Tom Boy
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Tom Boy

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2018 | SELF

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | SELF
Established on Jan, 2018
Duo Pop Synth




"Tom Boy shares eerie, sexy debut track 'How To Become a Drug Dealer'"

Toronto outfit Tom Boy is kicking off a new era with a tantalizing new single called "How to Become a Drug Dealer," which is premiering today on Variance with an accompanying video.

It's the first release for the band, whose members Nate Daniels and Dante Berardi Jr. previously made up the now-defunct CAIRO. That project ended after a number of personal issues finally forced the group to split.

"While overseas in England, an affair developed in the band," says Tom Boy of their past. "We all knew that we’d have to face the consequences of keeping the affair secret from all ignorant parties upon returning home – it was a literal nightmare."

Instead of facing what looked like the end of their musical journey, Daniels and Berardi embraced their rocky history and joined forces with producer Crispin Day, finding inspiration in the drugs, booze and affairs, turning it into a "cathartic juxtaposition" of confessional lyrics, hazy guitars and fluttering synths.

As the song title might suggest, there's a lot to unpack. And the video, directed by Ben Lewis and Aaron Mirkin, kind of perfectly captures the vibe, which is both eerie and sexy.

"We can’t continue to live the lie that our lives are perfect and shiny," the band says. "Our careers reflect the choices we have made and it’s about time that our songs reflected that as well."

See the video for "How to Become a Drug Dealer" below. - Variance Magazine

"Tom Boy Gives Us Career Advice In “How To Become A Drug Dealer”"

Home » NEWS » Tom Boy Gives Us Career Advice In “How To Become A Drug Dealer”
Tom Boy Gives Us Career Advice In “How To Become A Drug Dealer”

Posted on October 19, 2018 in NEWS

Wastecase pop

Photo: Courtesy of Auteur Research

Forget TED talks or career coaches, you just need to watch Tom Boy’s latest video “How To Become A Drug Dealer” to get your life together. Well, not quite. But it’s a chromatic and shiny video that captures a dark career path that you should avoid at all costs – the music industry. Just joking but not really. As the title implies, the song and video captures the burning nature of addictions not only on the addict, but also his/her surroundings. “How To Become A Drug Dealer” is a slightly dirge-y pop that where the smashing percussions and moody contemplation walk us through the destruction that addiction can bring: - Aupium

"Interview With Indie Duo Tom Boy"

“No one can fully escape tragedy. Not in the dimly lit dance clubs of London, not in the nearly black sex clubs of Berlin; not even at home in Toronto where someone always leaves a light on when you’re going to be late. The economist was wrong. There is no safe place; there is only what’s next. That is where Tom Boy is born” reads the manifesto that accompanies indie duo, Tom Boy’s, new music. Born out of the turbulence that ended the pair’s previous band, CAIRO, Tom Boy is writing indie anthems that serve as a microscope, or a therapy session, to address the pain and complications that CAIRO went through before it met its end.

“I wrote that bio as a love letter to CAIRO, to say like, ‘this project exists because of what we went through together and I’m very grateful for that.’ The bio mentions those specific cities because they were pivotal to a lot of the decisions we made as a band and also where a lot of the drama happened” says Nate Daniels, frontman of Tom Boy, as we chat over Skype; him in a grocery store in the -14 degree temperature of Toronto, me on the floor of my living room in the balmy 10 degree winter of Bristol. “I took a year off after we had broken up with the other band, because of a bunch of interpersonal problems. I knew that I didn’t want to give up music. Dante, the guitarist, and co-songwriter in the new band, felt the same way. So, we decided to take a bit of a break and then start to build assets for a new project instead of just walking away.”

And that became Tom Boy?

“Yeah. We took about a year to figure out a producer and figure out if we were going to do it here in Canada or somewhere else. We took songs that CAIRO had already started working on, used those as our base and it started from there.”

Are you happy with how it’s going?

