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FFF Fest Favorite: The TonTons

“Trill,” Justin says.

“Oh, yes. Trill. We’re definitely trill!” Asli echoes.

True plus real equals trill. For the TonTons’ drummer (Justin Martinez) and the band’s frontwoman (Asli Omar), no word defines the TonTon’s better.

By Jane Claire Hervey

The TonTons play a set in front of the Shiner Gold bus for the FFF Fest attendees backstage in the Homies Lounge.

The TonTons play a set in front of the Shiner Gold bus for the FFF Fest attendees backstage in the Homies Lounge.

Chatty and charming after a short set backstage at Fun Fun Fun Fest, the TonTons gives ORANGE a rundown of their history as a band. From Houston, Texas, the foursome — Asli Omar on vocals, Adam Martinez on guitar, Tom Nguyen on bass and Justin Martinez on drums — met as friends and decided to pursue music as a career about two years ago. Usually described as an indie-rock band by other publications, the group says that they write what they want to and what they like, and they cannot really pick out a specific influence or band they may sound similar to.

The band’s Fun Fun Fun Fest show on the festival’s orange stage marked the 27th stop for the TonTon’s fall tour, but not their first time playing in Austin. During their summer tour, the band played at Holy Mountain and they also gigged 11 shows during SXSW earlier this year. Out of all of the shows on their tour, the band chalks up the weirdest moment to a time a fan (and friend) threw a drink on Asli in the middle of a song to make the performance more “punk rock.” “We are not a punk rock band. I wear jewelry and high-heels,” Asli says with a laugh.

Their EP “Golden” sports five tracks: “So Young,” “Vietnam,” “Golden,” “Never Never” and “Charlie.” Asli’s dreamy vocals and the surf-rock-reminiscent guitar riffs in “So Young,” the evident doo-wop influence in “Never Never” and the playful circus-like feel of “Vietnam” establish the band’s fun and unique sound. The band’s songs also intertwine some features of folk music (especially in “Charlie Charlie”). No matter how difficult it may be to assign the band to a specific genre, the band’s eclectic mix of styles contributes to their likability and keeps the listener from ever feeling bored.  Although their EP has been out since 2011, the group says their favorite songs come off of their unreleased record, noting tracks called “So Tired” and “Wild Kind” as some of the most fun to perform.

L to R: Asli Omar (vocals), Tom Nguyen (bass), Adam Martinez (guitar) and Justin Martinez (drums)

L to R: Asli Omar (vocals), Tom Nguyen (bass), Adam Martinez (guitar) and Justin Martinez (drums)

When asked if the group would call themselves “besticles,” Tom giggled and Asli quickly chimed in that they are all pretty close (which shouldn’t be surprising, considering that Adam and Justin are brothers). Finishing their fall tour with a show in Houston on Nov. 16 at Paste Untapped, the group is definitely a band to watch. Follow the band on Twitter, like them on Facebook, look them up on Instagram, or check out their website for tour dates, future plans and general tomfoolery.

ORANGE’s Pick: “Charlie Charlie”

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