Danny Tomb



We are here with Danny Tomb of 4Arm, an Australian metal band (we recently reviewed) that has a lot to tell us.

R&MIMB: How did your passion for music, especially metal music, begin?
Danny Tomb: It began when I was just a kid, I have an older sister who was listening to Whitesnake and bands like that, I loved the sound of the guitars and feel of the music, when I was 9 a friend of mine showed me Testament and Metallica. First thrash song I ever heard was Fight Fire with Fire, I was totally blown away! My passion for thrash had begun and would never die.

R&MIMB: Why did you choose this name for your band?
Danny Tomb: When we first began the band we would play so hard and fast that our forearms would fill up with lactic acid and burn like hell (Laughs). We were going to name it 4ARM Dismobilizer though it was just too damn long, so we shortened it to 4ARM, I think we just got sick of trying to think of a name and wanted to concentrate on writing music and playing shows, so it was kinda tongue and cheek but the name stuck none the less. We later adopted the name for its original meaning and that is to be prepared for war, to forearm yourself is to always be ready for whatever may come your way.

R&MIMB: What can you tell us about the Australian metal scene?
Danny Tomb: Australian metal scene itself is pretty much like anywhere else really, it's very underground and has pockets of people who are into different genre's of metal, so given the population of Australia you are always appealing and trying to push yourself to a minority, it makes things difficult when you are starting out but it also tests you to see how bad you want it.

R&MIMB: In your opinion what does a band need to reach the same level of the most famous and important names in the metal scene?
Danny Tomb: You need respect for the members and guys that you play with for a start, you also need to be able to communicate openly with them and feel that every member is free to say what he or she thinks and feels, once you have that and IF you have the product! You need to find a team that won't treat you like a number, or someone who is only there because you are helping pay their bills. If you have good people around you and you are willing to work damn hard and sacrifice almost everything for what you believe in, then you MAY just have A chance!

R&MIMB: I've known you've become quite famous in Australia as a Metallica cover band. Why did you choose to start your career this way?
Danny Tomb: Australia pays fantastic money for cover bands and NOTHING!! for original acts. The Original bands have to nearly always pay to play, it's that bad here with that kind of thing that the tiny bands get that used to it they start to bag and lash out at the bands that can and do ask for money, usually because the tiny little bands are trying to suck the cocks of the promoters they want to work with which are usually the dodgy ones, anyway who are responsible for refusing to pay bands (Laughs). It's just how it is here! We did the cover stuff to fund 4ARM! Simple! We have always known what we wanted and how far we were willing to go, it could not be done if there wasn't any money coming in so we generated a way to bring the money in. We just happened to be very good at it and was seen as Australia's greatest Metallica cover band (Laughs)

R&MIMB: How much did Metallica influence your sound and how many other influences have you had?
Danny Tomb: If I was to be honest I would tell you that early Metallica is the reason we are a band. Mick, I and the other guys grew up learning and living everything Metallica. Yeah, sure we had our other major influences like, Machine Head, Megadeth, Testament, Slayer, Anthrax, and most other bay area bands, but when we were growing up it was all about Metallica. As far as we can tell there is no band or group playing or concentrating on the type of thrash we play anymore including Metallica, though it's that style and that energy, angst and aggression in the music we grew up with and love, it's what we believe thrash is, this is what WE wanted to hear in our new album.

R&MIMB: Which are the main differences between the three albums you have released?
Danny Tomb: 13 Scars was the beginning of everything for us. It's a very hate fuelled album and in our opinion very adolescent, we really were just learning and experimenting with what kind of thing we wanted, we still play one or two of the tracks from the album in our sets. The Empires of Death is a much more mature album, not as vocally aggressive as 13Scars though it's still fairly heavy and has a great energy to it, still a little experimental with some parts but a good album. Submission for Liberty is a pure thrash album, the song writing is far more mature than our previous work, it's musically aggressive, vocally and lyrically aggressive, and is the closest thing to a book of me so far. There is more melody and more "sing a long" moments, you can't help but move to the songs, it just drives harder in that way.

R&MIMB: How does your sound come to life? Can you tell us about your way of composing?
Danny Tomb: Mick and I do all the writing in the band, I suppose you could say that we approach things in an un-orthodox way. We will usually focus heavily on the drums first then build everything else off them. Mick will normally have a beat or kind of idea for a song and that's how it usually begins. Sometimes I'll come with a riff I really dig and we build off that, but doing the drums first is our preferred way of writing, we are very used to doing it that way and it works well for us. Whenever we have an idea for a song we usually always have the whole thing envisioned by the time we start to work on things. We know from the start what we are looking for and keep working on it until we are satisfied that we have outwardly conquered what was in our heads.

