When Fillipa Nassil was left without any band members back in 2017, she dusted herself down and rose like a phoenix from the ashes with a new line-up. Ladies and gentlemen, Thundermother are back. And they’re bigger and better than ever.
Down The Front Media caught up with Thundermother ahead of their new album release and to talk about the new line-up.
DTF: Thank you for speaking to us – it’s really appreciated. So where are you right now?
DTF: Awesome. So new line up in the band – how’s that going?
FN: It’s going well. We’re good friends, we live in the same city – that’s good (laughs). We had a good recording session in the studio so the album is a proven result that we work well together.
DTF: Well the album is outstanding. I really enjoyed it. After the change of personnel and with you being the nucleus of the band, you didn’t have long to rehearse as a band before recording. How did you approach that?
FN: We had a great summer. We played 12 festivals together – one of them was Wacken Open Air which was the goal of my life! We all got the Wacken tattoo on our arms! So we were very well welded together. We had a good chemistry after tens of thousands of people saw us live. After that we went straight to the rehearsal room for one month and rehearsed and rehearsed. I showed them the new songs that I wrote. They put their touch on it and we went into the studio and in 10 days – we recorded 15 tracks.
DTF: Wow. 10 days? I guess that chemistry from being on stage together must carry into the studio for you to record so quickly?
FN: Yeah because some stuff was pure improvisation. We did it live. Even the vocals were recorded in the same room. With years of experience, I know you need to be together to get that true live feeling and I knew she’d do it better (Guernica – vocals) if she was with us. She sure did. She was amazing....everyone was amazing. After recording, we did maybe two more takes each and then we were done.
DTF: That aint easy!
FN: We had a great producer (******). Phenomenal. We had the headphones on and it sounded like the album. You could hear everything. It was mixed already as we played.
DTF: You don’t want to be the one that gets it wrong!
FN: No (laughs). I have very high standards. I feel for everyone. I can be mean. I need to take a chill pill when I go in the studio so I’m nice to everybody but everyone in this line up are so talented, so so good. I’m really impressed by them and I admire them so much. After one take, I can feel like wow. The first song on the album ‘Revival’ was recorded the first day in the studio – just the first tracking. It’s a bit slow. Maybe we should have had some more coffee on it (laughs).
DTF: Well I think you made up for that in some of the other songs. I was playing ‘Whatever’ and it’s full on. So flipping forward – what are your plans for 2018?
FN: We have our release party on the 23rd of February in Stockholm. Then we’re gonna keep on doing every weekend in Sweden for a month – Fridays and Saturdays. Then we’re heading off to Europe for a long tour. We haven’t announced it yet but it’s pretty soon actually.
DTF: Come on then – give us a scoop!
FN: (Laughs) Yeah! Seriously it’s like in two months or something. I really hope we can announce it soon.
DTF: Yeah you should maybe tell people!
FN: (Laughs) Yeah or we’ll have no audience!
DTF: So the album launch is a home gig. You must be excited and looking forward to that?
FN: Excited, I dunno (laughs). It’s a small venue in Stockholm and all our friends and family and everyone we know will come. There’s no backstage so we have to walk through the crowd to get to the stage.
DTF: Where’s the show on the 23rd?
FN: It’s a place called Harry B James. It’s in the Kungstradgarden. Close to the King’s castle so we’ll maybe blow him to bits (laughs). I hope the King will wanna come. It’s very close.
DTF: So the European tour. Where will that take you?
FN: Everywhere we’ve been so far I hope. We have more shows in Germany. It’s the country where we’re the biggest. There’s only one hour between each city in Germany so it’s pretty convenient touring there.
DTF: And you’ve been to Wacken already and played to 10 000 people? That’s a fan base! Where do you enjoy playing the most?
FN: Scotland (laughs all round)! Seriously. The most fun I ever had was in Edinburgh when we played there.
DTF: So what are your influences right now?
FN: Right now. Blackberry Smoke. I saw them three times last week. I was in America to see them live. I was on the Outlaw Cruise from New Orleans to Mexico...and back. It was a vacation. I like to listen to those deeper sounds of rock. I like to play classic easy stuff you know.
DTF: And what do you listen to with your headphones on?
FN: I listen to myself (laughs). Thundermother’s new album! I’m so proud of it. I can’t believe we did it in 10 days you know. So egotistic, I can’t believe it! Actually, I listen to Blackberry Smoke, Jason and the Scorchers. Some American rock n’ roll.
DTF: And I can hear in your guitar playing almost a bluesy, boogie and metal. Do you mix it up?
FN: Yeah. Warner Hodges is a fantastic guitar player. He also plays in Dan Baird and the Homemade Sin. I’m really inspired by him. He throws the guitar around. I’m gonna do that now!
