Badass Band 52- Tic Tic Boom!

Synth-driven, dance worthy, energetic, rock and roll. That is this next band in a nutshell. Tic Tic Boom! has the power to get even LA crowds dancing, which is quite a feat!

I heard about Tic Tic Boom! multiple times before I had the pleasure of catching them live. By the time I was about to check them out, it was announced they were playing with another Badass Band I featured previously, The Active Set. I decided I would wait and see them live. Their name is the perfect way to describe my feelings seeing them, you have the Tic…Tic…they came out, I thought, “Rad, another chick fronted band, let’s see where this goes.” Then they start to play, and slowly people start bouncing, myself included. I was digging them through most of their set, which built up to faster, more dance-y tunes. By the end of their set I was a fan, and that’s where Boom! comes in.

Tic Tic Boom!’s tunes are a total mixed bag. The synth driven rock and roll and kick ass hooks can draw even the toughest critics in. Sometimes I am weary of the fine line between a good amount of synthesizer and a bad amount. This band definitely pushes it just to that line creating a perfect balance. I have two of Tic Tic Boom’s EP’s ‘Reasons & Rhymes’ and ‘Before the Sun Rises’.  Both are strong albums in their own right. ‘Reasons & Rhymes’ leans more toward the rock and roll end of things, showcasing excellent instrumentals and whimsical vocals. ‘Before the Sun Rises’ has much more of a beat driven, electro-pop edge while keeping a more solid vocal sound. The albums flow well and tend to keep things sounding light and fun while touching on serious subjects like life, death and equality.

Tic Tic Boom! is comprised of Leilani Francisco- Vocals & Synth, Mike DeLay- Guitar & Vocals, Matt Gurgol- Bass and Trevor Hunnicut- Drums. Obviously this is a talented bunch and watching them play live together is a treat, they have a great time on stage and that flows right into the energy of the audience.

Leilani and Mike were kind enough to do an interview with BBB so read on to find out about their slogan, “Pants-less Hugs For Everyone”, what they believe is insulting to an audience, and when their next album is due to drop!

When and why did each of you start playing?

Mike started playing the drums when he was in elementary school and continued to play throughout high school in jazz band.  He picked up trumpet and trombone along the way and started playing the bass guitar at 15.

I (Leilani) started piano lessons at 5 which she stopped shortly thereafter and picked up again later.  I played viola throughout school and sang in the choir.

What kind of music did you listen to growing up? How does that differ from what you listen to now?

Mike listened to everything from rock to rap.  Growing up in Seattle he was influenced by the music happening in the scene around him.

I listened to mostly alternative bands like the Smiths, The Cure and Smashing Pumpkins, but also loved discovering music from the 60’s and 70’s including, but not limited to developing a mild obsession with the Beatles.

I’d say we still listen to the same “types” of music we did growing up.  We like to seek out new bands.  We’ve recently purchased a new record player and have rekindled a love affair with vinyl, so we’ve actually been listening to the most random things from garage sale finds and used record store digging.

Which musicians do you admire? Why?

We recently watched Martin Scorsese’s documentary on George Harrison.  It was inspiring.  I specifically liked hearing how George would always have a load of ukelele’s in his trunk, so as to always be prepared when the mood for a good ukelele jam struck.

Why the name Tic Tic Boom? Any relation to the song ‘Tick Tick Boom’ by The Hives?

We actually chose the name before the song came out, so no, there is no relation there.  We just liked the idea of “sound” words.  It seemed visceral and we liked the sense of urgency “Tic Tic Boom” suggests.

Describe your show visually & musically for those who have never been.

We think Tic Tic Boom! brings a feeling of energy to the stage.  It’s important to not only look like you are having fun and enjoying the process, but to actually have fun and enjoy the process!  There’s no better feeling than the one you have while you are onstage connecting not only as a band but with your crowd as well.  We’ve all seen bands who look bored or disconnected or like they don’t give a damn on stage.  And frankly, I think that’s insulting to the audience.  We want our audience to dance and have as great a time as we are having.  We try to always remember that it is a show, after all.  We are there to entertain.

