So for our last interview of 2014 I am delighted to share with all of you my chat with Josh Schwartz (guitar) and Nina Osegueda (vocals) from A SOUND OF THUNDER. At the time we spoke the band’s latest record The Lesser Key of Solomon had only just come out a few weeks prior, and it was great to be able to speak with both of them about not only the process behind it, but what the future holds for the group. Have a look:
Amps: First thing I have to ask…you guys are a VERY polarizing band. Why do you think that is?
Nina: Oh, it’s because I’m a lady and I have a big mouth. And Josh has a big mouth, too.
Josh: Yeah, I’ve never gotten a good explanation from any of our trolls for why they hate us. There are one or two guys out there that hate Nina because she had the audacity to put patches on her denim vest of bands she hadn’t seen live yet (Amps screams in mock horror!). Apparently there’s rules for patches. If you break those rules you’re forever dead to them.
Nina: (Laughing) there’s rules! But OK look, the only bands that I’ve never seen live that are on my vest are DIO, who died before I could see him live, JUDAS PRIEST, because I don’t want to see them with STEEL PANTHER, and SPINAL TAP. I have a legitimate reason for not seeing those bands, but the rest I have so they can kiss my ass!
Amps: You really knocked it out of the park with this album. What was different as far as your mindset, or any little tweaks? Did you know what you were creating this time out?
Josh: I think we did. We were conscious of the fact that this album was gonna come out really soon after Time’s Arrow and some of the comments we’d gotten in the past were that people liked a lot of the variety but that the songs didn’t mesh together well as an album. We tried to do something that had a little different vibe from Time’s Arrow but still sounded like us. We had more songs than we needed so we chose the ones we felt went together best. It was intentionally supposed to be a darker album. We wanted to wait a while before putting out Time’s Arrow II (laughs)!
Nina: Yeah, I think we tried to make sure that if we were putting these songs on the album they should have something in common.
Amps: I actually think this album buries Time’s Arrow.
Nina: Oh, thank you! Some people say the exact opposite. They say, “Oh, there’s no fast songs!”
Amps: Ummm…”Udoroth”, the opener?!?
Nina: Well “Udoroth” is the one fast song and I’ll admit that’s my favorite on the album.
Amps: It seems like you guys are always writing, always looking ahead to the next record, etc. Is that fair to say?
Josh: Yeah, I mean we’re definitely always planning ahead. At this point right now the recording of the next studio record is 100% done. We have seven out of ten songs mastered and mixed already.
Josh: Well the four of us are all good friends, we all live fairly close to each other, we like hanging out, so we play every Thursday and every Sunday for two to three hours. Chris (Haren, drums) and I started the band, and being into a lot of 70’s stuff we like to jam. We have this tradition of jamming and starting with improvised ideas. More often than not by the time we’re done jamming we’ve created a part or two for a brand new song.
Amps: Are you also constantly writing lyrics and/or music, Nina?
Nina: Lyrics, yes. Music, not as often, but every once in a while I’ll write melodies for songs and that’s how they’ll start. Everybody in the band writes, though.
Amps: Why do you think you are constantly writing? Never fully satisfied, or just too many ideas?
Nina: Both, I think. We just like to make music.
Josh: I saw a quote online that said by the time you’re done working on a project you’ve gotten better at what you do, so by the time it’s done it’s no longer up to your standards. Every time we finish an album we’re like, “Oh, we could do better.”
Nina: Yeah, that’s true. And our next album should be our best yet; we’re happy with it!
Josh: All four of us feel that way. This is the best all-around feeling for a record that we’ve had, and it’s not even out yet.
Nina: That is awesome!
Josh: It’s a huge gift; we couldn’t believe it. We couldn’t believe it when the Time’s Arrow Kickstarter took off and did what it did. But to blow that out of the water and do three times as much is crazy. It was overwhelming. It’s allowed us to do more things like the deluxe book with all the paintings and you probably saw the animated video. Every time we get that kind of support we put it right back into the band so we can keep making more cool things and more music.
Amps: What are some of your favorite albums of 2014?
Nina: The new ACCEPT album (Blind Rage) is my favorite right now. It’s soooo good!! It’s in my car CD player and it’s not coming out.
Josh: I have to say that’s probably my favorite of the year so far as well. I also liked quite a bit of stuff on the JUDAS PRIEST record (Redeemer of Souls).
Amps: Nina, I have to agree with you on what you said a while ago about the HAMMERFALL record (r)Evolution. I was pretty disappointed.
Amps: What albums are you looking forward to?
Josh: I’m really looking forward to DEEP PURPLE’S follow-up to Now What?! since they announced they’re working on another album. I like a lot of the older stuff, so getting new BLACK SABBATH, DEEP PURPLE, HELLOWEEN, and SAXON albums made it the best year in a while for me.
Nina: I’m sure SABATON will come out with something that I will love very soon! We’ve played with them a few times and they’re all so nice, and a lot of fun! The last time I crowd surfed, and it was pretty awesome!
Amps: What do you want to say to all the ASoT fans out there?
Josh: Thank you first of all. Second of all, when we say that the fans are the record label, that’s not just a catchphrase that’s really true. We wouldn’t be able to continue doing what we’re doing without their support. And the fact that they’ve given us that support means everything to us.
Nina: We exist for them, we love them. They are our masters.
Amps: Thank you so much for taking some time with me. It really means a lot that I finally got to talk with both of you.
Nina: Thank you! It made us happy too.
A SOUND OF THUNDER is without a doubt one of those bands I’ve heard in the last few years that pretty much knocked me on my ass the first time I listened to them. The fact that The Lesser Key of Solomon is on a ton of Best of 2014 Albums lists (mine included) only reaffirms my belief that they are a metal force to be reckoned with and they have no plans on slowing down anytime soon. If you haven’t given them a shot, then you are surely missing out.