“I am. When you are in a band with five other people and you have an equal partnership, a lot of your artwork gets diluted because it becomes this democratic voting system, which I feel slows down the creative process as well as hindering it. So, having two of us has actually been really exciting because it feels like it’s ours. Having left our label and management, we are doing everything ourselves, not just the recording and writing but the marketing and our publicity as well. We hire photographers but a lot of the time we are putting together our own assets and everything that goes out from us is now touched by us. The branding and the music is a lot more cohesive this time around, which I always felt was lacking with CAIRO.”

Does that feel empowering? Doing it all on your own?

“It does, although it’s a lot more f*cking work. Even if it isn’t as successful as if we had a major label release, it’s still a lot more gratifying to have any kind of success when you’re doing it on your own.”

In previous interviews with CAIRO, the band spoke about side-lining success just to make music, and that making money would just be nice. Do you still feel that way?

“Eh. I guess my terms of success have just changed. I was reading this article about this Canadian musician who was bitching about the music industry: how hard it is to be a musician and how he has to be on the road now more than ever. That kind of work doesn’t scare me. I’m totally happy to be on the road all the time. It’s not like I’m planning for another career or job. My success is literally just being able to share my music and doing that for the most part of the year. I’m not as stressed or anxious as I was with CAIRO; I feel more relaxed this time around but I’m definitely also hungrier. I know what it feels like now.”

Although Nate is not exempt from ‘bitching about the music industry’, even if he does have a drive and commitment to his career that isn’t mirrored in every artist.

“The music industry tends to be this ‘old boys club.’ If you don’t play the typical music that falls into the box and gets played on the radio, then you’re going to find it difficult. I have a lot of music friends who will back me up on that. It doesn’t mean that there isn’t a light at the end of the tunnel, it just means I’m more realistic than I used to be when it comes to the music industry.”

Do you think that feeling that you ‘need to fit the music box to be successful’ is exclusive to Canada or is it a global trend?

“I think that there are places where it would be just as difficult to be a musician and to make a living, but Canada does present a lot of challenges because of our geography, population number, our industry in general – which is a little archaic. They are feeding the legacy artists, but they are not willing to put the money into promising new artists.”

Why have you chosen to make music in Canada then?

“We have a wonderful granting system – which I’m very thankful for. A lot of the music videos and recording can be paid for in Canada. Sometimes I wonder if that’s a crutch. We rely on that money to make moves in the industry but really, we’re twiddling our thumbs waiting for grant money to come through instead of taking a risk on our own art. I do a combination of both where I’ve invested a lot of my own money and time, but I also apply for grants. The grants help take us overseas, which is the goal because Canada only accepts artists once they’ve got a break in some other country.”

Why does Canada only accept artists that have already had some success?

“Radio is such a large thing in Canada because most of the population drives to work, so labels are still paying attention to that format, and want to adhere to that format, to a certain type of arrangement, subject matter, and sound – which usually mimics the bands that are doing well in the day. They are looking for bands that sound like currently successful bands, so they don’t have to pay the price of them not doing well. But I do get why pop music is fun and why it’s listenable.”

Why is that?

“When people want to celebrate or feel good, you are in a state that’s a lot different to when you want to feel something. When you’re on a road trip or a wedding or a club, you want to be singing along with your friends, not thinking about the lyrics. You want to be in the moment and I think pop music provides that. Which is ironic for me to say that as I started off my career as a folk singer-songwriter with very depressing music and lyrics. That darkness is still in my music but in a much cheekier way.”

For Nate, music is a way to channel his emotions and come to terms with them as he sits in a dark room and lets the lyrics write his therapy session. He is not wrong about that darkness being ever present in his music, as demonstrated in Tom Boy’s debut single, ‘How to Become a Drug Dealer.’ With a pulsing bass and simple score, anger and frustration pour through in moments where the instrumentals could have been complicated. The music video – a neo-noir trailer park aesthetic of tiled club bathrooms and glitter cocaine, washed in blue tones and tilting camera angles, where Tom Boy play with a plethora of motifs – is a testament to the underlying darkness that wrote the track.