How does your creative process typically work?

Usually Mike or I will come up with an idea or bit of a song and present it to the other.  It usually all starts with independent study.  Mike’s off in his corner, and I’m off in mine.  We’ll come together with all our ideas, hash it out and come up with a demo.  Mike is an audio engineer and we have our own studio at home so we typically flesh demos out completely just the two of us before we share them with the Matt and Trevor.  A lot of song ideas end up in the “trash” and when we’re really sure about one, we start recording.  A lot can change in a song from demo to finished product.  That’s the beauty and flexibility of having your own studio space and your own engineer.  We know we are lucky in that.

What do you think you biggest break or greatest opportunity has been in your career so far?

Being official artists at SXSW 2012 was by far one of the best and coolest things that has happened to us.  We had gone the year before playing unofficially and had learned a lot, but to return to the conference with “official” status was a whole new game.  Anyone will tell you it’s hard to break out of all the noise at SXSW, but it’s worth the trip and a really cool credit for us to have as a band.

What has been the biggest challenge for you so far?

In reference to the earlier question, I would say the biggest challenge is breaking out of all the noise.  There are A LOT of bands in Los Angeles.  Just writing a good song isn’t enough for people to take notice.  It’s a business being in a band, it takes a lot of work and time and sacrifice.  Mike and I, although we play as a four piece, are the band.  It’s basically been the two of us for the last 5 years.  We write, we record, we produce and pay for everything.  The guys we have playing with us now are great and have tracked their instruments on our more recent recordings, but for the most part it has always been just us two.  Being that we are a couple (and have been since before forming the band) the stress and strain creatively and financially can sometimes take on a life of it’s own.  But we love it so much, and love having this band together and love each other and couldn’t think of a better way to spend our lives.

What are you working on now, and what can we expect from you in the coming year?

We are always writing!  We’re planning on releasing another EP in early 2013 and at least one video before the end of 2012.

Why should people listen to your band? What makes you unique? If your band had a slogan, what would it be?

I think people should listen because it’s good, fun, dance-y music.  They should throw it on in the background at a party and let the good times ensue.  As far as what makes us unique,  I don’t know… there is no other Leilani Francisco writing songs on this planet with a Mike DeLay.  So no one else will ever write what we write how we write it. And for a band slogan lately “Pants-less Hugs For Everyone” has been the preferred saying.

If you had the opportunity to change something about the music industry, what would it be?

I would change the format of major radio.  There are so many incredible bands on awesome small labels all over the country making really good music.  And in all seriousness – who want’s to hear the Foo Fighter’s and Linkin Park back to back with Red Hot Chili Peppers and Muse all damn day?

Random Portion

One song you never get tired of.

Leilani – It’s cliche, but I’ll never ever be tired of John Lennon’s “Imagine”.  It’s a perfect song with perfect lyrics.

Favorite things to do NOT musically related.

Leilani –  I started growing a container garden this summer, so I’m pretty excited about that.  I know it’s lame, but being able to use herbs and vegetables in your cooking that you grew from seeds is pretty awesome.  I also like to sew and make jewelry.  I started my own etsy store, but sold everything and never restocked it… I should probably work on that.

Mike – I love cycling.  I don’t get to do it enough, but I love it when I get the chance.  I get a kick out of food.  From fine dining to food trucks, I think it’s a blast!  When I moved to LA 11 years ago it wasn’t too much of a food city.  I love that that has changed and people are really embracing food . . . even if the goal here is not to eat.  Other than that . . . I’m usually making music when I’m not making music.  I love the craft of engineering and how it has become so much a part of our creation process.

If you could be a fictional character, who would you be?

Leilani – It’d be pretty cool to be Hermione Granger being that she is so gifted magically.

What kind of jobs did you have before (or currently) you were in the music industry?

Leilani – I bartend.  It’s not glamorous, but it pays the bills.  Mike is a freelance audio engineer, recording other musician’s projects, and doing voice-over demo’s for actors.

Mike – I also bartend part time and no, it’s not glamorous, even if it’s in a “glamorous” place.


Twitter: @ticticboommusic




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