Introducing: Tom Killner

UK-based singer-songwriter Tom Killner has just released his new album ‘Borrowed Time’, and through the magic of the old ‘interweb Tom was on hand to talk about the album, as well as his musical background.

What’s your musical background, how long have you been performing music? 

Being musical has been pretty much entrenched in me all my life for as long as I can remember. It’s been 18 years now I’ve been playing in front of an audience, from pretty much when I picked a guitar up I’ve been playing for people.

Who performs in your band alongside you, and how did you feel performing your first gig as a band?

The current lineup is: Callum Houghton – Bass, Richard Hunter – Drums, Wesley Brook – Keys. It’s been that long I can’t really remember what the first gig was like now!

Your new album ‘Borrowed Time’ was released on April 12th, what was the gestation period of the album like? Did any of the songs prove to be tricky coming together, or was it the opposite and the songs came together quite easily?

It’s been cooking for quite some time. Some tracks were written years before and played in the live sets, others came the week before we started recording the record. I find that if you have to fight a song to get it finished it’s not ready, if it comes easily and flows well it’s generally one that sticks. The majority was written during lockdown and I was looking at a singer-songwriter-type acoustic album but things changed and this is what we turned out with, I’m really happy with it.

‘Borrowed Time’ is an evocative title that could mean different things to different people, is there any particular meaning behind it?

‘Borrowed Time’ really came about thinking about how our time here is limited and we’re all just borrowing it so we have to make the best of it no matter what.

The album was funded through a Kickstarter project, it must be quite humbling that when we are constantly having to juggle rising costs people are putting their hands in their pockets to help support new music.

The folks that helped with funding this record, I really cannot thank enough. As a fully independent artist with no label support, all those jobs end up on your lap where you’ve got to do all the jobs a team of people would do. So obviously finances can be a struggle so having so many supportive fans really means the world and we can make the music for them.

The album artwork is quite simple yet stunning, who created it, and how special was it holding it on vinyl for the first time?

The artwork was done by Rebbeca Sawdon (my partner’s sister), she did the last record artwork too. I love the designs she does and it’s got a real style of its own. Getting hold of the records for the first time was great! I’ve always wanted to release my music in that format and unwrapping the first one was really special.

‘Cosmic Sounds’ was the lead single, what was it about this one that made you pick it as the lead single and what’s the story behind the follow-up ‘Light It Up’?

Well, it was a little unexpected to be fair. I had a discussion about what the first single should be and the general consensus was that it should be ‘Cosmic Sounds’. It’s straight to the point and no messing about, it also turned out to be the very first track that I specifically wrote for this record, so I guess that’s a little poetic in a way. ‘Light It Up’ was one of the tracks that I’ve had for a fair few years now and is one of the tracks I had just after the last record. I suppose it’s a fun little track with a feel-good Friday kick your boots off and go have some fun sort of song.

In what ways do you feel that you have grown as an artist in the last few years? For instance, do you see growth in your songwriting?

Yeah! I definitely have seen progress in my songwriting. I think it’s a continuation of where I’ve been and where I’m heading through life and songs are there to document that and hopefully I’ll continue that development.

What do you feel is the greatest lyric ever written? “When I was just a baby, my mama told me, “Son, always be a good boy, don’t ever play with guns”/But I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die/When I hear that whistle blowin’, I hang my head and cry”…takes some beating

For me, it’s a track from Jason Isbell called ‘If We Were Vampires’. The lyrics in that song are just beautiful and I’d recommend people go and really listen to it.

Which fellow singer-songwriter do you consider to be underrated?

There’s a load that I feel who don’t get the recognition they deserve, but I think one was J.J.Cale. His songs are brilliant, there’s nothing too flashy but there are always great solid songs and I really enjoy them.

In terms of a similar audience, which band out there at the minute do you feel you would be best suited to open for?

I’d say Robert Jon and the Wreck or Blackberry Smoke, those guys are really cool!

What frustrates you about the music business?

I think a big one is that there are a lot of people out there who want to take advantage of you at times. You can take a real battering so you have to grow a thick skin and be tenacious to get through it even when it’s a rough ride.

What was the last gig that you attended as a fan?

Marcus King was the last gig I got to see, he’s just phenomenal.

What current social issues are you particularly passionate about?

Big business and successive governments are basically screwing things up for everyday people. No matter where you’re from they’re all out to feather their own nests and that doesn’t sit right with me.

The album that you have in your album collection/Spotify playlist that would surprise most people?

Slade. I absolutely love them and it’s not something that I think people would expect me to have in my collection.

Everybody is a fan of something, who or what are you a fan of?

Away from music I’m a massive Star Wars fan and collecting LEGO it’s a great escape for me.

What new music have you been enjoying so far this year?

I’ve really been digging the latest Delan LeBlanc album, he’s a great songwriter worth checking out. The new Black Crowes record is a blinder along with Blackberry Smoke’s new release, get me on the bill with them someone!

What does 2024 hold for you?

There are a fair few tour dates, we’re out with US band Hush Money in May and July with the legendary Preacher Stone, really looking forward to those tours. Festivals coming up like Call of The Wild and Rockwich which will be ace to play to new well as some more things coming up that I can’t say just yet. It’s my busiest year to date!

How active are you on social media and where can people connect with you?

We love to interact with our friends and fans on our social pages. If you’re on any of them, we probably are too so come and say hey!


Official Website





Photo credits:

Portraits – Credit Mark Ellis Photography

Live image – Mal Wichelow

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