Photo: STEPHPORT Photography
Deriving from San Diego, Bang Pow is a indie, synth, rock band that you can’t help but want to groove to. The edgy, fun dance band consists of Tommy Dubs (vocals), Doug Kunnath (synths), Joe Gastelum (drums),Tim Powers (bass) and Jonathan Zander (guitar). After winning a spot at KAABOO at the Discover Tour battle of the bands competition last year, Bang Pow is on the rise in the local SoCal music scene. With their debut album, “Talk in Technicolor”, Bang Pow has made quite a name for themselves in the community.
Here’s what singer Tommy Dubs had to say about their journey.
1. Tell us about how you all came together.
In Some way or another we have all been playing music together for the last 15 years. Joe, Tim and Tommy all played in a live hip hop band called Rhythms of Epp back in the day and then Joe and Tommy went on to play in a rock-steady-rock band called Gadfly. A couple years into Gadfly, Doug joined as the drummer and Joe, Tim and Jon were playing in a band called the Roman Spring. We have a rich musical together and have played in numerous acts in San Diego. Fast forward to Bang Pow, Dk and Tommy were playing in Tommy’s solo project band when they had enough of the music that they had been playing for going on 7 years. They came up with the idea behind Bang Pow, recorded a record in its entirety before ever even playing live and after the first Bang Pow lineup split due to life opportunities, Tommy and Doug hit up the other 3 to come round out the lineup of the band.
2. Being from San Diego, how was it emerging into the music scene with your genre of music?
Well, we were so adamant about our style and what we wanted to do… but we honestly have a hard time finding like bands to play with. I think from our first show people understood what we were trying to do and accepted us quickly. We have been fortunate to play Kaboo, OB Chili Cook Off, Oktoberfest, Oysterfest, Musicbox and a lot of bigger shows in the small time we have been a band and that has helped us to gain some loyal fans. We can honestly say that we leave an impression on every audience we play for, we can see it in their faces and that has been the most rewarding part of this band. At the beginning we were aware that we could possibly appeal to fans of Electronic Music and we work with a lot of DJ’s to help us get exposure to that scene as well.
3. Finding a name for a band isn’t easy. How did you choose the name Bang Pow?
This is one of those weird times that the band name came before we were even a band. It really describes the music, we want to be a force on stage and just attack people with our vibe. We just pictured people walking into our shows looking around and being like “Bang…….Pow”
4. We’ve heard that you have a 120 bmp rule. Why is this important in your creative process and do you find it challenging to stick to?
Originally, we really wanted to emulate a DJ set, by having the show be non-stop and at the same tempo the whole way through. It has had a different effect on the creativity in the band during the writing and recording process. By setting rules about our vision and not swaying from them, it has given us a discipline to move forward and not second guess ourselves. The rules are also very freeing in a way and force you to create in ways you have not created before.
5. You’re often quoted saying, “We’ll see you on the other side..” What does this mean to you and where did it come from? our fans. What message or feeling do you hope people get when they hear your music or see you perform?
It is something Tommy just said to the audience at the beginning of our first show and it has just stuck. That saying is the first sound anyone ever heard from the band and it just makes sense. Our sets don’t stop and there is no talking to the crowd (for the most part), so it’s kind of like “ok, strap in…. we will see you when this is over.”
6. Your performances seem to cater to your sound and the atmosphere by illuminating the lights onto the audience but keeping the band and stage quite dark. Is this intentional? What’s your reason behind it?
The vision for the band is to create a party, a dance party to be exact. We don’t really want to be the focus of the show, we would rather look at the crowd all lit up and stay in the shadows. Bringing the crowd to the forefront lets us connect more with each other and the audience. Seeing peoples reaction is such a reward and keeps us going. We also want to focus on the performance by bringing our own lights and lasers, that way whether you see us in a club or large outdoor stage, you are seeing the same BANG POW.
7. Our name, REVOLT, meaning revolting against anything holding you back and living the life you’ve always imagined. Did you ever feel as though the dream of pursuing music was too out of reach and had thoughts of giving up? If so, how did you get past it to where you are today?
One of our newer songs touches just on this, it is called “Free World” and it is about people telling you that your time has come and gone. People get caught up in the idea of “pursuing music” all too much… there are people that play music and then there are musicians. Music is something we have to do, this may sound cliché, but we have no choice. It is deep in our DNA and anyone of us that stopped playing music would be miserable. There is the old saying it is all about the journey, not the destination and that relates to our thoughts on music. You are a professional musician and either earn $100 or $100 million… the ones earning the millions are no more a musician then the ripper busking on the street holding out a cup. Short story long, give up on the dream and live the reality…
8. What’s on the horizon for Bang Pow? What goals are you still out there chasing in relation to your sound and music?
We have our second album about to drop here in the next couple months which we are excited about, then on to writing the next one. The problem with owning our own recording studio is the process is never over, it is a curse and a blessing. We really just want to grow this year, promote our new album and meet more epic people along the way. Bang Pow fans are the best and we can’t wait to make more.
9. Studies have shown that music and wine are heavily linked together and that music can influence a person’s decision on which wine to drink. If you could choose a type of wine that reflects your style of music, what kind would it be?
Ha, Doug has started only drinking wine at our shows so if he could choose it would be 2 buck chuck or something. Whatever wine comes in a box that you steal from your parents’ house, but if you are giving it out we will take a nice California Red.