If it is any indication of what you might find as long as you're willing to look, Tharsis They is one of the many bands I've discovered simply by keeping my eyes open for bands that sound similar to bands I already love. It seems like if more than nothing else, the band keeps popping up around my area Ė including playing a short set following a Protest the Hero show I attended recently. After enjoying, and being rather critical, over the band's full-length Ominous Silence, I caught up with the band not too long ago at The Jamboree in Toledo, Ohio to talk about the re-release of said album, the influence of Converge on the band and what they hope we're taking away from their brand of metallic hardcore.
Can you introduce yourselves and tell us what you do in Tharsis They?
Iím Steve, I sing.
Iím Chris, I play bass.
Iím Ryan, I play drums.
Iím Dicki and I play guitar.
You guys are playing The Jamboree today with bands like The Black Dahlia Murder, Acacia Strain, Whitechapel. How excited are you guys to play something a little bit farther away from home?
Steve: Considering this is Toledo. Iíve always considered Toledo like a sister city of Detroit. If a tour package comes to Toledo instead of Detroit. Iíll go without thinking twice. But this may be the furthest... well, we played Mount Pleasant.
Chris: This is the first time weíve been out of Michigan.
Steve: Technically out of state lines, but we have played a little further from home before. But playing this far away from home is exciting. Playing a big fest like this is a little... uncertain. You have a certain skepticism about it. Weíll pretty much take any opportunity we can to play in front of faces. If I was 15, I would have been way more pumped. But I think Iíve learned that being on a big fest with big bands like this doesnít necessarily mean good things. It looks good on paper, but in practice... we played to the bathroom traffic [laughs] mostly.
For people who donít know about your band, can you talk a little bit about how you guys got together and your collective background and how you came together with the sound you have?
Dicki: Me and Chris were messing around in a basement in Ypsilanti with Ryan Hord from Louder Than Bombs who was singing at the time. Then, we recorded some demos with just guitar to see if we liked what we were doing. Eventually just started writing songs on the computer with just me and Chris. The other two guys kind of fell away. We got Brian playing drums and we played one show with Ryan Hord and then... I donít know what happened.
Chris: We decided Ryan wasnít working out. He was too busy with his other band. Decided to ask Steve to do it. It worked out a lot better. It fit the band better, wrote more serious lyrics. As far as the sound of the band, this is what we all like. What weíre playing is what we grew up on. Technical, heavy music. Converge, Botch, bands like that. That was the goal of the band when we started, to do bands like that.
A lot of people, including myself, pull away that Converge influence in your sound. What part of Converge do you feel like you take away from them and try to make your own as opposed to being a Converge rip-off band?
Dicki: Our stuff is a little more chaotic than Converge stuff, I would say. We kind of travel a little farther. Their stuff always amps me up. We probably take a little farther Iíd say in the metal aspect.
Chris: The vocal stylings are way different for sure. Converge, you canít really understand anything unless you read the lyrics. Our vocals are at least more discernible and more traditional style hardcore vocals.
Steve: Yeah, in the vocal department I take zero influence from Converge. Not to say that I donít like Converge. Iím a pretty mild Converge fan. But it definitely wasnít something that made me pick up a pen and paper.
What are some bands you guys feel you take things away from [loud motorcycle starts revving in the background] besides this loud motorcycle over here?
Dicki: Minor Times. I like Minor Times a lot.
Chris: As far as music, Dicki writes all the music really.
Dicki: My musical variety goes from Harley mufflers to... electronic stuff.
Steve: The Hulk Hogan album.
Dicki: [Laughs] But no my preference is a broad range. Thereís so many bands I listen to. Iím influenced by softer stuff too like Circa Survive.
What about some of the clean singing and some of the electronic stuff you guys had mixed into Ominous Silence?
Dicki: Iíve always sang. When I started singing, I wanted to sound like Daryl Palumbo. But I guess I went away from that. Thatís what kind of got me into wanting to sing. There were just some parts on the record when we recorded them. Like, this needs something else. The really long drawn out part in the last song on the record, it wasnít working with anything else. Why donít we try some clean vocals?
Chris: As far as the electronic stuff on the album, that was just us kind of trying to add a little something. Some of it works better than others.
Steve: It sounded like a better idea than it actually was.
Chris: I think some of it came influenced from Minor Times and listening to some of the stuff on there, but I think they executed it better than we did. I donít know if weíre going to continue using electronic stuff, but weíll see.
