Heavy guitars, frenetic rhythms, catchy melodies and monsters: this is all you'll find on this explosive EP, Songs About Monsters, by Those Things. This Canadian band, lead by a female singer, serves a punchy punk rock sound... and we just can't get enough!
Who are “Those Things” ? What’s the band’s story ? How did you all meet?
Carly: I firstly met Jeff while working with him at a rock n roll themed hair salon. Jeff's barber station was right behind my desk, so we got to know each other mostly as acquaintances, but when the opportunity to play a fundraiser came up, that's when we really got to know each other through our shared love for performing. We went through a bunch of hectic stuff together like jerk bosses & reality TV shows, which only strengthened our friendship and gave us some fuel for the fire. I knew Ken before I met Jeff, I always thought that Ken was such a professional and talented fellow. It was a excellent surprise that he wanted to play with us!
How is the work divided in your band ? Do you each have specific tasks for the creation process (lyrics, composition etc.) ?
Jeff: I usually bring in the initial lyrics and a basic melody or guitar riff, everyone puts their stamp on it, Ray pushes it forward with his crazy drumming and Ken records it! Carly: I like to add my pizazz onto Jeff's compositions, adding prosody as well as sometimes acting as critic. I am a songwriter as well, but Jeff writes often and well, so it's nice for me to be able to take the passenger seat sometimes, and just let him do his thing.
Carly, you are the only girl in the band. How does it feel like working with men only ?
Carly: Well, when it comes to hair and makeup, I'm on my own. I am a big fan of my male bandmates, I feel pretty backed up both musically and also say in a place like a rowdy bar. It's pretty common for drunk slobbery dudes to try and kiss pretty ladies, and I've been grateful for my big brothers being around, although I think Ken would probably let it happen and laugh his head off.
And guys, do you think that having a female lead singer makes a difference and brings something more to the band ?
Jeff: Absolutely, she brings a perspective and energy to the band that we just can’t bring.
You music is undoubtedly lively, mixing catchy melodies, heavy guitars and an intense rhythm. In your new album, Songs About Monsters, you never rest for a minute. Where do you get all this energy ? Do you also perform/record/write slower songs?
Jeff: I guess the energy comes from excitement for the music. I love playing my guitar and I can’t help but get hyper and once that starts there’s really no stopping it! We have some slower songs too, we’re hoping to put out an EP soon that will feature some of them!
Carly: I let the feel of the music guide me. The rhythms get me all pumped up, as well as the subject matter. When I'm singing about learning how to drive for the first time in "Another Something's Wrong Song", I am channelling the anxiety and excitement of putting your foot down on the petal, and potentially losing control.
Tell us more about the album. Who are the monsters you sing about?
Jeff: Well, the main theme of the songs on the album is that we are all monsters in our own way. Usually we don’t realize it until it’s too late and the damage is done. We all haunt someone, somewhere, much like we’re all haunted ourselves.
Is there any meaning behind the album’s artwork ?
Jeff: I like the art because when you first look at it, you may not notice what’s really going on... it takes a few seconds to realize that there’s something creepy in the eyes, and that again goes back to the idea that we all have something that may not be noticeable at first, that takes time to see. This could be a good or a bad thing!
Are there any particular messages you would like to convey through this album, and through your music in general?
Carly: Through music I have a platform for my voice, and what I see and feel. Songs about Monsters touches on the afterlife, as well as the chaos and mysticism we experience in this life. I feel a certain level of shamanic energies working through me when I am exposing and delving into those places, which can be invigorating, and it may sound out there, but healing.
I am pretty sure your music goes to a whole other dimension when played live. Do you have any live memories or anecdotes you would like to share ?
Carly: I showed up right on time to play our last show, and Jeff had started tuning my guitar for me like a nice friend, when the D tuning peg flew off. So there was a choice to make. I could just sing or … find a guitar somewhere! After searching the bar and talking to a bunch of people who have no idea who I was, one dude pointed me to a flailing arm in the crowd, he was the owner of a black Strat with a Canadian flag strap on it. Not my typical choice of style, but she played beautifully for me.
What about upcoming live shows ? Anything planned ?
Jeff: Our next show will be the vinyl release party. It will be on May 23rd at the Railway Club here in Vancouver, BC!
If we took a look in you musical library, what would we find ?
Carly: The Slits, Neko Case, Black Mountain, Woody Guthrie and lots of indie music.
Jeff: I’m really all over the map, I just love a good melody and of course interesting guitar playing. My favorite bands are actually the more obscure local bands I saw growing up, like Wagbeard and the Smalls from Alberta, Canada. When I saw those guys making music I realized I could do it too!