Thundermother – Burnin’ UpTuesday, 21st July 2020
Need a fun dose of classic rock that is bursting with energy? Thundermother have been pushing their upbeat and rollicking version of classic rock for four albums now, including the soon-to-be released Heat Wave. The type of release that you can simply crank loud in your car, hit the gas, and just smile away. A perfect summer album, with a suitable name. We caught up with vocalist Guernica Mancini to give us the lowdown on Heat Wave, the move to AFM Records, and the challenges of getting more listeners.
Dead Rhetoric: What do you feel defines Heat Wave, as the band’s fourth album?
Guernica Mancini: It’s an evolution of the band. You can really hear that we have become a solid unit. We’ve evolved as musicians and we are all tight together. You can feel the energy. The energy that we have in live shows, we have managed to put it onto the record. It’s really uplifting, high-energy, and fun. We’ve kept core of the AC/DC and Motorhead, but in my opinion, we’ve been able to create our own version of that. We are all involved in the songwriting, and it made it into a more unique sounding album.
Dead Rhetoric: This is your second album with Thundermother, do you feel the writing was more comfortable this time around?
Mancini: I love writing, but when I had started the band, Filippa [Nässil] had already written the album [Thundermother]. It was awesome, because that way we could start working right away and show the world that we are here to stay. But now, that we have been touring and playing together for three years, it was the natural step for any band. You want to be creative, and be involved in the songwriting. For myself as a singer, it’s important for me to really mean what I am saying and feel it. Now that I’m a part of it [songwriting], it’s so much easier to convey those feelings to the audience. It’s been awesome to be a part of it. It’s so much fun.
Dead Rhetoric: Any favorite tracks that come to mind from Heat Wave?
Mancini: I have a few. I love the whole album, but at the moment, “Somebody Love Me” is a favorite. I really like it because it’s a very vulnerable thing. I’m a tough person and a frontwoman, but at the same time, I need to be loved just like anyone else. You can forget that sometimes when you just see the tough person on stage. I think it’s nice to show the world that I have both of those sides. I really like that song. With “Sleep” I think we really managed to do an honest and lovely ballad. The strings – everything. That song is so well-written and I’m really proud of us and how we created that song.
“Into the Mud” also, because I’m very excited to play it live. It’s so much fun and it’s a great tune. It also can show people that I can do that ‘fake rap’ [laughs]. The verses are really quick, with Axel Rose-type vocals, so I’m really excited to share that one too.
Dead Rhetoric: You mentioned “Sleep.” How do you approach a more gentle track as opposed to the more ‘fun’ ones, from a vocal standpoint?
Mancini: I guess I haven’t really thought about that too much. It’s a sad song, so it’s not like I am thinking about past heartaches when I sing it. But I think it’s really important to mean what you are singing, and it sort of comes naturally. It’s a sad song, so that’s how I perform it. I want everyone to feel as sad as I feel when I sing it [laughs]!
Dead Rhetoric: What sparked the move over to AFM Records?
Mancini: Despotz did a great job, but we wanted to take the next step and reach the next level. What’s the next level? We want to reach some sort of mainstream success. We needed a label that could really back us up on that, and share that vision we have for the band. AFM has been really supported and excited, and share our vision. We want world domination, and they want us to have that too. That’s why we wanted to work with them.
Dead Rhetoric: You had to get a tumor removed last year, everything good?
Mancini: Yes, thank you for asking. I just went on a checkup recently and I’m doing good. It was a very strange and hectic year. I’m just happy that it’s out of my body and I don’t have cancer. I’m very happy about that. My health is really good.
Dead Rhetoric: What is rock and roll to you, personally?
Mancini: Rock and roll, to me, is just to be yourself. Be the person you want to be, and do what you want to do. That’s rock and roll to me. I like a lot of different kinds of music. I like rock, I like hip hop, and this and that. Some people that interview me get surprised that I like different genres. To me, that’s rock and roll. I don’t give a fuck if you don’t enjoy it but I’m going to do what I want to do. To be honest and true to yourself, and not to care so much…you don’t even have to dress like a rocker. You can if you want to, and obviously I have a lot of rock-ish clothes, but I think that you need to be honest and true to yourself. Do what makes you happy – that’s rock and roll.
