FROM: LIVERPOOL | FOR FANS OF: JEFF ROSENSTOCK, WEEZER
Liverpool. A city that throughout the history of music has become associated with tight indie suits, black bowl haircuts, and the annoying twang of Paul McCartney (we mean, The Beatles). Whilst the city may still be thriving in the indie circuit, there’s a new sound in town, all being led by the Weezer and equally as fun loving THUNDER AND THE GIANTS.
First off you guys hail from Liverpool, a city that is rich with musical history. However, do you ever feel that the past overshadows the new age of bands coming out of the city?
Josh Hughes (vocals and guitar): “Definitely. The problem with being a band in Liverpool is that you’re competing with arguably the biggest band ever: The Beatles. People won’t flock to shows with a line-up of new and interesting bands for a bit of pocket change, but they’ll fork out a tenner for a tribute act, which is pretty fucking shit but it’s sadly what people want. The underground scene here is buzzing but it’s filled with too many cliques and not enough new bands working together.”
You also work as a promoter within the city, and so what would you say some of the biggest struggles are when it comes to bands such as yourselves and others getting onto shows and playing?
Josh: “I have a plethora of bands that I can get in touch to play gigs with TATG and support out-of-town acts. However, you see the same local bands working with the same local promoters, and it becomes dangerously stale. Krystian Hudson from Yeah Buddy is one of the few that takes a chance on new bands and makes sure they get a chance to prove their worth alongside bigger artists, so big shout out to him. The main struggle is probably venues not pushing gigs on social media and expecting 100 people to miraculously appear for a grunge revival 3-piece launching an EP made in their mate’s garage. It’s polar opposites on expectations and reality.”
“It’s polar opposites on expectations and reality.”
Whilst it would be almost too typical to ask who influences the sounds of this band, an obvious influence is Weezer. How did the idea to take it further and do a Weezer tribute night begin?
Josh: “Well, I was talking to a DJ at a local alternative nightclub and he mentioned a night where bands would come together and showcase themselves with a twist. I thought it would be a fun idea for a freshers event and it proved to be a hit. Other influences we have include early Feeder (the Polythene to Echo Park era), Dinosaur Pile-Up and a pick ’n’ mix of Rozwell Kid and Modern Baseball.”
Do you feel that sometimes music is taken too seriously, and so in some way we should be following in the footsteps of Rivers Cuomo and make it more fun?
Josh: “So many people give Rivers shit for some of Weezer’s stuff like Raditude, Hurley and Pacific Daydream, but he’s just having fun and I respect him for that. More bands need to have fun; I’ve seen way too many young bands just staying still on stage or looking a bit too serious in their photos. Look at Rivers, nearly 50 years old, bouncing around the stage in a fucking sombrero. Some people need to lighten up and have fun! Follow the Cuomo!”
You describe your sound as being ‘LOUD’, is that in correlation with the words ‘thunder’ and ‘giant’ being used in the band name?
Josh: “In a way, yeah. I find it really apt that we have this massive sounding name and we’re all messy and loud and know how to have a boss time. But we’re also sound with a night in watching X-Men cartoons, drinking some cheap wine from Aldi and .”
With tracks such as Lemon Cider, as well as the visuals to go with it, it seems like there’s a sense of capturing and documenting your youth. Do you feel that making music allows you to create these time capsules?
Josh: “Lemon Cider was written around a time I was euphoric over this girl. It’s probably the only positive love song I’ve wrote really. All the songs we write definitely hold a situation in the past that we can go back upon and go, “Oh shit, yeah! That happened!” Citalopram and Vimto has been mistakenly taken as a break-up song but it’s about my battle with anxiety and depression. It’s a good example of documenting a dark part of my life with something I love. It’s almost therapeutic.”
In years to come, do you feel that playing these songs will deliver a sense of nostalgia? Are there any other tracks by any other artists that remind you of growing up?
Josh: “Without a doubt, tunes like Citalopram and Polaroid Memories are very personal songs, but I reckon I could get deeper over time and produce stuff that audiences can relate to. Just A Day by Feeder is such a nostalgia rush for me. Every time it comes on, I’m taken back to bouncing around my living room, eyes glued to Kerrang, waiting for another solid video to come on. It’s in the same tier as Still Figuring Out by Elliot Minor, Keep Fishin’ by Weezer and Hate To Say I Told You So by The Hives.”
How important do you feel music is for not only listening pleasure, but for also being a staple in life? Do you think it can really influence who we become as people?
Josh: “It’s incredibly fucking important and heavily influential on who we become. Being a child in a house that listened to the likes of U2, The Cure and Blondie but also equally indulged in Slipknot, Static-X and System of a Down crafted me into someone who looks at music from all aspects and respects every walk of life as a result. Even Bono, who can be a twat. Recently, I’ve been adapting the visual aspect of Rozwell Kid’s ‘universe’and started a hawaiian shirt collection because I feel like it reflects my bright and eclectic taste in music. Music bleeds out into fashion, personalities and everything else and leaves the best stain possible.”
How important is it for people to support music and local bands just as much as you guys do?
Josh: “In this day and age of DIY music, it’s imperative that people support local bands. My favourite people are the ones who come down from the bar and give a band a chance. We nabbed a bunch of German fans when making our Manchester debut, and that wouldn’t have happened without someone taking a chance on us. I think there’s an imbalance of idolisation in live music where fans are willing to shell out £70 to have their phone screen in front of their face for 70% of the show. Trust me when I say it’s much better going to a Salt the Snail basement show for £2 and getting your shirt ripped off during their final song.”
Finally what’s next for you? Where do you go from here?
Josh: “We’re preparing to make our next music video and recording our next single, Ego Man, due in February. We’re also gigging our arses off and writing as much as we can. A dream of ours has come true headlining a Movember event at Star and Garter and we’re off to Brighton to open for Bad Sidekick later this month, so it’s all looking bright for us in the future.”