Thank you for having us! We’ve been doing really well, we’re excited about what we have going on right now.
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Well After Quiet Hours”?
I wanted to write a song that was kind of paradoxical in a few ways: I wanted to keep the individual instrument parts very simple, yet sound dynamic and interesting when layered together. For example, the drum beat essentially stays the same throughout the entire song, and the bass is only playing one note in various rhythms. I also wanted a light and bouncy melody to carry the lyrics, which are pretty dark, and the bright guitar sound is opposed by the crashing piano.
Did any event in particular inspired you to write this song?
There was a particular event that inspired me, but I don’t like to reveal that about my songs because I prefer to allow the listener to wear the poems in any way that fits them and apply them to their lives. I think the best way to say it is that this song is about space – space between people, space between words, and space between time. Everybody has felt space like that so I wanted to give that feeling a sound.
How was the filming process and experience behind the video?
Filming is always fun for us because our videographer, Dan Richardson, is one of my best friends in the world. The day that we filmed was wildly hot for Buffalo, so we were all sweating through our clothes while we were filming. I don’t know how our dancer, Becky Christoffel, was able to keep doing the takes in that heat, but she managed to do an incredible job. Dan found a perfect spot to put her so that he could use the sun that was dripping through the trees to make her choreography look even creepier and we’re so happy with how it turned out. But behind that camera, there were some very sweaty dudes.
How was the recording and writing process?
This song came to me pretty quickly. I wrote the lyrics while I was in Utah and Arizona and wrote the music on my guitar as soon as I got back home. We recorded at Goo Goo Doll Robbie Takac’s studio, GCR Audio, in Buffalo with Mike Hansen from Pentimento (check them out) and producer Jay Zubricky. We wanted the piano to sound as distorted and unsettling as we could because it works so well against Dallas’ voice so Jay worked his magic for us. Jimmy Douglass heard the track and wanted to mix and master it, and we’re not in the business of declining working with Jimmy Douglass, so he put the finishing touches on it.
How does the graphic novel connect with the song concept?
All of our songs take place within the Mo(u)rning Lake universe; I wanted to fill that world with sound. The music is always from the perspective of one of the characters in our books, even though that’s not readily noticeable upon listening. The songs themselves don’t tell the story that we’re telling in the books, but they supplement it. The character that Becky plays in our video is a puppet, hence the mannerisms and button eyes, and that character will be featured in a later chapter of the first book which is being released chapter by chapter on our website.
Do you tend to take a different approach when you are collaborating with someone else rather than in your own?
I write all of the songs by myself on guitar or piano, and then once I have a rudimentary demo recorded, I bring it to Dallas and our drummer, Frank Zanti, to get their input. I make tweaks based on their contributions, and then when we’re just about ready to record, I’ll sit down with Mike to work through the song because he’s brilliant at adding the last 5-10%. I’ve never collaborated with another musician to co-write a song though – I don’t think I’ve ever been invited!
Does the new single mean we can expect a new material – how’s that coming along?
I’m always writing and recording new demos, and we have a few new ones that we are particularly excited about, so we will be recording and releasing those very soon. Chapter two of our book is currently being illustrated by our project artist Rae Sara, so we hope to have that ready for release towards the end of this year.
Any tentative release date or title in mind?
We’ll be releasing a second single and video in a few weeks, and then a third single a couple weeks after that. The second single is called “Summer Song With Rain” and it’s kind of a sister song to “Well After Quiet Hours” in that I wrote them back to back and they deal with the same characters.
Would this be part of some sort of conceptual record?
Definitely. This is a conceptual project so everything that we do is part of that vision. We don’t have a plan to release an album at the moment, but will be releasing a series of singles.
Any plans to hit the road?
We’re focused on writing and recording at the moment, but we will be back on the road soon.
What else is happening next in Thundercloud Kid’s world?
The usual: music and videos and books! And reading Vents magazine in our free time, of course.