Wednesday, December 9, 2009

TVD First Date with | Bombadil

This summer I received a decorated envelope that gave me that picked for the team feeling. Inside was the latest album, Tarpits in Canyonlands, from a North Carolina-based band called Bombadil. My first listen through the album felt like a hearty four-season long jaunt through a foreign land where men wear fedoras and drive wagons and women spend the days tending fields with their children tied firmly to their backs. Funnily enough, the band claims one of its inspirations came from a trip taken along "the so-called World's Most Dangerous Road in Bolivia." TVD caught up with Bombadil member Bryan recently to get the low down on the band (comprised of members Daniel (bass/piano/saxophone/vocals/songwriter), James (drums/vocals/songwriter), Stuart (piano/trumpet/vocals/songwriter) and Bryan (guitar/vocals/songwriter) and what they're currently up to.

TVD: So first off- how did you get started?
Bryan: Though we didn't realize the irony at the time, one starting point for the band was on a trip down the so-called World's Most Dangerous Road in Bolivia. Daniel and I were debating whether the Rolling Stones or Pink Floyd was a better live band. We decided to start making recordings and one thing led to another. Our first show as 'Bombadil' happened in March 2005 in our university's dining hall.

TVD: How would you describe your sound?
A friend once called it arena folk, and that's probably not too far off. I'd say all of our songs are rooted in folk music, or at least the concept behind folk music -- we start by trying to tell stories about the unusual circumstances we find ourselves in as human beings...about how we relate to each other, about our expectations, about the eccentricities that we all have, about what happens next. At the end of the day, we're just trying to make music we would like to hear.

TVD: Your band is based in North Carolina—what, if any, influence does the Tarheel State have on the music you create and how you perform?
One of the great parts about living in the Triangle [the region of North Carolina that is anchored by the cities of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill] is that there's a quality local show playing just about every night. There's always someone with good ideas, good songs, good chops, or just good old-fashioned charisma playing practically in your backyard. It's a great place to learn, to get inspired, and to have a good time.

TVD: Your first LP, A Buzz A Buzz, came out two years ago, and your most recent LP, Tarpits in Canyonlands, was released this past summer. I've noticed a more refined and polished sound on Tarpits but you have managed to maintain the dichotomous sounds of playfulness and solemness heard on the first album- do you feel with this new album a need to evolve a little or are you just exploring and expanding on the sounds your fans associate you with?
One big change we were able to make with Tarpits was setting aside a nice chunk of time to work on the thing. When we recorded Buzz we were all juggling day jobs, plus touring on most weekends. When we went into record Tarpits, we had left the dayjobs behind. We carved out a solid month to hone all the arrangements and practice beforehand, and then we had three straight weeks in the studio really focus on making a record.

The extra shows and endless hours in the car since recording the first disc also meant we'd gotten a little better at our instruments and knew better how to communicate with each other. It also helped that Scott Solter is a completely brilliant engineer. I think the playful solemnness you mention will probably always be part of who we are as a band, but musically, we'll always be looking for new alleys or passageways to wander upon.

TVD: I know that Daniel was diagnosed with tendinitis which halted tour plans for a while—any updates?
Back in 2007, Daniel started feeling pain in his wrists after playing. Over the next year and a half, it progressed and became a bigger and bigger problem until he realized in May of this year that he would have to completely stop playing — indefinitely. He's made some progress since then, but it looks like he still has a ways to go before be able to perform. So as of yet, no shows are scheduled. But we're still writing new tunes and plotting out how and when to make the next release.

Although there is no tour in the works yet, the band just recently released a new video for its song So Many Ways To Die , and their albums are all available online to keep your pallate wet until such time when they are able to roll through your town.

Bombadil - Sad Birthday (Mp3)
Bombadil - Honeymoon (Mp3)
Bombadil - Reasons (Mp3)
Bombadil - Oto The Bear (Mp3)

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