At a Tomahawk Chop show, the crowd is encouraged to do one thing – stage dive.
“First kid to jump off the stage gets a free T-shirt,” frontman Dan Clemens, 21, said he tells the crowd at big shows.
During the band’s last show at Ollie’s Point in Amityville for the Today’s Mixtape Festival 2012, around 25 rock fans jumped off the stage.
“We played to a much better reaction that I thought we would get because a lot of those bands are more on the pop side,” he said.
And don’t make the mistake of calling Tomahawk Chop a pop group.
“If someone says we aren’t punk rock, I’d tell them to go kick rocks,” Clemens joked.
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The Long Island group began making music together in 2007. The band’s guitarist Jeff Skaferowsky, 21, and Clemens, who attended Kellenberg Memorial middle and high school together, were once part of a group called The Homecoming Queen. When their drummer left the band after a falling out, Dan Hillier, 25, took his place. Bassist Tom Kelly, 27, was enlisted and Tomahawk Chop became official.
The band released its first record in 2009, a five-song album titled “EP.” A year later Tomahawk Chop released “Split 7”, a joint vinyl record with The Best of The Worst, a band from New Jersey. The latest record released, “Another Summer Lost,” is a six-song album and features some of the band’s favorite music to date, including “Golden Days Of Youth (Spent Underneath the Summer Sun).”
Besides their Long Island shows, Tomahawk Chop has performed in Connecticut, Delaware, and Massachusetts. The group has also spent time touring Canada, an experience the members called memorable. Having people in another country singing along to the band’s songs was flooring, Clemens said.
While the band describes its past music as emotional up-tempo tracks, Tomahawk Chop is ready for a new sound.
“Tree-Lined Street” is the band’s latest song, which has yet to be released. “It’s definitely a new direction,” Clemens said. “We aren’t playing a million miles an hour anymore,” he added.
Changing the band’s sound was almost inevitable, Hillier said. As the band grows so does the music.
“Our newer stuff has more of a ’90s rock influence,” said Kelly.
Tomahawk Chop has drawn comparisons to Saves the Day and fellow Long Island band Brand New. But comparisons aren’t what the band aims for.
“Hopefully with the next record people won’t be saying it sounds like anything,” Clemens said. “Hopefully they’ll say it sounds like Tomahawk Chop.”