The Tom Toms: Where Beauty and Chaos Meet

Your typical four-piece band usually consists of all guys manning the instruments and lead vocals. Not The Tom Toms. With their female bassist and powerhouse lead female vocalist, The Tom Toms are making a name for themselves in the Detroit music scene by giving people a taste of something different. This was evident at the MuseTracks launch party where Kayla Day, Chris Day, Elaina Day and Steve Bennett blew the roof off of Small’s in Hamtramck. Their sound combined with Kayla’s commanding vocals sent the crowd wild and begging for more.

Kayla: Our sound is just different and people are always asking us “What’s your genre?” and we’re like, “Funk-rock-blues-jazz-pop-rock.” I think what Chris brought to the table and what I brought to the table, and even what Steven and Elaina bring to the table now, it just makes something that wasn’t being done before.

Front: Chris, Kayla, Elaina Day Back: Steve Bennett Photo Credit: Erika Proctor Photography

The Tom Toms attribute their sound to a variety of life experiences…including some Romeo and Juliet style love.

Chris: I think I was 12 years old when the light went on for me, and I realized that music is fucking awesome. As soon as I heard music, I was like, “That’s what I want to do for the rest of my life. That’s it. That’s what I’m doing. I will make sure that that happens” I immediately started writing my own stuff just because it’s really hard to learn other people’s songs initially. Then, I heard Kayla sing one day. I immediately gravitated towards her. The first time I met Kayla in person I told her I was going to marry her. And I did.

Kayla: We grew up on opposite spectrums. I grew up in a really conservative household, so I never heard of Led Zeppelin or The Beatles. I listened to a lot of old school jazz greats. My grandma was a really big influence on me music-wise. She played piano by ear. I was introduced to a lot of Aretha Franklin and Billie Holliday, just a lot of big soulful voices and that’s where my influences came from. And Chris was like this rock person. Chris and I started writing together in high school. That’s where the foundation of the Tom Toms came from, just us writing and writing and writing.

Kayla Day (Photo Credit: Erika Proctor Photography)

Aside from the now husband and wife, Chris and Elaine also grew up playing together. Brother and sister, the duo formed a guitar-drum type duo. It’s no surprise that when Chris and Kayla decided to actually form a band, Elaina was one of the first people they called. Chris knew that he had to have his sister as his bassist.

Then came Steve Bennett, the drummer. After being involved in Flint’s punk rock scene for many years, Steve took a 10-year hiatus from music. He heard that Chris was looking for a drummer, so Steve showed up to practice. He’s never left.

The name of the band has an interesting story behind it, and provides some insight into what the four-piece is striving for with its music. 

Chris: Basically, the tom tom drums are these sort of extra drums. You have the kick and you have the snare, and that’s where the business is at. But, the fun, the beauty and the chaos are in the tom toms. That’s what we’re all about: where beauty and chaos meet. If you really listen, that’s what drives a lot of our sound. It is the connection between beauty and chaos. Like a rolling wave. It’s beautiful, but its just complete insanity going on.

Left to Right: Elaina, Chris, Kayla & Steve

Left to Right: Elaina, Chris, Kayla & Steve

It’s an interesting description, given that the four parts of the Tom Toms are all so different. Yet, it’s this dynamic that helps create a dynamic that’s really awesome. 

Chris: I’ve been in a lot of bands, but I’ve never been in a band that can disagree as often as this band does and love still each other. There is no frustration or anger towards one another. It’s just a wonderful, creative environment.

MuseTracksLaunchParty2016-23Steve: In two years, there hasn’t been one curse word, not one curse gesture, no element or fleck of disrespect.

The Tom Toms are blending sounds and personalities successfully, and through their music and website they are working to connect with more fans, more bands and spreading as much love as possible.

Kayla: We really want people to feel like they know us I guess, that they can relate to us. We don’t want people to think, “These guys are about themselves. They just promote themselves all the time.” We love local music, so we like to spotlight other bands.

Steve: We have the opportunity to introduce people to other bands, they might not have been exposed to before and the win-win comes in when the band that we blog about sends people to our website to read our blog. We have discovered, individually as well as collectively, when you put love into something love comes back to you and it usually comes back bigger than what you gave out. I used to be a very aggressive person. Some big things happened in my life, and I discovered that love will always win no matter what. If you always operate in love, you’ll always win. You will always come out on top sooner or later. So, we kinda operate that way. We show a lot of love.

Find out more about the Tom Toms on their website and Facebook page. The Tom Toms are a Music Movers band.

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