I’ve never before asked a question and had someone give my EXACT SAME FUCKING RESPONSE, it pretty much floored me. I don’t feel I’m some unique snowflake, who can defy the odds of probability, I’m just usually out of step with the flow of existence in this universe, I am at odds with what is. I’m not going to reveal which response, as you shouldn’t be privyed to my thought process, otherwise I’ll be inadvertently starting franchises, but all this shit to say that I FUCKING LOVE THESE DARK BITCHES!!!! SO MUCH THAT I FEATURED THEIR EXCLUSIVE AND FUCKING INCREDIBLE TRACK “THE HITCHHIKER” FOR MY GUEST PROGRAMMING SLOT ON THE WAY PEOPLE STARE RADIO!!! This is a very special band, who still does it deep and dark, plays it reallllll fucking instinctual and sonically kills without remorse. Today is a pretty fucking special day, TUNDRA IS RELEASING AT LONG MOTHERFUCKING LAST THE TOMBZ EP, THIS IS SOME SERIOUSLY GREAT SHIT. I dwell in darkness, day or night, it’s in my veins, amongst other chemicals, which IS why you’re reading this, and why this was written, my tastes for the dark, and the beautiful. THEY were very generous with us, and made us an EXCLUSIVE AMAZING FUCKING MIX, GET THAT SHIT AS A FREE DOWNLOAD BELOW, and grab the excellent front and back cover art. But before you get started though you need to hear this INSANE FUCKING AMAZING SHIT TEXTBEAK AnD CEREMONIAL DAGGER DID FOR THEIR REMIXES of: ALREADY DEAD”
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What is the story of TOMBZ, how did you come together in this band?
Drew: I had known Tom on and off for a while through hardcore shows and a mutual love for AFI. I got him a job where I’ve been working and we started talking about making electronic music for a while. He had already been producing things on and off, and I had ideas. We finally sat down one day and made some magic happen and were stoked on it and decided to keep going.
Tom: I’ve known Jake for a couple of years, and he had been my roommate at the time when I started working with Drew. Jake and I had shared an interest in the whole witch house thing for quite a while, and had a short-lived project called Tetragrammaton that co-existed with Tombz for a bit before both projects folded into each other.
Jake: What they said, we were all sort of doing our own thing, once we all became acquainted we decided it would be a lot more intelligent to combine our interests and talents, especially since Drew plays guitar and Tom and I are just idiots who know how to use software.
What were each of your first experiences like in bands?
Drew: I did vocals in a death metal sorta band my first two years of high school. We played as often as possible and I got hooked on playing live music. Been doing guitar and bass in hardcore bands on and off since then. I’m currently playing guitar in a touring hardcore band. I can’t function without making noise.
Tom: You’re looking at it. I’ve been messing around with music for a very long time (for my age, I suppose), but mostly by myself, and never with much to show for it. A lot of unfinished project files. So far so good.
Jake: I grew up involved mainly in hardcore/metal bands, it was definitely fun at the time but I’m over it and don’t have much love for that community at all.
Can you tell me about your upcoming EP, what are some of the influencing factors that inspired it? Can you tell me a little bit about recording it as well?
Tom: The music I was making on my own before we started this was generally a lot more like club music. I was making mostly electro house and dubstep, and occasionally I’d make a very atmospheric piece in the vein of a movie score (I’m a very big fan of film scores/soundtracks, Hans Zimmer is one of my idols, musically). Once the three of us started this project, my experience with both of those styles really helped a lot and it was a pretty seamless transition. I just bought my first MIDI controller, so everything you hear on our work up until now has been done very point-and-click. A long and arduous process, but it’s really all I’ve known to this point. I’ve definitely learned a lot of new techniques and skills through producing in this group, and I really expect our next release to be a great improvement.
Drew: We all share a love for dark music and aesthetics, and electronic music of all kinds. We fuck with all the subgenres of Witch House (or whatever?), and other stuff like noise, dubstep, chillwave, trap house, and straight up ignorant hip hop. I’m obsessed with black metal, doom metal, and old occult rock bands as well. I think the basis for Tombz was to take all those influences and use them to make some creepy music you could maybe shake your ass to.
Jake: My main influence as far as this genre is traumatic experiences I’ve had in life, drug abuse and a lot of misery. I started listening to darkwave and drag because of how it made me feel, it was a lot less of an aesthetic thing and more of a therapeutic thing. There are experiences I’ve had thanks to this little niche of music that I’d have a hard time explaining to anyone.
Can you tell me a about what it’s like to be a in a dark electronic band in Milwaukee, what is the music scene like there? Can you tell me about some of your current favorite local artists?
