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Jacksonville, Florida, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | SELF

Jacksonville, Florida, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Pop Electronic





Jacksonville, Florida, trio TOMBOi make ethereal electro-pop, but their activism is deeply grounded. When they’re not making music together, Summer Wood, Alex E., and Paige McMullen work with LGTBQ young people at JASMYN, the Jacksonville Area Sexual Minority Youth Network. When they do make music, the work of holding space for their queer peers continues. Their latest video, the vivid “Rainbow Warrior,” is a loving portrayal of performers on the fringe—mimes, mermaids, fire dancers, strong women, and more, all of whom engage with their bodies and identities as part of their work. Every frame is saturated with pigment, which the band says is on purpose; the spectrum of color here embodies the spectrum of identity. “We try to keep everything very Roy G. Biv,” says Alex E. So dive into the Keagan Anfuso–directed clip, and enjoy the whole range of life that happens between black and white. - Bitch Media

"8 Songs By Queer Southerners You Need To Know Right Now"

Song feature "Lobos"

Jacksonville, Florida's Tomboi creates music to fuel the queer dance party of your dreams. Contagiously hooky, adorned in pulsating synth textures, punky guitar, and lead singer Alex E.'s dynamic vocals, the trio's earned plenty of well-deserved attention, sharing bills with the likes of Big Freedia, of Montreal, Hurray for the Riff Raff, and more. Furthermore, their music video for “Lobos” is basically a short Tarantino script directed by Lisa Frank. '90s kids, eat your hearts out. - BUST Magazine

"TOMBOi Completes ‘Spectrum’"

Florida-based trio TOMBOi has completed their 1st full length album titled ‘Spectrum’ and it truly covers a spectrum of sounds and topics. The 9 song record includes psychedelic beats & vocal manipulation coupled with hard-hitting percussion that’ll have you air-drumming the entire length of the record.

The Queer electro-pop trio touches on a number of topics that will for sure resonant with members of the Queer community. A standout tune titled ‘PGP’ (which stands for ‘preferred gender pronouns’) focuses on identity & the importance of using someone’s correct pronouns.

Now Turn To The Left//Introduce Your PGP
In addition to original tunes, the record also includes an electro-pop rendition of ‘Are You That Somebody’ by one of the most iconic performers who was taken far too soon, Aaliyah. With a sound that slightly harkens to the trend of ‘Chopped & Screwed’ remixes, (If this is a new term for you, click this link for one of the most iconic ‘chopped & screwed’ remixes from last year) the iconic beat from ‘Are You That Somebody’ is dipped into a sleek electro-synth cacophony and accompanied with a rap verse from Geexella(another GREAT artist you should FOR SURE know) that’s seamlessly sewn into the tune.

TOMBOi members Alex E. (vocal, sequencing, beats, guitar), Paige McMullen (guitar) and Summer Wood (drums) truly practice intense rhythmic & lyrical precision from the record’s start to finish. ‘Spectrum’ is for sure a record you’ll want in your musical arsenal for those lazy summer afternoons & spontaneous road trips.

Be sure to catch them live in a town near you! Keep up to date on all TOMBOi happenings by liking their Facebook page & signing up for their mailing list! Be sure you follow them on Soundcloud as well! - Tom Tom Mag

"Queerated Bands of 2016"

Featured on Homoground Podcast #181 & their end of year best of list

"2016 has been a such an amazing year of firsts and lasts, friends and lovers, magic, music and much more!These bands below are selected from Episodes #178-189 of the podcast!"

“Surrender” – TomBoi
Episode #181 - Homoground

"By Pushing Its Contentious Qualities to the Fore, Florida’s Tomboi Makes a Powerful Statement"

“Tomboi is a queer electronic band from Jacksonville,” notes the first line of the Florida group’s online bio.

It’s casual, but also kind of defiant, seeming to say, “Got any questions? Let’s get ’em out of the way now. This is who we are.”

There are many things to unpack in that opening statement, but let’s start with “electronic.” Note that it’s not “electronica,” which is very deliberate. As evidenced by this year’s self-titled EP, Tomboi is very much a rock band.

Drummer Summer Wood holds down the beat while singer and multi-instrumentalist Alex E. uses a combination of sequencers and synths to accent the rhythms, either with flurries of electronic percussion or waves of ethereal synthesized strings. Guitarist Paige McMullen winds her jagged, angular leads in between the electronics and drums, adding a jarring noise-rock element while Alex E.’s vocals twist and wail in a massive pool of echo. Her voice is wrought with emotion and seems at once desperate, angry and confident.

And then there’s the other key word in the band’s self-description: “queer.”

It’s a big step to make your sexuality part of your job description — particularly when you’re based in the South — but Alex explains that all three women felt it was necessary.

“There wasn’t any hesitation about it,” she says. “Being a group of three women from the South, who are all pretty androgynous women, we anticipated that people were going to label us, and place their social expectations of what we’re supposed to be. It was definitely done as a form of empowerment. We wanted to kind of own who we were for ourselves so that we had control of the conversation.”

Part of the motivation, Alex posits, is the that a band can more easily talk about their culture and sexuality through music than an individual can when simply speaking about it.

“One of the issues in the LGBTQ community is that there are a lot of misconceptions,” she offers. “Through art, you can kind of humanize the situation for people. It was a way of acknowledging a conversation that didn’t really exist when we were growing up. And I think for a lot of people, there’s a lot more awareness now than there’s ever been.”

The three women in Tomboi already knew each other and had even played together a bit when Alex E. brought them together two-and-a-half years ago. The name already existed as Alex’s solo project, a side gig she didn’t really take seriously until an opportunity at the massive Texas festival South By Southwest.

