filed under Downtown
BY Beth Comery
(6.13) You can thank me later. This is a special post for a special band. If you missed the Boom Said Thunder show last month at AS220 you are to be pitied. This fuzz rock trio out of Boston filled the room with waves of sound and energy that had the crowd going more than a little bit nuts. Songs start slow and build to a staggering crescendo with drummer Will Thomas providing the percussive jet fuel. His pummeling does occasionally launch him right out of his seat. (Those poor drums.)
We know a little about DnB here in Providence but John Magnifico’s bass creates fully fleshed-out melodies while still making your chest rattle. Nothing feels missing — these are songs. And somehow singer Abby Bickel makes herself heard over the joyous din without ever going screechy. The gal has an amazing voice — bold and lush — as well as a captivating stage presence with a sinuous, gamine charm. Music like this does not always come across in a recording but their debut album “Exist” does not disappoint. (Check out Gold Rush and The Friend.)
Magnifico and Thomas have answered a few questions for The Dose via email (after the jump).
9pm to 1am, Thursday, June 13, AS220, 115 Empire Street, BST with Ex Reverie and Pointe Blank
PDD: Where did you all meet and how did the band come together?
JM: We all started working at the same [Boston area] design studio at different intervals between 2008 — 2010. Will and I just started randomly jamming with another guy on guitar in the basement after work. That probably started sometime in late 2010. Then in the spring of 2011, Abby overheard us talking about “our band” and she asked if she could be in it. I had no idea that she could actually sing, and female-fronted bands are pretty much my favorite thing ever, so I got pretty excited once I realized she knew what she was doing.
Actually, we’re pretty focused on design. We love it the same way we love music, but we all went to design school to be creative and make a career from doing what we love. Making music can compliment being a visual artist/designer, but none of us believe that music would pay the bills or anything like that.
PDD: Who did you listen to growing up?
WT: The most inspiring to me back then were bands I would see at VFW Hall shows in my hometown. Small touring bands would come through and blow our minds: The Planet The, The Forms, 31Knots, Riddle of Steel, The Building Press. Seeing those bands and many others was a huge impact on me, and my tastes really haven’t changed much since.
JM: Smashing Pumpkins, like every day. Pretty much obsessed and still am. Also The Breeders, Superdrag, and an awesome, female-lead, post-doom-goth metal band from the Netherlands called The Gathering. This was all Pre-Yes and Rush and the like.
More of the interview including rig rundown after the jump. Photo by Derek Kouyoumijan.
PDD: What is your songwriting process?
JM: We just start jamming on 1 or 2 riffs until they turn into something. Abby will kind of “sketch” with a vocal melody until she finalizes words on paper. Usually right before we record the song or play it live. But even then, sometimes we play a song live that isn’t completely finished, just because we feel like it.
PDD: Will, could you describe the elements of your drum kit? It appeared to be somewhat spare and low to the ground? How did you arrive at that configuration?
WT: I play a mis-matched kit of vintage Ludwig Vistalites. I’m not a gear guy at all. If something breaks, I’ll replace it but, other than that I’m not out scouting new gear or anything.
I like the Vistalites cause they have a surprisingly big sound and they are light. I don’t use any rack toms, just the floor. Keeping things minimal is a conscious decision on my part. I like trying to do a lot with very little. That is actually part of the ethos of the whole band. By having less, we are forced to think differently about writing rock music.
PDD: John, musicians might find a rig rundown interesting (because I have NO idea how you make so much happen with that bass, just no clue). Amps? Pedals?
JM: My rig rundown is actually pretty simple. My amp is actually on perpetual loan from my Uncle, Phil. Its just an Ampeg cabinet (not sure exactly what’s inside) and a GK head. For the fuzz, I use the “Swollen Pickle” pedal by Way Huge. It has a good range of tones to it, but I pretty much have one setting that I use exclusively that gives an impression of a treble-y, growly lead without cutting out the low end.
PDD: Who came up with the name Boom Said Thunder? What is it from?
JM: We were throwing around some pretty stupid band names to start, so the name was destined to be, well, pretty stupid. I guess I came up with it but it wasn’t meant as a band name. I wrote it in a handmade sketchbook I keep around for lyric ideas. It was part of a full phrase that was something like, “Boom”, said Thunder! And the hills roared for miles and miles. Meanwhile, I slept soundly. — it definitely has a weird children’s story book vibe going on.