There is a restless creative and musical energy that boils in Brooklyn; it’s called TomTom, and they care about drummers, music and feminism.
I had one drum lesson as a teenager and after giving it a timid slap, I hung up the sticks and picked up the headphones instead. Having proven myself an appalling musician, you’d probably think I’d stay clear of this magazine, right? Wrong. You don’t have to be musical to rock to the heady vibe TomTom plays; you’ve just got to love music.
'Music is all too often a footnote in cultural periodicals or muddled with fashion or photography. Nothing to complain about, but TomTom brings an integrity to the genre that starts at base level and it’s refreshing.'
Music is all too often a footnote in cultural periodicals or muddled with fashion or photography. Nothing to complain about, but TomTom brings an integrity to the genre that starts at base level and it’s refreshing. Musicians do not come across as polished or perfect, there is honesty in the struggle of touring, paying bills and rent and navigating an arguably male dominated business. The people interviewed are not asked the humdrum (excuse pun) questions, but personalised inquiries that really expose their choices, decisions and overall journey, both musically and socially.
The other point is that it’s about discovery and learning. Feminism sounds scary, and it isn’t; it’s about equality, and TomTom champions the topic with ease, redefining femininity without quashing it. The enthusiasm translates seamlessly into the music, the two are entwined and barely distinguishable. Just like a songwriter might use words to comment on current events or identify themselves within a movement, these bands articulately explore their inspiration from society, rather than a blunt berating of frustrating cultural norms. There is an outlet to this charged passion and it comes via sound.
On the topic of discovery, I didn’t know ambient darkwave dream-pop was a thing, and now, I’d like to know more. I’ve never considered listening to American Roots Music, Rhythm Turner’s words made me feel I could give it a go. Just the band name Tsu Shi Ma Mi Rae makes me want to listen. It’s fun, interesting and accessible, and they really know their stuff. Yeah, there are adverts, but I didn’t mind it as much, because the products seemed necessary, their design fitted with the design of the magazine, and, as they already feature on different gear to invest in or reviews of kit, it seems pretty related to me. Considering a lot of it seems to cater for those who are just starting out, it’s this base level that allows it to be so inspiring and accessible, with songs to learn, warmups and ways to further your skills.
The female music community can often be fragmented, and TomTom draws it together in a flurry of sound and movement, and it's free entry for everyone. Book me a ticket!