Music » Interviews

Tiny Tomboy on playing for college frat parties and county jail inmates

by

comment
Local five-piece indie outfit Tiny Tomboy plans to release an EP in September. - ANNA NEIMAN-GOLDEN
  • Anna Neiman-Golden
  • Local five-piece indie outfit Tiny Tomboy plans to release an EP in September.
Very few artists have the opportunity to play before a crowd of inmates and overcome their stage fright in the process.

For Tiny Tomboy bandleader Eliza Neiman-Golden, the opportunity to do both came two years ago, when she and her fellow students from a Colorado College music class went to El Paso County’s jail to play for an audience of 200 inmates.

“I thought we were going to be playing for a small group, but then they started setting up all these chairs in the middle of the ward and we were like, ‘Oh, wow, we’re really gonna have to play in front of everybody,’” she says. “Everyone was talking, but as soon as we started, everybody went silent. We had different groups going on, one by one, singing different people’s songs. And it was just, you know, all the attention is on you. Before that, I had never been very comfortable singing in front of people. But this was just a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and it broke down that wall pretty fast.”

One of the other students who participated that day was future Tiny Tomboy co-founder and drummer Sam Seymour. Months after the jail gig, the two musicians joined forces with guitarists Quinn Jones and Baxter Waltermire, as well as bassist Christian Olsen, for what was intended to be a one-off gig. “My dormitory RA asked me to perform at her theater show and I did not have a band at the time,” recalls Neiman-Golden, who’s currently majoring in music with a computer science minor. “So I texted Sam asking if he wanted to get something together. And then he brought the other boys to the studio, and there was this chemistry as soon as we started playing [Jimi Hendrix’s] ‘Hey, Joe.’ It just felt right.”

Together, the five musicians — whose collective influences range from contemporary indie-rock artists like Phoebe Bridgers, Mitzi and Angel Olsen to more aggressive ’90s acts like PJ Harvey, Breeders, Sonic Youth and Nirvana — decided to keep the name that Neiman-Golden had previously used for recordings she posted to her SoundCloud page.



“I chose that name mostly because I consider myself a tomboy,” she says. “I’d picked up an electric guitar when I was really young, and I just thought it was the coolest thing. The same with skateboarding, or any of the other things I like to do that are thought of as masculine.”

The tiny half, meanwhile, should be easy to figure out. “I’m very short,” she says, “Four-foot-ten and proud of it.”

Over the past year, Tiny Tomboy had become one of the go-to bands on the Colorado College frat-party scene. But on the night before Spring Break, their string of live shows came to an abrupt end. College students, it turns out, can be a lot rowdier than jail inmates, and the group had just finished up their first song when the cops pulled the plug on the celebration.

As it happened, that would be the band’s last live gig before the pandemic shut down live music in Colorado and everywhere else. Under quarantine, the group has continued to work together remotely, finishing up tracks for a forthcoming EP. When Bandcamp announced its Juneteenth fundraiser, they posted the track “Someone Else” in time to raise a few hundred dollars for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

Evoking the atmospheric alt-rock of Mazzy Star and the more downtempo side of British shoegaze bands, “Someone Else” combines echo-drenched vocals with droney electric guitar, drums, and a synth-bass part that Neiman-Golden came up with by clicking in MIDI notes. (“I don’t have a proper keyboard,” she says.)

While it’s still anyone’s guess when musicians will return to performing live onstage, the band is now mixing and mastering tracks for an EP they expect to release in September. Meanwhile, Neiman-Golden continues to experiment with her most recent electronic acquisitions.



“I’ve been playing harmonics on my guitar through this octave delay effect, which makes this really cool shiny sound,” she says. “And I just got this cool vocal harmonizer pedal, which has been helping me to formulate songs. It can be really inspiring just to hear different sounds.”

Add a comment

Clicky Quantcast