Coming from Ann Arbor, Michigan, Mark Tomorsky and Tommy Johnsmiller – aka Foundry Town Survivors – use their music to tell stories to big to be contained in a single song. Their new single “Hopes And Dreams” follows 2021’s “Mississippi Rising”. Reminiscent of everything from classic rock to Americana, “Hopes And Dreams” is paired with a video by FTS’s frequent collaborator Paul Crowder. VENTS Magazine recently interviewed Mark and Tommy all about the new song and video, how they connect musically, and more – read that interview below.
How was Foundry Town Survivors formed?
Little did we know, back when we first started playing together right after high school, that the groundwork for FTS was already being laid. From the first moment we met, we’ve shared a very deep connection to each other. What turned us on as musicians and music fans was very similar and we set out to capture that in our music. We were never in a cover band, we always played songs that interested us and were musically challenging. Blues, Rock, and Jazz, that’s what got our motors running. We weren’t the most popular but we were highly respected by our peers and our audiences. Fast forward and add that auspicious beginning to everything we’ve learned along the way and you have who we are now, Foundry Town SURVIVORS.
What do each of you bring to the band?
They say opposites attract. For us that’s very true. We have an analytical side and a passionate side. Balancing those positions gives us a very steady and creative outlook on what we do.
How would you describe the type of music you put out?
Cinematic. Most of our songs paint a sonic picture as well as describing that picture with lyrics. When you listen, we want you to see pictures in your mind’s eye and feel the vibe that the song is producing. These days that kind of listening experience appears all but forgotten. We want to revive that experience of total immersion, mentally and physically, while the song takes you on a little journey…
How do you incorporate storytelling into the music you produce?
We grew up in the time of comic books, monster movies and film noir, which told stories that examined the choice between the lesser of two evils and what a fine line it was to tread between them. In folk music there was almost always a story and a moral. We sort of loosely follow that game plan.
Why is this so important?
It seemed to us that it’s more fun listening when a song is multi-dimensional. You experience several levels at once. The story, the vocals, the playing, the energy, the passion, the solos, the instrumentation…It gives the music a direction and a velocity. It “goes somewhere.”
What is “Hopes and Dreams” about?
It’s about making choices. Some choices are obvious, they’re very black and white. Some choices are shades of gray. “Hopes and Dreams” is more about the shades of gray. Sometimes you don’t have a choice as to which choices are available to you. There is a desperation factor in the choices made by the “hero” and the results are unpredictable. To his credit, he does understand that.
What inspired this track?
You can find stories like this in the news every day. People making choices that don’t always go the way the think it’s going to go. Whether it was the right choice or not, they have to live with the results of those choices. Usually, it’s the wrong choice if it’s in the news.
What are some of the major themes and messages you hope listeners will take away?
Freedom of choice is a privilege that has consequences. You always have a choice, try to make the best one you can. Circumstances will always be a part of making a choice. It’s never too late to change your mind and pursue the right choice if you discover you have made the wrong one.
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