Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Rumbling Inside Of A Sound Of Thunder

A Sound of Thunder has really tapped into something on their new album Out of the Darkness. The reviews, including ours, have been screaming the praises of the band and garnering lots of attention for them. Their first video from the album, ”Murderous Horde”, exploded on YouTube and their newest video for the “tongue in cheek” song “Kill That Bitch” is doing the same. We decided to sit down with lead singer Nina Osegueda and guitarist Josh Schwartz to dig a little into what makes this band tick.

Music Is My Drug Of Choice: Hey guys! Thanks so much for taking the time to answer some questions for us so that we can let people know a little bit more about the group. What are the origins of the band?

A Sound of Thunder: (Josh) In 2008, I had been working pretty heavily on original music at home, but had not played guitar with a band in a long time. My first “testing of the waters” as far as getting back into a band situation was joining a local bar band called Crimson Burnout.  Chris (Haren) was the drummer in that band. They did mostly covers, but Chris and I both had a drive to do original material and Chris really liked my home demos. Crimson Burnout fell apart after only a few months and Chris and I immediately decided to start our own band and do only original material.

Music Is My Drug Of Choice: Nina, you weren’t in the original lineup of the band. I read that you joined in 2009. Did you find them or did they come looking for you?

A Sound of Thunder: I joined late in the summer of 2009. Creatively, I was in a slump and unhappy. I saw Josh’s as on Craigslist for a vocalist and decided to check them out. They had a video of themselves playing with a male vocalist, and I thought I love this music. I could definitely see myself singing with this band. We started exchanging emails and eventually, I went in for an audition. It was all good from there!

Music Is My Drug Of Choice: Let’s talk a bit about the reaction that you have been receiving to the new album. The reaction seems to be very positive, except for the occasional troll.

A Sound of Thunder: (Nina) It has been very overwhelming, but definitely not in a bad way! I’m just so amazed that people actually want to buy and listen to music that we’ve created. That’s the most incredible feeling in the world and I can’t thank our fans and supporters enough. You know what? Those occasional trolls aren’t so bad! I think the worse we’ve had is a guy who wanted to do inappropriate sexual things to me! So hey, why not consider it a compliment?

(Josh) It’s been overwhelming and has given us more confidence. On some level, we knew we were making good music that people would probably like, but you can’t really be sure until it’s out there and you get the feedback. Now, I think you can see and hear that boost in our live performances and also hopefully on our next album.

Music Is My Drug Of Choice: You released an album in 2011 entitled Metal Renaissance. How would you compare and/or contrast the new album with it?

A Sound of Thunder: (Nina) Unlike our first album, this was recorded and produced digitally. The result is a smoother, cleaner sound which allowed us to add more layers without much difficulty. Our songwriting wasn’t too much different for this album, except that we felt freer, creatively, to add different sounds.

(Josh) Metal Renaissance was recorded mostly on analog tape, which we chose because we wanted a vintage, classic sound. In reality, it put a lot of extra time and performance pressure on us because it just takes longer to do everything on tape. You can’t whip out as many takes waiting to get the perfect one. Working in ProTools for Out of the Darkness allowed us the freedom to experiment and add more layers to the recordings.

Music Is My Drug Of Choice: What can you tell me about the song “Calat Alhambra”? A song about Queen Isabella and Ferdinad may not be seen as “typical” metal material.

A Sound of Thunder: (Nina) Well, my mom is Catalan. This is an area of Spain with its own cultural identity, but I still identify myself as Spanish. Spain and its royal family have a great history and I love studying it. Isabella of Castille in particular is one of my favorite historical figures. She did a lot for both Europe and the Americas. Usually in metal, you hear a lot about warriors, but Isabella was a warrior queen who actually lived! She was vicious, yet today she’s well loved by many and even considered a saint. That, to me, is so interesting that it can’t help but inspire me to write.

Music Is My Drug Of Choice: Speaking of history, is it true that the band’s name came from the Ray Bradbury short story of the same name?

A Sound of Thunder: (Josh) Yes, the band is named the short story and not the supposedly awful movie adaptation; which I have never seen. There’s not a lot of deep meaning there, it just happens to be one of my favorite stories by one of my favorite authors. The title implied something loud, which of course we are! That added some additional meaning. I guess I’d say that Chris is the real “sound of thunder” in the band because his drum kit is too big and he hits too damn hard!

Music Is My Drug Of Choice: I know you probably get this question a lot, but can you share your influences with our readers?