R&MIMB: How does it feel to play in big festivals, such as the upcoming "Download Festival" or the "Bay Area Metal Festival"?
Danny Tomb: It's a total dream come true for me personally and for the band. I can't wait to hit those stages, It's pretty much what I set out to do as a musician when I first started learning my instrument, I have never been to an overseas festival though know so many people that have and they always come back with the most amazing stories, hell I've never even been out of Australia! So my first international experience is going to be playing at Download in the UK, for me it's a crazy thought really and hopefully we can add a whole bunch more of these kinds of shows in the next coming years.

R&MIMB: Are you aiming to reach any goal in particular?
Danny Tomb: Respect! We want to be respected as a band and as musicians, we are doing things that no other Australian thrash band has ever done, things are moving in a positive direction and we work night and day for the band. I suppose we always said that we would be happy if we ever had the chance to play at Donington that everything would have been worth it if we had that opportunity and if we never ended up selling a million albums that at least we did that haha. Might be time to re- think our goals now! (Laughs)

R&MIMB: It took five years from your first album to the second, but only two from the second one to the third. Why so much difference?
Danny Tomb: The break between Scars and Empires was largely because of personal things going on with members. Some of us started families, bought houses or whatever else, when we were ready to start working on Empires it meant that everything was settled and we could focus on being a band and moving everything forward, that's why Submission was much quicker in its release. We were ready from the writing sessions of Empires to keep things going like a bulldozer.

R&MIMB: I've noticed your last album; "Submission for Liberty" is particularly full of rage and, in my opinion, a little resentful too. Where do these feelings come from?
Danny Tomb: My psychiatrist tells me I have carried a lot of hurt with me into my adult life, that I have turned that hurt into rage and anger and that it has now become a part of who I am. Expressing myself through music is a venting tool for me, almost therapeutic. It's something I need to do.

R&MIMB: Speaking of "Submission for Liberty", I've noticed an interesting choice: the first song, "Sinn Macht Frei", is a beautiful extract from the final speech of "The Great Dictator" by Charlie Chaplin. Why did you choose those words?
Danny Tomb: Those words are so powerful, the entire speech is amazing. When we first heard it we knew that we had to have it in the album someway, Andy was responsible for 95% of the work on Sinn Macht Frei including finding the speech and showing it to us. I was blown away when I first heard it. Chaplin announces it flawlessly, when we researched it a little we found out that because of at the time the movie was done and the sensitivity of it concerning the world war Chaplin was actually fined $90,000 U.S dollars for even having it in the movie though he left it there anyways, that's what fighting for what you believe is all about, I had a new found respect for Chaplin after researching things a little. The speech pretty much sums up the feel and direction of the entire album before it even starts.

R&MIMB: How important was your collaboration with Matt Hyde?
Danny Tomb: It was basically the basis of us doing the album. We had always wanted and searched for what we call, "the right production", so we had to have Matt work on the album. We had always been fairly picky when it came to the production side of our music and was always left a little disappointed with our previous albums. For us Matt more than justified the music on the album, it sounds real and not like a computer, which for us is very important! It has huge balls and impacts heavily from the very opening. We loved working with Matt and we are all very much looking forward to having him being way more heavily involved on the next album.

R&MIMB: What about the "Submission for Liberty" Australian tour? How did it go? Do you have any interesting anecdote about that?
Danny Tomb: The tour was great, always is and it's always a lot of fun for us to play, though I must say we are ready to head out of Australia and are really looking forward to doing heaps of shows off shore.

R&MIMB: Are you planning to be back in studio soon? Do you already have something new going on?
Danny Tomb: We have been throwing around a few riffs and ideas lately, though haven't officially decided on when we will begin writing new material. We will be spending around 4 months out of Australia starting June 5th so all I can say at this stage is that we will more than likely have the Christmas period off unless something pops up, and begin writing in the new year in between the touring... that is already being worked on for next year! (Smiles)

R&MIMB: What about a greeting to the "Rock & Metal In My Blood" readers?
Danny Tomb: This is Danny Tomb of 4ARM saying "hey" from Australia to all the readers and fans of Rock & Metal in My Blood... Be good to each other and remember Metal aint no damn trend it's a way of life!! See all you guys on tour real soon, thank you.

(Sally Reynold)