If you are not familiar with TOMBS then read this interview to get to know the band a bit better. Answers from Mike Hill. Anders Ekdahl ©2017
When the band came into creation what was the main purpose for it?
-I had no expectations. I wanted to write music I enjoyed and not get too wrapped up in being on a label or having any kind of commercial success. It was an expression of musical freedom and I didn’t want to do something that would be construed as derivative.
How hard is it to come up with a sound that is all yours? What bits’n’pieces do you pick up from other stuff to make it your sound?
-It’s easy. You just follow your passion and write music that makes you happy. I have a lot of influences. I read an interview with Phil Anselmo where he talks about how bands these days often time only have one influence. You can listen to their record and know exactly what they’re into, what records are in their collection and what bands they like. I want to be an aggregate of all of the things in my life that inspire me, including films, books, obviously music and other esoteric knowledge that I pick up here and there.
I have no idea what kind of creative process you guys go through but how hard is it to record and release new songs?
-It’s easy. I keep a notebook that I constantly write in. I steal words, sounds, textures, feeling and emotions from the world around me. I enjoy being creative, it is the single most motivating thing in my life. It is the ONLY thing that I’ve done consistently through out my life. I’ve a had a number of jobs, careers, girlfriends etc but being creative is the only thing that drive me, gets me out of bed in the morning.
Recording is another story completely. Recording is incredibly hard, its a difficult, grinding process because when you’re done, this is the final version of the songs that you have been toiling away on for the last several months.
Today technology allows you to record at home and release your music digitally. But in doing so is there a risk that you release only single songs because that is what is demanded to stay atop and therefore you end up killing the album for example?
-I don’t know. That’s not how I work so I can’t really speak to that concept. I always try to create a body of work that is connected somehow. I don’t really get into just doing stand alone songs and post them online. I have posted demo versions of some stuff that I’ve done, but never something that I consider as final.
I for one feel that the change in how people listen to music today, by downloading it and expecting to get it for free, will kill music as we know it. What kind of future is there for music?
-The only future is in touring. I believe going on the road separates the real gangsters from the posers. It’s always been about touring and playing live. Making records is cool, I enjoy it as a document of what we’re doing, but the live experience is where you can tell if a band is real or not.
What kind of responses do you get to your music? What has been the thing that has gotten the most attention?
-Some people like the band and some don’t. That’s pretty much all I can say. If you like it, Hail! If not, that’s coo too.
We live in a world where there are no real distances between people communicating anymore. What has been the most surprising contact so far?
-Honestly, I don’t really get a lot of communication with people. I go online sometimes, but I’m not really that engrossed with social media. I actually try to leave my mobile device home when I go out these days.
I’m an old man, so I can remember a time before the internet and mobile phones. Back then, you can really be alone. I remember I would be able to take long walks without anyone being able to get in touch with me. You would go out for hours and when I got home, my room mates would say that so and so called. I would call then back, they would ask me where I was and I could just say “I was out.” I miss those days. I think we are failing as a culture due to all of this communication that we have.
Does playing in a band make you feel like you are a part of a greater community? What has music brought with it that you would have otherwise missed out on?
-A community? No. I have some friends that I really enjoy seeing and spending time with, but I don’t feel like I’m part of anything. I spend a lot of time alone, doing my work, reading, watching films. The band hasn’t ever been a group thing for me.
What is the live scene like for you? Do you feel that playing live helps building a bigger following?
-I love playing live because that is the true experience. Bands can make great records, but can they pull it off live? that is the true test. Every night you have to start from zero and make it happen. I like that. Listen to “The Song Remains the Same” by Led Zeppelin. That is a band playing live and getting it on! No pro tools, no triggers and no fancy light shows. I respect Neurosis for simplifying there stage presentation. They were one of the first bands to do visuals live and really advanced the genre. They are legends. I think it’s cool that when you see them now, it’s retro in the sense that its a band playing music with a no-frills sensibility.
Does playing live yield a bigger following? I don’t know. I don’t really think in those terms. Its nice when people get into the band, but it’s not really a focus of mine.
What plans do you have for the future?
-Touring and more touring