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Rhumba Club

The Kit List


My name is Tom. As Rhumba Club, I make left-field synth pop. I grew up in Jersey, and music has always allowed me to privately escape the small-town vibes of my childhood. As a queer person in a small place - it was kind of a life raft.

Following the release of my debut album in 2021, I toured the UK with Molchat Doma, played fashion parties for Hermes, wrote music for Fendi, and played a number of festivals across the UK. The album saw support from GQ, The Line Of Best Fit, The Fader, Clash, 1883 Magazine, Attitude, Spotify, BBC Radio 6 and many more.

I have just finished working on my second record with 2023 Grammy-nominee Mikko Gordon (Arcade Fire, The Smile). The album (Love Apokalypto) is set for release in June and the first single is called Video Game. 


The Prophet 6 has been attached to Rhumba Club’s identity for some time. So many of my influences used the Prophet 5 in the late 70s - Talking Heads, Hall & Oates, Yellow Magic Orchestra…so it seemed logical for me to have a prophet. It continues to break my back on the way to gigs - but hey, it’s such a sonic beast, and a bit like a 5th limb now. 


Whilst working on the new record, Mikko encouraged me to use as much real percussion as possible. I was a bit broke, so sourced bits from primary school car boots and eBay. As a result, the album is littered with guiro scrapes and, when put through a Valhalla Space Modulator (plug-in), miracles can happen. Suddenly a very dry, cheap sound becomes other-worldly and immersive. 

YAMAHA CS-10 (1977) 

I worked on the new record in Hackney Road Studios with Mikko, and they have a CS-5. It became kind of integral to the album - we used it to gently bolster bass lines, and add high pedal notes. Kind of an unsung hero. So when I saw one up for sale on, I tried my luck and put in an offensively low bid. The seller was so kind - he said - ‘Are you Tom from Rhumba Club? Go on then, have it’. It now takes pride of place in my studio because, in my head at least, it represents solidarity between musicians. Will be forever grateful to him! 


Every studio should be a fun place, but every studio also needs a loo. So I needed to make my studio lav fun, on a budget. I tried to make a Memphis Group-esque feel, so I ended up sourcing discontinued 80s bathroom ware and sharp red swimming pool grout. At worst, it’s a conversation ice-breaker if the session starts a bit awkwardly. At best, you can record vocals in what feels like an 80s Ikea showroom. 


We inherited Darling from a lady in Hackney, who was illegally running a barbershop from her council flat. Unfortunately, she got caught and was forced to move. Darling had nowhere to go - so of course we had to take her. She keeps me company in the studio every day. Working on music can be an incredibly indulgent / inward-looking experience. You can get preoccupied, thinking about how the world will judge you if you dared to use gated reverb on that snare. She takes me out of that self-absorbed world from time to time simply by literally tapping me on the shoulder and meowing, or walking across a synth mid-take. I couldn’t be without her.  

The new singles "Video Game" and "Love Apokalypto" are out now.

Juan Francisco Sanchez 1.jpg

Words by Tom / Rhumba Club

Photography by Charlie Pryor

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