Skip to main content

Introducing... Sergeant Thunderhoof


Sergeant Thunderhoof are hard to pigeonhole, on one hand it's clear to see them dip into genres such as psych rock, but on the other they are so experimental with their music that it seems absurdly silly to lock them down like that. As you'll find out when you read on this is because they have given up on "making it" in the music industry. Furthermore, find out why they have a magnificent name, and why their new album, Terra Solus, may just be your album of the year...

Question. Sergeant Thunderhoof is probably my favourite band name of all time, how did that come about?
Sergeant Thunderhoof:
We knew we wanted a name which conveyed a theme or character. None of us in the band are particularly extravagant or charismatic to the extent that we feel comfortable having pictures of ourselves all over the place. I guess having a name like ours takes it away from us as individuals and allows us to hide behind it. So we just sat down and started tossing around names like ‘Captain Thunderclap’ and so on. Sergeant Thunderhoof seemed to have a nice rhythm to it. I can’t remember who specifically came up with it, but it has shaped the sound of the band massively in my opinion.

Q. What is the usual response when you tell people about your band name?
ST:
It usually results in either a smile or a derisory rolling of the eyes. I guess some people assume we must be a joke band, but I think music can be taken pretty seriously.

Q. How was the band formed?
ST:
I’ve known Jim and Darren since school, we were in a band called Indica together back in the late nineties until 2005. We always remained friends but pretty much fell out of touch for a while. Darren and I carried on with other musical projects and I also started working with Mark in a bar band around 2008. I think it was in the winter of 2013 when we all got together, initially just to have a jam and catch up. I hadn’t seen much of Jim at all for years so it was a nice way of reconnecting. Luckily, it turned out that there was a special chemistry with the line-up so we eventually recorded a bunch of songs which turned into the ‘Zigurat’ Ep. We recorded that before we even played our first gig.

Q. Given just one word, how would you describe your music?
ST:
Theatrical.

Q. Listening to your music is genuinely an experience, how do you go about creating music like that?
ST:
It usually always happens spontaneously when we’re jamming. Someone will start making noise and we’ll all join in at some point. We record all our practices, so 90% of what we jam gets abandoned and we’re left with 10% of stuff which has potential. We’ll then come back to it a week later and see if we can make it in to a song,


Q. What is your creative process like?
ST:
It’s interesting as we all bring something unique to the table. Jim and Mark are very adept at pulling a huge riff out of the ether. Darren approaches his parts in a very holistic way, he’s always concerned with the riff first over his own ego which I’ve always admired. He’ll do whatever he thinks best serves the song. I think my main talent is in arranging and a lot of the time I’ll find myself conducting the proceedings with hand and voice commands until we all think we’ve hit the sweet spot.

Q. How hard is it to continue creating psych infused rock, in a generation where it doesn’t get the love it deserves?
ST:
It’s not hard at all for us because we all genuinely don’t care anymore! We’re not bothered if no-one else likes what we do or whether there’s even a market for it. We stopped caring about ‘making it’ in the music business years ago. I think that removing that pressure has helped liberate us and it allows us to take risks in a musical sense. We often get lumped in to the ‘stoner rock’, ‘doom’, ‘desert’, ‘psychedelic’ scenes but we’ve never looked at it in that way. We just play music that makes us smile and laugh and enjoy ourselves. The fact that we’ve refused a number of record deals has been a massive bonus for us. We communicate and sell directly to our fans and I love that.

Q. How often are you writing and going into the studio?
ST:
We’ll generally always have something we’re working on or is on the back burner for later exploration. We treat each album as its own project, so once we release something we’ll change the live set to incorporate and include as much of that as possible. I happen to own a music studio which obviously helps us to achieve our goals and so it’s very easy for us to pop in and out of the studio when we have something ready to go.

Q. What comes first for you, the lyrics or the music?
ST:
The music always comes first. I’ll generally sing a load of gibberish over the music during the writing process. It’s often the sound of a word rather than the content that eventually inspires the final lyrics.

Q. You’re due to release ‘Terra Solus’ on May 14th, how much are you looking forward to that?
ST:
Can’t wait. We’ve put so much hard work in to this album and I really think this is us at our best. Each album has been a progression from the last and this one feels very much like an album that only we could release.