“I got offered an unofficial SXSW showcase,” she recalls, “and I needed people to play it with. We all knew each other and had played together at Girls Rock camp in Jacksonville, and we’ve all been involved in bands together for the last six years, so it just kind of made sense.”

The electronic element was something that Tomboi brought into the mix more to fill out its sound than to serve as the foundation for it.

“All of our roots are, I think, in more of rock music,” Alex reasons. “But I guess wanting to have more of a full sound and create more danceable music, we got into that technological world. It’s like playing guitar and all the more natural instruments, we reached this barrier.”

But technology has its limits, too.

“The way that live instruments sound, there’s really no way to replicate that digitally,” Alex explains. “There’s not a way to program a cymbal sound that’s going to give you the same sound as if someone hits it and gets that wash sound in a certain room. Having these electronic elements is like having all these invisible band members that we can make do what we want to so we can decide whether we want to play guitar or sing and so on.”

Still, Alex says that the band does often get tagged as electronica. But like indie rock or Americana, the genre’s parameters are increasingly vague.

“I think that we still struggle to figure out what that term means,” she says. “I think that gets used because there’s sequencing in it, and people are confused about how that’s done or what it looks like. There are always different abstractions people can come up with to describe our music.”

And really, Tomboi’s reality as queer musicians working in the deep South makes these genre quibbles feel rather minimal. Indeed, Alex says that she’s happy to take on the role of activist. In her view, she pretty much has to.

“I think if you are any type of person of a marginalized group, no matter what you do, you are political,” she says. “You have a political stance whether you like it or not. Whether we were a band or not, being queer in the South makes your life a political statement.” - Columbia Free Times

"Questioning Gender with Florida Electro-punks TOMBOi"

When members Alex E. (vocal, sequencing, beats, guitar), Paige McMullen (guitar) and Summer Wood (drums) came through Virginia earlier this month, artist Jon Henry caught up with them around their Harrisonburg show.

The group first came together through mutual friends, cementing a deeper bond through music and youth advocacy efforts with local non profits, Girls Rock Jacksonville and JASMYN. They dropped their debut release, Queer Tears EP, March 2014 and another single, Lobos, January 2015. Since then they have shared bills with outfits such as Of Montreal, Big Freedia, Neon Indian, Hunter Valentine, La Femme, The Black Kids, Hunter Valentine, Fit for Rivals, Hurray for the Riff Raff, Boyfriend, Moon Hooch, and Hank & Cupcakes.

Check out our short Q&A with the band below, and keep up with them on Facebook here.

How did TomBoi form?

TOMBOi started as a solo project of Alex E. in 2013. She was invited to perform at an unofficial SXSW Showcase in 2014 and wasn’t planning on making the trip. Paige offered to drive her out to Texas. It only made sense if she was driving, she should play guitar in TOMBOi. After this breakfast conversation, Paige & Alex E. immediately walked over to Summer Wood’s house to recruit her to play drums. We got the band together in a month, and headed to SXSW – and have been TOMBOi-N’ it up ever since.

How did you all meet and get started?

We all met through our heavy involvement in the Jacksonville music scene. Summer & Paige used to be in a band together called RICE. Alex E. was in a band called Wild Life Society at the time, and we all played shows in our hometown under the moniker of Skinny Records & Warehouse Studios.

What subjects really get you all out of the bed in the morning and into the studio?

Our love of music and the drive to increase our musical capabilities really pushes us. But we’re also heavily influenced by the culture around us. All three of us are committed to various social justice organizations within our community. As queer women in the south, there are certain realities and experiences we’ve faced that have undoubtably inspired us. We want our music to reflect that.

For example, in our hometown of Jacksonville, FL, we do not have an inclusive human rights ordinance (HRO) that protects members of the LGBTQiA community from discrimination in the workplace or in public. To combat this, we’ve worked alongside JASMYN (Jacksonville Area Sexual Minority Youth Network) as well as the local high school G.S.A.s (Gay Straight Alliances) to raise awareness and support for updating our HRO. Where we’re from there is not a lot of queer culture so it’s our intent to cultivate safer spaces for queer and gender non binary individuals.

How do you feel about getting labeled as a queer music group? Do prefer that label or is part of the hustle?

We feel great about it. We labeled ourselves that way as a form of self-empowerment. Being 3 androgynous queer women in the south we knew our sexuality would be brought into the conversation eventually. It was our way to own who we are as individuals, so there is never any misconception of how proud we are to live our truths. We also chose the label as a way to help steer the conversation & questions we are often met with. It was chosen to help more queer people find content that resonated with their experiences. It was a way to connect with more people who may identify with the word, or may be interested in understanding it more.

So what questions are you often met with?

We often get asked what “queer” means or what we mean by identifying as a queer band. We don’t ever aim to give a finite definition of queer because the term itself is fluid; it has many meanings. Queer falls under a broad spectrum of categories – it can be used as a self identifier in terms of sexuality but can also be used as a communal term for those who do not identify with the overall heteronormative society we are constantly presented with. For us, we identify with it’s usage as a communal term for the LGBTQiA+ community.

How do you all value or measure success?

We see success in how broad our audience has been as well as how accepting both audiences and venues have been to our message. There’s no doubt that the world is still not a safe place for queer and gender non binary people but the fact that we do identify as a queer band and have the opportunity to travel safely is a testament to how far we’ve come as a society.

Queer folks have long used bars and clubs as ad hoc community centers. Yet we are seeing the disappearance of queer night venues, arguably with the rise of the internet. Have you noticed? Or have strong feelings on it?

This is a great question. We’ve talked about this before as a band and with other friends. Within our own community we have seen a decrease in gay/lesbian bars but in response there has been an increase in safe DIY spaces popping up. Maybe it’s hopeful to say this but we believe the culture is becoming more inclusive and wants to get better. Specifically in larger cities, safe(r) spaces are becoming more and more available for everyone, not just queer people.