Drew: Well, as far as dark electronic music goes, if there is a scene, we don’t know of it. I know there is a huge scene here for noise bands and experimental noise acts…people slamming mics in milk crates and shit. Dubstep is big in some clubs here, but that’s everywhere. Apparently there was a thriving goth/dark electronic scene between here and Madison years ago, but I guess that’s died off. Pale Noir kept it going for a while. It’s a shame. I wish we had people into this sort of stuff, or events like Warlok in CA, or some of the Actual Pain events. It seems to be us and a handful of friends that dig what we’ve made. We’ve talked about trying to set up a party or event but who knows really.
Tom: As far as the style of music we make, I wouldn’t say our local scene is dead, it just hasn’t been born at all. Whether it ever will be or not, who knows. There really aren’t any shows here involving music like that. There are hardcore shows and metal shows all the time, and “raves”, I suppose, although I use that term very loosely when talking about shows as it pertains to the current EDM scene. That’s a whole other tangent that I don’t even want to go off on, because I’ll get angry and type forever.
Jake: Milwaukee sucks, you’ll have to give it a while before people jump off the hate train as far as this type of music, I can already sort of see it happening but I don’t really enjoy paying attention to what kids are starting to listen to things based on peer influences and shit like that. I have a small niche of people who I know are definitely really into it, but as far as the average crowd, I think it’ll be a while, kids around here are still stuck on hardcore and grindcore for the most part.
Can you give me an example of a song you consider perfect?
Drew: AFI “Totalimmortal”, Depeche Mode “The Love Thieves”, My Bloody Valentine “When You Sleep”.
Tom: The Prodigy – “Narayan”, Pink Floyd – “Echoes”, AFI – “The Despair Factor”.
Jake: Gauntlet Hair – “Top Bunk”, Aphex Twin – “Ventolin”, Lil B – “D.O.R.”
If I were to vacation in your hell what should I expect to find there?
Drew: Fields of broken headphones, crying children, and spiders…with no AC.
Tom: The world as it is today, filled with delusional, moronic, intolerable people that breed like flies, worship deities, currency, and pop stars, and systematically adopt and destroy the things you love.
Jake: Neglect, it makes me feel like the world exists as paint peels, like a sour image of water trickling from some dirty fixture. I don’t like unhappiness, and I don’t like to see it in anyone. I hate to see someone cry.
Have you had an experience with the supernatural that you’d be willing to share?
Drew: I saw a apparition of a young girl in an old Victorian dress with two other people. Spoke to a deceased relative via Ouija Board. Had something pull my blankets and jump on the end of a bed in an old house. Heard voices and had things knocked off my walls by an unseen presence until I asked it to stop. I’ve had quite a few. Probably doesn’t help that I actively seek it out.
Tom: Although I’ve always been really into creepy shit and ghost hunting and things like that, my experience has been pretty minimal. I get an awful feeling being in a dark place alone, but I really attribute that to having watched way too many horror movies as a child. When I was young, I saw my dad every other weekend, and at one point he was living with my great grandmother at her house. I never really knew my great grandfather, he died when I was pretty young, but he did have a favorite chair that was visible from the staircase that led up to where I slept. One night I got up in the middle of the night to go downstairs and quite clearly saw his chair rocking. I’ve also seen orbs in the children’s section of a very old cemetery late at night, which was pretty shocking because up until then I figured they were only ever seen on camera, and that it was pretty likely that they were dust. The three of us took some promo pictures in Jake’s basement recently, and a shitload of stuff showed up in those photos that we didn’t see that night.
Jake: I shared a home with a malevolent entity that myself and everyone close to me named ‘Tracey’, I once saw her lying prone in my basement on a dirty hospital gurney.
If you could collaborate with any artist living or dead who would it be?
Drew: Davey Havok of AFI, both in an electronic setting and live band. Peter Murphy of Bauhaus.
Tom: Davey Havok for sure, David and Roger of Pink Floyd, Jeremy Dawson of Shiny Toy Guns, Liam Howlett of The Prodigy.
Jake: Probably the Based God, anyone from Salem, Grimes or Katie Stelmanis.
What are some of your favorite films, and a favorite line of dialogue from a film?
Drew: Night of the Living Dead (1990 Color Version). Suspiria. Lost in Translation. Dracula.
“Children of the night, what music they make.” – Bela Lugosi, Dracula
“Do you know how a falcon is trained, my dear? Her eyes are sewn shut. Blinded temporarily, she suffers the whims of her God patiently, until her will is submerged and she learns to serve – as your God taught and blinded you with crosses.” – Vincent Price, The Masque of the Red Death.
