Indie Mixtape 20: Tomberlin Watches ‘Hocus Pocus’ Whenever It’s On TV

For her new EP Projections, Tomberlin teamed up with longtime tourmate Alex G to try and expand her sound and take on a more experimental edge. After catching our attention with the delightful 2018 LP At Weddings, this new project features some additional instrumental flourishes that infuse the EP’s somber and introspective tracks with an added energy and depth. Though it only features five tracks, Projections is a very exciting taste of what can be expected from Tomberlin as she looks toward her sophomore full-length.

To celebrate the new album, Tomberlin talked Joanna Newsom, Hocus Pocus, and her undying love for Arcade Fire in the latest Indie Mixtape 20 Q&A.

What are four words you would use to describe your music?

Searching. Patient. Internal. Wonder.

It’s 2050 and the world hasn’t ended and people are still listening to your music. How would you like it to be remembered?

As work that brings respite to the listener in some capacity.

What’s your favorite city in the world to perform?

I can’t pin down just one place. There are special moments everywhere. Portland, LA, and Chicago have always been extremely kind to me though.

Who’s the person who has most inspired your work, and why?

Hard to say just one person, but maybe Joanna Newsom. She doesn’t give a fuck about a chorus, her work and craftsmanship are uniquely hers, and she only tours when she wants to.

Where did you eat the best meal of your life?

My mom’s cooking will always be the best meals of my life.

What album do you know every word to?

The Suburbs by Arcade Fire.

What was the best concert you’ve ever attended?

Hm maybe Sufjan on the Carrie And Lowell tour at the Peabody Opera House in St. Louis or my first concert (aside from Christian concerts) Arcade Fire and The National for my 16th birthday at the Scott Trade Center in St. Louis. I was so happy i couldn’t stop smiling. We thought we had standing tickets in front of the stage (my mom and older sister came with) but we had shitty nose bleed seats. There were a lot of empty seats so i snuck down closer towards the stage and ended up randomly sitting by Will Butler’s in-laws. They were very kind and asked if it was my first show. They ended up getting some of the band’s signatures for me. One of the happiest days of my teen life. Two of my favorite bands playing a show together as my birthday present was kind of the best bday gift ever.

What is the best outfit for performing and why?

I’d generally say something comfortable, but that is my motivation in getting dressed everyday and I’ve just carried that over to what I perform in. Last year was my first full year of touring so I’d like to have something or something(s) I just wear for shows. I don’t need people seeing me in my jeans and t-shirts which is my everyday wardrobe. It is a layer of protection, but it doesn’t feel like that as much when you show up to perform in what you wear everyday and a bunch of strangers are ~perceiving you~. I should get a show outfit probably. Or not. Whomst to say. I’m not too stressed about it.

Who’s your favorite person to follow on Twitter and/or Instagram?

Mike @perfumegenius on Twitter and Elsa Majimbo on Instagram.

What’s your most frequently played song in the van on tour?

Last year it was probably “Light Brang” by Little Wings or “Bad Mind” by Erin Rae

What’s the last thing you Googled?

A list of the songs Tori Amos has covered.

What album makes for the perfect gift?

Joni Mitchell’s Blue cause everyone needs that record. Even if they don’t know it yet. If not- a mix cd.

Where’s the weirdest place you’ve ever crashed while on tour?

Idk. Lots of stranger’s homes which i’m grateful for, but it can be funny and weird and also great. Or the weird little budget hotels in Europe that are like the size of a nice bathroom but somehow has 3 beds.

What’s the story behind your first or favorite tattoo?

I don’t have any tattoos currently.

What artists keep you from flipping the channel on the radio?

The Bee Gees.

What’s the nicest thing anyone has ever done for you?

I’m sorry I can’t share it, the answer is too nice to even type.

What’s one piece of advice you’d go back in time to give to your 18-year-old self?

Don’t evaporate yourself for other people to exist. There is space for you.

What’s the last show you went to?

Frances Quinlan of Hop Along’s solo show with the harpist Mary Lattimore opening. I think lockdown happened the day after and their tour was cut short, but it was a beautiful show with palpable cosmic energy. I love Frances’ songs so much.

What movie can you not resist watching when it’s on TV?

Hocus Pocus.

What would you cook if Obama were coming to your house for dinner?

Spicy tomato fennel pasta and salad. Kind of like a Hot Ones challenge situation so I could ask about the Libya drone strikes that should never have happened and why the f*ck didn’t he endorse Bernie for president. We could smoke a spliff afterwards.

Projections is out now on Saddle Creek. Listen here.

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