Tuning in with Modern Nomad; Tom McLean follows his dream


     Musician Tom McLean has been chasing after his dream since he was a junior in high school, ten years ago. McLean says, “I discovered the Beatles and got inspired to start writing songs. Once I discovered new artists like Mac Demarco and Tame Impala, who were already doing just what I wanted to, I knew it was possible to actually go for it.”

     McLean gave himself the band name Modern Nomad nine years ago. He says, “I wish I had a good story behind it, but honestly at the time I thought it sounded cool! I wrote and recorded everything myself, but I didn’t want to just use my name – I still wanted a ‘band’ name.”

     At 16-years-old, McLean started with an old laptop, a free DAW (music software) and a PS2 rock band microphone. The first two years he was only recording/producing at any moment he could. “I really just experimented and was trying to make cool Beatles/indie sounding songs.”

     He taught himself for four years then decided to go to a school that taught audio engineering, Sheffield Institute for the Recording Arts, which is where he spent six months learning about technical techniques.

     McLean says “I had a great mentor named Jamie; he’s taught me a lot in the audio engineering/recording side of things. At first it was challenging to get the sound. I wanted to make whatever I heard in my head come to life, I’m getting a lot better at that now, but it’s still hard to be satisfied with what I make.”

     He continues, “Usually, I come up with a melody/chord progression on the guitar or piano. And if I’m inspired by it, then just run with it and start producing a track and finishing writing lyrics as I go.”

     For lyrics, McLean either keeps it “really vague so people can relate to it however they want,” or he will write something “topical,” which he doesn’t do too often.

     His biggest achievements that have come from Modern Nomad is having 8-million streams, synch placements for Glossier, and VICELAND show, releasing two albums on vinyl in 2021, being included in the WTMD’s Baltimore music history documentary, and meeting people through music and performing at Firefly in 2021 with his other band on the main stage the same day as Tame Impala.

     He says, “not to sound cheesy, but probably the people I’ve met and the friends I’ve made, and just being able to be around creatives and artists. I’ve always just wanted to be a little rocker, making music is my pride and joy.”

     McLeans favorite songs he has released are “probably the ones [he’s] working on at the moment.” He says, “I don’t know if I have a favorite, they’re all so different and mean different things to me.” But he listened to ‘Nothing to be Said’, ‘Without a Warning’, ‘Tonight’, ‘I’m Going Home’, and ‘I Want You to Stay.’