Ahead of his Barn on the Farm set, we got acquainted with Thomas Headon, talking festival do’s and don’ts, “2009 TOYOTA” and why coffee and transport should be free for everyone.  

Festival season is just around the corner, and for those who’ve scoured Britain’s illustrious list of lineups, one name comes up time and again. Setting off on a packed summer schedule, Thomas Headon is the Lizzy-McAlpine-approved artist striking a chord with teens through restless pop releases. Last week, the London-born, Australia-raised musician dropped his latest track from a forthcoming EP. Titled “2009 TOYOTA”, it might just be his most riveting work to date.


Building a loyal fanbase infatuated with his tongue-in-cheek charm, the pop sensation lived in Melbourne until impulsively moving to London to chase his dream of becoming a musician. It was a risky decision which reaped high rewards when his debut single, “Grace”, hit streaming services in 2019. Resisting the throes of falling in love, the track announced Thomas and his remarkable songwriting ability to the world. Three EPs and countless singles later, the rising star is showing he can do it all, landing coveted support slots for Elton John and selling out dates on a co-headline tour with fellow-fresh-faced hearth throb Alfie Templeman. 


Written during a Christmas retreat to Australia, “2009 TOYOTA” came organically in a studio session with Thomas’ close Friend Taka. Unwilling to be confined by deeper meanings, the infectious indie hit, and its Brit-pop balladry, was made purely with vibes in mind. Promoted through elaborate marketing campaigns, which have seen him serenade commuters and illegally place posters, the single expresses Thomas in his truest form, riffing out under infuriatingly catchy hooks and channelling his uncompromising personality while doing so. 


Ahead of his set at Barn on the Farm this July, Thomas Headon talks festival Do’s and Don’ts, “2009 TOYOTA” and why coffee and transport should be free for everyone.  

“2009 TOYOTA” came out last week, tell me about it! How long has it been in the works? And how gratifying is it to share with your fans? 

It feels good to get it out. I went back to Australia for Christmas and did some work while I was there. I made “2009 TOYOTA” with the same guy who did my song “i loved a boy”. We hung out and made music at the same time, which is really coolI prefer it that way. 


I keep telling people it doesn’t have a meaning. We had a week of writing songs and wanted to release what sounded cool. This song came from that session. I’ve been teasing it for a while, so it feels good and the response has been great so far.

 Do you prefer an Australian or English Christmas? 

It’s an unpopular opinion in this country, but Australia by far! It’s stunning and you can have a barbecue. This was the first time I’d spent Christmas here in a long time. I get why people are like, ‘It’s cold and cosy in front of the fireplace’. London is pretty but freezing. 

You’ve got some elaborate marketing campaigns happening for the forthcoming EP. How are you coming up with them and what else do you have up your sleeve? It seems like you’ve had to be creative with the little money you have at the moment…

I’m excited. We’re about to announce a small tour and there’s going to be a bunch of ideas with that, which should be fun. I’m going to drive around in a 2009 TOYOTA, hopefully.

A lot of people have called you out for not driving one in the music video… 

Even my mum called me out. They’re really hard to come across. She’s been trying to find one for me.

After being born in London, you were raised in Melbourne and then came back to London. What do you think London has musically, that maybe Australia doesn’t? It sounds like you have a really strong fan base down under, as well as over here…

I just wanted to get out. I technically moved here for university. I just finished high school, so I thought, why not move to the other side of the world? I don’t know why my mum let me, I wouldn’t let my kid do that. But alas, I just wanted a change and so far that change has become permanent.

Festival season is just around the corner and you’re playing so many over here, one being Barn on the Farm, which has an amazing lineup. Who are you excited to see? 

I think Nieve Ella is playing, who I’d love to see. Holly Humberstone is always good live. I’m only there for the day, which is annoying. I got to wander around last year, so hopefully I can do that again. 

What does playing a smaller and more intimate festival give you that a ‘bigger’ one doesn’t? It was only last year you supported Elton John in Hyde Park for British Summer Time…

The cool thing about Barn is its size. You can tell when a crowd is having a good time. I think smaller festivals make people bond together instead of being in separate clumps. I’m super excited about Barn this year, it’s one of my favourites.

What are your festival do’s and don’ts? For your fans going to festivals this year, what would be your advice? 

Do drink a tonne of water and Don’t go too hard on the first day. I played Reading on the Sunday a couple of years ago and the crowd was so dead. I was like, ‘Why is the crowd so much better in Leeds?’ And everyone said, ‘Because it’s Sunday, they’re all decked out’. So, don’t go too hard and spread it out! 

What are some of your fondest memories as someone who’s been to a festival, are there any memorable performances?

The Kid LAROI was playing Reading when I was there. We would always play his song “STAY”, with Justin Bieber, at rehearsals, so that was a real band bonding moment. We were all hammered by that point as well.

Since blowing up on social media, you’ve managed to cultivate a devoted fanbase who not only love your music but your personality too. How do you find the line between being open with them, but also having a private life and affording space? 

I’m getting better at it now. Before, I wasn’t really aligned with what I wanted to share and what I didn’t, which caused some problems. I think every artist deserves to be able to say no and not have to pretend if they’re happy or not.


There’s a lot of discourse about parasocial relationships at the moment, which is super interesting. I’ve never found it to be a problem. There have been some instances where people have stepped too far, but I think it’s common. Everyone looks out for each other and calls that behaviour out. It literally comes down to choosing what you want to share and what you don’t.

You rule the world for the day, what’s going down? 

Let’s say I’ve sorted out inequality and all the world’s major problems. I wish trains were every 30 seconds, I wish buses were every 15 seconds, I wish they were all free and I wish mail delivery services were faster. I would change all of that and make sure coffee is free. I think that would make my life a lot better.

Lastly, beyond the festival slots and forthcoming EP, is there anything else you want to achieve this year? Do you have any hidden talents you’re pursuing? 

I’m reading more. It’s been a great year because I’m getting to write a lot and not having to do anything too heavy. It’s been a year of making an album, which is fun but also terrifying. We’ll see how it goes.  


Can you say that I’ve also learnt to solve a Rubik’s cube? That would be pretty cool. 

Buy tickets to Barn on the Farm here

Stream "2009 TOYOTA" below:

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