‘I’m going to still be up on stage when I’m 80, brushing dust off my shoulders!’

King Cerulean’s leader Tom Large talks about balancing work and his passion for music ahead of the band’s upcoming biggest gig to date

man sitting on couch smiling
Growing up in a family where both of his parents are music teachers, as a kid Tom played in many different bands. Photo by Eszter Gurbicz

There are many parallels between the professional and musician life of Tom Large. The 27-year-old, who works in TV post-production, is just as passionate about his daytime work where he manages his team as he is about managing his band, King Cerulean. 

Sitting back on a couch with his arms crossed, he looks comfortable reminiscing about the past. Large, who has been living in Cardiff for almost 10 years now, was born into a musical family, and had a childhood centred around classical music. 

Having received his first instrument – a cornet – at the age of six, for a long time he was convinced he was going to become a professional trumpet player. However, when he realised what studying classical music would really look like, he decided it “sounded very dull.”

He then happened to fall in love with post-production, as a result of an A-level music editing assignment. “I said to myself, ‘If I don’t want to do music as a career because I just want to have fun with my music, why don’t I do this editing thing instead?’” he admits.

man standing in Cardiff Centre for Student Life talking about his music and upcoming gigs
In his professional life, Tom works with the likes of Netflix, Apple and other streaming services. Photo by Eszter Gurbicz
It’s going to be a party

Discovering the sound that later influenced his music happened by chance when he was asked to audition for a job for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee as a trumpet player. That’s when he learned to play the song Fishies by The Cat Empire. “I just tunnel visioned, and I was like, ‘Right. That’s it. That’s my thing.’ So, I started writing that kind of music,” he says.

It all led to Large starting a band in Cardiff while at university back in 2018. King Cerulean, whose nine members are now working all across the UK, has just released new music for the first time since their graduation. Braced with new songs and a matured ‘King Cerulean sound’, the band is preparing for its biggest performance ever, playing the O2 in Islington, London, on 25 November.

It is difficult for Large to hide his excitement about the upcoming gig. “I think the first time we played in Welsh Club was the most excited I’ve been. But this one! Now, this is the gig I’m most excited about ever doing. I can’t wait! It’s going to be a party!” says the band’s leader, who is now also the rhythm guitarist alongside being a trumpet player.

Listen to Tom introducing their new song, Sunshine Caroline:

Until I physically can’t anymore

While both of his interests are in the creative field, the Large says “band Tom” and “work Tom” are quite different people. When on stage, he wears an Hawaiian print shirt and runs and jumps around energetically, which is unlike his professional self.

But choosing between the two would be impossible. “If a record label were to turn around tomorrow and offer us a deal, it would be a really, really difficult decision,” he says.

I love the band so much. And that’s why I’m going to be doing this until I physically can’t anymore

While music is not something he does as his day job, Large remains just as passionate about it as ever. “I love the band so much. And that’s why I’m going to be doing this until I physically can’t anymore. I’m going to be still up on stage when I’m 80, brushing dust off my shoulders. I ain’t going anywhere!” he declares.

Have a listen to some of King Cerulean’s music: