Tomate Potate is still saucy

Nich Worby and Devon Lougheed of Tomate Potate take a break from their rigorous practice schedule with some quality reading material.
Nich Worby and Devon Lougheed of Tomate Potate take a break from their rigorous practice schedule with some quality reading material.
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Interview: Tomate Potate @ The Grad Club, Sept. 17

For the record, let’s get one thing straight.

“[It’s pronounced] To-MAHT Po-TAHT,” laughs bassist Nich Worby, sitting in a tattered blue armchair on a sunny Wednesday afternoon.

Drummer Devon Lougheed leans back with a sly grin on his face. “There are so many ways to say it, and any way you say it is wrong,” Lougheed adds mischievously.

Er—okay.

So where did the oft-mispronounced name come from? “Um ... it came up in pillow talk, but not between us,” Lougheed says, cryptically.

“Now I sound like a whore!” Worby says. Everyone laughs, because “whore” and “Nich Worby” couldn’t be further from reality.

A year and a half ago, the eccentric drum ’n bass duo of Worby and Lougheed took to the stage as Tomate Potate, quickly earning a name for themselves in the realm of wild and wacky entertainment. Especially on campus.

Both natives of Brantford, Ontario, Worby and Lougheed earned their chops back in high school with their respective bands: The Majesties and Showerhead. A few years later, the hometown heroes and longtime friends were reunited when Worby, ArtSci ’07, joined Lougheed, ArtSci ’06 at Queen’s, and they decided to collaborate once and for all.

“We were bored, and we decided to shake up the campus music scene a little bit,” Lougheed remembers. He stops to reflect. “I don’t know if we’ve managed to shake up anything but ourselves, but sometimes that’s enough.” One album—A Pepperpot a Day Keeps the Hydrogen Bomb Away—and quite a few shows later, Tomate Potate is entering their prime. Their show at the Grad Club on Saturday seems like just the right way to kick off the school year.

“The Grad Club is always so sweet to us no matter how much we fall down and knock things over,” Lougheed says. “They always just laugh, unlike the librarians at Stauffer.”

And the Grad Club’s beers on tap?

“Magnificent!” Worby exclaims.

But Tomate Potate is not just another drunken party band, they assure me.

“We don’t need alcohol to have a good time,” Lougheed says. There’s a pause. “We need it ... period.”

So what exactly constitutes a good time, guys?

“I just hit the drums really fucking hard.” Lougheed says. “I break a lot of sticks, which proves that I have horrible technique. I broke a drum skin once at a show at Clark last year, and one of the bands after us didn’t have anything to play with.” Horrible technique? Not to worry—most crowd members probably think that any mishaps are part of their schtick.

“I almost fell off a table once,” Worby admits, and both break into hysterical laughter. “It was at our CD release party. We were just really excited and there were so many nice people there. We thought it’d be really fun to climb on things and be all acrobatic.”

That CD release party—back in November of 2004—apparently was nothing short of fun for Tomate Potate.

“I don’t know how we did it—we had 20 minutes of material and we played for an hour and a half! That’ll tell you something right there,” Lougheed says with a gleam of satisfaction.

Tomate Potate spent their summer hiatus relaxing, but certainly didn’t slack from the music scene.

“We just worked, and made plans for the school year,” Lougheed says.

“Yeah, but we got to work on some other projects, too,” Worby adds. “Devon has a rap album!”

“Um, yeah,” Lougheed shrugs.

Lougheed’s alias?

“It’s ‘Butta Smooth.’ And [the EP] should be coming out sometime before Christmas. It’s something fun for the kids.”

Worby hasn’t been much of a slouch himself.

“I managed to head to a studio and record a five-song EP,” Worby says.

Fame has come knocking on their door, though—at least to some degree.

“We’ve been recognized [outside of shows] before,” Lougheed says. “I’ll be shopping at the LCBO or something, and some guy’s like ‘I saw you at [the Wolfe Island Music Festival], you were great!’ And I’m like, ‘I’m buying a box of wine.’ ”

“The Internet scares me, [especially] when people e-mail [me] and somehow find [my personal] e-mail address,” Worby says. “But it’s nice to know people care.”

The project that is Tomate Potate is now a whole year and half old—but time flies.

“We’re so new, I feel like we just started,” Lougheed says. “We’re not Khaki Snack or anything. We are fun, but a lot of the bands here right now are so cool. Whisky Steve and the Steves, every time we play with them I break at least half of their stuff by accident and they’re totally cool about it.”

Worby is similarly supportive of his peers.

“I’m so excited to see what some of the new kids will do,” Worby says. “It’s sort of like a weird changing of the guard. We’re sort of in between the generations of bands, and it’s sort of awkward and uncomfortable. It’s like being 17 and in grade nine or something.” Both Worby and Lougheed crack up at this analogy, and so do I.

“We’re going to have a heck of a year,” Lougheed says. “Nobody knows what’s going on with anything right now. Ask us in May.”

Bass ’n drums? Occasional costumes? What should the new fan expect?

“We’re not trying to project any sort of image, we’re just sort of there,” Worby says.

“We just realized that people can relate to two guys just having fun,” Lougheed says. “Apparently, people are entertained by what we think is fun.”

Check out drum ’n bass “fun band” Tomate Potate this Saturday at The Grad Club. Tickets are $5.

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