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Mothman and The Thunderbirds - Interview

I had a chat with Mothman and The Thunderbirds about the recently released EP 'Into The Instrumentals', some background on the band itself and a little about the future of Mothman and The Thunderbirds.

 


Hey, thank you for taking the time to do this. How are you?

I'm doing well I've been playing a lot of fretless bass recently, and it feels great to play an instrument that's simultaneously familiar and slightly out of my comfort zone.


For anyone reading this who hasn't heard your music before, how would you describe it?

I'd say it's an eclectic take on stoner and sludge metal. My debut album 'Into the Hollow' takes these subgenres, throws in some prog, and garnishes it with a healthy sprinking of psych, folk, hard rock and thrash.


What was the decision behind having 'Into the Hollow' based around mythical creatures and fantasy stories?

I wanted to keep playing off the theme of the band name- which is centered around cryptids, conspiracy theories, and folklore. Lyrically, these themes served as vessels for other real world themes I wanted to explore (anxiety, paranoia, global warming, and war to name a few). Before this album, I had a great deal of writers block trying to come up with lyrics. These more fantastical themes helped me come "out of my shell" as a lyricist and I'm really proud of the results.


The name 'Mothman and The Thunderbirds' was inspired by a tv show, can you tell me a little more about that?

Both the band name and the band itself came out of quarantine passtime interests. During the first few months of the pandemic, my wife (who sings on "The Simpsons = Real Footage") and I were watching the show Ancient Aliens. A lot of the claims on that show are wild stretches, but it's still fun to see how they spin all these webs tying everything in history back to aliens. On one of the episodes, the hosts put forward the theory that the Mothman supposedly spotted in Point Pleasant, West Virginia may have in fact been a Thunderbird, which the show posited to be some sort of spacecraft or flying aliens.I turned to my wife and said "Mothman and The Thunderbirds" would be a hilarious band name, and well, now here we are!


When did you decide that making music was something that you wanted to do?

I guess when I was in 7th grade when I first picked up the bass. I wasn't ever good at sports or art as a kid, so finding something that I finally felt a passion and knack for gave me a greater sense of self-worth. From early on, I really enjoyed arranging things in tablature software and eventually DAW's, so my love of songwriting is something I carried with me for a start.


At the moment it appears like you have been getting guests in to fill musical roles. Do you want to have a full permanent band or do you prefer working as you are?

I still want to write the songs myself, at least for the second album, but I do eventually want to turn this into a live band. That was part of the reason I latched on to the "Mothman and The Thunderbirds" name; I didn't want to explicitely frame this as a solo project. Once I have the second album ironed out, I feel that I will have a more well-defined creative vision for Mothman and The Thunderbirds' sound, and then I can go forward with assembling a full band.


Now I would like to talk a little bit about the new EP 'Into the Instrumentals'. What inspired you to take songs from 'Into the Hollow' and reimagine them this way?

There were a few factors. First, I had seen others like my friend Jason from Breaths (who does guest vocals on "Infinite Ocean") release instrumental versions of their albums, and I think that's such a smart move. It's an easy way to give your biggest fans something extra to hold them over before your next release. Which leads to my second reason for doing this. I have a few projects in the works - a cover song coming out in November, a split EP, a few other covers, and eventually album #2. I felt this EP's release was a solid midpoint between my debut album (which came out in May) and that November release. But I didn't want the EP to just be throwaway content, ties into the other reason I wanted to do this. I really wanted this EP to be a unique listening experience, highlighting the songs that work the best in an instrumental context. Also, one of the downsides of doing the production myself is that I'm a relative mixing/mastering amateur, which led to a few mistakes. One of those was that the vocals sat too high in the mix. 'Into the Instrumentals' remedies that by allowing the listener to experience select instrumentals in a different context.


What is your favourite of the new versions of your songs?

I'm going to have to agree with your review and also say "Agarthan Riders". Of all the songs on 'Into the Hollow', that one is the most fun to play on guitar, and I think that comes across even better on the EP. The riffs are so melodic and directional that they can really carry the song by themselves.


How come you decided not to do all of the songs from 'Into the Hollow'?

I wanted to pick and highlight the songs that worked best as instrumentals. this EP is basically "bonus content", I still wanted it to be its own listening experience. Songs like "Infinite Ocean" work better with vocals carrying the musical narrative, whereas the songs on this EP work both with and without vocals.


What has been the most fun song to create? This can be from the new EP or any of your previous music?

Definitely "Cloud Giant". Messing around with the different effects and layering instruments was a blast, and I'm really thrilled with the end result. For that song, I collaborated with my friend Joe Sobieski, who sings lead vocals on the song. This definitely isn't the first time Joe and I have worked together, but it's the first time of what I hope will be many collaborations with him that are on another level.


Is there an artist for you that would be a dream to collab with?

I'd love to have more guest vocalists on subsequent albums. To that end I'd love to have either YOB's Mike Scheidt or Unverkalts Dimitra Kalavrezou lay down vocals for a song. I think they'd respectively work well with the more dark and etheral song ideas I have.


Are there any musicians right now that you think are underrated that people should be checking out?

Oh definitely! I have to shout out Egor Lappo. He's been by my side virtually for this whole project, and I am forever grateful for all his support. His new album Trancevoicer is his best yet - prog rock/metal with tight, brilliant pop songwriting sensibilites. And if we're talking musicians who've been super supportive in the creative process, I also have to shout out Jason Roberts. Besides doing guest vocals on my song "Infinite Ocean", he's the man behind the band Breaths and part of the duo that is CHNNLR. He released the debut Breaths album a few months before I released my debut, and already has another stunning album coming out next year. If doomgaze, post black metal, or the Deftones interest you at all, I highly recommend checking out Breaths. I'm going to throw out a few bands that I don't know personally too, but I'd just like to shout out two more pojects before I get to that. First is Pierce Frolic, whose debut EP came out last month (with a glowing review by Metal Rose Media!). He plays a folky pop punk kinda thing. And to move to another side of alternative rock, I have to shout out Dvys, who has some really sick collaborations under her belt, and who was pivotal in my merch launch. In terms of other bands... well, I'll keep it breif! The Armed's new album ULTRAPOP is easily the best thing I've heard in a while. Lesser Glow's Nullity also comes close. I realise I'm getting a bit long winded here, but I'll close by shouting out a few bands: Holly Fawn, Moon Tooth, Niights, World Eaters, Hyborian and Serpent Column.


Lastly, I always like to finish with a few this or that questions;

Movie or tv series?

TV series, I feel like the format leaves room for more character development and world building.


See the future or change the past?

Being honest with myself here, I am way too anxious of a person to pass up on the ability to see the future. I feel like knowing what will happen and dealing with the consequences is better than the pressure of the potential ramifications of changing the past.


BBQ or eating out at a nice restuarant?

Ooh tough one I guess eating out, but only because I'm a pescatarian and thus my BBQ options are limited. But I've always preffered comfort food over fine dining, so if I was still a meat eater I'd pick BBQ every time. I will say one of the very, very few upsides of the pandemic was more restuarants being given the space/opportunity for outdoor dining, and that's a happy medium between these options.


Intervew by Kayleigh McKenzie

 

Check out Mothman and The Thunderbirds music HERE


Find Mothman and The Thunderbirds on social media


Check out my review of 'Into the Instrumentals' below



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