So you all are headed up to Philly Pride to perform. What’s it like to play at a Pride event versus a more traditional venue?

Yes, we are playing at a fundraiser for LIGHT for Philly Pride. We are also playing at Pittsburgh Pride for Pridefest with Dev. The whole concept and environment that Pride events aim to create are always refreshing, heart-warming & a reminder of all the warriors who have fought/fight for equality for the LGBTQia Community. Truly, we are honored to even be considered for those events. Playing in traditional venues can have its ups & downs, but overall when we book shows we always seek out inclusive safe spaces to perform in. - Gay RVA

"TOMBOI Deliver The Sharp Beats"

The savvy synth poppers dish on the message behind the rhythms, kissing girls, and John Travolta.

Spending an hour talking with the three ladies from the group 
 Tomboi — Alex E on beats and robots, guitarist Paige McMullen 
 and drummer Summer Wood — is an eye-opening experience. Wise beyond their ages (McMullen is 24, Wood is 26, and Alex E is 28) they are intellectuals with well-formed opinions on gender neutrality, dealing with sexism and the advancement of tolerance in our city. They are equally witty and fun-loving, cracking jokes while finishing each other's sentences. They can be Morrissey and Patti Smith and The Monkees at the same time. Their music is a mixture of electro pop and Alex E's Grace-Slick-like warbled vocals (à la Bis or even Jacksonville's own Black Kids).

Along with being heavily involved in the Girls Rock Jax campaign, Tomboi are achieving things most bands don't get to until their second or third year, if ever. They've played SXSW and rocked New Orleans. They've crisscrossed our state and, though they're young, they have goals and they're determined to achieve them.

Although we got into some serious discussions about sexism, hate crimes and gender issues, the question that gave them the hardest time was the first one I asked.

Folio Weekly: What is the most tomboy thing about you?

Alex E: When I wear a dress, I feel like a man in a dress.

Paige McMullen: Sports!

Summer Wood: Can I think about it … ?

A.E.: I think, though, when you talk about what Tomboi means, it is a statement about being gender-neutral. To say that I feel like a man in a dress is saying essentially how ridiculous it is to ever feel any one specific gender because of characteristic traits or feelings you may be feeling. If I want to fix my car, somehow I am masculine. Why is that less feminine? Why do we condition ourselves this way? I have always felt very gender neutral. I have always been called a tomboy. I just put the "I" on the end to make it our own. Tomboi isn't about being female or male or straight or queer; anybody is a tomboi.

F.W.: Can I be one?

P.M.: You always were one.

A.E.: I feel like it is a way of saying that everyone is sensitive, everyone is strong, everyone has dominant and submissive traits, and it doesn't make you more hetero or queer.

F.W.: How has it been growing up in your age bracket with this philosophy in Jacksonville? And has that found its way into your music? Is that why you started this band?

A.E.: It isn't why we started the band. We are open about our sexuality and we are not ashamed of it. But I don't think any of us started playing music or joined this band because we needed an outlet or a voice. I have always sung about loving girls, but I've never focused on why. And with regards to obstacles in Jacksonville, I hope that our generation is the last generation that has to deal with a lot of the hate crimes and rude moments. I didn't really realize it until I was in a relationship and how specific and disgusting people can be about it. I don't kiss my girlfriend for your excitement or enjoyment; I'm kissing her because I love her. This isn't a sideshow. When you're in these queer moments, there is not dialogue that exists about how to deal with these inappropriate things.

S.W.: With experience and age, things we have experienced, we get better at dealing with them.

F.W.: Who makes up your audiences and fans?

A.E.: It's varied. We provide a safe space for everybody. You don't have to be any one way. How many movies, TV shows, songs a week come out that are about heterosexual romance, as opposed to any other options? We are constantly bombarded by this archetype of what you are supposed to be, so I hope our shows provide the audience a space to talk about a different type of dialogue.

S.W.: And the music makes you dance. It makes your booty shake.

F.W.: "Lobos," your newest single, is full of energy and bumping and grinding. Is it about Los Lobos?

A.E.: "Lobos" is about being aware that there are all the entities in the world that are out to get you. You are always the deer and there is always a wolf, so never let your guard down. The wolves always lurk at the edge of the woods.

F.W.: But it's such a happy song.

A.E.: Exactly, 'cause it's a serious message and serious messages are always taken much better when you can also grind against someone you like.

P.M.: And that is the secret to songs.

F.W.: What started this whole Tomboi thing?

P.M.: We started because Alex was invited to perform at South by Southwest as a solo performer. I said I would drive because I had just bought a car, and she suggested I should play guitar. And then we needed a drummer. We created the band to play South by Southwest, and that was our second show. We try to go out every couple of months and do regional work.

F.W.: You talked earlier about creating a safe space for your audiences. Does Jacksonville have enough of these venues?

P.M.: Mostly in the Downtown/Riverside places are there queer-friendly places.

S.W.: But we are fine playing outside of our comfort zone. We want to play for all sorts of crowds, and we want to play the beach and other parts of town.

P.M.: It isn't really that places are or aren't queer-friendly, it is more of the collateral traffic. I am from the beaches, and I've never personally dealt with anything, but I've known tons of people who've been physically abused and had tons of other things happen. But, with our shows, there are so many different people that come watch us that are so friendly to us.

F.W.: Would it be rude or condescending to call your music "fun feminism"?

A.E.: I guess I'd call it colorful queer heart-throbbing romantic music.

P.M.: Behind the lyrics there are so many emotions that drive Alex to bring say what she says, but really it's just dancey love songs about girls written by girls that are supposed to make you dance.

