Interview: Irontom

Irontom is one of the most exciting new rock bands in the scene. Its five members—Harry Hayes (vocals), Zach Irons (guitar), Daniel Saslow (keys), Dane Sandborg (bass), and Dyl Williams (drums)—bring immeasurable energy to every song, evoking comparisons to legends like Led Zeppelin. Their poetic lyrics, complex instrumentation, and haunting melodies make them a group you definitely don’t want to sleep on.

Recently, we caught up with Irontom to ask them a few questions about the band. Read on to learn about their recent tour, the inspirations behind their songs, and the time they hung out with Charlie Sheen.

TYF: Let’s start off by introducing Irontom to the readers who haven’t heard of you yet. If you had to describe your sound in three words, what would you say?

Harry Hayes: Crazy lady music.

TYF: How did you come up with the name Irontom?

Hayes: This hardcore man we know got in not one, but two brutal motorcycle accidents. His leg was completely destroyed. They had to jam a iron rod through his leg, replacing the bone. And his name is… Tom. We named ourselves after him.

TYF: Recently, you went on tour with Finish Ticket and Run River North. In your opinion, what made this tour special?

Hayes: Basically the quality of the music that all three bands performed every night. We are huge fans [of] and great friends with Finish Ticket. They tear it up every night and we were so happy to do such a long run of great shows with them. Run River North were brilliant too. Such awesome people, and their sets were always an awesome experience.

TYF: Any funny or interesting memories from the road you’d like to share?

Hayes: We played in Santa Ana, California in Halloween and all the bands dressed up in costume along with most of the audience. The show was a mad party! During Finish Ticket’s last song, Alex [Hwang] from Run River North was passed from the back of the crowd to the stage dressed as Jesus Christ. When I saw him up there I ran up on stage to also join [Finish Ticket singer] Brendan [Hoye] who was dressed as Robert Smith from The Cure. I was Harry Potter. So for that moment it was Robert Smith, Harry Potter, and Jesus Christ dancing and singing a Killers song. It was wild!

TYF: Now, let’s talk about your songs. In “Be Bold Like Elijah,” one of your most recent singles, you sing, “Be bold like Elijah/99 nights just means there’s more he can find.” Who is Elijah, and what does this lyric mean to you?

Hayes: Elijah isn’t really a particular person. I look at the song as a mantra of self-confidence. The phrase “Be Bold Like Elijah” came to me as something you could sing to pump yourself up before doing something extreme.

TYF: In “The Minista,” you talk about a mysterious character you refer to as “The Minista.” Who is this person?

Hayes: He is a real guy! His name is Glen Palmer and he’s the rock and roll tailor. He is an amazing artist in the realm of clothing design and he’s made clothes for many of the great rock-n-rollers over the years (Bob Dylan and George Harrison to name a couple). His nickname is “The Minista” and we figured there should be a song about him, so we wrote it!

TYF: What was the most fun part of filming your music video for “The Minista”?

Hayes: It was amazing getting to work with David Leroy Anderson and his AFX Studios. They co-produced the project with us and they created the amazing makeup designs that are throughout the video. Also, the night we shot with Charlie Sheen was so much fun. We shot his scene and then we spent the rest of the night hanging and playing him and his girlfriend Zeppelin covers. It was marvelous.

TYF: You covered “Feel Good Inc.” by Gorillaz in 2014. What was the inspiration behind the original lyrics you added to that cover?

Hayes: We’ve always loved Gorillaz and basically everything Damon Albarn does. That song in particular had been a favorite and we just jammed it one day and it fell together really easily. It’s always a throw down live.

TYF: Harry, you’re very energetic and engaging onstage. Are there any specific performers that you’re inspired by?

Hayes: I have always loved Freddie Mercury and David Bowie and how they express themselves onstage. Commanding and caught up in the power of every moment they are up in front of an audience.

TYF: Do you remember the first original song you wrote? If so, what was it about?

Hayes: The first song Zach and I wrote was called “Penits.” We wrote it jamming with Zach’s dad. It was 8 minutes long! I can’t really say it was about anything. The first song the band wrote together and really connected on was “Mind My Halo.” It was before we actually considered ourselves a band. We took a trip to Santa Cruz to see if we could write some songs and we ended up writing four. But once we finished “Mind My Halo” we all knew we had a band.

TYF: Zach, you’re also a guitarist for Awolnation. What’s it like being in two bands?

Zach Irons: Being in one band is like you’re standing on the edge of a 500-foot cliff and enjoying the view. Being in two is like jumping directly off. I live to rock.

TYF: If Irontom had the chance to invent the concept and write the score for a movie, what would it be like?

Hayes: It would probably most likely resemble the music of Hans Zimmer. He wrote the scores for the Christopher Nolan films Inception and Interstellar.

TYF: Finally, what advice do you have for all the young musicians and songwriters reading this interview?

Hayes: Enjoy music and enjoy finding your way to express yourself through it.

Brittany Menjivar is a seventeen-year-old music enthusiast who listens to everything from Britpop to EDM to up-and-coming Warped Tour bands. She is passionate about many things in life, including (but not limited to) flower crowns, Foster the People, S. E. Hinton novels, scimitar-horned oryxes, The Great Gatsby (both the book and the 2013 film), theatre, the music of Damon Albarn, blue raspberry ICEEs, and thought-provoking films. Brittany loves spreading the word about interesting ideas, which is why she writes for TYF and serves as the editor of her school newspaper and literary magazine. She also loves metaphors and similes, which explains why she enjoys reviewing music so much. In addition to being a member of the TYF staff, Brittany is a poet who has been published in KaPow! Creative Writing Zine, The Noisy Island, Crashtest, and YARN. If you're reading this, she hopes your day is full of good art and good vibes.