Interview with Thorndale

Interview with Thorndale

- in Written interviews

How did Thorndale form in 2021, and what brought the band members together?
Gus: Zigor and I cooked up another sonic adventure called Adarrak back when we were in Singapore. Our love for Classic Heavy Metal was the glue. Countless nights soaking in the legends. I told Zigor about my itch to sing instead of going full metal beast mode, and guess what? He and Peter had these killer songs in the works. Invited me to lay down the vocals, and it all came to fruition. Riff-heavy, metal anthems are our jam—basically, that’s the secret sauce that brought us all together.

Zigor: I found Peter via his band Primal Charge (go check them out! Pure metal right there) and asked him if he’d wanted to write some stuff together. He said yes and here we are!

How did the post-COVID energy influence the debut album’s direction?
Peter: Funnily enough, these songs were written during Covid, but I don’t think that had a direct influence. My sector of work carried on right through Covid, so my day to day life was pretty similar. The energy of this album all comes from the love of heavy riffs.

What musical influences do each band member bring, and how do they shape Thorndale’s sound?
Zigor: too many to mention. Anything from Sabbath to Brutal Truth. I think for Thorndale a lot of that old heavy metal, bluesy influence comes up.

Peter: I’m a big Zakk Wylde fan. I love the old school metal sound, where you can hear the blues in it. But I also love bands like Eluveitie, Fleshgod Apocalypse, Devin Townsend, Children of Bodom, Jinjer, Epica, and Dream Theater.

How does Thorndale’s sound stand out in the metal scene?
Peter: I’m not too concerned about “standing out” in any exaggerated way. There are so many unique and wild bands in the metal scene, and I think that’s great. I just want to write really good songs that move people, connect with them on some level. I think that would make any band stand out.

Zigor: not for us to say. Time will tell!

Have Dutch culture or surroundings influenced your music?
Zigor: I personally finished tracking my bass parts in Haarlem. Marcel Hustings who’s fairly famous around here sets up my guitars. He’s a top muso and professional so you could say there’s a bit of him on the album! Apart from that, whatever I’ve written music or lyrics wise for our sophomore album is absolutely infused by the Dutch weather, character and landscape. Peter and I have also started writing with Maarten Jungschläger (Embers of Oblivion, Layers of Devotion, and many other bands) who lives not too far from me and is a very funny bugger apart from being a top muso too. He’s in the current live band for Thorndale in Europe and also like I said above, he will be in our sophomore album which we’ve finished writing guiding tracks for.

Can you share the theme behind “Lightning Spawn”?
Gus: This record paints a picture of a post-apocalyptic world, where society’s crumbled, and humanity’s just scraping by. The lens? The view of a lone wanderer, haunted by a past drenched in betrayal and loss. In a nutshell, it’s all about rolling with the punches, sleeves rolled up, and staying in the fight.

Zigor: it’s got lots of meaning interwoven in there. Gus did a great job at explaining. Not much else to say. Pure feeling and a slap, not a bite, of the reality sandwich.

How did the band collaboratively create the album?
Zigor: Once the guiding tracks per se are ready, we start hacking away at it. We all do have quite a bit to say in what the final product sounds like. Often we layer things on top, often we simplify. We play to the greater good of the music, zooming out if you will.

Walk us through Thorndale’s creative process.
Peter: It starts with some riffs. I really just jam and improvise until something feel right. Then when I have a few pieces that fit together I’ll track a rough arrangement with some programmed drums and send it to the guys. Then we discuss parts to shorten, extend, rearrange, delete, speed up, etc. Eventually, we end up with the final arrangement. Then everyone starts to add their parts to it and the song really comes alive!

Dream venues or festivals you’d love to perform at?
Peter: I guess Wacken is one of those iconic festivals, that would be cool. Heavy Montreal is close to me and I think it would be a really cool experience.

Zigor: yeah, Wacken would be the thing. There are however so many great and smaller festivals around that I am not worried about where to play.

How was the artwork for “Lightning Spawn” conceptualized?
Zigor: we worked closely with Costin Chioreanu who’s such a talented artist. The idea behind the album as explained above materialised visually as a picture of our Hero and his journey i.e. the Hero’s journey. You can see the journey’s ups and downs and the hero sort of shedding his different skins as he moves forward and survives while carrying that “baggage” we all carry through Life.