S.W.: I can answer the first question now. I am not sure whether I want to be John Travolta from Grease, or be with him. - Danny Kelly, Folio Weekly

"Local queer-band Tomboi Wants to Make Jacksonville a Safer Place"

Tomboi is aiming to make Jacksonville a safer place for the LGBTQ community by sharing its music, which focuses on their lives as part of that community.

“We identify as a queer indie electronic rock band,” said singer Alex E., “and we like to really hone in on our queerness.”

The message Alex E. and her two fellow band members want to spread on stage in is simple: Inclusivity.

“We own the word ‘queerness,’” Alex E. explained. “We want people to know there’s nothing to be ashamed of.”

Tomboi is an up-and-coming local band that has played across the nation at festivals and on tour. Alex E. is on vocals and beats, Paige McCullen is the woman behind the guitar and Summer Wood plays drums on stage.

All three band members grew up in Jacksonville in a time when there weren’t any queer music role models on the local entertainment scene. Now, they want to give gay kids, queer kids and anyone else who doesn’t identify with normal gender roles music that they can relate to, music that’s not a man singing about a woman or vice versa.

The women who make up Tomboi came together through mutual friends in Jacksonville and out of a mutual love for music.

All in their 20s, their music is entirely self-made, meaning that they write their own lyrics and produce their own beats. Having all experienced LGBTQ discrimination in Jacksonville, the band members want to make sure their shows are fun and enjoyable for all audiences.

McCullen said that the band members go out of their way to make sure that where they’re playing is a safe space and even hang up a “Safe Space” banner at their shows.

“If we can’t find a safe space,” McCullen said, “we try to create one.”

Alex E. said Jacksonville has played a role in shaping their ideals as a band by motivating them to help make Jacksonville a place where everyone can feel safe one day.

To make this dream a reality, Tomboi is heavily involved in community activism with nonprofits such as Girls Rock Jax and JASMYN. They are particularly vocal in regards to attempts to pass a human rights ordinance in Jacksonville.

They all hope to make Jacksonville a better place for LGBTQ individuals.

“There wasn’t a lot of female musicians growing up [in Jacksonville] and there was no effort toward making a safe space,” Alex E. said. “It’s about helping everyone become a better community toward each other.”

Their community involvement is not the only thing that keeps them busy.

Tomboi has a self-titled album out with five songs on it and is working on a full-length album,“Spectrum.” The album is expected to be finalized by early 2017 and Tomboi plans to go on tour with Boy Toy shortly after the album is released.

Alex E. and McCullen said that the album is about moving forward as musicians, moving the larger culture forward, and moving forward with “producing electronic beats as females.” Fans can expect a lot more advanced and different electronic beats on the album as well as the members’ underlying signature theme of inclusivity.

“Everything is on a spectrum,” Alex E. said. “Gender is on a spectrum, sexuality is on a spectrum, love is on a spectrum, mental health is on a spectrum and it’s important to remember that when we’re constantly forced to label ourselves.

“We have to understand that if it’s a color wheel, there’s many colors in between and you might be the loneliest color but you’re still not alone. Because we’re all on a spectrum.”

Tiffany Salameh is a student at the University of North Florida who wrote this story as part of a reporting class. - Florida Times Union

"8 Genres of Northeast Florida: Electonic"

This powerful trio inspires many, challenges the status quo, and keeps fans coming back for more. Their first EP came out just over a year ago, and they have continued to grow their list of cities played and fans made. One of the most noteworthy shows played was the South by Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas. I stumbled upon the three playing a show in rain dogs (local venue) with pizza flooding the dance floor and cats pasted on the walls. That night changed the way I saw the Jacksonville electronic scene. These ladies are insanely talented. Bringing a harmonious balance of computer-generated beats and added synth to their perfectly played instrumentation makes for quite the experience. If you want a night filled with good company and magic, check out their facebook page to see when they play. Who knows, maybe one day you will stumble upon a pizza cat party hosted by Tomboi. - Void Magazine, June 2015

"Electro Pop Indie - TOMBOI"

TOMBOI may be a new band, but the members met six years ago kicking around the Jacksonville music scene. Alex E. (beat maker and vocalist), Paige McMullen (guitarist), and Summer Wood (drummer) kept crossing paths with various other projects before deciding to unite as TOMBOI, an electro-indie band with a heart for ’90s beats and dance-pop. McMullen admits her guitar tones are heavily inspired by bands like The Smiths and The Cure, while Wood is influenced by Hot Chip, Hercules & Love Affair, and Disclosure. The trio’s most recent single “Lobos” will be released again in March with four remixes by friends and fellow musicians Datadiamond, Sea Cycles, Prom Date, and DJ Wellfedboy.

Written by Alex E., the track speaks to her vulnerabilities as a woman. “I was imagining this perception of a woman being that of a deer in an open field,” she explains. “My imagination was painting this picture of deer exposing themselves in an open field to potential predators lurking on the edges of the woods in the shadows, for the sake of food and survival. As I worked out the lyrics, I think it started to mold into more of a warning for all in general, that things and people are not always as they seem.” TOMBOI will also release their debut EP in March. - Kelly Ray Smith, Charleston City Paper

"January 10th Music Video Release Show Review"

Tomboi, a local super group comprised of Alex.E (Wild Life Society, Ritual Union, Fruit Machine) on Vox, beat production, and sound sequencing. Paige McMullen (Universal Green, RICE) on guitar and Summer Wood (Four Families) on drums premiered their video for the single “Lobos” on January 10th at Underbelly. The self-proclaimed all-female, all-queer, electronic indie trio debuted “Lobos” a charmingly campy homage to the 1990’s, on the one year anniversary of the bands formation.

