One fifth of The Vaccines, keyboardist Timothy Lanham has spent the past couple of years quietly working away on his solo project T Truman, a unique blend of retro pop and modern indie. We spoke to the star in the making over Zoom about his new project and even newer EP ‘Born To Be Right’.
Speaking from the Sunshine Coast of Australia, Truman describes his musical style as “heavily referential of the 70s”. He adds, “(I) try to be lyrically current and piano-centric would be another way to describe it”. Piano-centric? We like it. On how it feels to have a solo project, “It feels great!,” he enthuses. “Whatever silly idea that comes to my head I can let it go, get it out there,” he says, half-jokingly.
Previous track, the breezy ‘Loretta’ isn’t actually about a woman named Loretta at all. Rather, it’s “more about an idea of somebody not reciprocating... it’s probably a compilation of all those experiences over my life. I don’t actually know a Loretta!” he laughs.
The title track ‘Born To Be Right’ is another single from the point of view of T Truman (naturally). He thinks carefully before answering the questions of what the track is about. “It’s about a guy who is paying the price for basically not being able to put his own pride aside so ‘born to be right’ but eventually he’s just bathing in his own solitary pride”.
Making the music video for ‘Born To Be Right’ was a “pretty funny” experience. “It was (filmed) in an ugly green garage which we managed to black out enough and just had a bunch of friends around. I made the set with my dad here and then just had a bunch of friends [over] and some beers and I just pulled some silly dance moves in a safari suit”. Trust us, it looks slicker than it sounds.
As for the ‘Born To Be Right’ EP, “I think you can expect the completion of five songs. You’re going to have one low key song with a little more sincerity and probably the kind of ‘single’ of the EP still to come. An overall rounding of a body of work”.
Making the EP was just as fun as making the music videos it seems - minus the beers. “(It was) really fun. Really good fun. I just...whatever sounded interesting and fun, I just went with and it was an exploration trip on the piano really. Songwriting inspiration for the songs “definitely” came from a lot of 70s music (such as Elton John and John Lennon), but T Truman wanted to put his own stamp on things. “I’m inspired by a lot of more current stuff like Deerhunter”. The New York indie scene is a big source of inspiration for T Truman at the moment.
As well as being a part of The Vaccines, Lanham also works with band mate Justin Young on a side project called Halloweens and this collaboration has influenced the T Truman project, especially when it comes to writing songs. “ I think songwriting with Justin [Young], more than anything has taught me to be less precious about my songwriting and learn to finish songs. Justin’s very good at finishing songs very quickly. That’s something that I’m not very good at. I’m more of a perfectionist in my songwriting and get bogged down and Justin can bang out a song in a day so it’s bridged the gap for me with how I approach songwriting”.
Next on the agenda? “More music, as soon as possible”. Sounds great! He also hints at plans for live shows in 2021... “God willing”. Let’s see what the future holds for T Truman.
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Words: Narzra Ahmed
Photo Credit: Samuel Ware
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