THE guys of THUMPER…
have been chatting about their new single, (You’re Bringing Me) Down, and how it came together. I ask whether there is more material planned and what sort of sounds/artists the band is influenced by – they tell me whether any gigs are approaching and how THUMPER got together.
I discover what the band want to achieve before the end of the year and how the band have evolved since the start; whether there is a particular album that means the most to them; what they would tell artists coming through at the moment – they select some emerging musicians that are worth some focus.
Hi, guys. How are you? How has your week been?
We’re good! It’s been a busy week. We released the video for (You’re Bringing Me) Down and played the Friday night of Hard Working Class Heroes. The video and song has been a labour of love for us so we’re delighted to have it out in the world. The gig was mayhem.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourselves, please?
We try to fuse the noise and drone elements of bands like Sonic Youth or Thee Oh Sees, with the Pop and almost saccharine elements of bands like ABBA or The Beatles. We want you to be tapping your foot while gritting your teeth.
(You’re Bringing Me) Down is your new single. Can you explain the story behind the song?
Myself and two of our past members went to see a three-act bill in Dublin a few years ago - Patti Smith, Ariel Pink and Spiritualized. While we were big fans of the first two, we had never really listened to Spiritualized beyond that album, Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space.
I was amazed at theses ten/fifteen minute-long songs that were super-minimal and repetitive but somehow really powerful in spite of, or maybe because of, the repetition. Down is a song that we had been writing at the time and the sentiment of the tune suited that manic and repetitive feel, so we robbed it.
Is there going to be more material coming down the line from you guys? What are you working on?
Down is the second single that we’ve released from an E.P. called Out of Body Auto-Message which we’re releasing in November. Up until now, all of our E.P.s have been super-lo-fi, gnarly affairs but this is our first studio offering and is much closer to our live sound. Dan Fox of Girl Band produced the whole thing and made the transition from lo-fi to big-boy studio a painless and enjoyable process!
How did THUMPER find one another? Is there a tale behind that name?
Essentially, THUMPER started off as my solo project. I was suffering from really bad writer’s block and wrote, recorded and released the first few E.P.s really fast so as to not have time to critique them too much (hence why they sound so unpolished and thrown together - they were!).
What started as a side-project quickly became its own beast as myself and a few friends started playing the songs live, eventually getting booked for festivals and packing out some shows in Dublin. We all knew each other from music college and had toured/played together in different bands over the years - so there wasn’t much of a teething period in terms of learning to play together.
In terms of music; what did you all grow up around and idolise when young?
A lot of ABBA, Beatles and Beach Boys when we were younger. Like most kids; we always graduated towards the strongest melodies and think, if anything, that’s one thing that’s stayed with us when it comes to our songwriting, still.
How do you think you have developed and evolved since the start of your career?
The most major change is that the band has changed from being a vehicle for my songs and more into a collaborative group effort. We’re in a really healthy creative space now. We’ve also done a million gigs so are probably better at actually playing.
What do you hope to achieve by the end of 2018?
With the E.P. coming out in November, all we can hope to achieve is to do those songs justice live and maybe write a few more tunes to keep them company. Most of our goals revolve around writing the best music possible. Anything beyond that is a bonus!
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music so far – the one that sticks in the mind?
The first festival we ever played was Knockanstockan in Co. Wicklow. We had only released one single - and were on relatively early - but we flukely played to a packed-full circus tent. A lot of what we had been doing up to this point was very insular - practicing in our rehearsal room or recording the music alone. The crowd at this show was wild and it was the first evidence that the music translated into a bigger setting. That show lit something in us that has lasted ever since and is definitely a high point for us.
Which one album means the most to each of you would you say (and why)?
One album that had a big effect on us as a band is Holding Hands with Jamie by Girl Band. We all listen to different types of music and have our own tastes and opinions, but something about this record resonated with all of us equally. We all queued up and bought it in a small record shop in Dublin and played that thing to death. Live, the songs were even more powerful. When beautiful Daniel Fox reached out to get involved with our own record it was a dream come true.
If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
Can we go on tour with Parquet Courts or Shame, please? We would like a bottle of whisky, a bottle of Baileys and six cups. Thanks in advance!
Can we see you on the road this year at all?
We just finished a very busy summer of touring but we’re not done yet! We will be playing The Button Factory on Hallowe’en night and are launching our E.P. in The Workmans Club on 30th Nov. There are a handful of other exciting shows in the pipeline that we can’t divulge just yet but there will be plenty of us to go around, fear not.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Focus on writing good songs and work backwards from there.
IN THIS IMAGE: Just Mustard
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
At the moment, we eat, sleep and breathe music every day. They say when you love what you do you’ll never work a day in your life - it also means you never get a day off!
Finally, and for being good sports; you can each choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
We unanimously vote Life by Des’ree x