Tom: I’m a huge fan of all of Christopher Nolan’s films, same with Quentin Tarantino. Some of my other favorites would be Romero’s Dawn of the Dead, Carpenter’s Halloween, and American Psycho.
“I met him fifteen years ago. I was told there was nothing left. No reason, no conscience, no understanding; even the most rudimentary sense of life or death, good or evil, right or wrong. I met this six-year-old child, with this blank, pale, emotionless face and, the blackest eyes… the devil’s eyes. I spent eight years trying to reach him, and then another seven trying to keep him locked up because I realized that what was living behind that boy’s eyes was purely and simply… evil.” – Dr. Loomis, Halloween
Jake: I almost exclusively watch asian horror, but: Gozu, Antichrist, Enter The Void, Noroi, Marebito, Pumpkinhead (only the first one), Dark Water.
“Nature is satan’s church.” – Charlotte, Antichrist.
Can you describe your most emotionally moving moment involving music? Or, the moment of live music that has had the greatest impact on you?
Drew: The one time I saw AFI and they closed with “God Called in Sick Today” was unreal. Seeing Danzig Legacy last year and getting to see Samhain and all the Misfits songs I grew up on was incredible. Got real blood spit on me at a Watain show once, that was pretty wild too.
Tom: I flew to Miami in early 2009 for Ultra Music Festival. I saw The Prodigy there after having been a fan of them since Fat of the Land came out when I was really young. Probably the best show I’ve ever seen, completely worth it. That was also the first time I saw Tiesto, and the whole festival was just amazing. I also saw Metallica on my 20th birthday. Again, such a legendary band and I’d never seen them live before. I’ve also seen AFI a few times, twice at the Summerfest Grounds in Milwaukee, and both of those times I waited many, many hours at the front of the stage through all of the opening bands, and both times it rained. Heavily. For Hours. Of course when they finally played, it was completely worth every second of waiting and every drop of rain. I’ve seen Shiny Toy Guns ten times now, as well. Great band live. Also, Lada Gaga and Nero are both fantastic live spectacles.
Jake: Converge, live in portland several years ago. Before playing ‘forsaken’, Bannon explained that the song was about the murder of a childhood friend. The expressions on his face during the performance were indescribable and will stay with me forever.
Some are saying this is the greatest era to exist as a musician, others say it’s the worst, what has your experience been like?
Drew: Both. Mainstream music went from real songs and bands to boring production and utterly mindless shit. Every genre you can think of is over saturated with mediocre bands. At the same time, however, there are no limits anymore, and if there’s something that can be done musically, it’s only a matter of time til someone tries it. Being the obsessive music freak I am, I find that amazing. Never stop creating.
Tom: The YouTube era is a blessing and a curse. The ease and accessibility of everything is very, very nice. Unfortunately, since everyone now has access to all the necessary tools, there is an incredible flood of shit in the world of art in all forms, and you have to wade through more of it than ever before in order to find the gems. Everyone with a digital camera is a photographer and a filmmaker, everyone with a cracked DAW is a producer, and everyone whose mom got them a Traktor Kontrol and a MacBook for Christmas became a DJ as soon as they heard David Guetta.
Jake: I’m more of a fan than a musician, I’m not gonna sit around and bash the internet media era because we wouldn’t even be making this type of shit if it weren’t for the internet, I’m unsure if it would even exist in its current incarnation. I am 100% for this, money is not a desire of mine, and I’ve always been a little grossed out by musicians who care about it more than expressing themselves. My life has been bettered to such an excessive degree by being able to listen to anything I want, any time I want.
Have you ever been to a psychic, would you be willing to share that experience if so?
Drew: I’ve never been to a “professional”, but my old step mom was very in tune with her psychic abilities. She would do tarot readings and scrying, sometimes predict weird, often small events. Receive visits and talk to the spirit of her deceased brother. Blow out light bulbs when she was mad haha. I learned a lot from her, and I’ve been studying ways to sharpen my abilities in that field.
Tom: I’ve never been to a psychic or anything like that. I’ve never really bought into it.
Jake: No I have not, but I’m a firm believer in the paranormal and always will be.
Do you feel things happen for a reason, do you have an experience that would be evidence of this?
Drew: I never know how I feel about this. Sometimes, I’d like to think they do. Then I remember just how chaotic and insane the world really is and I think it all comes down to your will and how you use it. “Do what thou wilt…”
Tom: I believe that absolutely nothing happens for a reason, other than the obvious. No grand scheme, no big plans. Just chaos and what you make of it.
Jake: I’m a staunch nihilist. I believe that nothing happens for any particular reason, but I’m very adamant about having a ‘zero regret’ state of mind because without the past, the things that make up the foundation of your happiness in the present might not exist, everything you love about yourself might not exist.