Tsunami Bomb has had a difficult career! From conflicts between members, countless changes in the lineup, and even the death of a friend, the band have trodden a tough path. Bassist and founding member Dominic Davi discusses the ups, and (primarily) downs, that the group has endured, highlighting the difficulties each member had and addressing the feelings and upset they had caused each other in order to reconcile properly and move Tsunami Bomb forward again. Now, they have achieved a solid new album with The Spine That Binds, a record the band took their time to produce to ensure their fans were rewarded with a collection of songs they would love. The future looks bright, a stark contrast to the group’s turbulent past.
The first big question, why has it taken the band fifteen years to release new material?
Dominic Davi: “Honestly? I feel like it’s a miracle this album happened at all! I didn’t ever think we would see Tsunami Bomb coming back together. While on paper I remained an owner and silent member after I left in 2003, the band finally succumbed to all the member changes and the frustrations with just being a band and ended in 2005. It didn’t really occur to any of us we would be able to bridge the gaps that had formed between us all to bring it back. Once we did at the end of 2015, it took some time to realize that people were into the band as it was now and that we ourselves wanted to continue. Then we had to stabilize who would be playing guitar for the band. Once that settled down, we were able to move forward with the album. Though not long after Oobliette (Sparks) and I started working together again we were writing songs and passing ideas back and forth just like we always have like no time had passed.”
“Naysayers” is the latest music video from Tsunami Bomb, taken from their latest album, The Spine That Binds:
When the band reformed in 2015, what was the driving force to get the band back together?
Davi: “Kung Fu Records. I had started working with our old record label helping them with marketing and graphic design. Building up their social media again, when Joe Escalante, then owner of the label, started talking to me about how well Tsunami Bomb albums and merch still sold. He was asking about all the early 7″s we had put out, and the EP The Invasion From Within that was all out of print… wanting to know if we would want to collect it and re-release it. So, the former members started talking about it and we all agreed that we did want those songs out there.
That led to the release of the Trust No One collection and we realized that there really wasn’t much budget to promote the release. It would just appear quietly on the shelves, and that made us wonder if we shouldn’t just reunite for a few shows to help support it. Not everyone wanted to be involved in that, but we had the blessings of those who didn’t want to be involved, and it just… it just felt right to be Tsunami Bomb again. The shows we played went so well and we kept being invited for more, suddenly it didn’t feel so weird being a band again. Everything just kept leading to the next thing and before we knew it, we were doing it.”
For the most part, several of the original members of the band are back together. Given that Tsunami Bomb has an extensive list of past members, do you now feel that you have now got the line up at its strongest?
Davi: “Yes. Completely. This is pretty much the lineup I wish we had always had (with no disrespect to any of our really talented former members). Hands down this is the most fun Tsunami Bomb has ever been. We were all so hard on each other in the old days. There was this streak of judgement going through the band, like if you didn’t go with the group you were obviously a problem. It became pretty antagonistic and it eventually forced almost all of us out the band we had started. At one point it became a band of people who were just there because it was doing well, not because they loved it.
Coming back together there were a lot of hard feelings we had to work through, and for some of us, that may be the best part of coming back. Being able to fix these friendships and address the pain we caused each other. That has translated into this passionate joy that has made making this band happen so much easier. There is a lot more freedom to express ourselves artistically and much more patience and forgiveness for each other. Being allowed to fuck up means you are allowed to experiment. I know that sounds super flowery, but the upshot is the band is a joy to be in now. Everyone here is very good at what they do, and very passionate about this band and that makes all the difference.”
Tsunami Bomb’s latest album The Spine That Binds was released November 8th, 2019:
Given that the vocalist is usually seen as the face of the band when it became apparent that Emily Whitehurst was not going to join the reunion was there ever any reluctance to re-start the band?
Davi: “Yes! It kept the band from getting back together all this time! You asked earlier why it took so long to return, part of it was it never occurred to us to reform without her. I personally had a lot of hesitations about it. Though in the end, even I couldn’t deny that it felt like it should just be Tsunami Bomb again. Anytime you have Oobliette and I working on songs together, with Gabe (Lindeman) playing drums… it’s going to sound like Tsunami Bomb.
However, it would have not been able to happen without finding Kate (Jacobi). She really was the missing piece and while we knew some people would be reluctant to accept the change, if people heard Kate, saw her, and met her… they would get it. She’s a fantastic lead vocalist and an even better friend. She’s come so far in a short time. I’m so grateful to be working with her. We all are.”
It’s been four years now since reforming, why didn’t fans get a new album sooner?