How does the cover reflect the music?
Zigor: There’s psychedelia elements in there as well as that combined with heaviness and a bit of a 70s feel to it all. If you think about the track titles reflected on the cover: “Lightning Spawn” is our hero as depicted, “Ain’t the End of my Rope” talks about those ups and downs and never giving up. The rest of the tracks are all woven together into that journey and its side effects so to speak (Born as a Stranger, I Accuse You, Into the Eyes of Old and Foreboding).

Any specific goals for the band?
Zigor: Having survived the proverbial Covid gigging desert, I think I can speak for everyone in the band when I say we’re keen to take the show on the road as much as we can. Like I said above, our sophomore album is very advanced and sounding sick. We can’t wait to move our focus to that when the time is right. Let’s start with that and see what the future holds.

Dream collaborations for the future?
Zigor: we had the one and only Andy Larocque on this album as you know and we have a mind to have him work on our sophomore album from a sound perspective. Watch this space.

Peter: Zakk Wylde of course. I’ve also been listening to a band called Illumishade a lot, their guitar player, Jonas Wolf, writes some incredibly tasteful solos. There’s also Gus G and Jeff Loomis, both guitar players who I admire. Having Devin Townsend do some guest vocals would be a dream come true as well!

Are there any guest appearances on ‘Lightning Spawn’ apart from Andy Larocque?
Gus: For “Lightning Spawn,” having Andy Larocque on board is like a dream come true—no need for more when you’ve got that legend in the mix! As for future guests on the next album, we’re tossing around names, but we’re taking our time. It’s gotta be something we can throw down live, you know? Quality over quantity, always.

Zigor: nope, that’s him. Rob Stone of course is a guest muso doing the drums but that’s the end of the list for this album.

What messages do you aim to convey through the lyrics?
Gus: This record is like a soundtrack for life’s curveballs. It’s about rolling with the punches, fighting the good fight. Life’s a wild ride—you win, you lose, and you learn. It’s about taking whatever it hurls at you and turning it into your own anthem.

Do you have a favorite track from the album, and why?
Zigor: I’d say I Accuse You followed very closely by Into The Eyes of Old. Yes, I am cheating. I know. I Accuse You for me is a very special tune. The lyrics speak to that nomad Life we’ve led and continue to but it has a much deeper meaning with regards to World we live that nomad Life in. Roberto Bordin who’s the artist who worked on the single cover art did a great job at depicting the reality of that World to be if we keep on fucking everything we’ve been given up.

Peter: “I Accuse You” gets stuck in my head everytime I listen to it or practice it. I’m really happy with how that turned out. “Ain’t The End Of My Rope” surprised me a bit. It didn’t stand out as much at first, but the final product is relentless. I have to picture a tank when I listen to it, just grinding forward slowly, nothing can stop it. Gus’s vocals add so much power and Andy’s solo is so haunting. The cool thing about a shorter album like this is that we were able to carefully craft each song, there are no “fillers”, each song has something different that I’m proud of, but those 2 definitely stand out.

Any upcoming touring plans post “Lightning Spawn” release?
Zigor: yeah, we’re playing Ned3 in Wateringen here in the Netherlands on 26th April which will be their album debut as well as the live debut for the band, and there’s talk to do other gigs in Leiden and perhaps Alkmaar in the near future. Still work in progress of course.

What legacy does Thorndale hope to leave in the metal scene?
Peter: Music is supposed to be a shared experience in many ways. I think I can speak for the other guys when I say we just want to bring people together to enjoy good songs. That’s why we’re excited to play live. I hope the songs sound good in your headphones, but when the live energy starts to come together its a whole different experience.

What’s next for the band?
Peter: MORE! Zigor mentioned that we’ve already written another batch of songs. The other guys in the band have so much enthusiasm and passion to bring to the table, and that inspires me. So we’ll keep writing and writing. I’m personally excited to hear what we do next haha.

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About the author

As a passionate devotee of heavy, psychedelic, avant-garde and progressive sounds, my enthusiasm for music journalism has been steadily building since 2020. My writing has encompassed a broad spectrum, ranging from in-depth analyses of album releases to illuminating interviews with exciting new artists on the scene. During my leisure hours, I relish attending live concerts and delving into the thriving local music scene in my Zurich community.

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