At the Ray-Ban Raw Sounds gig
Tom Vek on stage at Ray-Ban's Raw Sound gig

Ray-Ban glasses are an iconic statement and a household name. They’ve sat on the noses of some of the most stylish and famous film stars and musicians in the world.

To celebrate their success, they have released a pair of glasses designed by Johnny Marr. The Smiths guitarist has in turn has worked with rising musicians such as Tom Vek, Mona and Best Coast as part of Raw Sounds, a homage to the company’s connections with the music world.

Tom Vek, having released his second album this year after a 5 year mysterious disappearance talks to Clash about teaming up with Ray-Ban, East London and his music.

You have teamed up with Ray-Ban for their Raw Sounds project. Were you nervous about this?

I was very excited especially the fact that it involved making music. I was happy to try the project but if the quality was not good then it won’t be released. That’s the way I always work. Once the track was finished I ended up being very pleased with it. I’m very proud of the behind the scenes, in the studio feature because I think setting up and the whole process of being in the studio is very important. It’s a very exciting video and I can’t usually watch back a video of my work. I think the new Ray-Bans are really nice. The ones that I wear in the photos and the film are like a new variant on what Ray-Ban has worked well at.

Why do you think that Ray-Ban chose to work with you?

I was happy to be approached and I like to think that it’s down to the care that I have over my music. I do stand by the fact that I have a lot of control over my music. In the modern age I genuinely believe that it’s easier to do a tidied up unique inoffensive piece of music in terms of production and stuff it’s never easy. Now to keep an element of rawness and traditional grit takes a lot of hard work these days. It’s about making the music as rough as possible but still presentable to the point where it’s as far as I can stand it.

How do you think you’ve evolved since your debut album?

I enjoy working hard and I enjoy maximizing my creative opportunities. On the first album I think I was more representative visually by the fact that that I was fresh out of art school and had a different vibe. That’s changed slightly with the new record. It was important to me, the metaphor I always use is the art gallery situation and the nicer the art gallery the more precise and clean the walls are, the more messy the work is allowed to be because you are pushed into a mindset. I’ve started remixing my own stuff which was fun and good practice. There are conflicting points with remixing, if you like the original then you don’t want to mix it up too much so that it’s unrecognisable. A lot of modern music sounds like it has been remixed in the first place.

You’re very serious about production, opening your own studio in East London. What prompted this?

I think it’s quite punk to get involved in the production and the music to actually care about it and to have an agenda that’s yours. There was a primary reason for my studio to be in East London and that is because I needed a necessary place for me to finish my second album. Because I experiment a lot and there’s quite a lot of rough edges if I made the decision about the environment then I can account for everything that happens in that environment.

Interview by Sophie Williams

View a photo gallery from the Ray-Ban Raw Sounds gig HERE.

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