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Free Press Summer Fest 2014 interview: Tom Nguyen of Houston band The Tontons

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One of the better moves Free Press Summer Fest (FPSF) organizers made this year was putting Houston upstarts, The Tontons on the main, Mars Stage Saturday. The quartet has been steadily gaining buzz in the national music press since forming five years ago. The contrast of Vocalist Asli Omar's jazzy vocal delivery against the created by brothers Adam and Justin Martinez (guitar and drums) and Tom Nguyen (bass) gives the act their own lush, soulful sound.

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The Tontons have drawn raves from Spin Magazine, The Austin Chronicle, Pop Press International and Examiner. If you missed our previous posts in which shared our love of the band find them at the bottom of the page in author recommendations list. Sample music from their latest, "Make Out King and Other Stories of Love" and grab a copy of the album.

We arranged an interview via email with Nguyen who graciously accomodated a late request as the band prepares for a 15 city national tour following FPSF this weekend. The tour includes stops at Firefly Fest (Dover, DE) and Pemberton Music Festival (BC, Canada).

Examiner: The members of The Tontons come from varied ethnic backgrounds. Does that fact impact the type of music the band makes? Where do y'all draw inspiration from?

Tom Nguyen: That has never been a factor with the band. We just like making music and draw inspiration from everything. A lot of the new record is about being on tour and the different experiences we have had and lot of the sounds were inspired by places or even televisions shows we were watching.

Examiner: The subject matter of the new record deals with the pitfalls of touring as well as benefits. What is the most unusual experience you have had on the road recently?

Tom: We get asked this question a lot and I always blank and then the next day I remember a really good story. Recently we were in France for a festival and we flew there and back in 3 days. I think we were in france for 36 hours. It happened so fast that it didn't seem as though we left the country at all.

Examiner: Looking at the past (and present) FPSF lineups it appears this festival is Houston's answer to Austin's Fun Fun Fun Fest (which The Tontons have performed at). Is that a fair comparison? If you could invite a headliner for FPSF who would it be?

Tom: The festivals are very different from each other. FFFF has its very own vibe that is unique to ATX and FPSF is a very HTX (festival). If I could invite a headliner it would be Paul McCartney because I saw him last year and it ruled.

Examiner: Who are y'all most excited to see at this year's FPSF?

Tom: Wu Tang and Die Antwoord

Examiner: What are you guys listening to these days? Could you offer some new music recommendations for our readers?

Right now we are listening to Pure X, Mac DeMarco, Angel Olsen and Sharon Van Etten

FPSF attendees can catch The Tontons on the Mars Stage Saturday at 2:10 p.m. We will be viewing a portion of the set from the Verizon Insider Cabana. Fans who use #MoreFPSF in their Twitter and Instagram posts can win access to the VIP experience. Find out more from the Verizon Insider's Guide FPSF page.

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