“How to Become a Drug Dealer is actually a confessional about what was happening in CAIRO. There was a relationship that developed in the band between Dante and Caitlin (the violin player) which I found out when we were touring the UK and kept secret because we didn’t want the band to fall apart. There are parallels between the relationship between a drug dealer and the person they’re dealing with, and a relationship gone bad where someone has gone back to a person even though they know they’re bad for them. The lyrics are pretty harsh because they are specifically about Caitlin and she knows it. It’s about drug abuse in the band and alcohol abuse in the band and relationship abuse in the band, and how we were juggling all those things on the road. The video mimics that darkness and has some fun with it with all the sparkling drugs. Dante’s mum actually stopped talking to him after that video, and he was like, ‘well this was my life for a while and we can’t not talk about.’”

Where are you now on that journey?

“Well, I don’t think anyone can fully recover from going through something like that. I mean Dante’s addiction, mine and Caitlin’s addiction, they are all still there. Maybe they are more managed now than they were before, and we are aware of them, but when we were younger it was just a free for all. We are all very different in our addictions but it’s something that we take seriously, and are very aware of, but exists. Is it fixed? No.”

What you went through and those themes you’re addressing are quite topical – be it depression or abuse or addiction. How should one approach these topics in music?

“Honesty, I guess. We, especially people in the public eye, tiptoe around a lot of things. Bigger stars are protected by teams of people who want to keep to a specific story. But I think if you face things head on, talk about them and use the language of what things really are, then you are way quicker to address them and accept them as they are. That is what we try to do, even if there are some lyrics that are ‘read between the lines’, there are other specific lines. Like ‘You talk top shelf prices, but you’re are rail thin,’ [How To Become a Drug Dealer] is about talking a big game and pretending they are of classy nature when they are actually doing rails in the bathroom or losing too much weight because they are doing too many drugs. I feel like there’s a smart and clever way to talk about it in language, but I also think it’s being honest in what the hell is going on because other people are going to relate to that. They’re not going to relate to you sugar coating your situation.”

Although Tom Boy is only in the preliminary stages of creation, Nate and Dante are bringing out a series of singles and live videos to ‘test the water and see what does well where instead of doing the whole album and guessing.’ They’re following up Drug Dealer with spring-time single ‘Lowrider’ which is a dystopian take on growing up in a small town and watching it slowly become gentrified by new developments until you no longer feel it is home. It looks like Nate Daniels has come a long way since the moody landscape shots of CAIRO’s music-videos. Gone are the thrift store vocals, cliché lyrical turn of phrases accompanied by drawling instrumentals and a rock-cliché, unstyled haircut. Nate Daniels seems to have grown into the man he was avoiding with CAIRO, and in consequence, is creating music that manages to be hard-hitting without falling into indie-folk melancholia. Perhaps this is thanks to the skilled hand of Dante, who works to take Nate’s skeletons and transform them into a ‘greater soundscape and bigger direction, making the music more upbeat and lively.’ Tom Boy is tapping into a sound and a theme that is edged with great potential.

To round off my 45 minutes with Tom Boy, I ask Nate for a few words to tickle the taste buds of our readers who might wonder what he’s learned from years of touring, addiction, writing, breaking and reforming. Whilst Drug dealer’s immortal line, “Who needs heroin when Molly’s got your back” could speak to some, what he says next might speak to everyone:

3 Life lessons
1) 1 am is a good time to go home.
2) Don’t eat spicy foods without a bathroom nearby.
3) The government is lying to you.

3 Love lessons
1) Love passionately but not possessively. You can’t own a thing in this world.
2) Court your lover on a regular basis. Nothing beats the little things.
3) Everyone deserves a private life. Space will save your relationship time and time again.

