by Cameron Edney
Guest Staff Writer —
4ARM’s Danny Tomb Talks about the new album, touring and much more.
Australian thrash metallers 4ARM have certainly done the hard yards to get to the point they’re at today! Based in Melbourne the band formed almost seven years ago and built up a strong following on Australia’s East Coast. During the past couple of years news and interest in 4ARM spread to all Australian states and people overseas started to sit up and take notice of this new breed of Australian Thrash Metal that had no intentions of sitting quietly in the background. Since forming 4ARM have released three studio albums and have had the pleasure of touring with some of heavy metal’s finest artists including Testament and Destruction.
The band who are shaping up to have a very busy year recently announced that they were signing to Rising Records for overseas distribution of their killer new album and are currently putting touring plans together for fans both in Australia and abroad. 4ARM’s new album ‘Submission for Liberty’ is the bands finest and heaviest work to date filled with blistering guitar riffs smashing drums and the amazing vocal abilities of front-man Danny Tomb. The new album was mixed by Matt Hyde and mastered by Ted Jensen who has done amazing work with heavy metal greats such as Slipknot, Machine head and Metallica. The bands amazing new artwork was designed by Brent Elliott White who has done some fantastic work with both Megadeth and Arch Enemy, so it seems that 4ARM are in very good company and on their way to bigger and better things!
I recently caught up with 4ARM’s vocalist and rhythm guitarist Danny Tomb to discuss the band’s new album, life on the road, future plans and much more! Here’s what Danny had to say…
Hardrock Haven: Hey Danny, thanks for putting some time aside to speak with us today, how’s everything going?
Danny Tomb: Hey Cameron; absolute pleasure, mate! Things are going well, I’m doing great. The boys and I are excited about the future at the moment!
Hardrock Haven: Great to hear man, let’s talk firstly about the new album Submission for Liberty; it’s set to be released this month and its unreal! You guys must be really happy with the outcome!
Danny Tomb: We are very pleased with this album. A lot of hard work went into these songs and creating an album we could be very proud and confident in. Mick and I spent nearly every day together for the better part of twelve months, bouncing ideas back and forth… if we both smiled then it was kept and we’d move on to the next section. One smile and one frown meant more work. We work very well together and have a kind of connection where we know exactly what each other is thinking and going to say, so much so that sometimes it can be a bit scary [laughs]!
Hardrock Haven: I remember back in August last year news of this album grabbed my attention, what do you hope metal fans will get out of the new album once listening to it?
Danny Tomb: I hope they get a sore neck! I hope they feel it the way we feel it. That they get inside our heads a little. I know they’ll relate but I hope it allows people to dare to think for themselves. Most of all I hope that it encourages us all to unite as a people, one big Metal family to tear down those who place themselves above others!
Hardrock Haven: This is album number three for 4ARM, how does ‘Submission for Liberty’ differ from previous releases?
Danny Tomb: Submission is a very direct album, down-right relentless and very aggressive. We achieved what we set out to achieve as far as writing is concerned. We’ve grown so much over the years and learned a lot about how to crescendo music… how to drive things and push things, what works and doesn’t work. There is an art to writing music -it’s almost a science, it takes a while till you get it right…
Hardrock Haven: Let’s talk a little about the songwriting; some of the tracks on the new album include ‘Raise a Fist’, ‘Taken Down’ and ‘The Warning’… where did you draw inspiration from when it came time to write?
Danny Tomb: ‘Taken Down’ was written about that sick piece of shit that threw his daughter off the Westgate Bridge in Melbourne a few years ago, I won’t mention his name only because it shouldn’t even be remembered, he then tried to plead insanity for his crime, but it was found that he did it because of a custody battle with his ex wife, his other two children were in the car watching him while he did this, when he returned his eldest son said “Dad you have to go back and get her…. She can’t swim”. I looked at what was around me and how sickened I was, and am by the shit we are fed by our governments and media -the “correct” way to live our lives, the things we can and can’t say or do, the cost of trying to live the way they say is the ideal way and everything in between. It’s ridiculous and absolutely pathetic. We really are as free as they will allow us to be… we can’t think for ourselves, even though people will tell you they can. Most people will babble shit that they have been fed or heard, or whatever is the mainstream thing at the time. Meanwhile the fat prick in the suit or in our case the bitch who has the personality of a stone sits back smiling at what they have achieved on our backs and how much they get you to spend, how much more you will work only to pay more tax and how 99% of us will waste away doing shit we hate to make somebody else rich just so we can try and keep a roof over heads -which is something that a lot of young families are having A LOT of trouble doing. All this to one day die of some shit disease that they themselves have antagonized with the results of mass produced foods and all the rest of it… There’s plenty of inspiration right in our living rooms…Or as soon as we open our doors.
Hardrock Haven: Danny congratulations are in order also having recently signed to Rising Records for the overseas releases. That’s fantastic news mate, what’s this mean now for 4ARM… one step closer to taking over the world?
Danny Tomb: Thanks mate! We’re very pleased about the signing. It certainly feels good to have a label understand or ‘get’ what it is you’re trying to do. To have someone else believe in you and what you do is a very satisfying feeling. Though it also means that we’ve jumped out of a river of unsigned bands, into an ocean of signed bands! It means a hell of a lot of hard work, dedication and a ‘never take no for an answer’ attitude… Anything is possible isn’t it? [Laughs] We’re not afraid of hard work mate; anyone that knows us well will tell you that!
