Interview: We meet Seattle rockers Thunderpussy backstage at Dave Grohl’s Festival Cal Jam

Over the last five years Seattle band Thunderpussy have been making a name for themselves with raucous live shows, acclaimed music and a playful attitude towards release titles (their EP, Greatest Tits, really sums it up). Earlier this year, the quartet released their debut LP to critical acclaim, and haven’t stopped touring since.

I had the chance to catch up with the group earlier this month, just after they got off the stage at the Foo Fighters’ festival Cal Jam in California, where they opened things up dutifully on the main stage.

We are backstage at Cal Jam 2018 in San Bernardino, California with Thunderpussy, welcome!

Molly: Thank you, we made it!

You made it. You have played your set. You unleashed the thunder on the crowd, how does it feel to have it out of the way? How do you feel it went?

Molly: As soon as we finish this interview we’re gonna get so high, no offense to you Larry, but we’re counting down the minutes here.

Ruby: I’m working on my beer belly.

Molly: Hey that’s not a beer belly that’s a fuel tank for a sex machine.

Today is kicking off quite a bit of a tour for you as well that will be running through til the end of the year. Is it sort of like looking down the barrel of a shotgun or is it more just being really excited about hitting the road?

Leah: I feel like it’s like Gumby right, like no one can see that motion but I feel like the noise is good. We just got off an airplane, we were in Europe for a while and now I feel like my soul is still hovering somewhere over Holland and I’m still not even here right now.

There’s a little bit of Seattle royalty playing tonight with this proposed Nirvana reunion. What does it mean to be a band from Seattle in Los Angeles, where this sort of things happening, and to be a part of it?

Whitney: Everybody is high here, and they’re really nice.

Ruby: Yes, everybody is way nicer than in Seattle. I’m sorry Seattle, but you guys need to warm up.

Molly: I just want to say Ruby Dunphy over here is a huge Nirvana fan, as we all are. I just want to give Ruby props because that’s her jam. We’re gonna get to see Dave Grohl tear up on the drums tonight, and I’m stoked for that too, I’ve always loved that man on a drum kit. You know he is a great songwriter, great guitar player – love The Foo Fighters – but that dude hits the drums like no other. Sorry Taylor Hawkins, you’re also fucking rad.

Leah: So we get to watch two badass drummers tonight it’s gonna be sick.

Ruby: The first Foo Fighters album is so good. I think Dave Grohl plays all the instruments right?

Leah: Yeah he did it with Barrett (Jones)!

Ruby: Oh that’s right! Man, that is one of my favourite albums off all time. I’m gonna cry probably, yeah.

Being in Los Angeles; I’ve been listening to you over the years and seeing you play at SXSW, I would have sworn you were an LA band – you seem born on the Sunset Strip.

Molly: Yeah, well I think we’re inspired by the pomp and circumstance of that era so it’s not incorrect.

Leah: That being said though, we are pretty happy to be from Seattle. It feels like a really special place to be from. The energy and the history of the city, its a city of arts really, we don’t take offense to that. But we do take a little pride growing in Seattle.

Ruby: I just wanna say go Hawks!

You just got back from Europe and you’re about to launch a tour around the country ending in Seattle for New Year’s Eve. It’s clearly been a massive year for you with the release of the album. How have the shows changed since the album came out? I guess now, that you’ve done quite a few you have obviously got more songs that people know. You can fill the set up with songs that people can sing along to. I think I just answered the question accidentally. But how have the shows changed for you since the album came out earlier this year?

Leah: Well I think one of the coolest things is the exposure that comes with the unleashing of your music on different platforms. Our music is at more fingertips and in more ears that being said, you already answered it, but one of the most wonderful feelings is when somebody’s singing your song in front of you. I think the evolution of Thunderpussy is also the evolution of the crowds. We’ve been in it together from the beginning, so it has been really cool watching people grow as we grow.  

One thing I really loved about the record is that it really embraced the evolution of the band as a live unit. On record you get the feeling, that you are a killer live band, which is a really hard thing to emulate. Having seen you both, before the album came out and after, it really felt like there had been a lot of effort put into not making it sound like an over-polished studio record.

Molly: I feel like you’re both, right on the money, and far from the mark at the same time. We didn’t go into the studio thinking; let’s capture the live sound like everybody told us to. We just want to make a record and let the songs to be everything they want to be. And if we can’t duplicate it live that’s fine. At the same time we had an amazing producer, who was able to do both things!

Leah: Also we were in the studio for the first time as a unit. Being able to experiment with the sound that we’ve already had, the foundation was already in place, and filling it out in a way, that we couldn’t have expected, was exhilarating.

Whitney: We just love playing together and that shows on the record.

How long were you in the studio for the record?

Whitney: We were tracking for almost a month. We rented a house down in Ashland next to Sylvia Massy’s amazing studio, the church of divine transformation.

Ruby: Ashland is a pretty crusty place, but we lived down there and we were all in it together. We’d be in the studio all day then we would go back to our house and jam.

Molly: Anyway, life is good. So I have a question for you, when is Australia going to welcome us with open arms?

That was actually the next question I was going to ask! How, and when can we get you to Australia?

Whitney: We’re ready.

Molly: I mean when’s good for you?

Early next year? You know, get you down for the summer.

Molly: We’d love that

We’ve got to get you down there, it’s been far too long and it’s perfect timing we’ve got the album. Have you noticed there to be listenership in Australia? Cause you can track all that shit now like

Molly: Yeah, it’s pretty good numbers down there. It’s mostly the Aboriginal tribes. I don’t even know how they’re getting the music but Spotify is everywhere.

Are there any Aussie bands that you’re familiar with? I mean AC/DC is the obvious one but aside from that?

Whitney: I really like Sia, I think she’s a fantastic human being and I hope one day we get to meet her. I read an article in the Rolling Stone the other day about her ups and downs and her starts and new beginnings. Anyways, she’s one of my faves!

Ruby: We just played with a really cool band, The Faims, at Reading and Leeds. They were sweet humans and really fun!

And you will be hitting the road with a couple of other bands as well, that’ll be out under your wings so to speak.

Molly: Honestly we’re hanging out with local bands in each city on the tour. And then we’re gonna hop on with Struts, so we’re gonna get under the Struts wing.

Whitney: They are great. I’m really looking forward to that. And we are playing a few shows with one of our favourite bands out of Nashville Tennessee, Thelma and the Sleaze! They put on an amazing show.

Well, it was so good to see you today. And getting to see the new Thunderpussy album live was so much fun. We hope to see you down in Australia beginning of next year!

T: Yeah!

To learn more about Thunderpussy, and get your hands on their latest music, tour dates and more, head to their official website or Facebook page.

Photo Credit: Meredith Truax

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