Only Thunder is a great yet still kind of unknown band from Denver, Colorado that have recently released an awesome album called "Lower Bounds" and according to their MySpace page they put the 'rad' in Colorado. And that's pretty much all you need as an introduction for an already lengthy interview with the entire band! (picture courtesy of John Iverson-Iverson)
PRT: Who are you and what would you like to tell our readers about yourself?
Justin: I'm Justin and I play guitar and sing about 60% of the time. I love Jameson whiskey and cheap beer. I am currently living in Phoenix, AZ learning how to build and repair guitars. I work at Vinyl Collective with our Drummer Andy and my girlfriend of 6 years Caroline. When I'm not consumed by music I love getting out of the city and heading up the mountains to go snowboarding and smoke that good shit.
Casey: My name is Casey Yunko and tonight I bowled my first 600 series in my bowling league!!!
Andy: My name is Andy Thomas and I play drums in Only Thunder. I work in the music "indiestry" as part of Vinyl Collective/Suburban Home. I recently threw up 4 times in southern Georgia after a wild night with our friend Ninja Gun.
PRT: Who else is in the band and what kinda food gives them only thunder?
Andy: Joe plays bass and Casey, Pedro and Justin all sing and play guitar. I think the next part of that question is a diarrhea joke, so I will choose to ignore it.
Justin: Pedro-Burritos, Casey-Anything, Andy-Women and Joe-Chop Suey
Pedro: Does booze count as a food?
Casey: I think it's fair to say that Andy, Joe, Justin, Pedro and myself get Only Thunder from the Queso at Illegal Petes. That shit is sooooo good, but it will light up your ass like an electric night in Spring!
PRT: For the people out there who haven't heard you yet… if Only Thunder was the lovechild of two other bands, which acts would've had sex and which position were you conceived in?
Justin: Picking two is hard, but I'd say Quicksand meets Small Brown Bike.
Andy: We are the lovechild of Small Brown Bike and Minus the Bear conceived missionary style while Hot Water Music looks on and squeezes its nipples violently.
Pedro: If Helmet and Minus the Bear got super wasted one night, and Helmet took advantage of Minus the Bear just when it started to pass out, then Minus the Bear awkwardly woke up while Helmet was ramming it doggy-style...Only Thunder would have been conceived while they were both crying.
PRT: Can you give me the history of the band written in less than one minute starting… NOW
Justin: The Blackout Pact breaks up, Pedro and I meet. I am convinced that playing music isn't really my thing anymore, Pedro changes my mind. Pedro finds a practice space before we even have a band. I ask Andy to drum and he agrees. I ask Joe if he wants to play bass and he never gives me a straight answer. So I ask Casey to play bass and he never gives me a straight answer. Then a few days later they both say they want to be in the band so we just decide to have 3 guitars.
PRT: Together you have been in a shitload of bands already. Did you feel any pressure when you started Only Thunder? Because people will obviously already have certain expectations of what the band should sound like.
Justin: I made it a very clear point to make sure that we set no real goals when starting this band. Fuck getting "signed", fuck touring, fuck management. Let's just write the best songs we possibly can without any limitations or expectations and see where it takes us. Now we have a label, we are planning on hitting the road once I'm back in Denver and our buddy Ethan has kindly volunteered to manage us. It just came naturally. And we never really tried. We just focus on the music which we will forever do.
Andy: Casey, Joe and Justin were all in a band together called Cost of Living, so I think there were a lot of preconceived notions that we would sound just like them. I think all of have done a good job of brining new influences in to the band to make it sound nothing like any of our old projects. We definitely don't sound like my first band. We were metal and totally sucked.
Pedro: don't think we had any pressure actually, since all of our previous projects had shit the bed we were free to do whatever we want. A lot of the bands we were from sounded pretty different, and everybody took a "music first" mindset into this project. The great thing about this band is that nobody had any preset ambitions, we all just played because we wanted to. I think the songs came from an expression of that.
