Press Contact Bill Benson
The story of TOMA is one of self-discovery, with four men from Austin, Texas joining forces in search of their own unique place in the musical firmament.
Keyboard/vocalist Waldo Wittenmyer, drummer Jake Hiebert, bassist Neil Byers, and guitarist/vocalist Willy Jay are a true collective, with each gentleman playing an integral role in every musical decision they make.
“We’re dedicated to the art of pop songwriting,” says Wittenmyer. “I’d like to think that we are contributing to what it means to write a pop song, to the definition of what that means.”
“Willy and I may be the ‘main songwriters’,” Wittenmyer says, “but almost every time we work together to change it up and make it fresh. That way by the end of the process, everyone feels like it’s their own song.”
That may sound simplistic, but when you hear TOMA or see them play live, it will be obvious just how invested all of them are in this project. Although they’ve only been together for a short while, they’re locked in and have found that perfect chemistry that it takes some bands years to find.
With that unified front in place, TOMA was free to explore a sound that combines the best elements of some of the best music of the last 40 years. Their debut full-length (out in 2017) is a tuneful, spirited record that marries the complexity of ‘70s idols like Todd Rundgren and Squeeze with the neo-psychedelia of the Elephant 6 movement. It’s loose-limbed power pop of the highest order.
Again, when it came to recording this debut, the members of TOMA approached it in the spirit of pure collaboration, with the added voice and instrumentation of James Petralli of fellow Austin band White Denim.
“He was really like a fifth member of the band,” says Byers. “We would play him a song and then we’d spend the rest of the day deconstructing it from the bottom up. He acted like a filter for everyone’s ideas and now we have a more focused and polished album than it would have been otherwise.”
There’s no denying that as songs like “Estranged” and “Count Me Out” burst forth with vintage synth melodies, slinky grooves, and impassioned lyrics that look to the ups and downs, highs and lows of being a sensitive soul in a very insensitive world.
Having already staked their claim in the music world of Texas, next up for TOMA is a full court press on the rest of the U.S. with plans to tour through much of 2017, including what will surely be a triumphant hometown show at the forthcoming SXSW festival. And the best part of it is, they’ll be doing it all together.
“We’ve spent so much time together, with all of us becoming really close friends,” Jay says. “And with the amount of collaborative effort we’ve put into this, it’s been an awesome experience already.”
Here’s to more awesome experiences in the future.
Links of Love….
04.22 • Rockwood Music Hall (New York, NY)
04.23 • Pentajawn (Philadelphia, PA)
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