3 Musical/artistic lessons
1) Treat everyone like they will hold the key to your career one day – they will.
2) Whoever says don’t have a Plan B is right. Have a plan C, D, E, and F if you want to survive the roller coaster that is the music industry.
3) Ignore the critics AND the fans. If you believe the one you have to believe the other. Learn to listen to yourself. - Neon Music

"PREMIERE: Tom Boy’s authentic, grungy “Lowrider”"

“I want to roll down the window and just mellow out,” Tom Boy tells Substream. And that is exactly what this song will make you want to do.

Tom Boy’s latest is “Lowrider” coming as the band’s latest single, with an accompanying video. The track is the duo’s sophomore single. Word of an album is yet-to-be-announced. Regarding the track, the band tells us, “We want you to roll down your car windows, spark a joint (as long as you aren’t driving) and enjoy the ride! “Lowrider” is the perfect spring road-trip song that should invoke old memories while you make some new ones!”

“Growing up, I lived in what was turning into a mountain suburb in B.C. where the forests I spent my days in were quickly disappearing,” the band continues. “Like my environment, my internal landscape was changing too. I didn’t fit in and that feeling never went away. I had to learn to embrace all that has made me who I am today. We’re ready to dance and celebrate our weird. This year we’re working to improve the health of our gut flora so eat your greens, drink lots of kombucha and shine up your fancy shoes!!”

The “Lowrider” video is as authentic as anything you’ll see. It features on a bobble-head like real-life figure moving his head from place to place. “The shooting of the music video almost didn’t happen as Nate and Dante got extremely sick with the flu and also realized that they hadn’t booked a car rental to drive to New York during Thanksgiving. Nate neglected to tell the production team he hadn’t secured a car in order to not stress everyone out. On the day of departure, he was lucky enough to get the last car at a rental shop in Kensington Market in Toronto. The rest is history.” - Substream Magazine

"Music Video: “Lowrider” by Tom Boy"

Canadian indie rock duo Tom Boy comes to us with a sonic and visual masterpiece in their latest gem, “Lowrider”. With this mesmerizing soundscape, the pair grab us and pulls into a unique blend of raw human emotions and surreal yet palpable imagery that is exciting to find. The track is made up of honest verses that speak from the hearts and souls of Nate Daniels and Dante Berardi and land perfectly in our gravitational pull. There’s something so brilliant, so refreshing and so utterly electric about the track that you cannot help but want more and more as you continuously press play over and over again just so you can hear and see this gem once more. So listen carefully, open your eyes wide and let the entirety of your senses be fulfilled by this truly enjoyable must-listen track. - Wolf in a Suit


Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life” is arguably one of the biggest, most told universal lies, and one very often heard by musicians. You wake up enlightened, write a number one album in just over an hour, and the rest of your day is based around drinking champagne and strolling around in a limousine. That widely spread misconception is, certainly, far from reality.

Being a musician, even though rewarding at times, also comes with the emotional burden of being perhaps to in sync with one’s feelings (music is a form of self-expression, after all). Add the tensions of being in a band on top and some type of breakdown is pretty much guaranteed. However, it also means you can use music as a way of letting it all out, and that is what Tom Boy did in “Wastecase”.

Nate Daniels, one half of Tom Boy, did not have the greatest experience with his former band CAIRO: “ ‘Wastecase’ is a somewhat self-prophetic song. I was in the studio working with another songwriter while we were experiencing some internal issues with our former band CAIRO. Tour scheduling wasn’t lining up the way we wanted it to and, in my eyes, there were certain people to blame. My temper was out of control at that time – I was drinking on top of my doubts about CAIRO.”

However, every cloud has its silver lining, and in this that silver lining turned out to be an new exciting musical adventure. “During that session, I felt so frustrated that we couldn’t all make things work. With all of the drama we had just dealt with on a recent tour, I was done. The band ended that night. A few weeks later, I went to LA where all of the weight I had been carrying fell off my shoulders. I was writing more freely than ever before, and I was envisioning the next project. I was envisioning Tom Boy”, explains Daniels.

