Tombs | Interview with Mike Hill

Since 2007 Tombs has putting out innovative tunes that fall somewhere between the coldness and abrasiveness of Scandinavian black-metal and the ferociousness and dissonance of U.S. hardcore, really making a difference on a often uninspired scene,
This year, the Brooklyn-based trio is issuing their sophomore record entitled “Paths of Totality”, which is quickly garnering rave reviews from all over the world.
Scratch the Surface caught up with Tombs guitarist and vocalist, Mike Hill, to find out more about their new record and their predilection for gothic music.


Alternately engaging and dissonant, "Path of Totality" straddles the line between nihilism and gloominess, incorporating traits of such disparate acts as Neurosis, Pink Floyd, Swans, Darkthrone, Fields of the Nephilim and Celtic Frost.
Can you tell me a little bit about the writing process for this new record?
Did you want to include more dynamism and new nuances on this album?

Some of the material was written immediately after we recorded “Winter Hours”, it’s been about a two year period of writing. It was good not being under the gun to squeeze out a new record, so we were able to really get deep into the writing process. In between tours, we wrote and, at least to me, there appeared to be different eras of material. For example, “Angel of Destruction” and “Passageways” were written around the same time. “Black Hole of Summer” and “Cold Dark Eyes” were written right before we left for the Wolves in the Throne Room / Pelican tour. Once we started thinking about recording a new record, we started producing demo recordings of the material, so we can refine the writing and begin pre-production. This period lasted for several months. I think, it’s an essential component for us because we like to get all of the experimentation done before we get into the studio.

Songs like "Vermillion", "Passageways", "Silent World" and "Black Heaven" exude a similar sinister and gloomy vibe to 80's gothic acts like Fields of the Nephilim and Bauhaus.
Were you influenced at all by gothic music when putting this album together?

I’m into “gothic” music in general. I would also add Joy Division and Sisters of Mercy to that list. I love the atmosphere of those bands; so dark. It fits so well with more extreme styles. I actually find more in common with bands like that as opposed to more “rock”-oriented bands.

While clearly more dynamic than previous record "Winter Hours", the new music is still dark and suffocating as usual. "Path to Totality" is garnering great reviews from the press, have the fans been responding to it as well?

We just wrapped up a short US tour. So far everyone has been extremely kind to us with respect to responses to the new material. We’ve been playing a lot of the material on tour for quite a while so not all of it is “new” to some people, nonetheless, we feel very fortunate that the reactions have been favorable.

David Alexandre

Read full interview here.