A little while back I walked into the local rock n’ roll bar to support some friends in a local band. Little to my knowledge, was a gem of a band in the support slot and that band was Thunder On The Left.
Rage Against The Machine influenced with a hint of In Utereo, Thunder On The Left are fuelled by politics and have a strong ethos that insists you must always be yourself. I spoke with the band to discuss the state of society, their thoughts on the future of rock and their album National Insecurity.
Describe your band in 3 words.
No fucks given.
If you could speak to the whole world at once what would you say?
Hello, is it me you’re looking for?
What’s your advice for musicians just starting out?
Create art, not imitation.
Also, Chew carefully.
What’s the most important message people should take from your band?
Whatever our music makes you feel and whatever it means to you is completely valid.
For us, our most important message is to be present in life, and not distracted (particularly by technology). Also, question everything and form your own views. There is an abundance of misinformation perpetuated out there. Knowledge is power. Stay informed. Being politically active is important.
If you had to pick one of your songs to represent Thunder on the Left to new listeners what would it be?
The title track from our album is a good start for first timers. National Insecurity speaks about the disillusionment many of us share with our current government and the various broken social systems we’re forced to operate in. It’s also a head-banger’s dream!
What’s the best London venue you have played?
Playing Rough Trade East for the album launch was a unique setting not too many bands of our level get to experience – definitely one to remember! The Old Blue Last is another favourite of ours, the venue just has such a great atmosphere and we always pull a massive crowd there.
What’s the most exciting thing about the current music scene?
The shows that independent venues and bands put on are great to see. Certain parts of the scene have a really strong DIY spirit. That’s becoming more and more important with many grass roots venues struggling to stay afloat against rising rents (as well as the other various weapons of corporate greed). The more we can do to support and grow the scene ourselves, the better.
Do other bands on the London scene influence your sound?
In short, no – our sound is cemented in who we are as musicians. We feel this is essential in keeping us sounding like Thunder On The Left and no one else.
What do you think the future holds for rock ‘n’ roll?
More of the same kind of sanitised ‘you’ve heard it before’ shit revolving in the churn of what major labels and Radio 1 folk like. With the odd exception and different kind of band breaking through that actually has something to say.
Let’s chat about your album ‘National Insecurity’. The track Everybody Is Not Me strikes me as a track that is speaking from experience. In my experience, not many people have faith in creatives who are starting out and want to achieve something. Is that what this is talking about?
In a way, yes it is about that. Half the battle of success is getting over your own internalised sense of being destined to fail. It’s of course more engrained, if you are female. Vive le patriarchy…
What inspired the song Rather Be Dead Than Be Fake?
Comparing myself against a total fake, fraud of a person who I’d rather be dead than be like, essentially. Unfortunately, they are everywhere, and in some walks of life and industries they are more prevalent than others.
Who wrote the material for the album?
Carla wrote the guitar/vocals (and lyrics), Adam wrote the bass parts, and Arun wrote the drums. The structure, attitude, and flow of the songs always comes down to a collaborative effort.
Which songs go down best live?
National Insecurity always feels good to play live. As soon as the feedback starts and the chorus kicks in, you can feel the whole room come together. Everybody Is Not Me also gets people singing the words back to us, so that deserves a mention. The new material that’s come post-recording of the album is where we get the biggest response now, particularly The Cognitive Map. Those are the tracks getting pointed out by people talking to us after the show. The sound has been moving in that direction for the last year – heavier, more aggressive, and more hip-hop influenced. We’ve had a lot of comments from fans who’ve been with us a while saying, “You guys have got heavier!”
What are you looking forward to in the future of Thunder On The Left?
Fleshing out fully, recording, and the new sound.
If you like what you’ve read then check out the dates below and catch Thunder On The Left live in action:
July 15th – Readipop Festival, Reading – Tickets: https://tickets.sandbagtickets.com
Aug 10th – The Finsbury, London – Headline Show – Event Page: www.facebook.com
Sep 1st – Shindignation Festival, London – Event Page: www.facebook.com