Our SXSW: HOW I BECAME THE BOMB

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

The histrionic vocals and synth-laden rock of How I Became the Bomb resemble other bands of late (The Killers, Spinto Band) that seemed to have attended the Simple Minds’ school of Don’t You Forget About Me.








The histrionic vocals and synth-laden rock of How I Became the Bomb resemble other bands of late (The Killers, Spinto Band) that seemed to have attended the Simple Minds’ school of Don’t You Forget About Me. More like The Breakfast Club than the Simple Minds due to the decidedly not sultry, awkward vocal style of Jon Burr (they kind of personify many of Anthony Michael Hall’s finer ‘80s characters), HIBTB communicate pride and honesty in themselves and their ideas; the band’s members are a pack of like-minded individuals. Their latest ideas, according to the three EPs released recently for free, include space and robots and prove that scientific preoccupation is not anti-magnetic to stellar beats as evidenced by “A Formal Occasion” which recently received a Knight Rider-esque remix by DPaul.

I saw on your tour schedule that ya’ll have been on a bit of a mini-Southeastern tour the past few days.
Yeah we have a new guitar player and wanted to get some shows under his belt before we hit SXSW so we did some dive bars. He was real good on Friday which was good because a lot of our parents were there.

You are from Rome, Georgia?
Adam and I met in boarding school in Rome but I was originally born in Tennessee;

What high school?
The Darlington School.

How would you describe yourself in high school?
Uhhh, I guess about the same [laughs]; I was really friends with all groups and my main thing was being captain of the scholar-bowl team.

When you say “all groups,” does that include jocks?
Yeah I got along with them, I didn’t really have a clique I just hung out with scholar-bowl people and stayed out of everyone else’s way.

So did a lot of who HIBTB is now launch from high school?
Umm, that’s not how it really started, no; all Adam and I created was student films in high school. I guess I got the idea after being in a lot of stupid bands in college but then Adam went to Vandy graduate school for physics and he’s an incredible piano player and so I got my group of friends from MTSU with him and we started writing songs about all kinds of silly stuff and it sprung from our collective personalities at the time as friends.

Would you say that a sense of humor is vital to playing in or understanding How I Became the Bomb?
Yeah I would say that, I would say a sense of humor is vital to existing but yeah I would say it would help and we don’t take our selves super seriously.

You’ve been known to wear rather dapper outfits; do you find dressing sharply to be imperative or something you just like to have fun with?
Definitely something I like to have fun with; I’ve always liked to do it, as a way to express myself. I can definitely tell you that other guys dress up for shows but I’m the only one that is constantly dressing like that.

So do you read GQ?
Ah, no, modern fashion doesn’t suit me too well; I’m more just like into British, ‘70s looking like Michael Caine kind of stuff.

Yeah, but a lot of modern fashion also probably borrows from ‘70s Britain.
That’s true but if I followed all of that I’d definitely be penniless so I just stick to thrift stores.

I hear that; so are you the primary songwriter?
We write as a group although that will take a lot longer; what makes it fun is holding back and trying to write it together. It’s usually a five man effort.

After you get together and someone has a melody, where do you go from there?
I hate to use the term “jam” because of the connotation but we really jam it out until we think we have something good. And a lot of times we will bring the song to the other guys playing drums and bass and they’ll take it to a different direction. The group effort is the way and it’s more democratic so it’s not just one guy taking a shot in the dark.

How may times have you played SXSW?
This is our third time.

Have you ever been to Austin when SXSW isn’t going on?
No and I want to because it’s so overwhelming during SXSW. Never gotten to experience the city by itself.

Any bands you’re excited about seeing?
I am really bad about keeping up with current music and don’t really listen to new stuff so don’t know much about all that. Last concerted effort I made to go see a show was Chromeo but the line was so long I just said forget it and that’s kind of been my mentality ever since; if the line’s too long I don’t want to go.

What older music do you like?
I really like ELO and ABBA; I listen to them the most. There’s a lot of exploring to be done in the 1970s and ‘80s. Like I just got into Shriekback because I watched Michael Mann’s Manhunter and they’re on the soundtrack. I like the 70’s and 80’s and sometimes feel the 60’s have been pretty well mined.

You didn’t listen to Nirvana in high school?
Ohhh no, no, no. But I still appreciate them.



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