Q. I’ve had a sneak listen to it, there’s a deep sense of progression for you as a band, is that something you strived for?
ST:
Absolutely. I’m not interested in playing rock music by numbers or doing something ‘heavy’ just to please a certain percentage of our audience. We’re all about creating atmosphere with dynamics, patience and tone.


Q. Which of the songs mean the most to you, and why?
ST:
There’s a short quiet song near the end called ‘Half a Man’ that we recorded as a kind of afterthought. I came up with the lyrics on the spot and it was very much a stream of consciousness. I listen back now and lyrically it has everything we wanted to say about the story of Sergeant Thunderhoof within it. That probably means the most to me. As for my favourite song on the album, I’d probably go with ‘The Tree and the Serpent’. To me it has a slight Rolling Stones vibe with the bluesy guitar. Mark’s guitar solo on that sends shivers down my spine.

Q. How long has this album taken to create?
ST:
The writing took about 12 months. We tackled the recording in two, week long chunks over the space of a couple of months.

Q. What hindered you the most whilst making the album?
ST:
There was so much shit that we had to deal with both personally and professionally. There’s been quite a lot of illness within the band and our families. Me and my partner had our second child in October which was right in the middle of the recording process. There’s been loads of good and bad stuff happen over the last couple of years which I can’t go in to, but we’ve stuck together and helped each other out where we can. Ideally we would have liked to have got this out in early 2017, but the master of all things had other ideas for us.

Q. What tips do you have for any aspiring bands?
ST:
Turn up to rehearsals. Don’t break up. Don’t drink too much. Don’t be a dick. Treat every single one of your fans like royalty.

Q. What’s coming after ‘Terra Solus’?
ST:
We have a bunch of gigs over the Summer and we’re hoping to get some festival dates in by the end of the year. We’re going to keep writing and recording and just see where the wind takes us. We don’t have a record company breathing down our neck, so we can pretty much do as we please which is a lovely feeling.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

TOP 50 ALBUMS OF THE YEAR 2017!

50. LCD Soundsystem - American Dream  LCD Soundsystem returned this year after a long time being split up, and it was the year of reunions with everyone seeming to put their differences aside and rake in their money with a big tour. However, LCD produced one of the stand out albums of the year, a side step from their previous projects and produced more anthemic songs. There's some real stand out tracks of the year on this album, it's just a shame about that Microsoft Paint cover.
49.The Mothers Earth Experiment - The Mothers Earth Experiment
I'm not the biggest fan of Prog Rock, but then again maybe I'm just not listening to the right stuff. However, TMEE fall into this genre and they've released one of my albums of the year. Whilst chatting to them about it as part of my 'Introducing...' series it was extremely interesting to hear about the making of the album, it's big influences and that strangely wonderful album cover. A must listen for Prog Rock fan…

Introducing... NAMES

NAMES are a band hailing from Wales, a music scene that appears to be bursting at the seams at the moment with phenomenal acts such as Boy Azooga, Estrons & We're No Heroes it's easy to see why a lot of labels are focusing their attention on that area. NAMES are different though, more sincere and genuine than a lot of musical acts out there with a voice to die for and the melodies to match. Their single "Limb By Limb" is an absolute cracker and I recommend checking it out immediately.

Question. Why did you call yourselves NAMES?
Ioan Hazell:
We always felt that Names had a refreshing sense of anonymity (it was also what we had written as the title of the list of potential band names.
Joey Robbins: The fact that it's such an unusual name, and the kind of mysterious vibe it carries appealed to us.

Q. Was there ever the thought process that it was never going to get you to the top of a google search?
IH:
Yeah, thats an unfortunate truth of it, it forces people to le…

Introducing... The Covasettes

The Covasettes first came to my attention a while back, their indie-tune 'This Feeling' grabbed me immediately and from that first listen I knew this band were something special. Coming from the land of music royalty, Manchester, it's in their DNA to build on the foundations of an already fantastic musical heritage. They've just released the latest banger to add to their discography 'Top Drawer' which is a clear sign that The Covasettes have found their sound and now they're hellbent on perfecting it! I was lucky enough to chat with lead singer, Chris Buxton, regarding their uprising, their Manchester roots and what is the ultimate plan for the band...

Question. Where did the name The Covasettes come from?
The Covasettes:
There are a fair few stories floating around as to how our name came to be, so we think we’ll leave it to the people to decide which story they believe, but we can safely say, that it came from the heart.

Q. What made you want to get into mus…