Halifax Pop Explosion:: Featured Artist - Tomcat Combat

As you may remember, I mentioned Halifax's Tomcat Combat are playing with Don Caballero for the Pop Explosion's pre-party. Well way back then I didn't have any Tomcat Combat music to post, or much info on them, but I've remedied those issues. Or rather Noel from Tomcat Combat has remedied those issues as he has provided me with some music for you fine folks (Slow Speed On The High Wire), but he also took the time to answer a few questions. Enjoy both.

HH:: How did you guys come to be an instrumental outfit? Was that the plan from the get go, or did it happen organically?

NM:: We've always been an instrumental band. Even when our drummer Gary Staple and I worked on projects before Tomcat Combat, the music we made was instrumental. For us it's been the best way to get the most out of the songs and the writing. I think if we had vocals it would be a distraction from what we've pieced together and how that resonates on its own. The great pleasure of playing in Tomcat Combat is that we are writing rock songs with memorable melodies and exciting rhythms without the feeling that we are missing anything. My father said once that our sound is intergalactic. I'm not entirely sure what that means. It could have something to do with the synthesizer.

HH:: You're playing with Don Caballero at the Explosion Pre-Party, have they been an influence on your sound at all?

NM:: We're all fans of the band. We're extremely thrilled to play with them, if not a little nervous. As far as instrumental bands go I think that they are tops. I'm sure they are going to really blow everyone away on the 22nd. When a band like that has been around and as long as they have and have made records as good as they have its hard not to pay attention to and consider them when you are toying with a stabby guitar part or an unusual time signature. Despite that, I can't really say that they've informed too much into what Tomcat Combat does or where we came from. We're more into pushing melody rather than dizzying time signatures, although we do experiment with that, but that has never been the point of our music. They are so good at what they do; it would feel silly to try follow that style too closely. Oh, but I do some guitar 'tapping' for a few bars in a new song, so there you go.

HH:: I've read Don Cab are not fans of the term "math rock", which is used liberally when they're being discussed. Do you have any issues with people putting labels on what it is you do (like Dutch Pop for example, haha)?

NM:: We don't have any major reservations over that kind of thing. People want to understand what kind of music we are making and that's fine. Just saying " we're an instrumental band" usually isn't enough for someone if they haven't heard us and even the word "instrumental" can make me a little uncomfortable because for many people it is a barrier. I think every genre has some kind of stigma around it, so it's not the kind of thing anyone should really worry about, but I can see where the anxiety comes from. "Post rock" is what we are usually referred to as. That one makes me squirm a little too, because I don't want people to think we are melodramatic. I like to say that we are instrumental post-punk. Sounds tough.

HH:: Other than the bands you're playing with at the pre-party show, who are you looking forward to seeing during the Pop Explosion?

NM:: I'm very excited to see Eric's Trip. The first show I've ever seen in Halifax was Elevator when I was 18. I bought a fake ID for 35 dollars to see them and it was worth it. I can't wait to get some more of that Rick White fuzz. Aids Wolf and Miracle Fortress are going to be rad too. Rumor has it; this will be one of the best Halifax Pop Explosions yet.

HH:: If you had to name one Halifax "must-do" for fans or even the other bands to do when they're in Halifax, what would it be?

NM:: Mini beers at Gus' Pub!

MP3:: Tomcat Combat - Slow Speed on The High Wire

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