The video directed by Keagan Anfuso, and shot entirely in Jacksonville features the band as master thieves wearing moustaches and black suits with black ties, engaged in a mysterious heist in the vein of early Tarantino. The hard driving electronic rock song that accompanies the video I discovered draws from deeper wells of inspiration. The opening lyrics “lookin’ at you, lookin at me And we’re on the edge of the woods, Where the wolves do creep…” reach out like a hand in the dark, as the baseline thumps and the guitar and synth sounds blend into an expertly arranged explosion of sound that had the packed venue rocking.

After the video, the band in the same black suits and moustaches emerged from the side stage to raucous applause, and after a brief thanks, Alex E. offered congratulations to all the newlyweds who had hours earlier been married in a mass same-sex couple wedding ceremony at nearby Hemming Plaza. The crowd again erupted in cheers which carried the band into their first song. The performance that followed was nothing short of terrific. After watching the video a few more times in the days that followed I decided to reach out to Alex E because I was intrigued by the lyrics sampled above. The answers she would give turned out to be quite illuminating, “ I just kept thinking about these two deer, standing on the edge of the woods, and in the adjacent field they will find food, but the exposure will surely invite predators” she continued, “the song is a warning to young women of the dangers that permeate their lives. I want all young women to know that even when their guard is down, the threat remains, and each must be responsible for protecting themselves.”

I followed up by asking her what it means to self-identify as an all-queer band. “We call ourselves that because we want to own it. We want young people in particular to know it’s okay to be queer, we want to write songs about dating women from a woman’s perspective. We want young girls to know their opinions are valid, no matter their age.” Alex went on to credit the work of Girls Rock Jacksonville - a collective of volunteers who value the power of music as a force for personal and social change. The band works with GirlsRockJacksonville, giving music lessons and guidance to the communities’ young women.

I hope to sit down with the Alex E and the rest of Tomboi in the near future for there is still so much of their story that needs to be heard. In the meantime do yourself a favor and watch the ”Lobos” video and then go catch them live.

Tomboi will perform Feb. 25 at 1904 Music Hall with Boyfriend and Heavy Flow. Get more info at - Willy Powell, EU Jacksonville

"TOMBOI - Cover Story"

1. Give us a listing of your band members, instruments played by each and a run down how you got started playing, what year, who helped you get started, who taught you to play, or if you are self taught, schooling, etc.
Alex E. - I program and sequence the beats and sing. I am self-taught and started playing some form of music around the age of 13.
Paige McMullen - I totally started playing guitar because of a Blink 182 dvd I had. I was 12 and it looked like fun to be in a band. My dad’s a guitarist too so he was primed for getting me lessons as soon as I was into it.
Summer Wood - I played piano for almost 7 years, and dabbled with guitar and drums in high school. I found myself in a band in college, then simultaneously in another band with my first girlfriend? I’ve kept with the drums in bands since then. I owe most of getting started to my friends who turn into my bandmates who turn into my bfflz, and then the classical background to my piano instructors and Douglas Anderson.

2. What's the story behind the band name?
Alex E - It just made since. We wanted something that was a statement unto itself. Tomboi, does the job and tends to stir conversations.

3. How many releases (music and/or video) do you/the band have to date and what project(s)/releases are you currently pursuing/promoting?
Our first EP, Queer Tears, was digitally released last spring on bandcamp and we played a handful of regional shows in support. We recently premiered our first music video for the single, Lobos, on in early January. In March we will be putting out a tape/digital download with that song along with 4 remixes of the track by our friends Datadiamond, Sea Cycles, Prom Date, and DJ Wellfedboy. Then in May we will be releasing an EP.

4. What bands/artists have influence your sound the most?
Alex E. - Truthfully, Technology & Synth Programmers/Companies. Roland in general influenced my production capabilities the most. The bass drum sound of an 808, and the functions of a D-beam. Grooveboxes.
Paige - The most notable influences for the guitar tones I usually go for would be The Smiths, The Cure, Blood Orange, STRFKR, and Rilo Kiley.
Summer - I’ll listen to any band or artist if I can connect to the rhythm/soul/beat, even if it doesn’t involve drums. Janet Weiss, Amy Farina, and Steve Shelley are forever favorites. Right now I’m digging Sarah Jones (Hot Chip), Disclosure, and educator/drummer Mike Johnston.

5. Do any members of the band play in/with any other bands? If so, give us some details.
We have all played and performed with a variety of other projects through the years. Summer and Paige used to be in a dreamy indie rock band called RICE. Alex was in Wild Life Society, Ritual Union, & Fruit Machine. Summer plays drums in another band called Four Families and was also a part of the experimental band Matrix Infinity.

6. What would you say sets your music apart from everything else that's out there?
Alex E. - Patty Mayonaise (that’s what we call Paige’s Guitar).
Paige - Naw. It’s Alex’s vocals. Hands down. I’ve never heard anything that I can compare it to.
Summer - ^^^ so tender.

7. What about this band/project has been the most rewarding so far?
Alex E. - Getting to create art and perform with two really amazing & talented individuals.
Paige - Honestly, someone said we were their daughter’s favorite band and that is the coolest thing anyone has ever said about something I’ve done musically.
Summer - It feels like we’ve been a band for much longer than a year…we’ve covered a lot of grounds in such a short period of time. Creatively working with the motivated, inspiring, uber talented mega babes, aka Paige and Alex, is the most rewarding. And we’ve got good chemistry.

