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The Greyhound

The Student News Site of Loyola University Maryland

The Greyhound

Interview with Bombadil drumer, James Phillips


This Sunday, October 27, the indie folky rock band Bombadil will be playing at Metro Gallery.  This unique trio consists of Stuart Robinson on piano, Daniel Michalak on bass and James Phillips on drums and all members sing.  The Greyhound spoke to James Phillips about the band’s music and how he became interested in music himself.

How did you first get started in music?

I started with music by wearing out a cassette tape of Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA” by age two. I’d usually run around in circles on our carpet while listening to it with my sister, my favorite song was “Glory Days.” I then moved on to playing the recorder in the first grade at the Waldorf School of Baltimore, followed by clarinet in the third grade and drum set in the eighth grade.

Who are your biggest influences?

I would say Bombadil’s biggest recent influences are Gillian Welch, J Dilla, Otis Redding and Brian Eno.

How did you all meet?

Daniel and Stuart met on the first day of college. I met Daniel and Stuart after responding to a Craig’s List ad for a drummer in 2007.

Describe your album.

Our most recent album “Metrics of Affection” is a collection of more pop-oriented songs that document the various feelings of approaching 30, ending and beginning relationships, and finding your place in the world. We used vocals harmonies, bass guitars, drum sets, guitars, pianos, computers, and drum machines (for the first time). We made it together in two months during the summer of 2012 in a big house in Durham, NC. It was very hot. A cat named Jada supervised many of the sessions.

What is your favorite song off of the album?

“Boring Country Song”

Why inspired you to make folk pop music?

It’s just what seems to come out when we sit down to make music together, so I guess our past listening and playing experiences and our influence on each other causes us to make the music that we do.

What inspired you to name the band after the JRR Tolkien character?  Does the character hold a special meaning to you and if so, why?

A friend suggested the name to Daniel and Stuart in college, thinking that the spirit of the character fitted the nature of the songs.

What is your song writing process?

It really varies from song to song. Sometimes one person writes a song and arranges all of the parts, sometimes, two people do, sometimes three people do. The process varies a great deal (which is more fun for us).
Why should college students listen to this band?

I think that college students could appreciate the melodies, lyrics and rhythms of our music, and might identify with some of the messages.


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Interview with Bombadil drumer, James Phillips