London-born, NZ residing talent Thomston has just recently dropped his debut album Topograph. A lush combination of smooth production, nostalgic energy and warm R’n’B melodies, Topograph is a culmination of the work the artist has produced in the past, while also being a step in a new direction. Thomston got his start releasing tracks independently, and he has quickly skyrocketed to a level of recognition allowing him to collaborate with such artists as Ta-Ku and Wafia.

In celebration of the release of Topograph, we sat down with Thomston and enlisted the talent to make us a playlist of the tracks that inspired his debut LP, and tell us a little bit about their impact on him. What resulted was a globe-trotting retrospective of intelligent pop music, each piece of inspiration coming together to form the puzzle that is Topograph.


“While I was writing the record, this was my favourite Kanye West track, the textures in it are the strangest mix of warm and abrasive. the thick piano chords and the distortion on his vocal really play off each other, and i love how the melody is this rolling train, it gives me the strangest sensation of being carried.”


“This song is really beautiful and cavernous. It takes me right back to New York, and this slow-motion feeling I got when I would seal myself off with headphones, surrounded by thousands of people who couldn’t care less about my existence. I wrote some pretty lonely music in Manhattan.”


Gallant knows. I listened to this a lot while I was in London and I think it really influenced the songs I wrote there”


“I miss these two. They’ve made some of the most painfully underrated work in the best 5 years in my humble opinion. They’re a big inspiration production-wise, their percussion is absolutely mental. They make these frantic bongo-like loops feel almost tranquil, they just kinda weave around the chords and vocal melody. The post-chorus instrumental in this is also very “You Can Call Me Al” but getting bet up in the dark corner of a club”


“Find me a better clap sample, I’ll wait. I appreciate how this ticks so many of the ballad boxes, but the beat puts it in this strange middle ground space which I think emulated on “Heart Is Cement”, “Headspace” and “Window Seat”, where it’s not quite a ballad as it has this sense of urgency bought about by the drums.”


“Spotify told me this was the song I listened to the most in 2015. I was actually listening to it on a plane from London to Ireland to play Electric Picnic when Twigs herself WALKED ONTO THE PLANE AND SAT DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF ME. That synergy, truly. The toms in this give me “Let Me Hold You” Bow-wow vibes. Which is a very good thing.”


“I had finished my record by the time these two released their monstrous second record that I fell in love with, but I had their debut. This song in particular is this warm song that is somehow sad, danceable, and ethereal. This is my favourite song to listen to when I’m in a plane and we’re in the landing process. It allows me to briefly forget the inevitability of death that is at the forefront of my mind when I’m hurtling toward tarmac in a giant winged metal pod kept ‘safe’ by a flimsy piece of fabric across my hips”


“This song single-handedly removed my deep-seated hatred of acoustic guitar and shredding electric guitar outside of a Michael Jackson song. I didn’t end up putting any on my record but there’s always the next one. This is my favourite off “BBTM”, the chorus is beautiful.”


“Lyrically, this song is a masterclass. As I’m someone who frequently writes from a down-trodden guilt narrative place, Chelsea nailed it. The lyric “Now everybody looks at me like everything I’ve ever said has still gotta be true” after discovering a significant other isn’t as wonderful as you originally assumed, is square punch to the gut. I listened to this while taking a break from writing over the summer. I was at a small beach house a few hours out of my city when I heard this song and I played it for my closest friends while we cleaned the dishes and played countless rounds of rummikub like the wild teens we were.”


“This boy wrote one of the most heartbreaking yet reassuring choruses I’ve ever heard. “Hell it hurts, but it’s not love”. I hope to write a chorus this direct but undeniably piercing one day.”


“This was my absolute favourite song while I was writing in London. I listened to this over-and-over on the tube, at the top front of double-decker buses that always felt dangerously close to crashing. Usually the only songs I have such strong attachments to specific places are ones I write myself but this oddly exists outside that. The switch up on the third verse is something I tried to implement on the record but couldn’t do it right.”


“Out of all the tracks on here, this one has the most direct correlation with one of the songs on the record. I was entranced by this song, the baroque piano, the drum-fill, the way the chorus glides up and down a really intricate melody. There’s so much going on that I struggled to get a hold of the lyrics, and ended up mumble-singing along to it. I got home and googled the lyrics and discovered a bunch of the words I had been singing were in fact absent from the song. One in particular, “landlocked” got my mind racing about the idea of what that could represent in the context of a relationship, and thus “Float” was born.”