Thundermother is a Swedish-based band with a smashingly powerful sound, and their impressive album Rock ‘N’ Roll Disaster should be enjoyed ribcage-shakingly loud (it made my list of favourite releases in 2014). The band has opened for Danko Jones, played Sweden Rock Festival, and have also received favourable reviews from acts like Zakk Wylde, Motörhead, and Airbourne. Big thanks to Thundermother’s founder and lead guitarist Filippa Nässil for answering some of my questions about the band and their music!
(Band photo on the couch thanks to: Philip Truong Bläcksquid Inc.)
Q. Hi Filippa, congratulations on releasing such an awesome album in 2014! If you were to describe Thundermother’s music to someone who hadn’t heard it yet, what would you say and which track would you play for them?
Filippa: Hi and thank you Maria! I would describe our music as kick ass rock’n’roll that won’t leave you unsatisfied. I would suggest that they listen to ”Rock’N’Roll Disaster” because that’s what most people are: Wanna-be rock-stars, but living the ordinary life. That’s what I was doing when I decided to actually become a rock-star… haha. No, just kidding!
Q. Your band name is brilliant: it perfectly captures your vibe and your sound. How did you come up with it?
Filippa: It took two and a half beers before me and my friend came up with that. It was pretty easy.
Q. I wish I could be as creative after two and a half beers! Thundermother is based in Sweden, but you’re an international band: when and how did you all get together to form the band?
Filippa: I formed the band when I called them all in, haha… We didn’t get together in the neighborhood like most bands do. I found my favorite singer on YouTube and decided I wanted her, so I called her up. The others took some time to find.
Q. How do you write your songs? And what inspires you when it comes to lyrics? Also: do you have any favourite tunes off the album: tracks you feel more attached to, or something you particularly enjoy playing live?
Filippa: No, I love all the songs. Especially the latest ones. I always think my latest song is my best one. But I wrote ”Shoot to kill” like 6 years ago, though I still enjoy it because the actual record is out now. Nothing really exists in my opinion until I can hold a physical copy of the vinyl or the CD.
Q. One of my favourite tunes off the album is “One For The Road” – how did that tune come together?
Filippa:That one was co-written with one of my old singers so the lyrics in that one are kind of special. I wrote the line ”One for the road” and thats’ it, and the music! It was in the middle of the night when I woke up from a dream, and then I recorded it on my phone. I love the solo in that one because I sound like an old, black man from New Orleans, but really I’m a tiny blond girl from Sweden, haha!
Q. That tune definitely has some great guitar-work on it, as does the rest of the album! When did you first start playing guitar? And what guitars do you use on the road and in the studio?
Filippa: This is the kind of question I love! I love my guitars and I love to play guitar. I’ve played guitar for 15 years, and I use a Gibson SG Standard ’61. That’s what I use for the gigs, but in the studio I use a Gibson with P-pickups. The sound much nicer… I play nice in the studio! Not as much gain as I use live. I love that good old ’77 AC/DC sound.
Q. How old were you when you first know you wanted to be in a band? Was there a particular person, or artist, or album that inspired you to want to get up on stage?
Filippa: Rage Against The Machine made me start playing guitar, because I wanted to move around when I played like they did. Now people say I’m crazy people and I can’t ever stand still. We’re Thundermother, we have a reputation to live up to, haha! We’ve got to move around!
Q. What music do you like to listen to, both older and newer bands? And are there any particular guitar players that influence your own playing?
Filippa: I listen to old music. I wish i lived in the ’70s. It’s not fair that I live now when it’s only shit on the radio and everywhere. There are very few things I like right now, but if I like something it’s definitely something to do with Rock’N’Roll, country or southern rock. But even some southern rock bands suck now because everyone is going more commercial. A band like Free Fall gets it, or Heavy Tiger, or Horisont.
Q. I’m definitely checking those bands out! You toured in Ireland and the UK last year: what was that experience like?
Filippa: Amazing. It was the best tour of my life, so far. It’s intense being on tour for 10 days with 5 chicks in a van, driving 5 hours every day with no sleep! But something happened on this tour. We loved every second of it: we enjoyed the Irish people, and hanging out with each other, and playing in the UK.That’s a big thing for us!
Q. You’ve been playing gigs all over the place. Are there any particularly memorable moments (bad, good, or just plain crazy) from the road that really stand out in your mind?
Filippa: We forgot our backdrop once in Italy. Our tour manager asked us to look around for something we left behind, and we looked everywhere until he finally had to show us! From then on we always do something called ”the idiot check”, because we always forget something everyday. The tours are kind of blurry in my mind for some reason! All I remember is being in a van and playing, and then drinking beer and then seeing everyone once again! And I hate checking in to hotel rooms because I am so sensitive: I think no one in the band is gonna choose to stay in the same room as me, haha! But I am starting to get over it, because I have 4 shrinks in the band!
Q. It can be tough for new bands to get attention and airplay these days. How is the music business for you in Sweden? Do you feel like people are sitting up and taking notice of you, or is it hard to break through?
Filippa: Another brilliant question Maria! It is very very hard for us, as it is for everyone else. We have been very unlucky in many ways because we haven’t found that one person to back us up properly, except our booking agent Chris. LOVE HIM! We haven’t found a good label, or good promotion, or any of that. We put in so much work, but maybe people are afraid of working with such determined girls. I don’t know, but no one seems to really want to work for us 100%.
Thank god we have amazing friends in Stockholm, France, Gothenburg, Ireland and USA that help us on their free time. Our fans and friends mean everything to us, and they are the reason we are where we are today!
So I am starting a label now to release Thundermother. Finally we can get something done! Let’s take the power! Girl power!
Q. What does Thundermother have planned for 2015?
Filippa: We are going to tour Europe and hopefully Russia! Nothing set in stone yet. We are also going to release something very special very soon when we have done our Pledge campaign to finance it…
Q. Finally, a very scientific question: You’re on a deserted island and you only get to bring three albums. Which ones do you take with you?
Filippa: I would die. I listen to music everyday and a minimum of 3 albums per day. Haha. I would sing for myself I guess. I would also bring albums by The Beatles, AC/DC and Neal Casal for my soft moments.
Thundermother’s album Rock ‘N’ Roll Disaster is out NOW. Read my review here, and get the album through iTunes and Spotify, or order a CD (not many copies left, apparently!) from Ginza in Sweden. And if you happen to be in Stockholm February 21, Thundermother are opening for Swedish band Bonafide at Debaser Medis.