a drummer!”
M: “I’m actually from Belarus. I came to London four years ago to study business but I never lost passion for drumming and music. So when I met Tommy and he said they were looking for a drummer, that was my chance to get back to drumming.”
How do you make a song sound like Peaky Blinders?
M: It’s Tommy – his guitar and vocals and everything.
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T: It’s the rawness and the dynamics of it. The buildup. It’s got that suspenseful vibe to it – you know something’s about to blow up. We just write songs and then one of them happened to fit really well with the series. It was complete luck really!
What’s your favourite music moment on the show so far?
M: I think it’s the boxing match in episode six. Laura Marling did a cover of ‘Red Right Hand’ by Nick Cave and it’s amazing.
T: Yak are really cool too. Their track, ‘Alas Salvation’, in episode one is awesome. They sound like a rawer version of Arctic Monkeys. I would love to see them live.
Peaky Blinders Season 4 finale airs tonight on BBC2 at 9pm