The turmoil that surrounded Tom Boy’s beginnings also served as the inspiration behind “Wastecase”, a track that distills a sense of relief in the form of hook-laden choruses and an overall anthemic sound. “We feel vindicated in having been able to move forward and tell our truth about all the things that happened to us in our previous musical life. We portrayed ourselves as this squeaky-clean band – but underneath there was addiction, dependency, and a sort of preciousness that weakened our songwriting abilities. For some, “Wastecase” can serve as a breakup anthem or a song you crank up after quitting a job you’ve loathed for years – whatever it is, let it be cathartic!”, says Daniels.

An energetic drumbeat, present from the start, acts as a driving force throughout the song, creating a dynamic journey through a variety of sounds and patterns that differentiate the sections of the song, enhancing both the structure and the storytelling.

Bad days behind us
I’m bettin’ on the sun
California’s callin’ me

You can stay but girl I’m done
A laid back pre-chorus encapsulates the essence of the track, the feeling of catharsis that comes with letting go of a burden, and leads into a powerful chorus, where that sensation resonates even louder:

One of us, ya one of us
Has big plans but I’m restrained
One of us, yeah one of us
Wears shackles of the others pain
You’re not my ball and chain

Having found a sound that recycles the best elements of an older sound, such as captivating guitar licks and a vigorous drum sound, and combined them with atmospheric synths and tastefully placed risers, Tom Boy’s track “Wastecase” proves to be a refreshing, compelling take on indie music. - Atwood Magazine


Tom Boy has just released a video for their new self-prophetic track “Wastecase.”

“‘Wastecase’ is a ‘Bye, Felicia!’ song,” Tom Boy’s Nate Daniels explains of the track to Indie88. “Whether we crash and burn as artists going forward, well that’s up to us now. But at least it’s in our hands.”

The accompanying clip is beautifully colored as it follows a young person coming of age, a masked man drinking wine and playing piano in a field, and more. The video is almost like a portrait of various characters as we see them at their most intimate, dancing in empty rooms and dragging a cross on the ground.

Watch the video for “Wastecase” below. - Indie88


Nothing to Lose EP (2019)



“It was all getting to be a bit much.”

This, from Nate Daniels, lead singer/songwriter for Tom Boy. He’s referring to the turbulent past of his last project CAIRO with current collaborator Dante Berardi Jr. CAIRO was making their mark in the Toronto music scene between 2014-2016 after they placed in the top three at Toronto’s Indie Week contest. They were soon signed to Maple Music (now Cadence) and toured across Canada and Europe with packed shows at Hamburg's Reeperbahn Festival and Brighton’s Great Escape Festival – much in thanks to a single that was placed on MTV’s “Catfish”. But the constant touring and tight quarters took their toll on the hard-working group.

“A relationship started to develop in the band while we were in England. It also happened to be an affair,” says Daniels. The band toured across Canada knowing that they’d all have to face the consequences of keeping the affair secret from all ignorant parties when they got home. “It was a literal nightmare,” says Berardi who almost left the tour.

Daniels and Berardi knew that the damage was done and while they tried to mend fences and continue to ride the momentum that they had built, it was clear that not all members were ready to let the betrayal go. “At a certain point I think the words ‘dead weight’ were used and that was the beginning of the end,” Daniels reflects.

Daniels and Dante were not ready to quit, however. They joined forces with producer CrispinDay (July Talk, Shad) and together they wrote songs that mirrored their train-wreck past – drugs, mental illness, booze, affairs, and all. What came out is a sonic assault on the senses. A smack-talking narrative of repressed anger, hurt, and betrayal. A cathartic juxtaposition of laser-focused lyricism, washed-out guitars, and rampaging synths that place you in the center of Tom Boys’ perfect storm. All of this is contrasted by Daniels' sometimes soft, faltering vocals that eventually burst into the powerful range he is known for. To hear it is to be reminded of the cheeky irreverence of The Killers, the addictive drone of Børns, and the emotional pull of Broods.

In the words of front-man Nate Daniels, “we can’t continue to live the lie that our lives are perfect and shiny, fit for role model status. Our careers reflect the choices we have made, and it’s about time our songs reflected that as well."

Band Members