Steve: I think itís a cheese factor for sure, but I think it works. It breaks up the monotony of the record. We thrash and bang pretty hard and consistency. So I mean, if you can shake your caboose for a second or two before we start banging again, I donít see whatís wrong with that.
Ryan: Some of the ambience noise is actually Dicki banging a chair against his head.
Steve: It got a little wicked.
What are some other things about the songs you wrote that you are particularly proud of or feel unsure of?
Ryan: I like how [Concentrated Human Feeding Operation] came together. I remember, it was more of a collaborative process.
Dicki: That was when we first started messing around with him as a drummer. The only thing I donít like about some of the songs is that they arenít fast and hard. Some of them are kind of iffy. Some of the riffs are like five years old. I can tell personally, I donít know about anyone else, the difference between when we started maturing and if you knew that we kept those old songs on the record.
You guys are getting prepared to re-release Ominous Silence on Myriad Records with a few extra songs in the physical release. How do those songs reflect or expand upon what is already on that record and how did those songs come into the mix as far as writing?
Dicki: I already have fifteen new songs written [laughs]. I constantly write songs. Itís basically the only thing I do besides work at a fucking restaurant.
Steve: The point of including those songs does nothing to expand. Itís more of an incentive really for somebody to buy a hard copy of a record that they can have for free. They really have no correlation to the songs that were written for Ominous Silence, so itís like a cool, added bonus. Like, hereís a hint of what we might be up to next. I mean, Iíd be pumped as a consumer. Iíd buy the hard copy regardless because Iím kind of a dinosaur like that. I want something that I can listen to and look at and hold.
Dicki: Personally, I was ready to release a whole new record or EP or whatever and they were like thatís too soon. But I had all these songs because I was so amped about the band. I love this band, because itís music that Iíve always wanted to play.
Steve: Heís a riff machine. And Iím not a lyric machine [laughs].
Dicki: Check your emails boys. New song. ďWhat the fuck man...Ē.
Steve: I cannot keep up with those riffs.
Chris: Most of Ominous Silence has been written for over a year. We started recording it almost two years ago. So itís been a little while. These songs are a lot older to us than they are to anyone else. We had the opportunity to include new songs, we said yes, letís get some new songs out there. We have more stuff to play live. We have a small label from Europe putting it out and we just talked about things to give someone incentive and figured that was a good idea.
Can you talk about how the relationship with Myriad Records came about?
Chris: Jamie from Myriad Records out of the United Kingdom. He emailed us out of the blue one day. We had been talking to someone else and it fell through and we were getting kind of anxious. But he got ahold of us and everything sounded good. We thought it sounded too good to be true at first because things have been falling through with other people. We liked what he had to say about helping to promote the album and getting a physical copy out there. He was down with us keeping it online for free for now and just charging for the re-release with the extra songs on it.
Dicki: He originally wanted us to release a new record. I mean, he heard that we had new songs.
Chris: It came together pretty quick. Right now, heís just waiting on us to finish recording these songs and then we gotta re-format the artwork and then itís ready to go.
How will having this record in a physical release will help this band out especially considering this label is from the UK?
Chris: It will benefit us having physical copies of a record to hand to people instead of them hearing our name and forgetting it. If you donít have physical copies of your music at a show and someone wants to hear it, you donít know if they will remember your band name or whatever when you get home. Ideally, we would like to have a label in the U.S., but thatís how it happened.
Steve: Thatís how the cookie crumbled.
Chris: Weíre still excited. Itís still someone thatís gonna be out there with connections in the U.K. and all of Europe.
Steve: I think heíll be doing us more of a benefit with his internet presence than he will be with a physical copy. The physical copy will be great for us as a band to have something to hold. Something to put on the old shelf. The digital promotion and internet presence will help more.
What are you hoping people will take away from this band?
Steve: Iím most satisfied when somebody tells us weíre a live band. They listen to the record and they were kind of on the fence about it and they see us live and that converts them Ė Iím pretty happy with that. Iíd rather be a live band than a recorded band. Obvious itís just as important, but if I can hope for anything Iíd like people to see us and say, ĎThose guys kind of fucking lost it.í
Chris: I hope they can tell that weíre really passionate about the songs. Recording itís hard to tell and you can fake a lot of things. But live, you really see what itís about.
Dicki: I want the songs to mean as much to them as they do to us.
Ryan: Especially lyrically. I think Steve has a lot of great things to say and touches on a lot of good points.
Steve: Yeah thatíd be great, if people read the lyrics [laughs]. I really donít expect anyone to, so if somebody comes to me and says something about whatís this song about Ė I get pretty pumped on that.