Prototomb is the evolution of an idea a 14 year old, who wanted to become a rock star, had, while posing in front of a mirror with his tennis racket as a guitar substitute in the 90ies. He works the strings like a big one and bellows as loud as he can. With albums by AC/DC and Guns n’ Roses being the first couple of guitar driven albums in his possession, it took only a few months until he got completely infected by the rock- and metal-virus. He soon got finished by the likes of Metallica, Megadeth, Obituary and finally Entombed; especially the Swedes leaving a major impact on him. It was the age of crossover and Nirvana. The latter taught him, that obviously you don’t have to have any skills to make heavy music. A false conclusion as he would learn later on, but anyway important for his future self-perception: Anything is possible. Even though, we have not the slightest clue, how…However, the original idea of crossover music embodied deep in his head, so that it wasn’t a major deal to purchase new records by Poison and Faith No More at the very same day. The urge to create music was just the natural next step on his way.
Initially, the youngster – let’s say, his name is Flo – just wanted to sing. After a few tries of being a vocalist in local bands, he realized that no one seemed to be willing to write the kind of limitless music he had in mind as foundation for his vocals. Or maybe they weren’t capable. Furthermore, he wanted the full package from the very beginning: Pete Steele’s bass baritone, L-G Petrov’s mighty roar, the polyphonic harmonies of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, System of a Down and Alice In Chains as well as Mike Patton’s versatility. Soon he found out, he had to counterbalance own limitations by adding further vocalists. However, in a time of LSD (lead singer’s disease) he could not find any interested collaborators. So, after some time he found himself as a band-leading vocalist and guitarist, also handling most parts of the songwriting duties. Anything to finally bring those ideas to life, that had been in his mind forever. Fellow musicians came in and left again, bands were founded and split, but the songs remained and evolved over the years. Until some other creature stepped in (let’s call this person Jø), who was driven in a similar way and wanted to create stylistically flexible music as well. The major difference between the two would be Jø having a DIY background, being mainly influenced by noisy blues guitars, queer punk, emo and hardcore.
It took two bands and quite a number of fellow musicians until finally in 2017 they founded Prototomb. No compromises, music first and implementing their ideas just as they were intended by the two multi-instrumentalists or… Well, actually there was no plan B. Surely, it helped a lot, that Jø had considerable experience and ambitions in producing and engineering.
They recorded three songs, covering a range as wide as possible, Flo playing guitar and doing all vocals and Jø playing bass and putting everything on hard drive. Fellow drummer Daniel (let’s just say, that was his name to keep it simple) did the drums and ran away instantly. The result is their first EP called META*ELLE and is to be released on 6 July 2018. The name is the game, since it is metal music, though having a meta level at the same time. Irony? Yes and no. Conoisseurs will probably say this riff could be influenced by whoever and that vocal line or beat could borrowed from that song. You might also find a certain kind of twinkle in their eyes, but in the end, Prototomb take their universal metal absolutely seriously and bow deep before everything they had been influenced by. In terms of the title you must not forget the female element “*ELLE”, which is meant to take the machismo of the common metal scene ad absurdum. Besides finding their audience and finally playing it live, Prototomb’s first release is also destined as bait for additional members.
Fortunately, the Prototomb family has already grown organically since recording META*ELLE. Jø and Flo found a very talented young drummer, called Leon Hill. At least one further vocalist and one more guitarist are in demand. So feel free to get in touch to join the collective. Vocalwise, a shouter with melody skills would be nice. Guitarwise, Flo sees their guitar-work somewhere between Entombed, Prong, stoner rock, some good old alternative stuff and last but not least anything stoner and doom. But since he hasn’t had any considerable lessons (you remember the Nirvana thing) he isn’t really aware, what the hell he is doing at all. So it might be, whatever riffs Prototomb come up with, might be a little bit odd, not least because he was never interested that much in doing cover versions. Might be, he is cooking something with a very individual taste after understanding about everything wrong that he heard other guitarists play. Combined with stubbornness and the unbending will to implement twin lead guitars at all cost, up till now every interested guitar player ran away in the end. Songs first, but in just three minutes anything can happen, that has ever been invented since the beginning of the rock and metal history.
From the 1990ies to the here and now. Over the years loads of influences have been added: Jø seems to have found some sort of understanding for weird stuff and doesn’t even stop at jazzy noisecore, nor from electronic beat hullaballoo and Flo is little better with a range from singer / songwriter to grindcore. Ever imagined Glenn Hughes doing his blues rock thing to a death rock song? You think, you can play pop music with seven string guitars and shoutings? Then this might be a fit for you.
META*ELLE is a first taste of what is possible in heavy music today. No shredding, no attention handling on scales, but fat riffs, hooklines galore, exciting song structures and staff, that produces hits as if it were nothing. Just to meet them promotional expactations right at the end.
Additionally mentioning, Jø and Flo want to be Prototomb to be understood as a kind of collective. Meaning, everyone is invited to participate. No matter, how many people already are involved, all creative minds feel free to be part of this fun journey in part- or full-time.
Florian Fröhlich: Guitar, Vocals
Leon Hill: Drums
Jø Hartmann: Bass, Vocals