Vandal of Hearts Premieres Latest Album “Bad Dream”

Vandal of Hearts is the creation of British singer-songwriter James St. Thomas. St. Thomas, whose music is heavily inspired by the concept of 1960s rock, takes music seriously as an art form.

As a result, his guitar playing incorporates aspects of jazz, classical music, and other traditions from throughout the globe in order to create a wide range of musical styles.
Continue reading to learn more about this incredible artist and his latest album.

What is your real name?
It’s Ryan James Thomas Conway.

What’s your official Showbiz name?
James St. Thomas, after my paternal and maternal granddads, respectively. James was dead before I was born, but Thomas was one of the most important figures of my childhood. I liked the juxtaposition, so went with that.

As for the ‘St.’, that came from a criticism of the philosophy of Thomas Aquinas. The criticism was that Aquinas started his thinking from a position of already knowing the truth – his God, something seemingly antithetical to the idea of pursuing truth – which may or may not be God.

It struck me that almost all thinking was carried out in this way. Because, in a sense, we all already know the ‘truth’ i.e. the truth for us. I think our lives are a means of executing our personal truths. And for me, that truth is music, which I know to be a lie. Life is strange that way.

How did you get into music?
Through my family. We would have parties and my uncles and cousins would bring out their guitars and play for everyone. I guess I wanted to be like them.

What field or genre are you into and how would you describe it?
I think anyone with an interest in any creative field typically takes inspiration from many genres, as well as other fields. But I’m definitely comfortable being described as a rock musician. For me, rock music – art, in general – is just about asking questions.

The only artists I have real difficulty appreciating are those who insist that this is ‘the best of all possible worlds’. Not that I don’t think there’s a place for optimism, it’s just to say that at the extreme high of optimism I’ve always sensed blitheness.

What was your first project and the people you worked with and which year?
Vandal of Hearts is my first real project. I’ve jammed with friends and family, a few gigs here and there over the years (before COVID), but never pursued a release. Anyway, trying to keep musicians together (in my experience) is like herding cats – fun at first, before it isn’t.

Vandal of Hearts Premieres Latest Album "Bad Dream"
Vandal of Hearts Premieres Latest Album “Bad Dream”

Who or what inspires you or motivates you? And why?
I take a lot of inspiration from literature. I especially like Borges, Kafka and Pessoa. I like that their works are short. I like to read them and think about what’s being said.

With longer work, I always feel rushed and so tend to think less about what I’m reading. And I’ve often found that novels don’t contain more ideas or are necessarily more developed than novellas or short stories. Just longer.

Any models you look up to? With reason(s) why?
No. I can’t admire people I don’t know and, for the people, I do know, it feels a bit saccharine to say I look up to them. I do, thankfully, have people I love and who love me, and I take advice where I can get it and can see the wisdom in it. But looking up to someone feels like entering into a cult of personality, which I don’t think is ever healthy.

What do you look out for in this line of business?
What am I wary of? Well, in the artless world, there are people who will use your necessity to survive or provide against you – typically by paying you as little as they can, if at all.

In the art world, those people still exist, though there exists also the threat that people will use your passion against you, too. You should be paid when people make use of your goods or services, regardless of where you are in your career – that’s the ideal.

What tends to happen though is that – out of hope – you do the thing for free, and, more often than not, regret it.

What are some of the challenges you face in your career path?
I think I have too many unearned advantages to complain about my challenges.

How do you feel the Internet has impacted the music business?
If you’re talking about the business of music, I’d say they (by which I mean the larger corporate entities found in the music industry) have probably had to adapt their business models to factor in the sheer volume of artists who – like me – release their music independently.

The impact of this is probably that record deals have got worse or more elusive. Bearing in mind that the advance labels give artists are just loans that have to be repaid, and the means of paying the label back are very hard to achieve, this could either mean that labels are paying smaller advances – which diminishes their value or offer less support – further diminishing their value, or are only picking artists with the most commercially viable music (in their opinion).

In terms of the wider world of music, I think – though it’s not without its challenges, of course – that the internet has had a profoundly positive impact on the real business of music, which is to communicate ideas through the arrangement of frequencies. The monetisation of that principle is where the difficulty lies.

Do you have any advice for aspiring songwriters?
It should be fun. I guess my advice would be to have fun. For instance, Mozart wrote, ‘Leck mich am Arsch’, and Bach wrote a work about coffee dependence. Songs can be about anything.

What is your current project about?
Vandal of Hearts is a project that was born out of the restrictions of COVID. If I think about Bad Dream (my latest album), it’s about the strengths and weaknesses of music; the madness of those who assume roles they have no right to; the inadequacies of men to fully confront loss or pain – and so console themselves with death or hate; the degree to which people are products of their environments; and the compromise between making a living and making art.

My next album is going to focus more on fantasy, though.

What are your hobbies?
I’m a reader, but I already mentioned that… I like to go for walks. Rock n’ roll lives on.

What do you do aside from this profession?
I work in IT. I cannot begin to explain how I got into that.

What is one message you would give to your fans?
Thanks. It really means a lot that you would take the time to listen to my music.

MrrrDaisy is the Owner of Music Arena Gh.  As a graphic designer, blogger and social media expert, he is a confident and creative designer who is self-motivated, self-sufficient and comes to you with a strong background in both print and digital media. He currently lives and studies Digital Media at Nottingham College, United Kingdom.

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