Urbana band The Tomblands are releasing their debut EP Drowned Again this weekend, but you can stream the release in its entirety here:
The band has been playing around the Champaign-Urbana and Chicagoland areas for about a year now, but has yet to release an official EP or full-length album.
To find out more about Drowned Again, we caught up with guitarist Danny Stankus:
Ghost Track: How did the band and this debut release come about?
Danny Stankus: Most of the ideas for the songs began at the end of high school and freshman year of college. Nick [Georgelos] and I would practice playing guitar and singing in Mount Hope Cemetery, off Pennsylvania (Ave. in Urbana), near our dorm because we could play as loud as we wanted. We took the band name from The Libertines’ song “Tomblands” to honor that. Most of the writing for this EP was done there and due to one reason or another, a full band wasn’t formed until senior year, which left a lot of time for the songs to evolve. Our newer songs aren’t recorded yet. We’re going to do those more professionally. I would say writing for lyrics and guitar took about a year, with some editing between the time where Nick and I could play any of the songs together to playing with a full band and playing shows today.
Ghost Track: Where did you guys record the EP?
Danny Stankus: We did all the recording, mixing, and mastering ourselves with two condenser mics running through an M-box into GarageBand. It probably took about 150 hours. We recorded in our college house basement The Itchy Pig, where we hosted two house shows that we also played, my parent’s house in the suburbs, Marc Ceruti’s parents’ house in the suburbs, Nick’s apartment in Chicago, and Liam Burns’ and Marc’s apartment in Urbana.
Ghost Track: What did you guys aim for, musically and lyrically, on the EP?
Danny Stankus: Generally speaking, our aim in creating music is to reflect on the absurdity of existence. Our aim in writing these songs was really just purely self-expressive – to make music that we ourselves felt drawn to. There’s something very carnal and insatiable about rock ‘n’ roll. Musically, we were inspired by a Quentin Tarantino quote describing why he picked the songs he did for the Pulp Fiction soundtrack: “I don’t know what surf music has to do with surf boards. To me, it just sounds like rock ‘n’ roll, even Morricone music. It sounds like rock ‘n’ roll Spaghetti Western music.” We want people to go to shows and have a good time, even if they don’t particularly like rock ‘n’ roll. Sound-wise, it’s just rock ‘n’ roll to us – anything beyond that classification we leave to the listener. We’ve heard “surf punk,” “garage surf ‘n’ roll,” and “no-coast surfers.”
Lyrically, we deal with death often. Almost every song mentions death in some way, whether explicitly or implicitly. Like I said, we just wanted to create something that explores life and attempts to overcome the absurdity. “Sea” deals with discontentment with the world but still enjoying the good things. “Talitha” is about drinking too much and how we spend our time. “More” is about a girl Danny met the first day of college who was wearing a Jim Morrison t-shirt and the unrealistic expectations of her he had in his head. “Surf” is about sleeping and dreaming. “The Weather” is a story, but is literally just about the weather in Illinois being awful. “Skies” is about how we are made up of the same things that make up the oceans, the sky, the stars, etc. The theme of friendship runs through the album too, a tight-knit bunch of friends who take on the world. “Skies” takes a lot of the friendship ideas from The Outsiders.
You can catch The Tomblands in Urbana at Pizza FM’s upcoming house show.