Sleep Pile was lucky enough to catch up with the Thundamentals band member, Tuka, to talk representations of females in the media, their stance on racism in Australia, and of course their upcoming album ‘Everyone We Know’.
The recently released video for ‘Think About It’ portrays the cycle of the happiness and pain experienced in relationships through a predominantly ‘feminine gaze’. As an all-male band, what made you guys decide to take this angle with the clip?
I fell in love with this brilliantly powerful woman. And basically, well I’ll give you an example: at the end of the clip, there’s a reference to (Luhrman’s) Romeo and Juliet, you know when they’re under the sheets and Leonardo’s on top? We flipped it over, so she’s on top. You’ll notice throughout the clip that he’s actually the submissive one. In this relationship I had with this beautiful woman, she was very powerful and I didn’t mind kind of being submissive because I wanted to honour her power. And so, that was the angle I guess. Because those kinds of relationships exist. They might not be portrayed in the media, but these are human dynamics and regardless of gender, people fit into them depending on their interactions with whoever is involved in the particular relationship. And women are underrepresented basically, so we made a comment about it. I don’t know if everyone gets it, but its art so they can read into it however they want.
The Thundamentals certainly don’t shy away from expressing political opinion through music, especially in tracks like ‘Ignorance Is Bliss’ which challenges white privilege. What’s your take on the Triple J Hottest 100 Australia Day controversy and the reactions of other artists within the Aussie hip hop community, such as AB Original’s protest through their song January 26?
Yeah, look that’s a controversial question. So just in context, [Triple J] been put in a situation where if they change the date they’re being political, and if they don’t change the date they’re being political. The Thundamentals would one hundred per cent support Triple J’s move of the date. But I think it’s a bigger problem than that. Just because we change the date, it doesn’t mean that indigenous Australians are going to have justice given to them. I would prefer to see a treaty, or a conversation about treaties than talk about a date. Yes, the date is hurting people’s feelings and I honour that and I would one hundred per cent support it. It would be a huge step that needs to happen. But a greater conversation is worth having if that makes sense. I’m not taking anything away from the need for the date to change, but there’s some real shit happening. Like, there’s third world atrocities happening in Australia. You should watch a documentary called Utopia. There’s a place in Australia called ‘Utopia’ which is ironic because there’s third (2004) world conditions happening there.
Speaking of the Hottest 100, you guys have had some serious success in recent years with your Like A Version of Matt Corby’s ‘Brother’ coming in at 49 in 2012 and ‘Something I Said’, ‘Quit Your Job’, and ‘Got Love’ from So We Can Remember all being voted into the countdown in 2014. What are your top 3 tracks from 2016?
Ah I hate these ones! I’m gonna go with the homies, that AB Original track, ‘January 26’, and the Remi and Sampatrack [‘For Good’] I can’t remember the name but I love it! And… I hate these questions they’re so hard dude. I haven’t got Spotify at the moment – but I guess I’m going to go with Frank Ocean’s ‘Ivy’.
You guys are just coming off the back of your ‘Never Say Never’ finishing up with a sold out show in Sydney, how does it feel to have grown from playing shows with are attended by “twenty to thirty loyal fans” to resonating with such large and continuously expanding audience?
Umm… Surreal. I feel very humbled that they care what we have to say, and I would give all of them hi-fives if there was an opportunity. I would even potentially hug cheap jerseys them all one by one.
Tuka, you spoke about how the band considers the Thundamental’s music as “contributing to a conversation”. How does ‘Everyone We Know’ as an album contribute to the conversation you guys want to have with your listeners?
So every song on the record is to about someone in our lives, indirectly or directly. All of the lyrics are based around interactions which come about from conversations. I guess its all just first-hand experience and personal experience with actual people in our lives. Sometimes its aspects of ourselves that we talk to, like in a dialogue in your head.
I didn’t see it coming, it was just like wow. It really kind of touched on death, and there’s another song called ‘Open Letter’ which is like saying Fu?g?nger that I believe in this woman that I met flyget more than I believe in God.
Pez and Mallrat were a huge part of the ‘Never Say Never’ tour, what was it like working so closely with those guys?
WE LOVE MALLRAT! Love him. And Pez, we managed to dodge him. We’d never really met him before and then we just like connected. The dude is very similar to us in a lot of ways. Maybe not musically cheap jerseys all the time, but like as a person. We’re roughly the same age and we grew up at the same time and we’d never really met him. So it was cool to kind of connect dots about the past and present, and the landscape of hip-hop and what its like to be around for a minute, you know? We’ve both just been around for a minute so couldn’t have thought of a better lineup really. The only other people that we would’ve love to tour with are obviously AB Original. But yeah amazing tour, so stoked with it. WE LOVE MALLRAT!
‘Everyone We Know’ is set to be released on February 10th with over half of the tracks featuring collaborations, how do you integrate such a wide variety of artists whilst staying true to the Thundamentals sound and message that listeners love?
Well apart from the Hilltop Hoods song, and there’s one section in ‘Think About It’, we wrote all the top lines. So, we asked people to sing things that we’d written and we pitched their voice in our head when we wrote it. I guess we kind of had a bit of a plan around how we wanted it to sound and we executed that. But that being said, the Hilltop Hoods song was basically the last song that came together. Pressure from the Hoods just kinda jumped on it and did this awesome piece that really summed up a lot about what we were saying about our higher purpose and meaning as human beings – cheap nfl jerseys I’m really fond of that track. I didn’t see it coming, it was just like wow. It really kind of touched on death, and there’s another song called ‘Open Letter’ which is like saying that I believe in this woman that I met more than I believe in God. I don’t really believe in God wholesale nfl jerseys so its not that hard. But anyway, he [Pressure] wrote on ’21 Grams’ which an analogy for what happens when you die. That was literally just like the cherry on top. He didn’t even know what the album was about, and he just nailed it.
Do you have a favourite collaboration from ‘Everyone We Know’?
Yeah, Hilltop Hoods.
This album is your first full-length release with your own label High Depth, recorded at Hermitude’s Sydney studio. How has recording with your own label changed the production process compared to previous releases with your former label Obese Records?
We’ve started High Depth but we’re still partnered with the same teams we used to work with. Also, we work closely with Island Records who have a brilliant team as well. So we’re kind of doing it by ourselves but we just wanted to retain a bit of identity I guess. Down the line we may want to do something interesting like foster other artists or create content that we’re all associated with. I also have a solo career and Morgs has a band called JONES Jnr. and Poncho has cheap jerseys also got a solo career happening that’s killing it right now. So we just needed some kind of net to bring that all in. To be fair, we are probably just going to release our own music for now, but we just needed to retain some kind of umbrella incase we want to do some cool stuff down the line – which there’s no doubt we will. But right now it just Thundamentals, like one hundred. That’s all we’re doing.
The Thundamentals are set to release their new album, ‘Everyone We Know’ on Febuary 10th 2017. You can check out their new clip for track 6 from the album, ‘Think About It’ featuring Peta & The Wolves here.