Happy Families (Tom Saunders) – Interview

Interview with Tom Saunders (AKA Happy Families) and Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (

PD: What type of artist are you?

TS: A solo artist sometimes disguised as a band, depending on the song.


PD: Tell us the brief history of yourself.

TS: I grew around lots of music, everything from classic rock to English folk to world music. My father was a musician so I’ve always been around it in some shape or form. All these years on, I’m in Leeds and still making music!


PD: Who are your musical and non-musical influences?

TS: There are too many to count in both of those categories but I’ll try to compile a short(ish) list: Neil Young, Roger McGough, Elliott Smith, Nina Simone, Joni Mitchell, The Beatles, my Mum, Stanley Donwood, Radiohead, Joan Didion, Nick Cave, David Lynch, Rick Rubin, Robert McFarlane, Brian Eno, Henri Matisse. Sometimes a quote or an approach to life or work is enough to be an influence, even if it doesn’t come across in the finished product.


PD: What are your dreams and goals?

TS: To make a living off writing and playing music. That’s pretty much been my ambition for as long as I can remember. It’s probably not going to happen how I thought it would when I was younger, but the goal is still pretty much the same. Other than that, I just want to see some more of the world, and drink tea. I also dream of finishing Neil Young’s autobiography one day, it’s never ending.


PD: Who writes your songs, what are they about?

TS: I write my songs. They are about whatever comes out when I put pen to paper, or finger to phone in some cases. I write down phrases that pop into my head or I overhear, and if I’m struggling to think of ideas I’ll scroll back through those and see if anything jumps out that I want to pursue.


PD: How do you promote your band and shows?

TS: I’m just starting out with this project so I need to get some shows booked in! Social media is the obvious choice for promotion now, especially Instagram I find. Accompanying a post with a picture or video is a good way to engage people, it’s eye-catching.


PD: What do you think about downloading music online?

TS: Like most people, I think it has its pros and cons. It’s great that people can access and discover so much music and take it with them wherever they go. The obvious setback is that artists aren’t being paid even a fraction of what they should be, given the time and money that goes into creating the music and getting it onto streaming platforms and out into the world. Streaming is now how most music is consumed, and the payout for artists needs to reflect that.


PD: What song do you wish you’d written and why?

TS: There are too many to list. Pretty much anything by The Beatles – I can’t even imagine the satisfaction you’d get from writing a melody a Golden Slumbers. I’d be riding high on that for the rest of my life. I love melodies that sound like they’ve always existed in human consciousness, like when you can’t imagine a time when they didn’t exist. That doesn’t really answer the question but I guess that’s what I’m striving for!


PD: What are some of your pet peeves?

TS: When you’re walking on the pavement and a group of people head towards and refuse to go single file and so you have nowhere to go! Haha.


PD: What is your proudest moment in music?

TS: Having a song that I wrote with my other band being pressed onto vinyl was pretty special, I don’t think I expected that to happen as soon as it did. I’m also pretty proud of this new EP because it’s the first time that I’ve done every part of the process myself, aside from mastering.


PD: So what are you working on at the moment?

TS: I’m slowly gathering some bits together for what will hopefully become a collection of new songs! I tend to collect lots of small ideas over a period of time, whether that’s snippets of words or a musical idea, and then suddenly write two or three songs very quickly. So it’s kind of a constant process, even if I’m not always working on specific songs.


PD: What music have you available online and where can we buy it from?

TS: I believe this EP is going to be available to stream on Spotify, Apple Music and all the other major platforms very soon. That’s it for now, but hopefully it won’t be too long until more is ready to go!

Happy Families links:
Band/Artist location – Leeds UK
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