8. What has been your biggest challenge so far?
Alex E. - Managing our finances for our never-ending stream of ideas, while also managing daily life. Balancing the duality can be tiresome.
Paige - Yeah. It’s challenging, we have had a lot of financial things that we’ve decided to do like making the band into an LLC and getting rights to cover songs and stuff. We’re a DIY band so all of our promotion, branding, artwork, accounting, everything we do ourselves. But it’s been a good learning experience dealing with the laws and rights of modern musicians. We are keeping notebooks and helping our friends in other bands to do the same thing.
Summer - Agreed. Finding the balance and time to do everything we wanna do… efficiently, strategically…

9. What is your "ideal" goal for the band/project?
Alex E. - Continue to elaborate and collaborate on ideas with other artists. Make art/music that resonates with people.
Paige - I’d like for it to grow beyond the band. We are all really creative people that make art and are interested in film and other media. It would be cool to have lots of different stuff that we do that is all affiliated with Tomboi.
Summer - Make music, share Tomboi, and travel to our dream places.

10. If you could snap your fingers and have your way ... what, if anything, would you change about yourself/the band?
Alex E. - That every time I snap my fingers I could actually have my way. I don’t think that really happens, and even if you could, that’s kind of rude.
Paige - Something with money. Like, if I snap my fingers all of our bills get paid.
Summer - All the dreamy gear that we want would magically appear… and jalapeno cheetos…

11. Can you give us any "on the road" or wild adventure stories? (music related or otherwise)
Alex E. - Last time we were in NOLA, I got kicked out of 24 hour Karaoke bar for tagging Tomboi...I think everywhere. Me + Permanent Marker + Alcohol = TOMBOi tags. It’s just science and math people. Sorry to whoever had to, unfortunately, clean that up. My B.
Paige - We played an impromptu house show with the French band La Femme and another great band, Moon Hooch, at this crazy house that was missing part of it’s roof in the 9th ward of New Orleans.
Summer - We make time for adventures and detours. Paige usually makes recreational or random suggestions (like taco bus (tampa), and McKinney Falls (Austin), the Oasis (Austin)—places I’ve never been before…always interesting, never-seen-before things to experience with some of my most favorite peoples.

12. What is your top 3 favorite places you have ever played?
Alex E. - Big Rock Candy Mountain (Philly), NOLA, Underbelly (JAX)
Paige - The Sinclair (Jax), Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park, The Funky Buddha (Boca Raton)
Summer - Matt Tobey’s house (Bloomington) w/ Four Families, NOLA w/ Tomboi, Miami (INC/churchills) w/ Matrix Infinity

13. What do you (each member) do in your time away from the band, side projects or otherwise?
Alex E. - Boo it up, Bartend, Book Shows, Make Vegan Food. Volunteer in the summers with Girls Rock Jacksonville.
Paige - I’m a Massage Therapist and a Drama student at UNF. I am also starting to score films and work with Keagan Anfuso on producing music videos, documentaries and short films.
Summer - Design work, Four Families, Girls Rock Jacksonville, eat weird food, make hot sauce with my mom, ukulele

14. What is the best advice you have ever received and who was it from?
Alex E. - “ Make sure it’s on.” -every sound person ever.
Paige - “Always look for toilet paper before sitting down.” - Sammy K, third grade friend
Summer - “If at first you don't succeed. Dust yourself off and try again.” Aaliyah

15. What is your web site/Facebook or other sites fans can get updates, more info and/or new music from?

You can follow us on these social media sites for up to date info on upcoming shows, new music, happenings and more.

insta: @tomboiband
twitter: @tomboiband

We will also be touring to promote our new single, “Lobos”. - Max Michaels, Movement Magazine

"Tomboi Bring the Beats to Fort Walton"

The electronica trio will be on tour in June promoting their newest single “Lobos,” a song that brings together the best of both electronic and live band elements, building a steady beat with pulsing synth and pounding bass before exploding in a guitar-fueled breakdown. Tomboi performs at The Green Door in Fort Walton Beach June 6.

Tomboi is a queer indie electronica band from Jacksonville whose music incorporates psychedelic pop vocals, driving guitar leads and a combination of live and electronic beats. They dropped their debut release, Queer Tears EP, in March 2014. Since then, they have continued to tour and share bills with outfits such as Moon Hooch, La Femme, Black Kids, Boyfriend and more.

Discover more at www.facebook. com/tomboiband. - The Beachcomber

"TOMBOi Is Building The Future They Want For Themselves: An Interview with the Band"

TOMBOi is unlike anything you’ve ever heard of. The queer electro-pop band from Jacksonville is made up of Alex E on vocals, Paige McMullen on guitar, and Summer Wood on drums. They merge bubblegum dance grooves with gut-hitting lyrics that tackle homophobia and sexual freedom. Their first full length album Spectrum embodies their experiences as a collective of queer women in the south, while putting a rhythmic beat at the center of it all. We got to chat with them at the tail end of their tour about activism, the DIY music scene, and all things Spectrum.

PAIGE: This is the first time that we, as a band, have gone to the west coast. It’s been so cool to run into so many friends around the country; and people that you don’t know that you maybe just connect with online via social media. It’s amazing to see how far the music community and the queer community is everywhere and you can always find friends.


ALEX: Things have started to change for sure. There’s been a huge push to pass the Human Rights Ordinance in Jacksonville and that finally passed this January. I think through that push, the outreach in the community, conversation, and that dialogue has really evolved in Jacksonville. Not to say that it’s easy for the queer community as a whole in Jacksonville. Some people can’t even use the restroom without being given a hard time. That being said, traveling the United States, the South is pretty much everywhere.

PAIGE: We were driving up the coast of California and Alex pointed out a confederate flag and we were like ‘what is that doing here?’ That mentality exists everywhere.

ALEX: But we’ve also found that what counteracts the negative exists everywhere too.

But I am cautious when we’re in certain places just because I know that out of the three of us, if someone were to have an issue with queer people, I’m the one they would probably mess with the most.


