Wayne Thomas of Trampolene

For the first time in weeks, the sun was pouring down over London as I headed to Crouch End to meet Trampolene bass player, Wayne Thomas. Having previously decided to meet at a pub in the area, I had just ordered myself a drink before he walked in, greeting me kindly and not hiding his slight surprise at my efficiency of managing to get there before him.

Welsh alternative rock band Trampolene – made up of Jack Jones, Wayne Thomas and Rob Steele – is a band that everybody and their sister claims to know, but yet still remain an unknown and intriguing concept to supporters across the world.

Since their formation, they have captivated fans with their wild antics on and off stage, but also their absorbing and genuine personalities that shine through as they’re seen taking the time to meet people after their shows, welcoming everybody like old friends. 

In April 2018 I sat down with frontman Jack Jones to talk to him about Trampolene, Now it was Wayne’s turn to share a different perspective on the band and shed some light at what was happening next.

As we sat down together, as I asked him if music was always his path, aware that he was rumoured to previously be a talented footballer. 

“I played football for about ten years and that’s how I met Jack. Jack and I were always pretty good at sport, at the time I played for Wales. I was doing that while Jack was in my house hiding from my Mum, passing the time, and then I’d come back, hang with him and play music together, and it was like living two lives.

But I think it was just age really that changed my mind from football to music. If you start doing something at the age of six, you don’t really know what you’re doing. You’re doing more what your parents are guiding you to do. At that age you’re just enjoying everything.

…And then I broke my back from doing so much sport, I was playing with two broken bones down my spine but I found that it changed the direction of what I was doing. So even though it was bad and I had to have an operation, I made the choice to take a new path. As a teenager, I always liked the vibe of the arts and music, and it just felt more special than running around a field.”

Following the release of their debut album, ‘Swansea To Hornsey’ in 2017, and their compilation album ‘Pick A Pocket Or Two’ in 2018, plus their headline slot on the This Feeling Alive tour in November and December of the same year, the band have recently been keeping things quiet.

However a few weeks ago, they got together to play a one-off show at The Dublin Castle in Camden that packed out the room, proving the band’s dedicated fan base still remains.

“It was great to see people coming, especially because we didn’t advertise the show really. And I think we mostly let people in for free.”

The warmth in Wayne’s voice could be heard as he spoke about their fans, clearly seeing them as more than just people that attend the shows.

“It’s the main joy really, our fan base is our extended family. And it’s weird because every time we play a show, even if we’re out on tour, there are so many people we recognise every day, all over the country. Say we play 10 shows, every day we’re having a celebration with people we know and it’s something special. A bit chaotic but we love it. 

If we get offered guest list we tend to just chuck people on, like if someone doesn’t have the money for a ticket we’d rather just get them in. I think we once refused to play a show because they wouldn’t let a guy in that didn’t have ID. After that, we’d stopped playing shows because our promoter at the time didn’t want us to book any, but we were like fuck it, we want to play. So we ended up just touring around peoples houses and we played in the garage of the guy who couldn’t watch us before.

Asking about the band’s compilation album, ‘Pick A Pocket Or Two’, which is made up of previously released EP’s, I was interested to know if they consider it a second album, or if what they are planning to next release will come under that bracket. 

“The album we’re recording now is our second album. We like to keep releasing things and we wanted to tie lots of releases we’d done together so fans could just buy one thing, and that’s what ‘Pick A Pocket Or Two’ was. And it’s funny because it ended up selling better than the first record. It might be that we’d just met more people by the time it came out, so more people were buying it. 

Our next album, we’ve started recording it. We jumped in the studio and did two songs just out of the blue and then we haven’t seen each other for a while. But as soon as Jack’s back from tour we’re going to go to the studio and record it properly. We’ve been experimenting with recording songs, just to see where we’re all at with our sound, but it’s changing day by day. I don’t want to repeat the first album so we’re just doing whatever excites us. 

Sometimes you think it’s going to go one way and then you start doing some other stuff and the direction changes. So until the red lights on and we’re recording, who knows what’s going to happen. We’re hoping it’ll be out at the end of this year but I’m not sure.”

As Wayne had briefly mentioned Jack being out on tour with Peter Doherty and the Putas Madres, I took the opportunity to ask whether there was ever an issue working with someone who wasn’t always there. 

“There probably have been times where I’ve had some resentment to Jack playing in other bands, just because I want to be working and making music, and any time he’s away it stops us from doing something, especially when he’s in another country. And he’s useless with his phone, he loses it every day. And he still doesn’t answer his phone when he does have one. 

But he’s my mate best, he’s my brother, and I’m not going to deny him an adventure. With him going on these tours, he’s going to grow so much and find so much inspiration. I love seeing people going on adventures, it tests them, he’s a tireless worker, and when he’s back we’ll get back to the studio. 

Even I wanted a break from touring for a while so I went to India in January. I was sort of testing myself because it’s a completely different culture. I preferred it to England in some ways; I didn’t even want to come back. 

Wondering if Wayne’s considering using the time to create his own music, it seemed that he took more of a visual approach to his creativity. 

“I’ve experiment very vastly with making my own music, it’s all been very out there. But my brother Lee wanted to do an EP so we recorded 4 songs. It was his thing and I came in on it, which was a good challenge for me because I was doing a lot more lead vocals. And then I think Jack did one song lead vocals and then Jay Bone (drummer of Carl Barat and The Jackals), is meant to be putting down some drums. Not sure what we’re doing with that, but we’ll put it out in some way when it’s finished. 

More in the band, I do the visuals and Jack does the literature, and in the music that somehow comes together. I’m not a man of words really, but I always understand what he writes like it’s my own. But I’d love to do an exhibition or something of my artwork.

For music videos, I definitely see the concepts and try to explain them. We shot the video for Divided Kingdom ourselves; I think we shot in 11 hours. Our mates and us got together and filmed within a day and Lee edited it into a video.

And the last two singles we released, The One Who Loves You and Hard Time For Dreamers was my artwork. We were using photographs before, and then when we did something new with our music we thought we’d changed it up. Elton John liked that song (The One Who Loves You) too!”

Having already achieved so much in their time together, I rounded up the conversation by asking what aspirations Trampolene had for the future. 

“It’s a goal, to travel to more countries with this next record. When we were unable to travel over to other places people from like Paris and Germany would come to the UK to see us. We played a show in Swansea once and a guy travels from Japan on his own to come to watch us, and Jack couldn’t even get his mates from up the road to come to see us. There’s loyalty there, so we’d love to go out to where they’re from rather than them come to us.

I’d love to play Japan soon, it’s weird, we’re big over there. When our record came out, the display we had in Japan stores was bigger than here in the UK. The first ever release we did which was a compilation on some EP’s was released in Japan.

I think like most people, we probably think we’re aiming for a point with the band, but then if you are aiming for a point, once you get there, then what the fuck do you do then? We’re just seeing how it goes; we’re going in any direction we want. We’re definitely not done yet; we’ve not even started.”

Photos and words by Elly Bailey

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