We first introduced to you Thomas Fiss when he was a member of the powerpop boy band Varsity Fanclub, but in early 2009 Thomas broke away from the group to pursue a solo career. Thomas is now gearing up to release his EP and we have the scoop on his new sound and clothing line Adisson Apparel.
Hey Thomas, how are you?
Doing excellent, how about you?
Doing good, It’s been about a year since we last talked, right?
I know. [Laughs] Oh my goodness.
Wow, I mean … of course you know I’m just going to jump right in there and talk about all this with you leaving the group [Varsity FanClub]. It’s been pretty crazy. I actually spoke with Jayk, Drew, and new member TC recently, and Jayk mentioned that they had known it was a possibility you could leave the group. Was this something you had been going back and forth with or something you just one day decided wasn’t for you anymore?
Well um, yeah it was probably a couple months before … before I actually left there was just so much drama going on.
Not within the members, but just like outside of it. You know, when you’re on a level to where you’re almost there, almost made it everyone is trying to reach their hand into the cookie jar, you know. It just got to a point of where I couldn’t take it anymore. It wasn’t so much you know the members at all, but it was just something that … I don’t know. It got a bit crazy for me.
Wasn’t how you thought it would be?
Well we kind of reached a point to where we weren’t showing any progress for a couple months. I don’t know; I just felt like it wasn’t the right place for me.
Well, if you weren’t happy…
Yeah that’s the thing. I’ve always been one of those people where I gotta do what makes you happy and it was fun while it lasted, for sure. I got a lot out of it and we definitely worked hard for what we got.
Were you nervous about how the fans were going to react to it?
Yeah! It was … oh man that was honestly … definitely one of the hardest conversations I think I’ve ever had to do. Hopefully it will be the last time I ever have to have a conference like that. But yeah, we all just kind of sat down and talked it out. It was honestly like … you know they’re like family to me and it just had to be done. Just tie up loose knots with them and move on.
I know there are so who will say once they leave the group they’re all still close and keep in touch, but they don’t always. Do you still keep in touch with the guys?
Umm, we try – definitely try to, we haven’t really spoken in awhile. Drew and I usually chat a bit, but yea I don’t really talk to the other guys too much. I think it’s that we just have a lot on our plates right now.
So, then what have you been up to in the last few months?
I have been working on my tan, for one. [Laughs] I’ve been in the studio actually quite a bit; working on my new EP. Definitely going to be out before Christmas, we’re shooting for a date around Christmas actually. That is something that I’m just so happy about to be doing my own thing. This is a dream come true for me, to actually be playing music that I write. To do what I want and be in control of my life, it’s just been a blast so far.
Are you back in San Diego or LA? I know you always say San Diego is like your heart, that’s your home. So, are you going to stick around there or … ?
Oh, my heart will always belong to the beach of San Diego. But no I’m probably in LA more than I’m in San Diego. I try to get down here on the weekends; I’m actually down here right now for family stuff. I’ve been up in LA consistently past couple of months, for about five or six days out of the week.
Just working on your EP? You know tell me more about that.
Yeah, it’s definitely more of a pop rock vibe. I think everyone knows I was definitely born to have a guitar in my hands. [Laughs] It’s just something I love to do. I love playing the guitar, love playing piano … so the EP is basically based around songs that I’ve written in the past couple of years. Even from way, way long ago. I have a song on there that I wrote I think about six years ago. So, basically this first EP is going to be totally controlled by me. I definitely have a lot of help with it though; I’ve been doing a lot of production with Gabriel Lopez, who is a really great friend of mine and just a genius with pro tools and production. But yeah, I’m stoked on it.
Well this must be so much more personal for you. I mean if the songs or six or so years old like you said. Are you more nervous now to let the fans hear just you? Especially since it’s your music and with Varsity FanClub a lot of the music was just a studio thing or written for you? Since you’ve put more of yourself into this, are you at all worried about the reaction?
Umm, I don’t think so … I think with anything in life that you do; if you do it with your heart and if you do what makes you feel good I think it’s going to be the best outcome regardless. So far, I just put a song out a couple of days ago for Adisson actually, and that song I wrote … God I want to say like four or five years ago. Their reaction is that they love it, so I think as long as you put your heart into whatever you do the outcome is going to be great.
Speaking of Adisson [Apparel], why don’t you tell me more about that? I’ve been checking it out and the stuff looks pretty cool. I’ve heard from some that you own the line, and then from others that you’re just really involved with them. What’s the deal?
Oh yeah, totally. Adisson is a company that I’m in with a partner, Isaiah Vest, but we started that about two years ago and we run it completely. Anything from shipping to designs and marketing, it’s all us. It’s definitely … it’s a labor of love that’s for sure; it’s a lot of fun.
Well, it definitely looks like a very nice line of items.
You know we made it basically with teenage girls in mind. That is kind of my fanbase demographic, and we want to appeal to that. I just wanted to create designs that I would want a potential girlfriend to wear honestly. I got tired of seeing Abercrombie everywhere, and Hollister everywhere … I just got tired of that so I just wanted to kind of create my own thing for them to wear.
So you guys were just sitting around saying ‘oh I’m so tired of seeing girls wear the same old thing, I think we should do this’?
That’s honestly what it was [Laughs] as awkward as that sounds. But you know everything out there it’s cute, it’s flirty. It’s nothing like crazy sexy, you know … it’s totally SoCal. So, I think everyone can really appreciate that.
Oh definitely. But you know getting back to the music; we heard some rumors that you’re actually working on something with Tennman Records [Justin Timberlake’s label]. Are those just rumors?
Yeah, we’ll say those are rumors for now. [Laughs]
Okay *hint hint*.
[Laughs] There’s so many things honestly that I’m working on. The crazy thing is the EP is just like the first step, like you said and I said it’s really just something for me. But beyond that starting at the top of the year I’m gonna be hitting hard recording a full length album; the roster of producers I have is just ridiculous. It’s going to be a really good year for music I think.
Well I’m excited. I’ll be honest when I found out you left the group I was a bit bummed about it, but the fact that you’re still doing music and putting your own stuff out there I excited to hear it.
Thanks! Yeah it was crazy when I left, there were so many rumors floating around about what I was up to. I think a lot of people thought I just kind of dipped out and called it a day.
Yeah that’s how it looked. It seemed like you just left the group because your heart wasn’t in it, and you were just going back home. Everyone is going ‘Wait, what? No!’.
[Laughs] Yeah no, oh no way I couldn’t do that.
So, I know you’ve also worked on a music video last year and you write and produce for others. Is it easier to do it for yourself or other artists?
Oh man that is a great question; umm, it’s kind of a little bit of both. When you write for someone else, for me anyway I always try to put my best foot forward with anything. So, when I write for someone else and it turns out to be a great song, right when I’m done I always think ‘Oh crap, I wish I would have kept this for me’. But if it turns out that it could be a hit for someone else that’s always a good thing also. Yeah I don’t know it’s crazy, definitely different … both sides of it are different.
You know it’s honestly been a pleasure to catch up with you because it’s been way too long. We definitely want to keep watching what you’re doing and letting everyone know.
Thank you so much for chatting and can’t wait to hear the new music.
Oh thank you honestly; you’ve been my first interview since I left. It’s been a lot of fun.
Really? Well, I’m glad we could get your side of what happened and now everyone doesn’t think it was some conspiracy that you left.
No so many rumors float around. But honestly it’s kind of funny to see that happen for awhile, like to see what people can come up with … whatever it’s all good now.