He seems like a fairly typical 19-year-old as he bounds into the room, full of energy, cracking open a Red Bull, chatting about sneakers. But the unassuming appearance of sandy-haired Thomas Stoneman, better known as Thomston, belies his rather extraordinary achievements.
Despite having only decided to work towards a career in music at the end of 2013, he's already released two critically acclaimed EPs, had more than 10 million plays on Spotify, found himself nominated as a top 20 finalist for the Apra Silver Scroll award this year, and been selected as the only New Zealand artist in MTV's Brand New competition.
He's also had plenty of Lorde comparisons - given his tender age, release-an-EP-for-free approach, and the fact that he's signed to her old management company, Saiko Management. And of course his slightly other-worldly alt-R&B-electronica approach has a little in common with Ms Yelich-O'Connor, too.
But Thomston has his own story to tell, and has carved his own niche, all the while remaining remarkably grounded.
He was born in London, but moved to Titirangi with his family as a baby, and has been there ever since. He started piano lessons as a 5-year-old, but it was while he was at Avondale College that he began writing his own songs.
"It's quite hard to plot the point at which my love of music started, because I think it was one of those things that developed. I was into so many different things as a kid.
"But by the time I left high school, I kind of realised that songwriting was an amalgamation of a lot of those things - it had my love for writing, my love for performing, my love for playing music, it sort of all rolled into one nice little career package."
He'd come through Rockquest and Play It Strange, tying for first place in the 2013 competition, which gave him some validation that his efforts were worthwhile. But it was a small local unplugged music competition run by a friend that helped Thomston to really make a break.
"Someone that I hadn't seen in ages messaged me on Facebook and said, 'Hey can you please enter this little competition that I'm running. It costs $20', and I was like '$20? That seems steep'. But I did it, almost more as a favour to them, and then one of the scouts for Saiko [Josh Peterson] was there, and saw me, and we exchanged emails.
"And I also met a couple of people at the competition who are now really my best friends, so it really was $20 well spent" he laughs.
So he decided that instead of heading to university, he wanted to put his energy into a music career for a while. His parents were supportive, of course, but also gave him an ultimatum: within a year he needed to be getting somewhere - getting attention from record labels, making money from his music, be looking to head overseas.
"The thing that I appreciate the most about them, is that from the outset they were very realistic. They gave me a year for traction to pick up, and they said, if you aren't at this point in one year, then you're going to university. And I think that was really important for me, to establish a work ethic."
Those requirements might sound daunting or ambitious to some, but Thomston wasn't put off. He started making music during the summer holidays, and had a meeting with Saiko Management.
"I was very dazzled by the fancy office and the overflowing Red Bull, and I was told that 'We'll get you in the studio and get you making stuff', and I was like 'Awesome', and then obviously it got really hectic at Saiko with the other artists that they had on their roster, and so I would send emails and I wouldn't get a reply because they were so swamped, which I understood. But because I had this ultimatum from my parents I didn't want to squander the time, so I kept making music, and then I emailed a track to some blogs in February 2014, specifically Pigeons and Planes, and they picked it up, and then that's when all the labels started emailing."
So while having a very well qualified management company has certainly helped Thomston get to where he is, it's his own songwriting talent and drive for success which really got the ball rolling.
It's also in part down to his collaboration with producer Josh Fountain, who's the other man behind Thomston's most recent two EPs, Argonaut and Backbone, and is working with him on his upcoming album.
"Josh is great. He understood what I liked, and we developed a language pretty quickly. And also he wasn't too dominant, which was important. I just did a writing trip recently where I worked with a new person every day, travelling throughout the States, and I came back with a whole new appreciation for Josh, because he doesn't force ideas, and he lets me be creative and carve out something that feels like it's mine."
He made his first EP School Night at home in his bedroom with some help from a friend, and has immersed himself in the production side of the process now he's working with Fountain, learning everything he can while in the studio because it's all an integral part of his work.
"We bring in all sorts of production influences, whether it's new alternative percussion-based pop like FKA Twigs, or synth-based like Sohn or James Blake. It's a combination of everything that I love in music, and I try to bring together my favourite elements of it, so it's a weird pop-R&B-alt-electronic style."
It's a "weird style" that's clearly struck a chord with many young people internationally - he's already played showcases across Europe, and is heading back next week for another round of festival slots (Bestival, Pukklepop, and Lowlands among them), having well and truly caught the bug for live performances in Paris, where he has a large swathe of fans.
"I would say, that was probably the best night of my life so far. Seventy per cent of my Spotify streams come from France, so yeah. People were singing along so loud, I could hear them through my in-ear monitors. So that was emotional. And there were people making out in the corner and stuff, it was awesome.
"Having had people just be display names and profile pictures for so long, it was really nice to meet them for the first time, and to have them be tangible and real, that was the weirdest but coolest experience."
He's hopeful he'll be getting back to New Zealand to play some shows in the near future, but right now, he's taking advantage of the international interest that's built up around him, and making sure the set (which he plays with a live band) is as strong as possible.
"I really would love to play some New Zealand shows, I really would. But at the moment we're just getting through each month as it comes, and trying to finish the album."
Who: Thomston aka Thomas Stoneman
Listen to: Argonaut EP (2014), Backbone EP (2015)
Vote: Thomston is a finalist in the MTV Brand New competition, mtv.com.au