Davi: “On one hand, I think it was important for people to get used to us as we were now. To actually hear and see Kate perform live since that was such a big change. We wanted to get people used to who we are, so when we released an album, there were people who already were familiar with us now and not so surprised. However, that’s less the reason than a fortunate occurrence. It more had to do with our guitarist situation. For whatever reason, we’ve had a lot of guitarists in this band. So much so that it’s debatable on who is the ’original’ guitarist actually is. The first few years of the band we borrowed them from other bands, calling in favours to get people to help us play shows! So of course, because we are Tsunami Bomb, since we returned that’s still been an issue.
Originally, Brian Plink (who played on the Mayhem On The High Seas 7” and The Invasion From Within EP), returned to play guitar, but unfortunately mainly due to personal health reasons he was unable to continue with us. We had to scramble to find someone to fill in, and thankfully the great Chris LaForge from 30 Foot Fall was able to help us out for a year, but he lived in Texas and already had his main band, it wasn’t really practical for him to continue with us for the long term. Then when he unexpectedly passed away, we just were so completely devastated. Everything came to a halt. It’s hard to think about even now. It wasn’t until Andy Pohl started filling in, and eventually joined the band, that we were able to move forward. He was my roommate at the time, so moving forward with the album we had been working on all that time was finally possible.”
Check out the music video for “Take The Reins,” from The Ultimate Escape, released way back in 2002:
What are the main themes of this album? Were you intending to get across a specific message?
Davi: “There is a story there; the way the songs are arranged it does tell a story of trying to find yourself and free yourself from the confines of expectations and obligations, from where you are from and needing to move on, all while dealing with death and loss, the reality of proclaiming your independence and the difficulties you face once you make those moves. How people will try and strip you of everything and watching friends around you fall and left wondering if you did enough.
In the end, though it bookends the initial feeling of rebellion that you started with, with your resolve as strong as ever. Your experiences and losses didn’t extinguish who you are. As the album starts with being called back into the fight to exist, it ends with you now even more resolved and defiant then you were when you started. You are now ready to move forward, it’s your moment now. It’s very much an album that talks about our return as a band. The mix of emotions that reuniting brought to us and the need to prove ourselves, with the losses and hardships we’ve had along the way.”
Do you feel Tsunami Bomb’s music has evolved the way you would’ve liked over the years?
Davi: “For the most part, yes. As it evolved I really felt like it started to move off of what made it so unique and special towards the end there, so to me The Spine That Binds is very much a course correction, it touches upon every previous chapter of Tsunami Bomb, and tries to move it all forward at the same time. One of the things that brought me back to Tsunami Bomb, why I decided, in the end, to continue with it, was the opportunity to continue to explore the sound we had created originally. I was very proud of what made Tsunami Bomb unique and I wanted to explore that further. I felt like I had more to say. That we all had more to say.”
Are you planning to venture further afield on tour beyond the U.S. to promote The Spine That Binds?
Davi: “Yes. The only reasons we hadn’t previously was because promoters overseas felt we should wait for the album to come out. Now that it is, it’s only a matter of getting the members’ schedules to line up. Everyone is very busy, so that’s a challenge.”
“Dawn on a Funeral Day” is taken from The Definitive Act, released back in 2004:
If you could set up a tour anywhere, where would it be and why?
Davi: “I really want to return to the U.K. and Japan. Those places mean a lot to me and it’s been a long time since we’ve been there. I’m hoping we can make it happen sooner rather than later! The U.K. just embraced us so completely, we have always felt so welcome there. Japan too, but Japan’s culture has been a major influence on Tsunami Bomb. I named this band to sound like a Manga/Anime… our last tour there was very profound, and I want to return. I’d also like to play Mexico and Australia. I’ve never been.”
Is Tsunami Bomb back to stay now?
Davi: “I think so? I hope so. I like to describe us as the Justice League. Every member has their own story going, so this is definitely extra for us all to take on. It’s not without its challenges, but we all love it and love each other, so that helps keep it going. As of right now, we are very motivated to make this chapter of Tsunami Bomb a very significant one.”
Are there plans for more albums for the future?
Davi: “Yes. We already have six or seven songs that we are working on for the next album. It’s going to be… faster. I am hoping to finish the writing over the holidays. We have a pretty clear picture of what we want to do.”
Are there any other plans for the band going forward?
Davi: “We have some exclusives planned for our street team, The Bomb Squad, so if you are interested in those, make sure you sign up for our mailing list and check out our social groups and discussions online. We have a bunch of music videos coming out. That’s going to be fun. We want to do a bunch for this album. In January we are doing a run with our friends in Death By Stereo through the southwest U.S. and we will be announcing some more runs as well for next year to support The Spine That Binds. As I mentioned, we are already working on a new album already. So, there is a lot to come. I’m excited about the future. We are ready to move forward now.”