Oakland, California-located rock band Stimuli incorporates alt-, prog-, and hard rock into their atmospheric and potent sound that stirs the senses. The power trio is composed of Jimmy Tomahawk (vocals, guitar), Tai Hake (bass), and Cole Andrew (drums).
Stimuli’s latest album, They Are We, was released last year, but the band recently dropped a video for the contemplative track “Ripple.” Jimmy Tomahawk kindly took part in our continuing Protest Interview series, shedding light on the band’s subject matter and outlook and how they are connected to the world at large.
Hello! Please introduce yourself/yourselves and give a description of your sound/musical vision.
Hi Jen. Jimmy Tomahawk here, guitarist and vocalist of the band STIMULI. We're a rock trio based in California and we write heavy music about life - human tendencies, aspirations, misinterpretations, the mundane and the profound. While this seems like really heady content, we're all just a bunch of 13 year old dudes at heart having fun writing and playing music together.
What is/are the main personal, national, and/or international issue(s) concerning you the most these days?
The title (and title track) of our debut album sums this up - They Are We is a rumination on the well-worn truth that we are all indelibly connected. The illusion of separation is an instilled concept from birth and as such is perhaps the greatest human misunderstanding. Each living being is a reflection of the other and are all an interwoven part of a greater whole.
When we choose to see the world through this lens, the concepts of a separate "they" dissolves and becomes "we". Our dis-connection with the natural world around us is a primary symptom of this misunderstanding as well. Ya know, just simple, basic concepts like that.
What song, video, or lyrics quote of yours best represents your current viewpoint on this/these important topic(s)?
“They Are We”, the title track from our debut album. This was the lead single from the album and we wanted to initially present ourselves to the ears of the world with this message.
What's your favorite song, video, or lyrics quote by another act or artist that best exemplifies, or at least partly relates to, your current viewpoint?
The lyrical message of John Lennon's iconic tune “Imagine” is very much in line with the subject matter I'm speaking to here.
What other forms of protest, besides through your music, are you involved with to get your message across?
The willingness to have a discussion, to hear interpretations and perceptions of our fellow human beings more often than not leads to an understanding that we share more in common with each "other" than the differences that we opt to define ourselves by.
I'm not sure this is exactly a form of protest, but aside from singing songs about this message, having an open dialog with others does appears to help overcome the of illusion of separation from time to time.
It's easy to judge and criticize others, especially in these unsettling times of overt intolerance, ignorance, and insults, but the fact remains that we need to work together - working on a solution to the problem is critical in ensuring that positive change occurs. Name an action to take, or a campaign/charity that would be worthwhile to contribute to, for your cause.
There are so many great causes to support! Not to discount any of the others that I support, but keeping it close to home, I would like to bring attention to the good people who head up Decriminalize Nature (https://www.decriminalizenature.org/). These folks are spearheading the legalization of psychotropic plants for medicinal use in urban areas.
This year, they were successful in having a measure passed in the band's home town of Oakland to decriminalize the possession and cultivation of many sacramental substances that have used to heal the mind, body and soul of humans for thousands of years.
I have a sneaking suspicion that a world where access to this medicine and those who are skilled in administering it for such specific purposes would be would be a better place for us all to live. We might even have a life-changing experience under its medicinal influence and realize that, as I sing in the aforementioned tune, “We're all the same consciousness / choosing our own divisiveness.”
Find out more about Stimuli: