Interview with Danny Bowes from Thunder about «All the Right Noises» promo
M.S: Hi, good morning Danny. How are you?
I’m very good, how are you?
M.S: I’m fine. Thank you. This is Leticia from Madrid Spain. This is from the webzine MetalSymphony.com in Spain and well… to be fair with you, I’m the substitute. I was not supposed to do this interview (laughs). Two days ago they told me that the person that had to do it couldn’t do it. So they asked me to and I had the time. So, nice to meet you!
It’s very nice to meet you too, and I’m glad you were able to do the interview.
M.S: Thank you very much. Okay, so well, let’s start with it because I as I understood we only have 30 minutes. So let’s try to make it quick.
M.S: Okay, so well, first of all, it’s a huge honor having you in our website, in our page. Please tell us, how are you guys? How are you doing? And I hope that you and your families of course are doing pretty good with these hard times.
You’re very kind. Thank you very much. We’re doing ok. There’s a lot of people doing a lot worse than us, so, we’re not complaining.
M.S: Nice to hear at least. Okay, so my partners, the ones that were supposed to do this interview today, they told me that they saw you on the last Monsters of Rock Cruise and they told me that they really enjoyed it. It was awesome, two amazing concerts. Well, so tell me because it’s been 25 years since the entrance of Chris on the band and it’s been 30 years all of you together. How are you feeling after all these years getting into the stage? Is the same feeling as the beginning or is it different?
To be honest with you, it just feels like we are just getting going. I know that it sounds odd, after 30 years, but we have probably more enthusiasm for making records than we ever have… We were never NOT enthusiastic before, but it just seems to increase. We try to stay fresh with our approach and we always try to change things around, on the look for ways to improve the recording process so that we enjoy it more each time… I think we’ve make all kinds of changes, some of which mean that we increase the pressure on ourselves when we play the sessions, because we play shorter sessions than we used, but because the pressure is there we have to rise to the occasion and we have to make sure that we do well in the limited time that we allow ourselves, and I think that means that we have to be better prepared, and I think we seem to be enjoying and thriving on the pressure, and I think that means we get a better record, get a more diverse record, and we feel that much more proud of the album. So it’s… now we’re having a great sound.
M.S: So this new album that is going to be released in a few days, it has been announced as a return to your more rock sounds. I was listening to the album yesterday, so for those who were not that lucky to be able to listen to it yet, so they have an idea about it, is it closer to “Wonder Days” or to “Rip it up”? How would you describe it?
Personally, I think it’s the best of “Wonder Days” and the best of “Rip it up” times ten.
M.S: Well, personally, I as I told you before I wasn’t supposed to interview you myself, I didn’t even know your music, I hear about your band, but I haven’t had the opportunity to listen to it. And yesterday I was listening to the album and I was really impressed. It’s really good. It’s as you were saying a mixture of many things. I don’t know, the combination really surprised me. I personally loved it. And so you could say you gained a fan with me today!
Well, I think that’s the best I could ask for today. We gained one new fan today, I’m a very happy man!
M.S: Thank you. So, well the recording, as I was reading on the press release and everything, was pre-Covid, pre-lockdown and everything. Did you use this extra time with the lockdown for improving the production and the master of the album? Because it really has a very whole sound, very packed and everything. It sounds sublime.
Thank you. Now, the record was recorded in three sessions, in July and November 2019. And then again we did the final session in January 2020, last year. So we finished recording at the end of January, maybe a year ago, just over a year ago. And then we waited for Mike Fraser to mix it. Mike Fraser was working on… oh, I think it was just a little band, I forgot who they are, oh, actually AC/DC. He was working on their records, so we had to wait for him. And obviously, on their record he didn’t really do anything (laughs).
M.S: So the better for you (laughs).
Yeah, and nobody really knew about AC/DC, so I feel really bad… I’m joking, of course, you know. But because he was busy for that we had to wait, and then he mixed it in March last year. So, we were pretty much finished. Originally, we were going to release the album in September last year, and then going on the road afterwards, but because of the pandemic we realized that we couldn’t shoot the cover picture, we couldn’t shoot the band photographs. We weren’t allowed to go out. So we had to delay the album, until we moved it back to March of this year. And that’s really the story of the album. So we didn’t get any… we didn’t really need to do anything more to the album. We did go into the studio in July last year to rerecord effectively eight of the tunes from the album but live, so we took in an extra keyboard player and two female back vocalists and we basically re did eight of the songs live and recorded them all. They’re on the kind of deluxe version of the album. You’ve got like a one CD version with the 11 studio tracks, and then you’ve got a 2-cd deluxe version, which has got those tracks on plus the eight lives in the studio tunes, which is slightly different. They got slightly different arrangement, they’re a bit raw. And on top of this four tracks that we recorded for the original album session but didn’t make the album. So, there’s kind of 12 tracks on there, so it’s a nice opportunity if anybody really is interested.
