Good weather for an airstrike is the music brainchild of Hamshire’s Tom Honey created to help induce his sleep. We caught up with Tom to ask him about his music.
When did you first start making music?
I started Good Weather for an Airstrike at the beginning of 2009.
Where did the name Good weather for an airstrike come from?
The name is a rough translation of the Sigur Ros track “Viðrar Vel Til Loftárása”, I’d been playing around with a few names for a while, but the irony of making ambient music under the name “good weather for an airstrike” just seemed to work well.
Why did you choose an alias rather than using your own name?
It’s quite simply a case that my actual name isn’t very rock ‘n’ roll! “Tom Honey” isn’t exactly the coolest name in the world haha… It was never in my mind to use my own name, an alias was always going to be the way.
Where did you get the idea to create relaxing sounds to help induce sleep?
I suffer from tinnitus, as such trying to go sleep at night with a constant ringing in your ear isn’t the most pleasant things to do, I thought I’d try make a few drones to see if that would help take my mind off the ringing and it pretty much just went from there really.
I love getting messages from people saying that they’ve used my music to help them sleep, relax etc… I think my favourite was from someone who said they use my music for their autistic child to help them calm down if they’re having a particularly stressful day! Hearing that it’s helping people for positive reasons is really great, and is pretty much why I continue to make music!
How effective has the music been on inducing your sleep?
It’s worked quite well for me, I don’t tend to just listen to my own music though, there are many other artists I use as a sleep aid if you will… For example Jonsi & Alex, Stars of the Lid, Eluvium, Hammock. And a lot of independent artists like Lowercase Noises, Nobuto Suda, Pausal etc. There’s a lot out there! I think ambient/drone is the only genre of music where if you tell an artist you fall asleep to their music they’ll take it as a complement.
How do you work out what sounds work?
Trial and error tends to be the best way around it. There are some tracks you think work well when you’re recording them, but when you listen to them just before you go to bed or something it doesn’t quite work as well as you were hoping. Sometimes a little bit of mixing will help fix the music, but sometimes you just have to throw away tracks. I can’t tell you how many times I listened to Underneath the Stars over and over to make sure it was a sleep-worthy album!
You’ve released A winter and A summer will there be A autumn and A spring as well?
No plans at the moment, no. But I’m not particularly ruling out doing it in the future. A lot of my music I think is subconsciously influenced by seasons anyway, Underneath the Stars was written in the Summer/Autumn last year, I think that can be heard in there for a few tracks.
Where does the cover for Underneath the Stars come from?
It’s actually a very heavily edited photo of my cat in my parents garden! There were a couple of other covers I’d contemplated using, including a couple of night photos, but I think this cover just seemed to work well.
How do you pick the names for songs?
There’s not really a certain way I go about titling tracks, they can be anything from something someone has said during the day that has perhaps stuck with me, or quotes from TV/films, or something that just seems to feel right to the track. An example of something someone has said during the day is the track “You’re Rendering Again?”, my wife (fiancée at the time) was finishing up her architecture degree and she was spending a long time Rendering all of her work… So it can be something as simple as that.
Have you ever thought of adding vocals to future Good weather for an airstrike songs?
I’ve used backing vocals on a few tracks from friends, I’ve toyed with the idea of using vocals in the past, but it never quite seemed to fit for one reason or another, I would never rule it out though.
Ambient/drone music tends to be quite hard to fit vocals in, when it’s done well it can add fantastic atmosphere, but when it’s done wrong it seems to lose something from the music I think, you’ve got to make sure you’ve mixed it perfectly too.
You’re also part of the band Damn Robot, how does this music compare with making Good weather for an airstrike music?
Well for starters it’s a project I do with my brother, so straight away it takes away the solo element of writing and recording which can make things a lot easier when you bounce ideas off each other. For Damn Robot! We tend to send each other bits we’ve recorded via email, and then if the other person feels they can add something to it, they record that too and send back, and so on. This seems to work well for us, as when we actually sit together and try and write a song we get distracted and record some purposefully awful dance or hardcore songs…
But yeah, we’re actually in the middle of recording a new album at the moment, which we’re hoping will be out in the next couple of months, it’s already a completely new experience for both of us in that we’ve actually written lyrics, something that neither of us have done in the past for our other projects (me: GWFAA, Sleepless Dreams / Rob: Inachus, Oceanus, Sleepless Dreams). We’re both really happy with how it’s sounding so far, there are a couple of collaborations on this one too, Dave from The Echelon Effect, Alex from Arboretus and Jamie Brett who has done the odd bit of singing for us in the past are all on it too.
What other music do you listen to?
All sorts!… Ambient, post-rock, progressive metal, trip-hop, rock, whatever really… For the life of me I don’t quite “get” dub-step though!
I was brought up on mo-town on my Mum’s side, and general classic rock on my Dad’s side. I think mo-town is the one that has stuck with me the most, I still listen to a lot of Marvin Gaye etc.
My favourite bands over the last few years since I’ve started actually making music include Sigur Ros, The Appleseed Cast, Moving Mountains, anything Mike Patton related, Katatonia, Devin Townsend, Scroobius Pip… And more recently a lot of Owen. I could go on for hours and bore anyone who’s reading to tears, so I’ll leave the list as that for now!
You’re about to release the EP “This Is As Good A Place As Any”, what can fans expect from this release?
Everything you’d come to expect from a GWFAA release! Drones, hints of post-rock, strings, field recordings etc! I got married earlier this month and wanted to put out a little release to commemorate it, I’d been talking to Harry from Audio Gourmet and he was more than happy to release it for me which is great, they have an excellent back catalog of releases on his label, well worth checking them out, most of which are free too!
When will the EP be out?
What else do you planned for 2012 and beyond?
Finishing off the Damn Robot! Album, planning to start writing a new GWFAA album over the summer, so that should probably be out sometime early 2013, but we’ll see how that goes! There are also a couple of releases I’m putting out through my label Hawk Moon Records which I’m really excited about, new Oceanus release, new Inachus release and a third compilation album.”