ALEX I think being queer, or being a marginalized individual, whether you like it or not, you are political. Your existence and wanting to be visible is kind of this political statement.

Writing for TOMBOi, I never intended for it to be a political thing, but as we were diving more into queer scenes and queer culture and really embracing what that means. You can’t help but be influenced by [it].

I just wanted it to be really pop-y, happy love songs that you can dance to and have a good time to the same way you can to a mainstream pop song. Most music still has this heterosexual undertone to it, so I just wanted to write the opposite of that.

But through that you meet people who tell you their stories, and you’re part of a community and we’re all involved politically on some level of just wanting where we’re from to be better for the next generation. I don’t know that we’re the best at it but we at least do what we can and we try. We’re not saviors by any means.

PAIGE: People have personally asked me about the fact that we label ourselves as a queer band. Because people think our music isn’t gay, but it is. And it’s also a way for queer youth and people who are looking for media that addresses them and their specific marginalized situation and something that speaks to them.
Photo by Hayden Palmer


ALEX: [The name] Spectrum came about as we were touring and working on putting this album together and having conversations with various queer communities up and down the east coast. I think there’s a national dialogue going on about how mental health is on a spectrum, sexuality is on a spectrum, how identity is on a spectrum. There’s more than these very black and white terms that we’ve come to know.

We’ve really been fortunate to get to know these rad youths from a local high school called Douglas Anderson. We performed at an event that they held for their gender and sexuality alliance called Spectrum. It really signified that this idea of a spectrum is very relevant to a younger audience and maybe to an older audience that wishes this dialogue had been there. I can say that, I wish that the dialogue was a little more progressive when I was their age.


PAIGE: We did a lot of things differently this time around. For one, we fundraised through IndieGogo. It was a good way to get people hyped about it and to get people involved in the process.

These songs we’ve played for the past couple years to hone in on them and perfect them, so it was a more concentrated and conceptual album. The first one we were like let’s get some songs out there and this one we all worked independently and as a group on our various parts.

ALEX: I had my laptop stolen, Paige and friends and I were held up at gunpoint. They stole some stuff from the show, and it was terrifying. It made us realize that if they stole the more analog gear that I had that was the real basis of what TOMBOi was doing in the beginning, then it would be really hard for us to play the show the next night. The community fundraised and they got me a new laptop and I put some money in and got a controller and modded them together and bada bing bada boom the next generation of TOMBOi was born.

When making Spectrum I mixed and mixed and mixed and mixed for like six months and I still hate it.

PAIGE: There’s definitely a point where you have to say it’s finished. We’re not gonna keep working on this. But for musicians and creatives, nothing’s ever finished.

SUMMER: For the full length we used photography and wanted to show all the colors of the spectrum. I worked with Hayden Palmer to collaborate on the visuals for the packaging. I was thinking of some kind of visual collage that represented all of the songs and us and our background. I came up with a list of items that I felt were representative of those things, like a playing card of a king and a queen that would represent PGP and gender. There’s probably like 30 things in that collage and all of them connect with us somehow.”


PAIGE: The minute you’re indebted to someone, whether it be a record label or anyone in general, you have their expectations, and it can alter what your original concept was. It’s definitely intentional, the fact that we do everything ourselves.

ALEX: We’re from Jacksonville which isn’t necessarily known for its record labels and outreach and support for musicians. So instead of waiting for people to come and offer us things we built the future that we wanted for ourselves. We talked as a band about how to be a sustainable entity and not just be three friends who are making music. We wanna do this and we wanna do it in a way that makes sense and is actually kind of practical which sounds so un-rock star.

You’re kind of conditioned to think you’re not supposed to think about business or the logistics, that it’s just getting on stage and partying. We decided to turn ourselves into a business. We have a band agreement that, say, if there was any money how that money breaks down.

PAIGE: It’s been a learning experience in terms of navigating the music industry as a DIY band, and we’ve done it largely out of necessity. It’s benefited us because we know our rights, and it allows us to help other people succeed within the DIY community and we’ve also received help in that way from other musicians. It’s a two way street.


ALEX: We didn’t start this band to make a queer scene and I don’t even think that we’re responsible for it because it takes a group of people to do it. But I definitely think that when we were starting a dialogue in the community, it was at a relevant time for people and really encouraged other artists to come out and prove that you can do this.

PAIGE: As far as the Jacksonville scene, we’re largely indebted to Girls Rock who helped to filter an environment for queer artists and lift people of color up and queer artists up and give them safe spaces. Summer is involved in Girls Rock and has put on a lot of events that brought a younger generation out and inspired them that if you want to make music you got this safe place. The community and the support is what makes people feel safe to come out.

ALEX: It takes a community for sure to build a safe zone. Even though it is the south and there’s some things for sure that we’d love to change about our city, there are some things that are just changing about Jacksonville. The way people are starting to grasp more inclusive dialogue, you usually find yourself in a conversation in Jacksonville where people are trying to understand and they’re trying to be an ally in some way shape or form.


PAIGE: Right now the big thing we’re pushing is our newest music video that just came out that was directed by Keagan Anfuso. It’s for the single Rainbow Warrior which is the first single from Spectrum. We wanted to incorporate all parts of the spectrum into that video.

Spectrum is available on iTunes, Spotify and SoundCloud, and be on the lookout for a vinyl record of Spectrum set to come out in the next couple months.