M.S: As you’re saying, it would be very interesting to get the 2 CD version, because you have the original album plus this extra live session which must be very interesting to listen to, especially since, because of the pandemic as you were saying, there’s going to be kind of a huge delay in all the live concerts and shows and we really don’t know when we will be able to do that. Right?
Sure, nobody knows. And I think live shows for bands and their fans are probably gonna be one of the last things that ever comeback.
M.S: Yeah, sad, but true.
Yeah. It’s a bummer. Very depressing.
M.S: Yeah, no, and for musicians as well. Because of course fans, we really want to see bands live and everything, but for you guys, I guess it’s kind of devastating not to be able to perform your music, your new stuff and give it out to the audience for real, right?
Sure. I mean, lots of people are in the same position, you know. It’s a very difficult situation for millions of people, or billions of people around the world. What I really hope is that Amazon are gonna be able to employ everyone as drivers. That’s probably what’s going to need to happen.
M.S: Yeah, that would be good. Okay, so talking back about the album, we were saying before that the sound of it is really astonishing. We would like to highlight Harry on the drums, he is amazing, Luke on the guitars, but your voice Danny… It’s amazing, you sound like you’re immortal or something! I was surprised as I was telling you before, I listened to the album yesterday and I was like “Wow! Why didn’t I listen to this before?”, and the intro for “Don’t forget to leave before you die” has some kind of effect on the voice… and maybe “Destruction” looks like there’s somebody else, or you sound like somebody else, but can you tell us about that.
I think it’s a production technique. You’re right. I am immortal. I sold my soul to the Devil five years ago. I’m going to live for 2000 years. I have a contract.
M.S: Good to know! I’ll tell you my personal address or something to tell me how to do it. I want the same deal (laughs).
It’s not a problem! I can take care of that for you. But yeah. I don’t know! I don’t know if I’m gonna be happy living for 2000 years. After I signed the deal suddenly it occurred to me that everybody I know will have died, so I’ll have to make new friends and they’ll all die, and then I’ll have to make more new friends and they’ll die… so it’s strange being immortal. But we’ll see. You know, in 2000 years if you’ve managed to sell your soul as well, then hopefully we can be friends in 2000 years! It’s a done deal.
Now, in terms of singing, and on the record, I’ve been very lucky I think. I recognized very early on… we’ve had a very long career and I realized very early on that, if I smoked and drunk and took drugs and didn’t look after myself I’d probably wouldn’t keep my voice for very long, and I’ve seen a lot of people over the years abuse themselves and their voices have crumbled as a result. So, I think I made a very good decision a long time ago, and so I think that’s probably why I’m still able to do it now.
M.S: In the end it’s your instrument, you have to take care of that.
Sure. I see guitar players polishing their guitars, treating them very carefully when put them in cases and transport them. I think I need to do the same thing with my voice.
M.S: Talking about “Destruction”, especially because for us it’s one of the best songs, alongside with “Force of nature”, how did this track come out? How did you come up with this idea? Because, just a little tip on this, we find it kind of strange that you English gentlemen can talk about destroying something, you always sound so polite! (laughs) Now seriously, the concept of the strength and the power that has all the songs in the album, but especially this one maybe… How did it come out?
(Laughs) Well, I think… if you look at the subject matter of both the songs you mention… “Destruction” is basically a song that’s written about mental health, about being trapped inside a body which may work physically very well but is breaking down inside, in the brain, and it’s basically a tale of being very lonely. The thing is, if you cut your arm off, everybody knows you cut your arm off, you can see there’s an arm missing. But if there’s something wrong with your brain, and you look ok in the outside, they wouldn’t know. And you can hide that, and you can suffer with that. And I think there’s a lot of frustration, there’s a lot of fear, it’s very dark and I think that basically where the song comes from, because the subject is dark, the song is dark, the song goes from being very quiet, very threatening, very menacing and then it gets very big, so that could be seen as frustration coming out. There are all kinds of stuff going on within the tune, but it’s based on around that concept of being trapped inside a body, and it being hidden from the world.
The song “Force of nature” is basically written from the perspective of Donald Trump. The idea was, the lyric, is trying to imagine what it’s like to be Donald Trump, and when I sang the song I had to try to channel what it would be like to be a psychopathic narcissist, and, you know, that’s a difficult thing to do because I like myself but not that much.
M.S: Wow, quite a work.
