Interview | Thumpers
by Tom Johnson
Most of us likes a nice rounded story once in a while. Childhood friends Marcus Pepperell and John Hamson Jr. used to be in semi-successful indie-rockers Pull Tiger Tail before going their separate ways after the band were dropped, and a had rather acrimonious fallout, with label B-Unique. Then some time back in 2012, the duo got together again to form THUMPERS. A couple of much-acclaimed EP’s followed, full of vibrant, textural pop music, and then, just last week, came the news that the duo have signed to the one-and-only Sub Pop who will handle the release of the bands forthcoming debut album Stateside, early next year. Hurrah! etc etc…
We caught up with them for a chat about the THUMPERS story thus far, how the album is shaping up and what it feels like to be a band who just signed to Sub Pop Records…
Hey Thumpers, how were your summer jaunts?
Ace! non-stop really. we’ve remixed, festivaled, played radio sessions, driven a lot and, well, holidayed a little too.
Do you prefer the Summer or the colder months?
We’re both big autumn fans actually, september especially. there’s that sense of melancholy but also a thrill at all the changes blowing in. i think we both still see it as the year’s real beginning. why the fuck would you want to start with a january? that’s cruel.
Do you have a favourite autumnal band/record to listen to?
Hmm, no-one that i’ve ever thought of as specific to that time but i think leonard cohen is such a great fit. understated but epic. grizzly bear and bat for lashes too. and bon iver. i also remember listening to the first how to dress well album a LOT in the post-summer rain. man, that works.
Unkinder did really well, were you happy with how it went down?
It’s been so great to go between gigs and festivals this summer and hear ever greater reactions to that song. experiencing the crowd responses feels like an honest way to understand that reaction because the support we’ve had from blogs and radio is in those live responses too, in why people have been there to watch us in the first place. so yeah, really happy that it’s connected with so many.
What can we expect from sound of screams? How does it compare and contrast?
If unkinder is about being torn away from the self-centered view of the world you have as a kid, sound of screams is about trying to force it back onto your jaded older friends. it’s a message song – don’t deny your young adult self the chance to remember your childhood… remembering it is the best part. it’s the first song that we wrote as thumpers and probably the best distillation of what we’re about in terms of our band themes. it was also the start of our drums-upon-drums-upon-drums recording method.
How is the album shaping up? how far along the process are you?
The album is finished, it has fingernails! we put the final touches to it in may with our favourite – david kosten – as mixer and additional producer. we’re lining it up an early 2014 release.
You just signed to Sub Pop! Congratulations. How did that come about and how excited are you by the prospect?
Thanks! its kind of a dreamscometrue moment for us. every step of our involvement with sub pop – since they first emailed around this time last year – has felt pretty unreal. partly that’s because things moved very quickly once we’d started to talk. that’s testament to the genuine, true blue way they work as a label i think – when they hear music they like they just make it happen. it’s inspiring for us to work in a way that feels so natural.
Without giving too much away, how is it sounding at this point?
Well, not giving things away is hard, we’re both busting to share it – especially the songs on the record that we haven’t had a chance to perform live yet. i think those will really reset the boundaries of our sound for people. they’re the cracks in the armour that you can fall into.
You’ve got a couple of big support slots over the next few months – how are you finding the live shows at the moment?
They are big, yup! we’re going to a load of new-to-us cities and the chvrches london date is shepherd’s bush empire, which is real exciting too. our first tour was in january of this year so that’s a steep trajectory to look back on. we’ve had such a lot of great live experiences over the year though – touring with ms mr, playing reading and leeds and putting together our own headline shows for dancing’s done and unkinder. each new milestone has felt like a natural step up in terms of how we’ve played. kinda looking forward to returning to indoor gigs from festivals now though. i’ve missed the sweat, weirdly.
What can people expect from your performances?
Punch-drunk communions for drum-school dropouts
What’s the plan for the rest of the year?
I want to say that touring equals TV programme marathons (i’m way behind) but really — we’ve already got more remixes in the works, we’re working on another collaboration with the amazing GAGGLE and we’re brainstorming app ideas. otherwise – we’re ruling nothing out.
THUMPERS join Chvrches on their forthcoming UK and European tours.