Mosaic / March 8, 2017

Tooms discuss benefits of collaboration

Assistant Professor of Physics Nathalie Haurberg sings into the mic at a Tooms show at Glory Days barber shop with Professor of Enviromental Studies Ben Farrer on bass and Visiting Instructor Jon Anderson on drums. (Photo courtesy of Nathalie Haurberg)

Tooms draws inspiration from the television show, “The X-Files”, to create and express a unique sound by means of the characters and plot of the show. Leading the band and writing most of the lyrical content, Assistant Professor of Physics Nathalie Haurberg hopes to convey a deeper meaning beyond the events that take place in the show. With Visiting Instructor Jon Anderson on drums and Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies Ben Farrer on the bass, the resulting sound is a combination of musical styles that differs from what any of them have played before.

The Knox Student: Why and when did you decide to form a band?

Nathalie Haurberg: The first show we played was Jon and I, and that was almost a year ago in June or July. We kind of talked about it for six or seven months beforehand. But then Ben started playing in the band around six or seven months ago. That’s when we really formed and started writing songs. I like playing in bands and I wanted to make a band that was a little different from other bands. Jon is in all my bands and Ben is a good friend and a good musician, so we asked him to join us. It’s a different style of music than what I usually play, and I use art to get out my feelings as well as express myself creatively.

TKS: How did the name of the band come up?

NH: In this band, all of the songs are about “The X-Files,” and Tooms is an iconic episode and character by the show. It was recommended to me by a friend when I said I wanted to start a band about “The X-Files.”

TKS: How is this style of music different from what you have previously played?

NH: For me, this is a little bit more poppy in a sense, and more of a grungy, slower, melodic style of music.

Benjamin Farrer: Nathalie normally plays in faster, heavier bands, and I normally play in slower, lighter bands. So it’s a big shift for me in terms of style of music. It’s also a shift in terms of the role in a band. Normally I am the primary songwriter for most of my musical projects, and I’m mostly playing the guitar or piano or doing vocals. But this is a chance for me to do something a bit different, which is to play more of a supporting role and to play bass, and to jump around a lot more.

TKS: How often do you play together?

NH: It depends on the time of the term. Our goal is to play together once a week, but in reality it’s more like once a month.

Jon Anderson: When we were writing a lot, it was more like once every week. We do that for like a month.

NH: It oscillates depending on what we have coming up. We like to get a lot of practice in before any shows we have.

TKS: What kinds of shows have you been playing for?

NH: So far we’ve played at the Barber Shop a couple times at some DIY Galesburg shows, we played at the WVKC show in Taylor Lounge. We’re playing a show in Peoria tomorrow at a bar, and we’ve played at The Beanhive.

TKS: How would you characterize the band’s personality?

BF: It’s a combination of a tornado siren and a tree falling. Jon does the tree falling.

NH: It’s kind of loud and noisy, but it’s also supposed to be kind of catchy and melodic.

TKS: What do you get out of playing as a group as opposed to playing individually?

JA: I can’t really play individually because I only know how to play drums. I’ve given up on every other instrument I’ve tried. So I don’t really get much out of not playing in a band.

NH: For me, the creative process is better when it involves other people. It stretches you to think about your own choices and ideas and incorporate other people’s’ feedback. And when those people are involved in the project they’re going to give you much more useful and meaningful feedback.

BF: Even when you are playing music by yourself it’s never really by yourself. Other people are involved someway and somehow. Whether it’s the things that happen in your life that make you want to play music or whether it’s band members. All art is about communication, you’re not making it just so you can enjoy it yourself. You aren’t just playing for an audience, but you are trying to communicate something to someone else.

TKS: How do you integrate your individual styles while remaining cohesive as a group?

NH: Listening is kind of the key. Trying something and having people who are willing to be honest and give feedback.

JA: I write five different drum parts to go along with the same thing, and then eventually pick one that sounds the best to everybody.

NH: I think compromising is also important. Understanding that our own personal style isn’t the best choice in a particular song.

JA: I mean, this band isn’t really my style of playing, so it adds a weird element sometimes. But you make it work through compromising and getting feedback.

TKS: How do you plan to continue with the band in the future?

NH: We’re going to keep playing and writing songs. With any band, you have to keep writing otherwise you get stale and old. And even if your fans don’t think it’s stale and old, it gets stale and old for you. We’re planning to go on tour this summer at some point, and the goal is always to record at some point and put out a physical product of music. The thing about bands is that they always evolve and sometimes they end, which isn’t necessarily bad. You work with what’s going on, and there’s no reason for us to end anytime soon.

Sam Jacobson, Co-News Editor
Sam Jacobson is a junior majoring in philosophy and potentially minoring in creative writing or psychology. She started volunteer writing during spring term of her freshman year, and worked as a staff writer during her sophomore year.

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