Hardrock Haven: Over the past twelve months or so the band name has been circulated quite a lot but you’re certainly no new band on the scene, having started almost seven years ago, in your opinion how has the Australian metal scene changed since the band first formed?
Danny Tomb: To be honest mate I think if anything it has gotten a little stronger. I think mainly due to just more people doing things out there and really trying to do things for the scene. We’re not the most populated nation in the world so you would assume naturally that the scene would struggle a little but over the past few years people are becoming passionate about metal again and that’s just awesome! And the amount of bands out there at the moment is phenomenal …that adds to the scene in a big way.
Hardrock Haven: Tell us about the band name, where did that come from and what other names were you considering?
Danny Tomb: [Laughs] Actually the name really started out as a tongue-in-cheek kinda thing that ended up sticking really. When we first got together we always played everything so much faster than any of our recordings and without realizing it, our forearms would be so built up with lactic acid that we could barley move em by the end of a set. I remember it was thrown around ‘we should call the band Forearm Dismobilizer.’ We could never really work out what we wanted the band name to be, we just knew we wanted to play. Eventually 4ARM stuck but only after we found that it actually means to ‘be prepared for war’ …to for-arm yourself before battle…
Hardrock Haven: You put on a fantastic performance, for those metal fans that haven’t had a chance to see you live yet, how would you best describe the band live?
Danny Tomb: Our music is very energetic, aggressive and fast paced. Our live performance really is the visual aspect of that. We basically feed off the music and let out what it makes us feel… we are all about impact and energy, we thrive on what we do and nothing will stand in our way while we are up there doing what we do, you’re either with us or against us!
Hardrock Haven: With the new album hitting shelves in a few weeks, do you have any new dates locked in that you can share with us?
Danny Tomb: Dates are being locked in as we speak but I can’t give any out just yet. I can tell you we are doing our very best to get to as many places as we can!
Hardrock Haven: Having been around for so many years now, whilst touring who’s given you the best advice and what was it?
Danny Tomb: To be honest, we’ve never really been given any sound advice, aside from “never give up, keep pushing and work hard” etc. But pretty much everything up to this point has been trial and error for us…
Hardrock Haven: Mate we’ve hit the part of the interview where our readers find out more about the real you… what was the first concert you attended and how much of an impact did that have on you musically?
Danny Tomb: The Motley Crüe Dr. Feelgood tour was my first ever concert. I remember Metallica were touring with the Justice album at that time and I so wanted to go but wasn’t allowed. My parents said “heck NO” to Metallica but yes to Motley… I’m sure it made sense to them in some way [Laughs]. I loved everything about that concert as far as an aspiring musician was concerned -the atmosphere, the crowd, the stage, hearing the first notes or beats, the whole thing was a rush and it was something that I just had to have for myself. Music is a long hard road of one-step-forward and ten-steps-back, but when the reward for your efforts comes in -whether it be someone who really appreciates what you do or a record deal or touring with a band you have loved your whole life, the satisfaction you get from that fuels the hunger and fire to do more. You know what they say, when you love something, there ain’t much you wouldn’t do for it…
Hardrock Haven: Growing up did you always want to be in a band or were your goals different?
Danny Tomb: Growing up ah the memories! I always wanted to play music; it was the only thing that I could find solace in and the only thing that made sense to me. I remember when I first started playing guitar, my parents both worked at that stage so during the day I would ditch school and go home and play for hours I think it was about six months before the school felt they should call my parents in for a meeting to see what was going on. I had a few other talents that I could have pursued and possibly become successful with but I always saw them as hobbies and just things that I could do well. Even though I was heavily encouraged to pursue them as a career and to not rely just on music, I just didn’t listen …and still don’t!
Hardrock Haven: Do you come from a musical family?
Danny Tomb: Actually my father was a great saxophone and clarinet player who did some really cool things back in the day. One of my sisters plays the violin, and my brother plays guitar, piano and is also a vocalist we actually used to play in a band together many years ago called ‘Iniquity’. Mick [4ARM Drummer] was also in the band for a while. We released an album and an EP but it never really took off. I still enjoy some of the songs though, brings back good memories.
Hardrock Haven: Having been in the business for a few years now, there’s no doubt you’re always learning whether in the studio or on tour or learning the all important business side of the industry. What do you feel has been the most important lesson you’ve learned to date?
Danny Tomb: In this industry you never stop learning, there are a hell of a lot of sharks and liars -people who will piss in your pocket for God knows what reason. Believe me; some of the bullshit I have heard is just ridiculous. The most important lesson I’ve learnt thus far would be learning how to read people. It doesn’t take long to figure out who is the real deal and who isn’t. There’s the ‘hangers-on’, I call them vultures, they’re the type of people that only talk to you and pretend to want to know you because they think they can get something out of you. Then you have the industry wannabe’s… these are the guys that promise you the world and deliver nothing but shit, just washed up has-beens trying to palm themselves off as the greatest and most powerful people in the industry. A lot of hard work goes into running a business and to really know who you’re dealing with is a good lesson to learn and can save you a lot of time and effort with unnecessary shit.
Hardrock Haven: Just before we wrap it up as we mentioned the new album is out soon! What other immediate plans are in place for yourself and the band?
Danny Tomb: At this stage we are getting all our touring organized and locked in. We’ve a lot of dates coming both nationally and internationally.
Hardrock Haven: Mate, thanks again for your time and best of luck with the new album… do you have any last words for our readers?
Danny Tomb: Thank you to everyone out there that has ever taken the time to listen to our music we appreciate you all …see you all on the road soon!