DTF: Good straplocks!
FN: Oh! He said he was gonna give me some straplocks but he must have forgot. I forgot too....too much beer!
DTF: You’ll need those for the gig in February or you might hurt a member of your family!
FN: I already have two cracks in my guitar just practicing. You need a drill and a bigger screw!
DTF: What are you looking forward to most in 2018? What are your aspirations?
FN: We have talked a lot about doing more shows in the Spanish market. Our singer is Spanish and she is fluent in Spanish. Every time we play in Spain, they never understand us. Our tour manager speaks three words of English so finally we can talk to him. Google translate is my best friend (laughs). We were actually joking about it today. We should record ‘Whatever’ in Spanish and release it in Spain and South America.
DTF: The South American market is massive.
FN: Yeah. We have many listeners in Brazil and Mexico – where we were on their Hard Rock top listing. And it’s warmer there. I love the climate. I wanna move when we make it (laughs).
DTF: The album then. What’s the highlight for you?
FN: Hard to say ‘cause I love all of them. It’s fun to play the first three tracks live in the rehearsal room. I like when my heart is pumping fast! ‘Rip Your Heart Out’ is one of my favourites for sure. It’s very Deep Purple influenced. I love Deep Purple, like ‘Burn’ and all those. We have one more ‘pop’ song called ‘Hanging At My Door’ which is just something completely different. It’s just a great song we wrote. We bring out a new album and hope people won’t burn the new album (laughs). The last song is a 6/8 song. It’s like a waltz. It’s like an ACDC song in waltz tempo.
DTF: I thought it was interesting too. There’s a ballad on there. I think for me what’s interesting is you’ve left space for Guernica (vocals) who’s a great singer. Is that a deliberate approach?
FN: Not really. We were just focussing on the melody and she just carries them through. More than I could ever have hoped for.
DTF: And her singing style. She can move from a rough gravelly tone to a beautiful singing voice. It’s giving you range I suppose.
FN: Yeah. For me, the tunes are the most important thing and she really captures the spirit of them. In the power ballad ‘Fire in the Rain’, our first ballad ever really. I said (to her) we should
record this in the morning when you’re tired. Before a coffee in her pyjamas. I think that’s beautiful and it makes her voice fragile and that’s what the song needs.
DTF: So you’re almost managing the band using all the tricks (laughs).
FN: Yeah, I produced the last two albums so it was the first time I wasn’t producing but it’s hard to not control you know (laughs). I have so many opinions as I wrote the songs but everyone is part of the process and put their own stamp on it.
DTF: One of the things that comes across in the lyrical content of the new album is attitude. It’s very authentic – the emotion you put into these songs.
FN: Well thank you! It’s a pretty emotional album. The band has been through a lot. We want to tell the fans and the younger people that listen, to never give up, follow your dreams and even if it’s hard – never give up. Fight for what you believe in. Fight for rock n’ roll! If you give up at every obstacle you have in life, you’ll never get anywhere so we want to show that through music. I hope people enjoy it.
DTF: I think you’ve achieved that. More than the lyrics, the fact that you’ve come back and not wasted any time is testament to your own attitude.
FN: Thank you. I appreciate it. I almost thought we couldn’t make it but then thought - of course we can make it. Can’t give up over one obstacle. Too many bands quit because one or two members quit so...why quit? People ask me advice on Facebook. People who want to keep bands going and have difficulties. I don’t know why I’m some kinda mentor for these bands now (laughs). If you believe in it, you can do it I always write. Even if you’re the drummer and don’t write the songs, just do it. Find the songwriter, find the musicians. It’s a brand. You’ve got to build the brand. Don’t give up your brand. It takes years to make a band bigger or else you will always play the small hang-outs around your town.
DTF: There’s your ambition. The ten thousand at Wacken is one thing but maintaining that momentum is the challenge.
FN: Of course. Everyone quit the band and I was the only one left a year ago. And then the first thing I did was email all the festivals that we had booked in at the time. There were 17 at the time. I said what had happened and that I wasn’t giving up...that we would announce new members soon. I went on holiday to Mexico for two weeks and didn’t have any members. When I got back, everyone answered that they still wanted to keep us. That gave me more strength to carry on. It took two days and I found Guernica. She came up for an audition and it was going again.
DTF: Well thank you so much for talking to us. That word authentic. And the honesty of Thundermother are what make you special.
FN: Thank you! See you soon!
To find out more from the band check out their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/thundermother/
Fillipa Nassil (guitar)
Guernica Mancini (vocals)
Sara Pettersson (bass)
Emlee Johansson (drums)