Because Ricky is a lazy piece of poop, I’m taking care of this one too, even though he’s the one that interviewed them. Seriously rising in popularity over the past couple of months, Thou is an incredible band that’s been going non-stop. They slowed down a bit for us to answer some questions about their beliefs, their music and their alternate lives.
Ricky: Who is Thou and what does everyone do?
BRYAN: We’re five young-ish men from Louisiana, four-fifths Baton Rouge and one-less-useful-fifth from New Orleans. I work at a library. Andrew works at music shoppe. Matthew works at a fine dining establishment. Benjamin manages a clothing shoppe. James-Roman increases general intelligence through substitute teaching and decreases general intelligence through alcohol peddling.
R: What type of gear do you use?
BRYAN: Electric guitars, a “rock” drum set, and our wicked, fell voices. We tune low, we turn up high, we play slow (or, at least, mid-tempo), we feedback often. The vocals are mostly one note screeches sung through half-working PAs.
ANDY: Matthew and I both play Peavey 5150s, the only amp to truly create mass drone destruction save for maybe a Sunn Model-T. Those Sunn amps don’t have enough built-in gain, though. I play a Epiphone Les Paul Custom, Matthew plays a Gibson Flying-V. We don’t have enough money for nice stuff. Pedal-wise, I use a Boss Reverb and a modified Danelectro delay and Matthew uses a Boss DD-5 delay. We’re saving up right now for some more amps, so this will change somewhat in the near future.
Mitch plays through an Ampeg SVT and gets his distortion from a SansAmp and Boss Bass Overdrive.
R: There seems to be a slight post-rock influence in some of Thou’s albums (“We Pass Like Night From Land to Land”) and definitely doom roots in there as well, What influences musically does the band draw from, any surprise influences?
BRYAN: We mostly draw from the 90s Grunge Movement from Seattle, Washington: Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains. I guess our lighter side could be traced back to the Smashing Pumpkins, though I think our late drummer Terry Timberlake (RIP) was the only “true” Pumpkins fan. We also draw a lot of influence from our friends’ music endeavors: Leech, Moloch, Fell Voices, The Body, Kowloon Walled City, Cower, Haarp, etc. We’ve definitely heard Black Sabbath once or twice, but we’ve probably heard Fiona Apple a million times more than that.
R: There are some strong, reoccurring themes such as Feminism, Anarchism, environmentalism and even some occult and Crowley magick, Where do you draw this inspiration from?
BRYAN: Ayn Rand, Friedrich Nietzsche, Osman Spare, Storm Constantine, Emma Goldman, Pentti Linkola, Jules Bonnot, Thomas Mudge, Kurdt Cobain; Deepwater Horizon, Danziger Bridge, pre- and post-Katrina Louisiana, the ever disappearing southeastern marshland, the legion of pretenders lurking in our midst. We all read a lot. I volunteer at the local infoshop in New Orleans called The Iron Rail. Everyone’s pretty involved in the DIY punk scene. We’re also all relatively well-adjusted, so we have “friends” who inspire us with their own Thoughts and Good Works.
R: The artwork on Thou’s releases have a very distinct look and feel to them, Can you tell us a little about where you get the images from?
BRYAN: It sort of depends on the release. Most of our records have artwork pilfered from the 15th and 16th centuries, but there are a few here and there with some more timely images. I’ve been putting on shows for about fourteen years now—which means making a lot of flyers—so I have a pretty sizeable library of images that I pull from. Usually I’ll find a few good pictures that work with a particular record, and then I’ll do a quick search through the library for some similar images. I try to fit the artwork to the overall theme and feel of a record.
BRYAN: Probably Salem, Oregon on both accounts. Unrestrained hedonism is both a freeing and a confining experience, always.
R: With all the buzz and word spreading about Thou, including the feature on NPR, how has it affected the band?
BRYAN: We’ve been consumed by our overindulgent egos, flippant attitudes, and unreasonable expectations. Hopefully, a few more local shows with people who can remind us how horrible our shit stinks and then a short tour or two in front of lackluster people we can’t relate to will bring us back down into the mucky muck. No, I don’t think the hype has affected us much. We certainly appreciate the wonderful response we’ve gotten to Summit and everything else, but it hasn’t really changed much on our end that we can see. We’re still doing things exactly as we have before, and I don’t really see that changing much any time soon.
R: We recently wrote about Barghest, are there any other side projects in the works?
BRYAN: Andy, Josh, and Mitch are all in a great emotional hardcore band called Baby Boy; it’s sort of like a throwback to the heyday of Ebullition or Council Records. Mitch and Josh are always in and out of a few bands—Dark Ark, Love Sexier, etc. Andy just did a short-lived, peace punk band called Isolation with our friends Jessica and Candice; they were killer. We’re working on Olde Tongue and Stonerhenge, but those might be a ways off. Andy’s got a solo hardcore band rattling around his head. I’m in a comedy duo called What’s Up, Fuckers! and the New Orleans hardcore band Chopsley, eternal.