Avant-garde Heavy Rock Band PHILM, featuring vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Gerry Nestler (Civil Defiance, Kkleq Muzzil) and bassist Pancho Tomaselli (War, Ultraphonix), have released a video for the song ‘Cries of the Century.” The track comes off of their latest album, Time Burner, out via Metalville Records. Continue reading
Experimental post-hardcore trio Philm, featuring Gerry Nestler (Civil Defiance) on vocals, guitar and piano, bassist Pancho Tomaselli (War, Project N-Fidelikah), and Venezuelan-born drummer, Anderson Quintero will release a 10” vinyl EP to launch the band’s new line-up. You can watch the new lyric video for the single ‘The Seventh Sun’ below:Continue reading
Director Rick Kosick is streaming a seven minute video documentary about the making of Philm’s second album Fire From The Evening Sun. The band features drummer Dave Lombardo (ex-Slayer), Gerry Paul Nestler (Civil Defiance) and bassist Francisco “Pancho” Eduardo Tomaselli (WAR).
“Philm recorded the drum tracks for Fire From The Evening Sun at the House Of Rock studios in Santa Monica, California, the home of the late actress/singer Kathryn Grayson.
“This studio/home is amazing; it has a great vibe, which makes a comfortable working environment.
“When I was filming, I had no idea that Dave Lombardo was going to lay down all twelve drum tracks in one day. Impressive!
“What I remember from that day was that Dave was really focused, and he had this look on his face that he meant business. I’m still surprised that he didn’t tear a hole in his drumhead, because he was playing like a madman. Pancho and Gerry were both on top of their game that day as well, and three of them executed everything without any problems. I mean, what can you expect from professionals, right?
“I’m happy how everything turned out with this video, and what a great opportunity to be able to document this important process of making an album.”
Over the past few years, Philm has built up a following through word of mouth and attracting a diverse audience who appear out of pure curiosity to their shows. The power trio of drummer Dave Lombardo, vocalist and guitarist Gerry Nestler (also of LA alt rock outfit Civil Defiance) and bassist Francisco “Pancho” Tomaselli (also of WAR) have created an eclectic sound taking avant garde sounding patterns with driving guitar riffs with a punk edge to create their own unique sound.
Lombardo explained where their unusual sounding band moniker with the odd spelling came from.
“We had a name. We had Letter Bomb. We were going to call ourselves Letter Bomb. Then Gerry created a name out of numerology. I think it was called KKLEQ MUZZIL. I think he recorded with another drummer. We were Philm. It was a trio with the same guitar player, same bass player and a different drummer, and they called themselves KKLEQ MUZZIL. We called ourselves Philm because the music was deep. It was very cinematic, in a lot of ways with Gerry’s guitar playing.”
So who came up with the odd name? “It’s the correlation between the music being cinematic in a quirky way to write the word film. Put a ‘ph’ in front of it. There’s Phish….Philm. Phantogasm? There’s a lot of bands with a PH,” he said.
Did any of the KKLEQ MUZZIL tunes make it onto Harmonic? “I believe “Meditation” made it off the KKLEQ MUZZIL record,” he said.
For starters, the band began in the mid-1990s where Lombardo and Nestler began writing music together. Nestler brought into the fold that driving, 70s rock-esque guitar sound that distinctly stands out within their music.
“That’s Gerry’s style, which is a lot of that. I think the guitars he uses calls for that sound. If he were playing maybe an ESP model, that would lean more towards metal, as well as Ibanez. So he uses a Gibson and other specialty guitars,” said Lombardo, explaining how that side shaped out.
Plus Nestler’s vocal delivery comes across more like poetry than lyrics. “That’s what I like about him. The lyrics are on the record now. We know what he’s saying. He has a very unique approach. Like I said, that’s what I like about him. It’s not your traditional approach to heavy music.”
He says the 70s rock aspect within Philm’s sound is something Nestler brought into the band, but overall is something the entire band are huge fans of and their approach on creating music is heavily inspired by.
“A lot. It was so organic. It was very, very organic at that time. Computers changed not only our methods of recording but also our perception of music and what drums are supposed to sound like. You get samples and replacing your existing drum sounds, which is good but there’s been a lot of abuse of technology, where we really don’t know what we’re listening to. When you listen to a record and go see the band live, the band live does not deliver next to the record. It’s kind of discouraging and disappointing, but it takes some musicians to strip it down and record on tape, and eliminate all of the editing engineers like to do. They like to over work it.”
Aside from that is the aggressive punk/metal side that becomes the ying to their yang in creating Philm’s unique sound. Being no strangers to heavy music, Lombardo does not shy away from that side of his playing. “It’s well documented. Jeff [Hanneman] turned me onto punk rock music. We were a typical metal band covering Judas Priest and Iron Maiden songs. Once punk rock came into the picture, then the music turned violent and angry. That was the turning point.”
Lombardo’s approach on the drums with Philm is a stripped down approach, where he plays on a smaller sized drum kit and challenging himself to create different sounds than what he was used to working with.
“Having a four piece drum set to create this music to record this album, you tend to strip yourself down and you have to refocus on only three or four instruments, or three or four drums. So you don’t have that extra bass drum where you can go into this double bass section that we’re always familiar with. That rhythm is out and I have to figure out other ways to try to capture that double bass feel. I think having these limitations really helps you kind of evolve as a musician because there are demands. The music is demanding a certain rhythm so you have to find some kind of rhythm on a four piece drum set that will fit the song,” he explained.
The final piece was Tomaselli, who they found by accident. He talked about the day the two had met at a drum clinic Lombardo was conducting.
“He approached me at a drum clinic I was doing at West LA Music. He approached me and said ‘hey Dave I heard you’re a fan of the band WAR. I sad yeah man. I love that album. There’s that one particular album Why Can’t We Be Friends? “Cisco Kid,” “Low Rider…” all of those songs – they’re classics. As a child I used to listen to them.”
“So he said ‘my name is Pancho and I play bass.’ He gave me his number. When I couldn’t find the original bass player, I was thinking who was going to be in this band. I racked my brain and kept thinking to myself ‘what the hell am I going to do?’ He came to mind. I called West LA Music and said you need to get a hold of this guy named Pancho Tomaselli.”
“I saw a video on YouTube and he was going into a solo. It was an amazing solo and when he went into “Sunshine Of Your Love” by Cream, I said that’s it. That’s the guy. I knew what he was capable of. Sure enough, he’s the man.”
Both of their records involved Lombardo’s eldest son David, who engineered the recording sessions. The father and son team worked on both recording sessions and what is now publicly released.
“He was the recording engineer on the record. He’s the one who’s available to record. He’s always there. If we need to record something, we usually tell him ‘hey can you take time off work?’ He usually can.”
“For the most part it is easy. He has his own opinions and I have mine. Sometimes we have to find middle ground to work with, so it’s good. It’s a good relationship,” he said.
Interview By Rei Nishimoto