PRT: You have three guitarists in the band which can whip up quite a wall of sound. Did you set out to be a band with that much guitar or is that just something that kinda happened?
Casey: The writing process is where it all starts. Having 3 guitars really challenges us to take our writing to new levels. We have to be very careful to not overdo it. But we all stand by the idea that if you can't pull it off live, you shouldn't lay it down in the studio. It opens a lot of doors for us to be really flexible in the writing process, and it forces us to write music as "A BAND." Not just one person that writes everything start to finish.
Andy: That was the idea from the get go. We had seen other bands do it with success and felt it was a way to give the music more depth. We hope it works to our advantage and doesn't confuse too many people!
Pedro: It just kinda happened. At first we were gonna have Casey play bass, but we were able to get Joe as a bass player too, so we decided to try 3 guitars. It's a lot of sound, and at first we had to really watch what we were playing, because with 3 guys wailing all over the place it sounds like shit. So we had to make concious decisions to play down in places, so that we could make something listenable.
PRT: Your debut full-lenth is called "Lower Bounds". Why should people choose it over "Chinese Democracy"?
Justin: Because we are a new band. Not some washed up fuck bags going through mid-life crisis’s.
Andy: Rather than go into a diatribe about just how shitty the new Guns and Roses album is I will just say that we are poor and Axl is way too rich. Fuck Axl!
PRT: I love how the songs combine everything I love about bands such as Hot Water Music with some more atmospheric parts. But aren't you tired yet of the HWM comparison?
Justin: Ha! It does get old but I take no offense. I love everything those guys are. As people, as musicians, and as pioneers in a genre all their own. Never have I met a group of guys (besides Planes Mistaken For Stars) that are so honest and true to what they are about. It's very inspiring.
Andy: We will never get tired of that comparison. They are collectively our favorite band and we wouldn't sound like we do if it wasn't for them. We recently got to open for them in Denver and were as giddy as all hell. Great dudes, great band. Nuff said.
PRT: I read you're taking a break for a couple of months because one of your guitarists is off to school until early next year. Doesn't it suck to have to take a break now that the album is out and being received very positive?
Justin: That is me, and if anything I think it's just building up the anticipation. It's not like tons of people around the country are waiting for us to play their town. We do fairly well in Denver and the less we play, the more people get excited when we do play. If for some freak reason this album takes off and demands us to tour more, then they'll just have to wait until spring to see us. But don't hold your breath.
PRT: In the movie High Fidelity, the guys that work in the record store are constantly making these top 5 lists of songs for a specific occasion. If you would have to make such a list, which occasion would it be for and which songs would make your top 5?
Justin: Top 5 songs to sit on the couch, smoke tons of weed, and be a complete waste to: Torche-Brown Recluse, Isis-Holy Tears, Neurosis-Given To The Rising, Old Man Gloom-Gift and Pentagram-Forever My Queen
Andy: Top 5 reasons I shouldn't have done this interview. Ha! Kidding.
Pedro: Top 5 songs to kill everyone at Mortal Kombat to:
1. "5 to 9" by A Wilhelm Scream
2. "Open Hands To The Wind" by Hopesfall
3. "My Name Is A Killing Word" by Form Of Rocket
4. "Parishiltonisametaphor" by Dillinger Four
5. "October" by Able Baker Fox
Casey: I actually did it on my iPOD today!!!
TOP FIVE SONGS TO HELP YOU MAKE IT THROUGH THE LAST 20 MINUTES AT WORK (In no particular order)
1.) Anything off "The Shape of Punk to Come" - Refused
2.) "Highway to the Dangerzone" - Top Gun Soundtrack
3.) "Final Countdown" - Europe
4.) "Heart Attack America" - The Bronxs
5.) Is a tie between "Under Pressure" - David Bowie and Queen, and it's cover done by Small Brown Bike and The Casket Lottery
PRT: Any last words for our readers?
Justin: Thanks for reading! I am not bright or witty enough for anything cool to say. But I can build you a guitar someday. yeah!!!