Brimming with irony and peculiarity, California native band, IRONTOM, pays homage to the strange side of life. Former Pearl Jam and founding Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer, Jack Irons, holds partial responsibility for the formation of the band with his son Zach Irons as one of the band’s frontmen. Consisting of Zach Irons, Harry Hayes, Dylan Williams, and Mike Goldman IRONTOM fuses together punk, psychedelia, electronic, and funk-rock to produce their edgy sound. The band is set to tour with Red Hot Chili Peppers this fall following the release of their album GEL pt. 1.
We spoke with lead singer Harry Hayes about the band’s musical experiences growing up, what inspires their music now, and how they combine their individual music tastes to craft their overall sound.
What is the story behind IRONTOM?
The band came together in pieces really. Zach is a few years younger than me, and was friends with my younger brothers growing up. I knew of Zach, but didn’t know him personally. He was just my little brother’s friend. In high school, Zach’s dad, Jack Irons, saw my performance at a talent show that Zach was also performing at. Jack Irons liked my performance, so he invited me over to start playing with them a bit. From there, Zach and I hit it off. Our drummer, Dylan, is Zach’s cousin. So, when he heard that Zach and I were starting a band, he wanted to join in and we needed a drummer. It worked perfectly. Then, our bass player Mike came into the mix because he was in a band with Zach earlier on.
Where did you get the name IRONTOM?
It came from Zach’s dad actually. Zach is Zach Irons, and my name is Harry Thomas. So we just meshed the two together.
What era of music would you say the band is most influenced by?
In the beginning, we were really into classic rock like Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, and ACDC. There’s a lot more music influencing us now though. Despite rock ‘n’ roll being deeply rooted in our hearts, other music has been influencing now us like the Gorillaz and Billie Eilish. When I say influenced by, I don’t mean, “Oh, we want to make something that sounds like that,” but more that we dig the spirit and execution of these artists. We also love hip hop and listened to a lot of Wu-Tang Clan and Beastie Boys during the making of our new album, GEL pt. 1. There’s also some crazy Indian music that we were listening to during the making of the album. Listening to music is so important to me. The more you listen to, the more your subconscious is soaking in, and the better you’re going to be able to create.
Your song “Not in Front of My Eyes” was featured in Season 8, Episode 6 of the TV show Shameless. Where would you love to hear your music featured in the future?
We used to always joke about one of our songs being in a movie with The Rock. It would be so epic to have our song playing when The Rock just walks in. Any movie directed by Tarentino would also be sick because all of his movies are memorable. We actually did write the theme song, “I’m Better” for a cartoon on Fox, Duncanville, so that’s cool for us to hear sometimes.
What is your biggest inspiration when it comes to writing music?
Personal experience and listening to music inspire me the most when it comes to writing songs. Music’s such an amazing thing because you can channel your life into it. What has affected you, and what you’ve gone through can become art. It’s not always the experience of, “I had a bad day. I’m going to write a song about it.” You just go through experiences that manifest into songs. The experience then becomes an actual thing where you can say, “This song came from that. This exists forever.” The moment vanishes, but the song lives on. Listening to music just really does something to me. I always say that music breeds more music.
What was your childhood like that led you to want to pursue a career in music?
When I was about 16, I finally picked up the guitar, but I realized I loved music at a much younger age. I just didn’t think that I could play. The Beatles inspired me so much though, and I knew I had to try to make a sound like them. So I just tried to learn. I taught myself how to play some Beatles songs with a book and the rest was history.
Your album, GEL pt. 1, exudes a chaotic and intense energy in its sound. What inspired the album name and the cover photo?
Well, previously as a band we hadn’t visually conceptualized much. We liked cool visuals, but we were never moved to conceptualize a look for everything. A lot of it’s been guided by how the songs have turned out and how they sound. Our creative director, Amalia Irons, conceptualized the whole visual world for it. She’s done such a great job just capturing the essence of some of the humor we have amongst the songs. Sometimes band content can be really sterile and serious. We realized we don’t really want to look that way ourselves. So, we’ve just figured out a way to look cool in our own way.
Does the band have a similar taste in music?
We have a lot of similarities in our taste. Everyone in the band loves Black Sabbath, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, and James Brown. So, there’s a lot of collective things we enjoy. Mike’s a big country guy because he comes from that kind of background. I think he used to go to rodeos and things like that as a kid. I dig country music too, but not as much as Mike.
What does a perfect day look like to you?
I really love performing, so my ideal day would be in a cool city, where the band can go around and check it out. I would want to have some good food, relax with the band, and then go play a show. I guess if we’re not on tour, I would like to wake up, go for a run, relax, and do something like go to the movies.
Is there something you want your listeners to know when they hear your music?
It’s hard to say. I guess I hope that they feel invited to have fun with us. They should just come rock with us. If they hear us online, or hear a song, they should feel invited to come see us. I feel like when people see us perform, they really connect with both the music and with us on a different level.