By Amber McLinden
CALGARY – Tommy Grimes can be described in a variety of ways. The Edmonton artist comes across as interesting, eccentric, or in his own words, “sexy.” His latest album, King of the Jungle, definitely reflects this.
“There’s lots of sexual elements in the music,” says Grimes. He laughs, acknowledging how titillating his shtick is.
“It’s an exciting album, there’s a lot of energy, sexual energy going on.”
Producer Robert Burkosky played a major influence on its style, says Grimes. Burkosky drew from different musical influences including [British post punk band] Scritti Politti, [American dance music artist] Bobby Orlando and [freestyle R&B husband and wife duo] Nu Shooz. Personally, Grimes finds vocal influence in other artists like The B-52’s, Blondie, and David Bowie.
The album was completed in only a few short months, and Grimes believes it speaks for itself. There are eight tracks in total, ranging from title “King of the Jungle” to one of Grimes’ favourites, “Choke Chain.”
“There’s a special place in my heart for all the songs,” he clarifies.
The disco approach and unique soundscape makes for a stand-alone album that’s highly unusual when placed in its 2017 context.
“I feel like there’s not a lot of that going on right now,” says Grimes. “That was what made me excited about working on the sound was that I didn’t hear anything like this going on or being released recently, so that made it a lot of fun.”
It’s not just his disco sound that makes Grimes interesting, but also his wildly sexually live persona and bright neon outfits. When asked about his style, Grimes just laughs.
“I do get asked about this, and I never know what to say.”
“Something unexpected always happens at the shows. Last show was really fun, I did a few costume changes and there was a gorilla on stage, there were bananas flying,” says Grimes, laughing.
“I played a show in Calgary before where everybody was taking their clothes off,” he recalls. A gorilla, backup dancers in the form of The Night Sweats, and more might also make an appearance… Trust me, you won’t want to miss it.
“You never know what’s going to happen.”
Tommy Grimes performs at Local 510 in Calgary on April 13.Local 510, Tommy Grimes