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In October 1997 Breach opened up for Neurosis at the "Szene Wien". If we hadn't grabbed one of the "It's Me God/Friction" promo-cds they passed out after this impressing show, our view to music would probably now be a different one. It has been very rewarding to follow their actions until they split up in 2002, but it was never easy to get information about Breach's background. To resolve lots of questions that have cumulated over the years we talked to vocalist Tomas Hallbom, who now runs a Tattoo & Piercing studio in Luleå, North Sweden.

Tomas Hallbom

Hello Tomas, how are you? Can you give us a short insight into your studio-work at Aeon?

Tomas Hallbom: Well my tattoo studio has basicly been my second home for the last years, and I love tattooing! But nowadays I’m trying to work less, shorter days, shorter weeks, due to my family situation. I recently had a daughter, she is 8 months now, and we had two kids before that, so… we are a big family and now I really want to spend a lot more time with them.
When my son was born I was touring a lot with Breach, so I was basicly home 2 weeks of his first 6 months in life, and I don’t want to do that again! But I try to tattoo every day except weekends, Saturdays and Sundays are holy! I said I love my time I put into the studio, a lot of customwork and a lot of drawing and painting.

Have you ever been asked to do a Breach-specific tattoo?

Tomas Hallbom: I have done a couple of "Breach tattoos" mainly the cover from the "It’s Me God" album, but a couple of other logos and stuff, too.
And I have seen pictures of Breach tattoos done by other artists from around the world in magazines and so, and that is really cool!

We guess your kids and the studio take most of your time now. Is there any space left for band-activity? In which projects/bands were you involved since Breach quit?

Tomas Hallbom: Like you have guessed, my kids take a lot of my time, but I have managed to squeeze in some guest appearances here and there like The Ocean, Raised Fist, Revera, Neveres...
And! My new project called Centre. A 3-guy-band playing 3-chord-rock!! Just hard and straight on, with a little dark punk attitude. It feels great. During April we are locked into the studio to record 7 tracks... I can’t wait! It’s gonna be hard work and a bunch of fun!

Do you know if the band Revera, with whom you recorded "It's All Coming To An End", still exists? It's really hard to get information on them.

Tomas Hallbom: Revera does exist, I will give you the guys e-mail.

How did you come together with the Raised Fist guys to record the song "Time Will Let You Go, All Alone And Break"?

Tomas Hallbom: The guys from Raised Fist are old friends, we live in the same town, and they just asked me if I wanted to join in on a song, I said why not, I wrote the lyrics for the chorus... and there you have it.

Apart from singing some guest-vocals for The Ocean, you also took part in some of their shows and played some Breach songs. How was the feeling to perform these tracks with different people? Which songs did you pick?

Tomas Hallbom: Working with The Ocean live and in the studio was just awesome, they are great guys, great musicians and they are really into Breach. They asked me if I had any requests concerning the Breach songs but I told them to pick the songs they wanted to play, and it turned out to be 3 songs from the "Venom" album. They performed it great! They knew the songs in and out, played them in the exact tempo, everything was perfect and it had a lot of heart in it, it was a very nostalgic moment for me... almost in tears. It felt great!

Do you know what happened to the already finished Neveres record "Aureoles and Backbites", on which the former Breach-member Tomas Turunen played the drums? According to their website it was set to be released in autumn 2003 on Freedumb Records.

Tomas Hallbom: I don’t know what happened to the Neveres album, but I think I heard something about money problems or something...I really don’t know.

Did you all agree in the decision to split up Breach and who brought it up first? What are your feelings about it now?

Tomas Hallbom: Splitting up Breach was a really hard thing to do, because it was not a clear decision, but it had to be done due to a lot of reasons. A lot of it were personal issues and at that time we were 7 people in the band and that were 7 states of mind...sometimes it just doesn’t work out. It was a heavy step away from it all, and it was sad, but in need. Breach is still a piece of my heart and soul, and I do miss it.....but life must go on.

Do you still keep in touch with your former band-mates? What are they doing now? Could you imagine yourself doing some work again with i.e. Anders Ekström?

Tomas Hallbom: We are good friends, we still keep in touch and hang out, and we all got our projects. And... I don’t know, maybe one of these days, who knows...

For the "Kollapse" release your website announced a show at a theatre in Stockholm - did that show take place? How many "Kollapse" - shows were played at all and how did you manage the multi-layered drum-parts live? Two drummers?