Dead Rhetoric: You want the band to achieve world domination. What are some of the challenges that you see in getting your music out there to people?
Mancini: I think the first challenge is to get people outside of the rock community to hear our music. When you tell people that you play rock, they just expect it to be metal. There’s nothing wrong with that, and I like a lot of metal, but the average joe thinks that everything is metal. They think you will be growling and screaming the whole time. I know for a fact, that our type of rock, classic rock, is for everyone. Everyone enjoys it. It’s groovy, fun, and exciting. You just need to reach those people. I think that is what we are trying to do right now.
Our main focus, country-wise, is Germany. We have a German label/management. We want to reach those people. Outside of that, it’s a lot of touring and hard work. It’s not an easy task, but we are up for it and excited. We are fully aware that we have already reached a level that many bands don’t even get to. We are very grateful that there are so many people listening to us and enjoying what we do. Now we just want to reach even more people – we are super hungry [laughs]!
Dead Rhetoric: I think another issue that comes up, particularly playing classic rock to me, is that you get a lot of ‘stuck in the mud’ people. Meaning that they really love the bands that they grew up with, but they aren’t really willing to give the newer bands playing a similar style a shot.
Mancini: I agree – but with the album, for people who know rock – it’s very clear to see the influences that we have had. I think that our goal, to reach younger people and a broader audience, maybe we can be like a gateway for them to learn about older rock bands. Kind of like Greta van Fleet. There’s a ton of people that they don’t know that they are basically a copy of Led Zeppelin. I love them, so this isn’t a really a critique. But for the younger generation, that’s pretty cool – they work as a gateway to check out older bands. That’s kind of the way I see it.
I’m not saying that we are responsible to get rock out to the people, but we want to play arenas. We want to be one of those big bands. KISS and everyone aren’t going to be around forever. There needs to be more big bands that are coming out in this genre. We are more than happy to try out for that spot [laughs].
Dead Rhetoric: What made you want to become a vocalist?
Mancini: It’s something that I have always done. I started singing as a kid in a church choir. I don’t think I’ve ever really thought about why I want to sing, it’s just something that I always did and loved doing. It became something that I had to do. It’s my passion. It’s a love of my life and it’s always been like that.
Dead Rhetoric: What do you like to bring to the table with your live performance?
Mancini: I love the larger than life persona. I like having a different persona privately, and on stage I’m like ‘larger than life.’ I think I bring a dominant thing. In my mind, I want to be a combination of Freddie Mercury and Robert Plant. I want to be very cool, and I’m not sure how else to explain the vision of who I want to be as a performer. We toured quite a bit in Germany, and the fans there are very happy and supportive. You can try anything. I’ve noticed that it’s a lot of fun to be very dominant on stage. I don’t know why that is [laughs]. But I become very dominant on stage and its fun.
I think we, as a band, just go crazy on stage. We don’t really care about how we look. We aren’t trying to be cool, we are doing the best we can to entertain, because that’s the endgame. We want people to be entertained. I hate going to see bands that stand there and are boring. We always have someone to look at – someone is always moving or jumping or doing something.
Dead Rhetoric: What have you been doing to pass the downtime we’ve been having recently?
Mancini: I go for long walks in the woods. I become an old lady [laughs]. I try to exercise, so that I can be ready when we go back on tour to jump around. So I can be as crazy as I want to and still keep the vocals good. Aside from that, I’m listening to a lot of music and podcasts, and cooking. I’m also fortunate in that I’m neighbors with Filippa. When we have the time, we try to meet up and make new songs or rehearse. It’s definitely an interesting time.
Dead Rhetoric: What’s up with Thundermother once the live venues open up again?
Mancini: If everything goes as planned, we have a long tour in September that goes like two months. I’m hoping it will happen. But we want to keep touring and we have the release. If we don’t get to tour this year, I guess we’ll have to change plans and do some different things. As far as I know right now, we will be on tour in the fall.