Interview with DJ Morgs of Thundamentals
AMNplify’s Gabrielle Clark chats with Thundamentals about their latest album Everyone We Know. Plus DJ Morgs talks on-stage highlights such as members performing half-exposed, collaboration with Hilltop Hoods and their upcoming tour.
You’ve experienced a world-wind of success since So We Can Remember (2014) – any funny backstage stories?
I feel like we’re all constantly trying to out-funny each other backstage, so it’s hard to think of any specific funny moments. But one time in Perth, Tuka was jumping around on stage like a crazy person, as usual, and about four songs in he tore his pants wide open from crutch to ankle, and had to do the rest of the set with his boxers hanging out and his leg exposed. Not really a backstage story, and maybe more funny to me, than Tuka, but I just like to remember that for me.
What was it like working with Hilltop Hoods? Describe how the collaboration process played out.
It was a serious honour to collaborate with the kings of the scene (Hilltop Hoods). We have developed quite the bond over the last few years of touring and other shenanigans with them. We had talked about doing a song for a while, so Poncho and I sketched out a whole gang of beats for them to choose. At the time they were starting families, had families and were just off the back of a massive tour, as always, so we did most of it over the Internet. We really wanted to try and get altogether but timing was hard and we did a lot of back and forth to get it where we wanted it. Pressure came up with the hook and that really kicked everything else off pretty quickly.
Which, if any, of the artists hadn’t you guys met before the making of Everyone We Know? Describe what it was like collaborating with them for the first time.
Peta & The Wolves who featured on Think About It, we had never met before. We had tried a few other singers we knew on the track singing the hook and it never really felt right. Also, we felt like we needed an extra part for a singer in the song, which they could ultimately write themselves. We had heard about her through unearthed and had a contact for her, so we sent the song over, similar to the Hilltop Hoods, via email as she is based in Stockholm at the moment. Basically she nailed it and had a great extra part where she could flex a little herself. It was a really easy process, and this over-the-internet business isn’t actually too bad when everyone is on the same page. It’s different from our earlier releases of usually being in the same room, but we have had great results with this record.
Where did the name Thundamentals come from?
We actually had a couple of names before this. Way back when we were just forming and doing music as a hobby really, we had an offer to support Muph N Plutonic in our home-town. So, we thought we better get a name together for the flyer, and we actually recruited two new members, so we had six at the time, and we called the band Connect 4. Which made no sense as there were six of us, but one of our songs was something about that so that’s what happened. Then I believe Jeswon‘s brother, Jordy, was helping brainstorm some ideas and kind of came up with the name for the next gig we had coming up. And then it really just stuck.
Describe the creative process behind this album.
It kind of started with Poncho and myself just writing a whole heap of musical idea’s, loops, songs and arrangements. I think we banked around 100 beats and sent them to the guys to vibe on and get free reign over what they were feeling and what was inspiring them. Then we moved into the Hermitude studio, while they were overseas killing it, and started doing days altogether recording demo vocals and work-shopping the songs. Some of the songs were created altogether in the studio as well, like Wolves. I had loaded a bunch of sounds into the samplers and some synth sounds, then I literally went to take a 15-minute-break, and Poncho had pretty much come up with the beat, from the soundboard I had left up. Jes and Tuk were immediately into it and we worked it into the song. So some [songs] took months and months, while others took only a few days.
What tracks are you most proud of from Everyone We Know and why?
I think from both mine and Poncho‘s perspectives’, the [album’s] title track kicked a few goals off the bucket list. We’re both really into soul music and beats, and had created a simpler version of the final product long before it was made into the album track. The guys were struggling to find the right words for it, but it was one of the beats we really wanted them to try and write to. We loved the sounds and mood of the song and had always felt it had either a great opening vibe or a great closing vibe. It’s not the craziest production or music ever, but it just felt good to us, and we enjoyed making a nice musical start to the record.
What were the highlights of your recent national tour featuring Pez?
Playing a sold out Tivoli in Brisbane was amazing. That venue is a serious vibe and was probably one of the best shows of the tour for sure. Also, getting to know Pez and his crew was cool. We hadn’t met before the tour and didn’t know how we would get along. But, we’re all fam now for sure. We road tested a few new songs on that tour as well, which is always a vibe to see how people react to songs they’ve never heard before. It’s a rewarding feeling knowing you still make people vibe out even if they aren’t already attached to the song pre-show.
FIVE QUICK QUESTIONS WITH THUNDAMENTALS
Who’s the most likely out of Thundamentals to sing in the shower?
What’s the best gig or festival you’ve been to?
Woodford Folk Festival circa 2008
Do you believe in the three second rule?
Depends what surface its on.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
How do you like your steak cooked?