[Cover photo credit to Nicholas Wilbur]
Tomten are a Psych Folk/Baroque Pop quartet based from Seattle, Washington who have released the single “Caterpillar Hill” from their upcoming album Artichoke arriving April 28th, 2023 via Plume. The new track emerged from a quest to recapture the magic of certain Pop songs and a feeling of inspiration.
Dillon Sturtevant of Tomten shares:
I had reached a point with songwriting where I was just sick of guitar pop. Over a long winter my home demos grew more and more abstract, without much melody or structure, turning towards a land of serene experimentation. Then spring came, and with it the smell of earth and daylight. On one of many long walks by the lake I felt that old magic, teenage feeling creep back in — the kind of crystallized moment at the heart of all the great power pop songs I loved: like that Replacements tune, “I’m in love / and what’s that song?”
So I gave it one more go. The song turned towards organic decay, the recycling of nature. I was listening to a lot of British folk stuff like the Watersons and Incredible String Band, and so was feeling drawn to that sort of dark fairy tale imagery. ‘Caterpillar Hill’ is a real place, but I just used it as a memory trick to get myself closer to that feeling.
Brian Noyes (vocals, keys, guitar) and Lena Simon (bass, vocals) (Kairos Creature Club, formerly of La Luz) met in 2008 and began demoing each other’s songs at Cornish College of The Arts and Tomten started playing shows and rearranging their sound and lineup by 2010, after Gregg Belisle-Chi (guitar) and Jake Brady (drums) joined the band.
The Unknown recording studio in Anacortes, WA started by Nicholas Wilbur and Phil Elverum (Mt. Eerie) has become the go to spot for the band’s more recent recordings, including Cremation Songs (2017), and Viva Draconia (2018). Tomten‘s newest album Artichoke is a “collaborative foray into Psych Folk, Power-Pop, and Glam Country”.