Tommy Lefroy Talk New EP, Touring with Samia, and Painfully Honest Songwriting

A lot can happen in a year. A lot can even happen in just a few months. If you need proof of that, take a look at Tommy Lefroy. The London-based indie pop duo has spent the past few months extensively touring, releasing new music that’s beloved by fans and planning for their future.

The group was formed by Vancouver, British Columbia-native Tessa Mouzourakis and Michigan native Wynter Bethel. The two friends first met in 2017, while they were both working in Nashville as songwriters. After bonding over a love of literature (the group is named after the 19th-century Irish politician who was in a longtime flirtation with British author Jane Austen) and music, the two started making music together, releasing their first EP, Flight Risk, in 2021. The duo released their well-received second EP, Rivals, this past March.

In support of the album, Tommy Lefroy has been touring, a lot. They joined Samia across North America earlier this year, before stopping off at SXSW to play several shows at the massive festival. 

After a whirlwind few months, the group is taking some time off before heading off to tour in their adopted home country of the UK this summer. Before they start their next round of touring, we had the opportunity to chat with the up-and-coming duo over email about their busy schedules, touring with Samia, and the literary works that inspired their latest EP.

Staged Haze: We’re only a quarter into 2023, but it’s already shaping up to be a big year for Tommy Lefroy. How are you feeling?

Tommy Lefroy: We’ve been feeling really grateful for it all. This year we’ve seen some pretty surreal moments and bucket list venues. The first couple years of launching the project were pretty intense for us so we’ve also had to slow down a bit which has challenged us, but we’ve needed to take a bit of time for restoration and are so excited to take some of that time to write again. We’re living in a warehouse flat in London for the summer, and we’re excited to be back in the UK. We’ve got a lil headline tour in the UK in July as well, and our UK audiences are very dear to us. 

Staged Haze: Your latest release is the Rivals EP. Can you tell me a little bit about the writing process for it? What were your main inspirations? How do you think those were reflected in the EP?

Tommy Lefroy: We made a lot of Rivals together in Los Angeles last year. When we were writing Flight Risk, we lived in different cities, and it was very much a culmination of separate experiences. When we sat down to write Rivals, we had just spent a year hanging out literally all of the time, and working most of the time, so the writing was more processing a lot of shared experiences that we maybe didn’t have time to process in real time. We’re also very nostalgic, so references to childhood and first loves came up as well. We’re always drawing from what we’re reading. There’s a few literary nods, from Dylan Thomas to “The Aeneid.” It had been a while since we’d had time to really sit down and write, so a lot of it came out quickly. We wrote “Recency Bias” all in one sitting, [it was] pretty stream of consciousness, at the kitchen table of Wynter’s old apartment in LA.

Staged Haze: You were included in our 22 Artists to Watch in 2022 post that was published last year. In the writeup, our editor Kristin said that one of her favorite things about your music is the honesty in your lyrics about the rise and fall of relationships, depression and existential crises. What is it like being so open and brazen in your music? Is it stressful opening yourselves up to your audience? Or does it feel natural?

Tommy Lefroy: When we started Tommy we were primarily working as songwriters, and saw the band as a creative outlet and safe space for us to finally tell our stories, truthfully and unapologetically, in our words. While so much has changed for us since we started this project, and Tommy is no longer our secret alone, we still try to stay true to those same reasons we started the band in the first place. While it’s definitely hard sometimes to be totally open and brazen about our experiences, we feel it has also really allowed for us to have a deeper connection with listeners. We’ve all experienced seasons of despondency and crisis and rampant existentialism. We hope that, in being honest about our experiences, we might, in some way, give others permission to be unabashed in theirs. 

Staged Haze: You’re from both Canada and the US, but are living in London. How did you end up there? What is it like being an international group in that sense? How has living abroad impacted your music?

Tommy Lefroy: We met in Nashville in 2017, where we were both working as songwriters, but had never lived in the same place for more than a season. Tessa moved to London in February 2020, for what was initially supposed to be a couple months, and ended up living there all through lockdown. Wynter was based in LA at the time, and came out to visit in 2021 because UK borders opened up first. London turned out to be a very welcome home for the music we were making, and we feel lucky to have, sort of accidentally, launched the band from there. We’ve been fairly transient since, but it’s always so nice to come back to London. The music scene is so incredible here, and we are so inspired by the city. 

Staged Haze: I saw that you were added to Fender Next. How does it feel to be included in that?

Tommy Lefroy: We’ve been Fender girls for our whole lives, so we were so excited to be included in this year’s Fender Next. We’ve only just gotten started with it, but they only pick 25 artists globally each year so it is a huge honor. Tessa used to work at a guitar store in Vancouver, changing strings and selling Fenders, so it’s really special to be a part of this. We’re so grateful. 

Staged Haze: You just wrapped up touring with Samia. How did you first get connected with Samia? I also read that it was your first North American tour. What was the touring experience like?

Tommy Lefroy: Samia found our music really early on. We posted a cover of her song “Is There Something in the Movies?” to Instagram, and we connected that way. We’ve been huge fans of Samia since before we started this project, so it was a serious honor to get to open for her on the last North American run. It was our first time doing such an extensive tour of the States, and we loved it. We got to play some of our favorite shows and cities on that tour. It was absolutely crazy to play shows in places we had never been and meet people there who had already lived with and loved the music. We will be back again soon.

Staged Haze: Part of that touring experience included several shows at South by Southwest (SXSW). How did those go? Have you played a huge event like that before? What was that experience like from an artist’s perspective?

Tommy Lefroy: SXSW was awesome. It was certainly hectic, but it seems a little bit of chaos is pretty integral to any SXSW experience. It can definitely be humbling but ultimately inspiring. There were so many artists there from all over the world, and the excitement was palpable. Last year we played Great Escape in Brighton, UK, and Reeperbahn in Germany, but this was our first time at SXSW. One of our best friends came with us on [tour manager] duty. It was a good time. 

Staged Haze: It’s already been such a packed year, but what’s next for Tommy Lefroy?

Tommy Lefroy: We’re playing a UK Headline tour in July, with dates in Leeds, Birmingham, Manchester and London, as well as festivals in the UK and Ireland. We love summertime in the UK, and are looking forward to spending time in pubs and parks. We’ve been reading a ton on tour. We’ll be taking the next couple months to write and record new songs. We’ve lived so much life over the past year, and we are so ready to write about it. 

Tommy Lefroy’s latest EP, “Rivals,” was released March 10, and you can catch them on tour in the UK and Ireland this summer.

Featured photo by Kassidy Paige for Staged Haze

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