It’s a very dark song, there’s a lot of darkness on it. I mean, some of the musical stuff, there’s a guitar break in the middle as you probably heard, it sounds very discorded, but then as you could interpret that’s how his bran works, maybe his brain is like that. It’s a very discorded, very strange times signature, and maybe that’s just an expression of his mind works, maybe his mind works like that.
M.S: Trying to put yourself into the brain of that person who we all know so publicly is quite impressive. I’ll have to get another listen especially to that song again, because I really liked it but now that I know the point of view and everything it sounds even more interesting
Yeah, listen to the lyric and then try to imagine yourself hearing Donald Trump saying those things, it’s a very interesting song.
M.S: And just because of something that you just said on “Destruction”, maybe you could kind of relate it with all the mental issues that we’ve been having on this lockdown period and everything, right?
Yeah, absolutely. There’s a lot of that going on in there. I think you want to listen to “Don’t forget to live before you die”, there’s a lot of social commentary in there that could apply very well to the current situation, with people king of being locked in their houses, work from home, and not able to live. Obviously the song was written before the pandemic, and Luke was making a comment with the lyrics about the fact that a lot of people don’t live, they just work, , and they feel validated by social media and they’re not able to feel any self worth without the validation of social media, and that’s the real shame, because real life with real people is far more important than virtual life with virtual people.
M.S: Absolutely true. I myself have found that, with the pandemic, I noticed that I had been running all the time from one job to another, not spending time at home with my family, and the pandemic just showed me that sometimes you just need to stop, think of what you’re doing and see things with perspective and try to enjoy what surrounds you instead of just working for, I don’t know, for the money because you need it to live. But the thing is, sometimes it’s not that important. Just enjoy what you have.
I think you’re absolutely right, I think it’s very important to try to retain perspective. And I think if you’re able to see this situation as an opportunity and not just focus on the things that you’re losing, you can… we can take some positives, we can make some good things happen, and feel better. Not necessarily better than you would have felt before, but I think it’s been a good, certainly for me and other people, I think you can see as an opportunity, and you can see as a chance to kind of have a richer life into some areas, take stock and try to look at things that are really important.
M.S: Last year “Backstreet Symphony” had its 30th anniversary. Is there any chance that you will re-edit that album on vinyl? Because it’s a piece of art, so it should have the vinyl edition.
Yeah, well, there is a discussion taking place about that very thing. And at the moment, I can’t say when, but I can say I think it’s very likely that it will happen.
M.S: Before we finish, we could talk a little bit about the live events as we were saying a little briefly before… Maybe, again, because of the pandemic and everything that is been delayed and we really don’t know when we will be able to enjoy concerts and everything… are you planning maybe on doing some kind of presentation online of the new album once it’s released? What are your near future plans for this?
We have some shows here in the UK that are supposed to take place in May, but we are feeling that it is looking less and less likely. So, for that reason, we are probably looking to try to do something online. At the moment think is still on discussion, but it needs to happen quite quickly and we need to come to a conclusion quite quickly. We’re talking to our record label, and we’re talking to a lot of different potential partners. If it is humanly possible to put some kind of a performance that we do online, I think we will. The problem the band has is that when our band plays live our audience are as equally important as we are, we like the audience to be involved, and if we take the audience out of the room, we are very concerned that it may be disappointing for some people, you know. So we want to try to create some kind of an event which could look just like a pale imitation of a live show.
M.S: Sounds good. But as you were saying, you are missing a part of the experience, because for you guys without the audience giving you the feedback at the very moment of what they are listening to, it has to be kind of frustrating.
Yeah, well, we are very aware of the fact that it won’t be a regular Thunder live show, it can’t be without the audience. So we have to maybe introduce some extra elements in order to make it something different, entertaining in a different way. I think any performance needs to be motivated and be helped on by the live experience, by having an audience in the room, because that’s when you’re supposed to perform at your best. So, if you don’t have the audience there to help you, then it’s never gonna be the same, you just have to try to make something which is entertaining but in a slightly different way.
M.S: Well, this should be the end of the questions. If you want to say anything to our readers on Metal Symphony, this is the time.
Okay. Alright. Well, I think what I would like to say is we are very proud of our new album. We hope that your readers are interested enough to give it a listen, and if they like it then they should watch out for when we come to Spain to play live. You can guarantee that the moment we can come to Spain to play live, we will.
M.S: Great! Thanks for being so nice, so kind, and just be sure that whenever you come to Spain, I will be there also and see you guys live. I really look forward to it. Hopefully it’s sooner than we expect, and maybe I ask for an interview in person (laughs).
More than happy to do that, any time you like.
M.S: Thank you very much. Danny. Take good care and send our best to the whole band and talk to you soon. Bye bye.
Thank you very much. Bye.
David Aresté / Leticia Ballester