Tom Derickx has been many things.
A carpenter, a footballer and a model, but now six months out of the game the 29-year-old has found a new calling.
“I’ve finally found my passion, I reckon, and that’s music,” Derickx told Aflplayers.com.au.
“I’m pretty happy at the moment with where I’m at. Football was great and that opened a lot of doors but I’m happy with where I am now.”
Derickx has formed an electronic duo by the name of Kayex with Perth friend Palassi Kailis, and the pair has released the first of a handful of tracks to come in the not too distant future.
Their debut single, My Friends, was uploaded to Triple J Unearthed a couple of weeks ago and has had nearly 3,000 plays, while also getting a run on the radio a few times.
Derickx describes their style as a hybrid of electronic with real instruments. The first track has a lot of meaning to the Perth-native and describes a journey of overcoming adversity through the support of your friends.
“I believe when we wrote the song, it was reflective of my football career. The song encapsulates some of the serious injuries and mental battles I overcame during my footy and doing it by getting around my friends, which sounds oversimplified but it has such a powerful meaning.
“There’s inspiration from other people such as Kanye West and Daft Punk but there’s also inspiration from what we’ve been through.”
Derickx isn’t a complete newbie when it comes to making music. He studied classical guitar in school and completed other music production courses in his spare time.
In recent years, when Kailis moved from Perth to Sydney, the two friends started jamming together and it eventually progressed into something a lot more serious than first expected.
This was all during the back end of Derickx’s AFL career. When 2016 came to a close, he wanted one more year in football but was forced to retire due to concussion.
Derickx misses football and it was hard to give up but the doctor made the call and that made it easier for the former Sydney and Richmond ruckman to accept.
His exit from the AFL system came at a good time and has enabled Derickx to fully explore a full-time music career.
“I didn’t retire because of music but I had to make a choice whether to throw everything into this or do it halfheartedly and keep playing footy — I think I’ve made the right choice.
“I was also told I couldn’t really afford another concussion. I had this music stuff to go straight into so it was a no-brainer for me to retire and move into the next phase.
“It’s starting to pay off now as well and it’s really exciting — I can’t wait to get back into the studio every night and show people the songs.
Often retired footballers will spruik the loss of camaraderie and the special environment that is an AFL club, but Derickx believes he has entered into a career that is equally as fulfilling.
“Doing what I do now is a weird feeling. You get that adrenaline rush which is similar to what you get out on the footy field.
“I’m the type of guy that didn’t want to go a work a normal job, I wanted to perform and entertain, so I think I’ve picked the right industry.
“Life after footy is pretty exciting for me.”