A Sound of Thunder: (Josh) I’ve always been into music that was a bit before my time. In 1992 when I was 12, I got my first Ozzy tape and from there I worked my way backwards. I acquired literally every album by Black Sabbath, then Deep Purple, then Rainbow, Blue Oyster Cult, Iron Maiden, etc. I never really cared about what was popular at the time, which was Metallica and Megadeth, then Alice in Chains, Marilyn Manson, Fear Factory. None of that 90s metal influenced me because I refused to listen to it. I am kind of like an unfrozen caveman. I’m only 32, but I have the influences of a 50+ year old man!

(Nina) Personally, my metal influences aren’t always my influences when it comes to singing. I’ve heard people compare me to Halford and Dickinson, but the truth is I grew up singing gospel music and rhythm and blues. If I sound anything like them, it’s because we have some soul to our voice. Nowadays, I’ve developed a style that’s different from what I grew up with. I love classic metal, so more recently, Dickinson, Dio and Halford, plus a few oddballs like Udo and Doro have had their say in the style I’ve developed.

Music Is My Drug Of Choice: So, how did shooting your video for “Murderous Horde” go? Why did you pick that for the first video?

A Sound of Thunder: (Nina) We decided to “Murderous Horde” because it was one of those songs we felt a lot of people could get into. It’s dark, it’s doomy, but vocally I do several distinct changes. I like playing with what my voice can do, so “Murderous Horde” was a good chance to show that off. It’s also has those fast riffs and a fun solo that people love. The idea was born in Duy Tran’s brain, but I must admit that when Josh came to me with the idea of using a snake, my heart soared. Ever since Wayne’s World, I’ve wanted to be like Tia Carrere. Finally, my big chance!

Music Is My Drug Of Choice: Nina, it’s become more common for women to front metal bands than it was years ago. In your experience, is there still a stereotype in the industry as it being seen as a novelty thing? Is there a double standard?

A Sound of Thunder: Oh yes, there’s a huge stereotype that we’re a novelty. I hear people say, “I don’t usually go for female fronted metal, but….” And I know exactly why they say that. We’re used as novelties. You can see it whenever there’s a band where the girl lead singer is ten feet away from the band and the guys are out of focus. Personally, what I’d like to do is be part of the band. I love my band. I love the fact that we’re equals and we can bounce ideas off of each other. Even we get on each other’s nerves or someone doesn’t want to take someone else’s advice because of pride (which I’m guilty of, sorry Chris!), but at the end of the day we know that listening to each other is the smart thing to do. So what I’m doing is changing the standard by not just being the lead singer chick; I am a member of the ban.

(Josh) I’m going to chime in on this one and probably sound like a bit of a jerk! It appears that there are a lot of bands out there that make the decision,, “ok, we’re going to be a female fronted band”, so they picked a good looking front-woman who can hold a tune, but isn’t a great vocalist. I don’t know that for a fact, but it sure looks and sounds like it to me and I think that’s why people are so surprised when they hear Nina’s voice. We chose her because she was the best singer, not because she is a female. It wasn’t a marketing ploy. Yes, I think there is a double standard and most of it is due to engrained sexism, but some of it is also due to the wave of bands that are making an effort to market themselves as “female-fronted metal”. They have put forward singers who don’t really acquit themselves well in the tradition of great metal vocalists. I mean, we’re talking the genre of music that gave us Ronnie James Dio, Rob Halford and Bruce Dickinson…..the vocal bar is pretty high in metal!

Music Is My Drug Of Choice: Now, let’s shift gears and lighten the questions up a bit for your fans. Do you both remember the first album you ever bought?

A Sound of Thunder: (Nina) Disney’s Aladdin soundtrack. I was in Germany.

(Josh) Ozzy Osbourne and Randy Rhodes “Tribute”

Music Is My Drug Of Choice: Most underrated metal band from any era?

A Sound of Thunder: (Nina) I’d say Dream Evil, right now. People call them cheesy, which they are, but why can’t they be? They’re exceptional songwriters and their music is always catchy and fun, while still being very metal.

(Josh) Blue Oyster Cult. They’ve already got a lot of credit, but not as much as they deserve in my opinion. For me, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and Blue Oyster Cult are great metal triumvirate of the 70s….and Led Zepplin’s for girls!!

Music Is My Drug Of Choice: Last question: You’re stranded on a desert island with only one store bought CD. What would you have to have with you?

A Sound of Thunder: (Nina) Accept “Blood of the Nations”. I will NEVER get tired of that!

(Josh) Man, that’s a really tough, maybe Iron maiden “The Final Frontier”. There’s so much amazing guitar work on that album and so many cool changes and textures on that disc that I don’t think I have fully absorbed it, even after two years and dozens of plays.

Music Is My Drug Of Choice: That wraps up our talk with A Sound of Thunder.  I strongly encourage everyone to pick up their latest album Out of the Darkness. It’s an awesome display of metal that will rock your face off. Check out our write-up in our reviews section.

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