The Dawn Bombs: Look and listen
by KEENAN KETZNER
Dawn Bombs. For a band whose sound walks on a tight-rope between an enticing mathematical modulation of 50s pop, and dangerously sophisticated indie rock sentiments, there could not be a more fitting name. “A dawn bomb is like, back in the 1950s they had nuclear technology, and people would set up these elaborate, lavish towers and hotels with lookouts towards the nuclear testing sites. People would get together and watch these spectacles. And we liked how it walked the line between dangerous and exciting,” said Ben Waight, singer and guitarist.
The Dawn Bombs was a union born out of unusually coincidental events. Ruben Gomez (who plays bass guitar and other string instruments) met Waight in an entry level Aural Skills class at Western Washington University. After an especially fruitful study session that ended up escalating to a full-on game changing jamming experience, the two knew there was something special about the musical connection. Within a few weeks, Will Luckensmeyer (who had been trying to work with other musicians) was brought into the group.
Ruben had a background in orchestra, and only recently started to pick up bass guitar. Similarly, Ben had experience singing in choir, but tried trombone, and also adopted the guitar with relatively little experience. Despite changing instruments, they are seriously seasoned musicians. Along with Will’s several years of experience in all types of instruments, they perform so tightly and exploratively, that you’d have a hard time accepting that they only formed in late 2015.
“We just started jamming like every week, working on some early stuff,” Ruben said, until they ended up forcing themselves into a live show that they’d had to prepare for in a few short weeks,. To try and describe their sound though, is to reduce it to the conrete– which is not really what art is all about. But, as Ben put it, “It’s kind of like you’re running downhill, and there’s something behind you, but there’s also something ahead of you to look towards. And you kind of have to follow this crooked trail that gets you there, and there’s always a lot of movement.” When you listen to their music, you can really hear that continuously driving force mentioned in both their use of many, simultaneous melodies, and the leaps and bounds made tonally and texturally.
Since the beginning of their group, the members set out with a goal in mind: to make music that pushes the boundaries, but also doesn’t push the listeners away. Ben explained, “you want the listener to have the moment of surprise, but you also don’t want them totally lost… I think art is mostly about connecting with other people. And part of that is explaining your thoughts in a meaningful way.” To which Will added, “If people are only doing it to entertain themselves and not sharing it with others, I think they’re missing out on a large part of what music is about.”
So far the group has put out a short but sweet discography of three singles, and an EP titled Greetings From… An appropriately titled official debut containing three songs that are thematically tied. Will said that the album is about, “accepting circumstance that are beyond your control… being contemplative and wondering about yourself… along with just championing yourself.” To which Ruben and Ben also chime in saying just how strangely natural the sequence of the songs ended up being.
The Dawn Bombs are constantly playing in the PNW, with more shows coming up. As for musical projects, Will optimistically foresees an album by next Winter with EPs scattered between.
Catch the Dawn Bombs on April 8 for the Bellingham Arts and Music Festival Fundraiser at Karate Church, April 21 at the Mind Palace with Honcho Poncho and Middle James, and April 25 in Red Square at WWU. Follow them at facebook.com/thedawnbombs/.