Artist: Boom Said Thunder !
Who: Abby Bickel (towering voice) – John Magnifico (bomb bass) and Will Thomas (boom drums) – no guitars …
Base: via Boston landed in Brooklyn, New York.
Sounds: fuzz rock – psychedelic post punk soundscapes…
Works: Debut album ‘Exist’ (2013) – brand new two-song single: Carnivore / Summer Twin !
My impressions: ‘Carnivore’ was my introduction to ‘Boom Said Thunder’. It was an instant ‘Jeezus, Huge Sound’ experience. The first of their two new-song single is a slow building sonic monster. A highly explosive volcano. And vigorous explosions is what you’ll get often. On top are Abby Bickel’s unswerving and persuasive vocals. An essential instrument of BST’s wall of sound. Next I bathed in their fuzz rock injected debut album ‘Exist’. Boom Said Thunder is no mystery no more to me. It’s a thunderous, magnificent trio to follow. Meet them here and now. John is our guide…
When and where was the band conceived?
John: “Boom Said Thunder was conceived in early 2011 in the basement of the design studio we all worked at in Boston. We would set up after hours and make a bunch of noise on drums and bass, and our friend Dave on guitar for a while. When he stopped playing with us, we kept making noise as a drum and bass duo and then one day Abby said she wanted to sing in our ‘band’. Our sound started to mold into place at that point and we figured out how our unique instrumental arrangement could work. We wrote a bunch of songs and started playing out in and around Boston and now here we are, still without a guitar player.”
What’s the story behind the group’s name?
John: “We had these words written down ‘Boom Said Thunder and the hills roared loudly for miles and miles. Meanwhile everyone slept soundly.‘ And then one day we just said okay that’s the name of the band. When we announced our first show back in early 2012, a local Cambridge radio station gave us the honor of ‘Dumbest Band Name of the Week’. We couldn’t agree more.”
Why did you move from Cambridge, Boston to Brooklyn, New York City ?
John: “Story goes… after we wrapped up a small summer tour in 2013, Will told us he was moving to NYC. I followed in the fall, and Abby the following Spring. We all had a variety of reasons for moving here, none of which were really about the band, but it serendipitously worked out for us that way.”
Is a big city more inspirational for music than any other place?
John: “It’s hard to compare Boston to NYC. The scale of the city is enormous and has much to offer. It is inspiring, but there’s also something to be said about the ability to make really meaningful connections in a city like Boston. It’s a small city with a lot of creative and musical people that all get to know each other over time. There’s a sense of community and family that’s just as inspiring as a place like New York.”
British NME music magazine compared you to heavy British star duo ‘Royal Blood’. Are you flattered or is something wrong with NME’s ears?
John “We get it. Similar amount of strings. Totally okay with the comparison, although we don’t think we sound all that similar. I feel like we have more in common with psychedelic space rock bands that have like thirty guitars even though we don’t have any.”
The sleeve for debut album ‘Exist’ was developed by the band. What was the idea behind the tiger image?
John: “It’s as if to say, “we exist, just like tigers exist, and otters, and eagles, and snakes, etc.” The inner sleeve of the record reveals the animals, including us, inked in a rough style that might mirror some of the raw sound qualities of our music.”
The one-word title ‘Exist’ makes me think of a wake-up call, literally. Was that THE word to match the steamy fuzz rock on the debut LP?
John:“It was our debut full length album, and the word ‘Exist’ just seemed like the right word to tie the whole thing together as a cohesive debut statement.”
‘Carnivore’ the first track of the brand new EP is an epic post punk sound scape with gloomy, strident vocals by Abby. Tell us everything about this masterstroke.
John: ” ‘Carnivore’ started off like many of our other songs, a simple groovy bass riff and drum beat that Abby worked some vocal melodies in and around. Somehow we turned that into our longest song to date, and it’s an all out sonic blitz for 6+ minutes. I think Abby is a lyrical genius and this song probably has several meanings interwoven under its skin, but for me, personally, there’s a forest. All the trees are backlit and glowing. There’s darkness. There’s light. We’re running. There’s a creature. An animal that is unknown, but we feel its presence. We know its out to get us. Or maybe we’re out to get IT !”
‘I grow old, you stay the same’ is a line of second new track ‘Summer Twin’.
Fear of aging?
John: “Abby writes the lyrics to most of our songs and the words themselves always have personal underpinnings, sometimes so personal, we’re not really comfortable talking about it, and our feelings are better communicated in song. That’s the point, right? To communicate musically?”
Is the EP a harbinger for a new album?
John: “We’re pretty excited to record and release more new material this year. We’re not sure if it will be in EP or LP form just yet. We’ll let the songs dictate how they should be packaged up. For ‘Summer Twin’, it made sense for us to put out two fresh songs into the wild. One could see it as a statement of evolution after ‘Exist’ and moving to New York. When Converse Rubber Tracks reached out to us to record with them at their studios in Williamsburg, we were stoked. It was great timing, as we had just nearly finished writing ‘Summer Twin’ and ‘Carnivore’.”
Number one artist on your list to do a world tour with?
John: “Gang of Four.”
If you could travel in time what artist would you jam with on stage?
John: “Will’s band from high-school in Michigan, Tanooki Suit.”
Social media: a blessing or a pain in the ass?
John: Both. Neither. It is just something that someone in the band should do in some capacity.
Kings of New York: Ramones or New York Dolls?
John: “Television or Talking Heads.” (JL: “Both.”)
NBA: Brooklyn Nets or Boston Celtics?
John: “The 1989 Detroit Pistons… Bad Boys!”
What’s the ultimate goal for Boom Said Thunder?
John: “To be friends forever.”
Many thanks to John Magnifico for being our informant…
Debut album ‘Exist’