How did the band began ?
We started in late 2014, after having played in the Austin music scene for a several years before that. Willy (guitar/vox) and Waldo (keys/vox) played in a previous band called "Hereticks", while Jack (drums/percussion) played in a band called "Patch".
We decided to start a new thing after the previous bands broke up and the rest is history !
Why do you choose this name ?
We decided on the name TOMA because it is a good rythme with the name of our album, "Aroma".
Do you feel more creative when you're together ?
I think absolutely, there is a creative energy that flows when we are in a room playing and writing music together. The best kind of creativity is the one that expands your personal boundaries while supporting the strenghts of your collaborators. Every songwriter has a routine, and group writing is always helpful encouragement for each of us, as we all do a little bit of writing.
When you're all disagree, who is the most diplomatic ?
Hahaha, interesting question ! Well, I would argue that Waldo is the most diplomatic because he's engaged, he's used to getting constantly told what to do !
It's not always easy to taking criticism in stride, but I think living together for a month and not killing each other really speaks volumes.
How is Austin's music scene ?
Austin is a great place to play. It has more music venues per capita than any other city than I am aware of. For example, there are as many shows every night in Austin as there are in LA or NYC (even though it is ten times much smaller). The problem is that there is not much of a music industry in Austin. So, it definitely has its pros & cons. But overall, I would say it's a great creative place to grow as a band, and play a lot of cool gigs.
Could you describe your mindset when you recorded this LP ?
There was definitely a feeling that we were making something special. It's not always like that in the studio. I've only felt this way about an album once before in my career. But there was a feeling of discovery and accomplishment for sure. There was also a lot of frustration and it was difficult at times because we really worked our asses off ! But in the end, it was all 100% worth it.
How do you write a song ?
Waldo and Will are the main songwriters. A lot of the songs happen organically, based off one or two ideas that one of the songwriters brings to the table. Sometimes, they will bring a complete song to pratice and that song is written in a very short time, it just all comes into place.
Sometimes, a song will be completely turned upside down. Other times, Waldo will bring a verse and Will will bring a chorus, they will somehow fit together perfectly. In short, there isn't a really single formula to how we write. It changes all the times.
What is your best memory in the studio ?
When we first started recording - it took us a whole year to finish - our producer, James really pushed our limits. He would find ways to take apart and restructure songs that we had always been afraid to touch. I think prior to this album, there was much more a sense of attachment to a song, despite that song maybe not being presented in its best light. When James stepped in and really challenged us, it was sort of a shock and a little bit scary. But hearing how much better the song sounded after that process, that was really an eye opening moment for us.
How do you deal with difficult moments and discouragement ?
It really depends. Sometimes people just need to be left alone for a while, other times we need encouragement from each other. Usually, we just drink more coffee and that fixes it.
If you can be teleport in another era, which one would it be ? Why ?
I would probably pick something like ancien Egypt or prehistoric times. It's like that movie "Kid in King Arthur's court", you know, you could teach them how to cook hamburgers and play rock'n'roll music and stuff like that. I'm sure we'd be bigger than The Beatles.
The impossible question : The Rolling Stones or The Beatles ?
Thanks a lot TOMA, it's been a real pleasure to know more about you guys !
"Aroma" will be the perfect companion for sunny days, bad mornings and hangovers. You can listen/buy it here.