You can find TOMBOi everywhere at @tomboiband and - Hooligan Mag

"TOMBOi: Rainbow Warrior"

Last week, I got to hang out with (Google Hangout with) the Jacksonville, Florida–based band TOMBOi. Their music is full of pulsing beats underneath personal lyrics. As their website says, “These women know how to make you dance.” TOMBOi created a beautiful visual aesthetic, too, which you can see in this new video for their song “Rainbow Warrior,” directed by Keagan Anfuso:

Alex E., Paige McMullen, and Summer Wood don’t just make art together, they also work with LGBTQ teenagers at a local nonprofit. They’re passionate about making music accessible to teens and letting queer people take charge of conversations about the queer community. After our conversation, my takeaway was pretty simple: These people are amazing.

LENNON WALTER: What’s your music origin story?

SUMMER WOOD: I played piano for a long time, classical piano, and switched to drums in high school. I met Alex and Paige through the music scene in Jacksonville. Paige and I played in a band together before TOMBOi, and we played on the same bills as Alex’s old band. We practiced at the same studio, so that’s how I met them.

PAIGE MCMULLEN: When I was like, 12 or 13, in the sweet spot of childhood angst, I got really into Blink-182. I watched a DVD of [Blink-182] behind-the-scenes, and I was like, “Being in a band would be so fun!” From that moment on, I just wanted to play guitar.

ALEX E.: I got my first job at 13 so I could save up to buy a guitar. I went to an arts middle school, so I took a guitar class, and got really into that. Then I started creating digital music. I’ve always been drawn to creating music in a digital way.

PAIGE: And the origin story of TOMBOi! So it was my birthday three years ago, and I love all things pop-punk, so Summer organized a surprise house show, and we all jammed out.

And now you’re releasing a new music video! What inspired the song “Rainbow Warrior”?

ALEX: When I wrote [“Rainbow Warrior”], there were a lot of [LGBTQ rights] issues going on in Jacksonville. Every conversation you have, it has to start with your identity, and why is that the case? That really fueled the song for me.

The whole aesthetic of your album, Spectrum, and your music video is so amazing. How do you consider the visual aesthetic when creating songs?

ALEX: Summer’s our art director. She has a background in graphic design, so she’s kinda in charge of the branding of TOMBOi. I work on the visual stuff for live shows, and Paige has more of an understanding of how film works. We all contribute in different ways.

SUMMER: The album cover is a spectrum of items that all mean something to us. We just wanted to push the word “spectrum” in all these different ways: objects, songs, color.

ALEX: We try to keep everything very Roy G. Biv.

I noticed that! The color theme is so strong throughout all of your work.

ALEX: Yeah, we use the color wheel as a metaphor for the spectrum of identity.

I really like that. So what’s challenging to you now? And how are you working through it?

PAIGE: Definitely as artists, as DIY artists, finding funding is a challenge. We want to have a cohesive style, and we want to have a lot of [merch] available, and at the end of the day, it all costs money. So finding ways to get our stuff out there and fund it ourselves is a challenge. When you do it yourself, you have the most control. Since we’re coming from such a marginalized community, it’s important that we have that control.

ALEX: Yeah, we want control over the conversation instead of the conversation being steered by others. People make assumptions about our identities and might push our music in a direction we don’t want. We had a really deep conversation about owning that.

Thinking about the direction you’re going in, what’s exciting to you now?

ALEX: Now, at South by Southwest, there are all these queer showcases that have popped up, and there are more and more each year. People of color are getting more visibility at the showcases too. There’s a shift happening. There are people coming from different genres that haven’t been given a voice before [at SxSW].

SUMMER: I’m seeing a lot more women in music scenes, more so than before.

PAIGE: We just did this huge music video, and the most exciting thing, I think, is incorporating new [editing software] when making music videos. The technological aspects of music and what it’s done for our band is really exciting. [There are] affordable ways to make music, which is really important. That accessibility is exciting.

That’s all so great to hear! Finally, is there anything you want to say to Rookie readers?

PAIGE: Continue to pursue your passion in spite of pushback. There are always going to be people who doubt your ability and make you doubt yourself. Believe in what you’re doing. Even now, I have to remind myself that what I’m doing is important.

ALEX: This presidential term is only four years. Perseverance is key. Fight the good fight.

SUMMER: Dust yourself off and try again. ♦ - Rookie Mag


Single: Off the Ground
Release date: April 2020

Self-released: 3rd March 2017

Album: Tomboi
Self-released: 19th January 2016

Album: Lobos + Remixes
Released on Wiener Records: 23rd September 2015 

Single: Lobos
Self-released: 10th January 2015

Album: Queer Tears
Self-released:  14th March 2014 



TOMBOi is the creative project of Alexander Eli (he/him), Paige McMullen (she/they) and Summer Wood (she/her). Founded in 2014 in Florida, their songs blend 90s R&B influences alongside driving guitar melodies and a combination of live and electronic beats. The band originated as an outlet for sharing members’ experiences living as queer folx in the South and has since expanded its reach through community involvement, touring and assisting other LGBTQIA artists.

With releases spanning half a decade, Lobos Remixes (2015), Tomboi EP (2016), and their first full length album, Spectrum (2017), which propelled the three-piece on a month-long nationwide tour, Tomboi has played with a diverse group of artists in a range of venues including museums, colleges, fashion shows and festivals. Redefining their collaborative process, the band has cooked up a series of new songs to release in Spring 2020. In the liminal spaces of  introspection, self-acceptance, and loneliness, all intersected by the queer experience, rises a new sound from Tomboi. One that feels more vulnerable, but still wants you to get up and dance.

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FEATURE: BUST Magazine's 
8 Songs By Queer Southerners You Need To Know Right Now

"Their sound is ethereal electro-pop, but the work they’re doing is deeply grounded." 
- Katie Presley, Bitch Media

"TOMBOi is unlike anything you’ve ever heard of… They merge bubblegum dance grooves with gut-hitting lyrics that tackle homophobia and sexual freedom."
- Cody Corrall, Hooligan Mag 

Band Members