Q&A with Noah and the Whale’s Tom Hobden


Shweta Gulati

Tom Hobden, keyboardist and violinist of the band Noah and the Whale, plays at the ACL festival.

Eleanor Dearman

Four years after Noah and the Whale released First Days of Spring, the band’s second album that documented frontman Charlie Fink’s painful break-up with Laura Marling, the band is back to dancing and playing happy songs during their live shows. The band is currently in town for the Austin City Limits Music Festival.

The Daily Texan interviewed Tom Hobden, Noah and the Whale’s keyboardist and violinist.

Daily Texan: How are you?

Tom Hobden: I’m doing fine right now. Actually of all places, I’m having fun at Disney Land. I have a show tonight here in Anaheim, [Calif.] so we thought we’d take some time to get some rides in. 

DT: What was your inspiration behind the album Heart of Nowhere

TH: Well this is our fourth album and we wanted to make it a very simple record. We wanted it to have reference feelings about tour and relationships and friends we may not have seen in awhile. There are a few songs like “Lifetime” that highlight that. Most of our records explore those kinds of themes. 

DT: How would you say Heart of Nowhere and the music you’re creating now is different from your first album in 2008? 

TH: Oh it’s very, very different. All of our albums have been kind of different from the last I think. 

DT: What has it been like being on tour and recording albums pretty much nonstop since your first album’s release? 

TH: Yeah, well I guess. I joined the band when I was 18 and I was pretty young. It’s been amazing. I’ve never really thought of anything other than it. Playing for people who want to hear you, it’s pretty cool. For other people it’s a little more tricky. Take Fred, he has a wife and young daughter, so the situation is very different. I guess you just have to accommodate people. We have the luxury of being able to choose tours and what we want to do. 

DT: How did you get started playing the violin? 

TH: I started playing in orchestra, and then when I was like 16 I started branching out and playing different stuff. I was going to school with Winston from Mumford and Sons, the banjo player, and he was a big part of the influence to get me into worlds other than classical music. I still really hold on to my classical past. I think it’s so important that I had that experience.

DT: What do you and the band like to do while on tour? 

TH: We practice, but when we get to a new city we like to get off the bus straight away and go explore. Especially if it’s a city I know nothing about, I’m quite interested to find stuff out about it. Find a good coffee shop where we can go, maybe a nice bar for the evening. 

DT: What do you pan to do while you’re in Austin for ACL? 

TH: We’ll probably go to some barbecue joint and eat our body weight in meat.

DT: Are there any bands you want to check out while at the festival? 

TH: I might go see Phoenix. I love them. I haven’t really watched them in awhile, but it sounds fun.