Tomas Hallbom: We did the theatre show for a sitting audience... it was interesting and that was one of the two shows we did on the “Kollapse” album (don’t ask me why we only did two shows). The drumming thing was never a problem live, it was harder in the studio to get the same effect out of it.

We think "Kollapse" was not given the widespread credits it deserved. Now, years after, growing interest and appreciation is noticeable. Is it possible that this album was ahead of the times? What if "Kollapse" would be released 2006?

Tomas Hallbom: This is a good observation! And... I don’t know, it is 2006 now and the album is still out there.. you tell me.

On "Godbox" there should have been an alternative version of "Common Day" (original song on "Venom"), but Burning Heart prevented it. We'll probably never hear this song. Is there any other unreleased material or songs you discarded during their development?

Tomas Hallbom: During the years we have trashed a bunch of recorded songs for many reasons. Probably never to be heard again.

How come that the drum-credits on Venom are shared by three different drummers? Was this intended or were you in line-up troubles during recording? Please tell us something about Breach's numerous line-up changes.

Tomas Hallbom:Well, we used 3 drummers on the album, but we did not have an official drummer in the band at that moment. Then later on Tomas and Per became official until Tomas left the band. Per was the last official in the band... stuck till the end.
Bass players came and went, but other than that the line up stayed pretty much the same through the years.

What’s the reason for the change of style between "Friction" and "It’s Me God"? As far as we know the line-up remained the same.

Tomas Hallbom: The "change of style" was just a natural step ahead for us, we never planned our style, what came out came out you know.. no faces just chords!

How did it get down to playing a tour with Neurosis and Entombed? Unfortunately that was the last bigger tour, although you released another two albums and an EP. Were there any further tour offers?

Tomas Hallbom: The specific tour we are talking about was a huge step forward for us musically and mentally. It was an inspiring time and we were open to everything, happiness and sorrow, and we just loved doing Breach at that time, it was 100%, we gave everything we had to give, and we got a lot back from that tour! It was one of my most interesting moments in my life.
We got a lot of tour offers after that, but somehow we could not get it together. It was like we were almost locked in cages......I guess that was the beginning of the bitter end!

What happened to your leg at that time? You had to use crutches on stage.

Tomas Hallbom: Ha ha.. I was playing basketball with the guys from Neurosis in Leipzig, Germany... and I broke my foot.
I got really depressed and I was jumping off the tour, but I got my head together, and we fulfilled it... on crutches.

Your collaboration with Burning Heart and Luger started very early. Can you remember Breach having a d.i.y. approach, sending out tapes, printing t-shirts and stuff like that?

Tomas Hallbom: Of course!! I guess every band has to go through those things, it’s hard work doing those things by yourself, but when you live it... you love it!!

What kind of music do you listen to? Do you follow releases from related bands like i.e. Switchblade?

Tomas Hallbom: Well, I’m kind of an all eater..almost, but yeah I follow the scene, maybe not as hardcore as I used to, I just love music and the different state of minds behind it. The Switchblade guys are good friends and of course you want to know what they are up to, you know. And music for me now is more about simplicity, vibe, feeling and groove, instead of digits and numbers... math!

Is there a Breach album you would name your favourite one? Do you listen to it frequently?

Tomas Hallbom: I like all the albums in different ways, and I listen to them all sometimes, not very often though, but when I am looking for a moment, a mood, I would probably "feel" "Kollapse".

Why is it that there are hardly any lyrics in the booklets. What are they all about?

Tomas Hallbom: Breach lyrics are often analyzed, and I can understand that, but I don’t want the lyrics to be the focusing part, I want to have focus on the whole moment when you are listening to it, you know... and the Breach lyrics are often very personal and have been some sort of therapy for me during the years, it is often a clear thought or feeling but written in metaphors...anyway it’s hard to explain them. But I would think that’s why I keep the most of it out of the booklet, and just in my mind and in your ears. Then of course anybody can feel free to analyze them and make up there own thoughts about it all....

What are your plans for the future?

Tomas Hallbom: Focusing on my band, my family, and on my life...and the last one is often a struggle.

Anything else you'd like to add or say?

Tomas Hallbom: Faith, hope and love....HAIL BREACH.

Thank you very much!

Interview conducted by Harald Sagl and Roland Hörmann in March 2006.