Tom Odell is back with a new album. In the interview, the singer talks about panic attacks and why silence makes them worse.
With “Another Love” (2013) Tom Odell (30) had his biggest hit to date right at the beginning of his career, in Germany the song stayed in the charts for over a year. But the success took its toll. The Brit worked almost without a break on new music. The result: At the end of 2019, Odell began to struggle with mental health problems. He is working on this in his new album “monsters”, which will be released on July 9th. In an interview with the news agency spot on news, the 30-year-old singer talks about his panic attacks and the role money plays in his life. He also reveals why TikTok is his favorite social network and how he ended up making a music video at Wembley Stadium.
Their new album is called “monsters”. What monsters were and are there in your life?
Tom Odell: I wrote the theme song “monster” about trying to overcome my struggle with panic attacks. Like many people, I was afraid to talk about it for a long time, but the silence made it worse. And after writing about it, I felt like I could write about anything. So I started looking at the world around me and why I was so afraid of it.
For many, mental health problems are still taboo. Why is it so important for you to be open about the subject?
Odell: I didn’t know how to talk about my mental health for a long time. I kept it a secret. But talking is the best medicine. I want people to know that I feel like this and that it’s okay to talk about. If other people are having problems too, don’t be afraid to talk to someone about them. I think there is still too much eye rolling. I saw that firsthand. But the eye rollers are wrong!
One of the triggers for your mental health problems has been your work ethic. So how did you find your way back to his healthy work ethic?
Odell: My girlfriend is very good at making me quit work! She cares about me so much. I am lucky to be in a relationship with her. She is unbelievable. I am now trying to work fewer hours and take days off. In fact, I find it oddly more productive to work fewer hours. I am more focused.
How did you deal with your mental health problems?
Odell: Bad. I drank too much alcohol. I worked harder not to be alone or to be silent. I was a textbook example of what not to do when you have panic attacks. I should have stopped. I should have been kinder to myself. I should have talked more about it. Now I’ve made an album. That’s probably all I can!
For the music video for “monster vs.2”, you asked your fans what the word “monster” means to them. What touched you most about it?
Odell: What amazes me is that when you go out into the world honestly, people start to be honest too. This is so beautiful! The “monster” video was so moving the first time I saw it after putting it together. It felt great to talk to people after the long lockdowns.
You shot the video for the song “lose you again” at Wembley Stadium. How did that happen?
Odell: After doing so much for the album and the videos at my home, lately I’ve been looking for every way to get out … I thought what would be the most exaggerated place we could shoot a music video ? Wembley? We asked and to my surprise they said yes. I think the groundskeeper was a fan.
One of your new songs is called “money” – a topic that many people don’t like to talk about. What role does money play in your life?
Odell: The thing I learned about money is that it doesn’t matter how much you have, it always makes you feel like you don’t have enough. I think we live in this world where material prosperity is paramount for many reasons that I need not go into. You have to be successful! You have to be successful and then show the world so that they can applaud. I feel this pressure. And it makes me angry. Because the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer … Anyway, don’t let me start.
You recorded the album in lockdown. Did this situation affect the songs?
Odell: Yes, she did. I started recording the album just before the pandemic hit in March. I started recording in a large studio and then had to move to my tiny hut at the end of my garden. It didn’t work that well, but when I bought a bit more equipment to work with, I ended up loving it. Working in isolation was great for a while, but then we finished the album in a normal studio again.
Due to the pandemic, no major concerts could take place. Did this break also have a positive effect on you?
Odell: Yes, even if it’s been going on for too long now. I loved the peace and quiet of staying in one place. But now I miss doing something else with my evenings. Live play gives you energy! It makes you feel alive – in a way that hardly anything else does. Can’t wait to go on tour again. I can’t wait to let go a little again.
In lockdown, you could also spend a lot of time with your girlfriend. For many couples it was a trial by fire, for some there were more arguments. How was it with you?
Odell: Haha, what a personal question … It was great, it was perfect. But I wonder what my girlfriend would say if you asked her the same question?
You’re a huge fan of Billie Eilish. Would you like to work with her someday?
Odell: I would love to! I was supposed to work with Finneas (O’Connell, brother of Billie Eilish; editor’s note) last year, but it didn’t work out. Maybe I’ll make it over to LA later this year.
You recently discovered TikTok. What do you love about TikTok?
Odell: I love the fact that it’s so music centric! But it’s also a bloody mess! It feels like the internet was in the early 2000s, before all the idiots started monetizing every inch of it. It feels kind of punk and unregulated. I just love it. My favorite social network so far!
Her song “Another Love” became a TikTok hit after its great success. How proud are you still of your song?
Odell: I think it’s a great song. He is raw and honest. I am so proud to have written it. And it’s still growing. He finds new audiences. How great is that!
In 2022 you will tour the UK. Will you be coming to Germany again soon?
Odell: Yes, we are trying to organize a European tour as soon as possible. Hopefully early next year!
What are your personal and professional plans for this year?
Odell: I’m taking August off. I turn off my phone and check out. I will hopefully travel, read a few books, learn something. I hung on my phone a lot that year. That is exhausting.
Help with depression is offered by telephone counseling on the free number: 0800/111 0 111