Pomona-based indie-rock band Tomber Lever explains musical weirdness.


Tomber Lever (Credit: Lizette Delgado)

Tomber Lever is a Pomona-based indie-rock band specializing in the weird and emotional.

Their music features a range of vocal modes, including singing, spoken word, and shouting. Verbosity and eccentricity characterize their lyrics, unironically featuring bizarre-yet-memorable images and phrases like “water marsupial speak to me in tongues” (“Being Able to Recognize Kin”) and “talk to the palm because the fingers are gone from chewing to the bone when anxiety fits go wrong” (“Nail Biter”). The band just released their latest record Furniture Pedagogue and will play some shows near L.A. for the next few months. Generously, Tomber Lever agreed to answer some questions via Email about their formation, songwriting process, and inspirations.

Cover art for Tomber Lever’s latest LP Furniture Pedagogue (Source: Tomber Lever on Bandcamp)

1. How did you come up with your band name Tomber Lever? What does it mean, if anything?

Andrew was bored at work and translated the phrase “fall down rise up” into different languages and liked how it sounded in French. A few months later the band was born and we were throwing around names and Tomber Lever stuck.

2. What are the roles of each member in the band? How did Tomber Lever start?

Andrew plays guitar and drums; Taylor plays drums and guitar; Eli does vocals, guitar and bass; and Goose plays bass and does some vocals. We’re planning on experimenting with other instruments in the future. It started with DMT, Randall Green, and acid.

3. The vocal delivery of your music is unique; it sort of reminds me of mewithoutYou or Modest Mouse. Was there a particular inspiration for the vocal delivery in Tomber Lever’s music, or was it more of a practical necessity because of individual singing ability?

That’s just the way it falls out.

4. There are also a lot of weird sounds in your music. What are some enduring influences (favorite artists/records) on the music you make?

We’re influenced by everything we hear and see.

5. What is your songwriting process like? Do you come up with the music first or lyrics first? Is it more of a collaborative or individual process?

The music writing is entirely collaborative. After writing the music we listen for a story and write it out together.

6. Who created the cover artwork for Furniture Pedagogue? What was the concept behind it, or does it tie into the theme of the songs at all?

We made masks and they influenced a shirt design that was drawn by Goose. When thinking of album artwork, we decided to use different textures, materials, and other media to recreate the image. And, yeah, it totally ties in to the album.

7. What do you think of the local music scene in Pomona? Has it been beneficial to your development as a band or frustrating?

We’ve found the local DIY scene to be very inclusive, and it has helped us grow exponentially.

8. What was the musical and lyrical inspiration behind “Stay Hungry” on Furniture Pedagogue?

We wrote the music the way we always do, and the story was influenced by our learning a little about people who identify as aromantic.

Tomber Lever’s song “Stay Hungry” from their new LP Furniture Pedagogue (Source: Tomber Lever on Bandcamp)

9. What was the musical and lyrical inspiration behind “Nail Biter” on Everything You Want in No One?

We wrote the music the way we usually do, and the story is influenced by coping with and trying to overcome anxiety.

Tomber Lever’s song “Nail Biter” from their EP Everything You Want in Noone (Source: Tomber Lever on Bandcamp)

10. As a band, what are your plans for the future?

Create more art and travel!

Tomber Lever banner (Source: Tomber Lever on Bandcamp)

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Catch Tomber Lever playing a show sometime in Southern California!

Tomber Lever’s recent post about shows (Source: Tomber Lever on Facebook)