Exploring Entertainment in Florida's 850 & Beyond
By Bubbs Harris
Thunderpussy has quickly risen among the ranks of modern rock’s new titans, defying norms and labels by creating a sound that echoes of the past, while setting a new standard for what shall come. Yes, they are women. No, that doesn’t set them apart from anyone else. What does set them apart is their raw talent and a penchant for putting on incredible live shows that leave both the band and audience spent by the end – sacrificing none of their sound in doing so. After a thorough listen to their self-titled debut album, we caught up with vocalist Molly Sides to talk about the tour and what drives Thunderpussy to do what they do.
850ME: Since it is your gig in my hometown of Pensacola that has us crossing paths, let me first ask, have you been here before to perform? (It’s a rad little city!)
MS: This will be our first time in Pensacola as well as Florida. We’re really looking forward to it. If you have any recommendations send them our way!
850ME: You’ve all been in other projects, so I’m sure touring isn’t totally new to any of you, but does it still excite you to visit new cities and add them to your list of places adventured? (I ask as a longtime touring act who never gets tired of hitting thrift stores, landmarks, and flea markets in every damn town I pass through.)
MS: I completely agree with you there. I love being on the road, visiting new spots, meeting new people, and finding new treasures. I actually grew up on the road traveling for sports. My brother was on the national hockey team as a kid and we were on the road my whole upbringing. It was always exciting meeting new families and friends along the way. I think you develop a more open sense of communication being on the road. I truly believe that traveling is the best education. It definitely feeds my soul.
850ME: Voodoo Fest in New Orleans is the next stop for you after Pensacola. That’s going to go from one end of the spectrum to the other in terms of crowd size and everything else. By the looks of it, y’all are playing a lot of both. What are your pros and cons of either setting, be it the intimacy of smaller clubs, or the sheer madness and hustle-bustle of festival appearances?
MS: It’s great playing a variety of venues. You realize that, no matter what, at the end of the day we’re all in it together and we all need each other to evolve. The audience needs the artist. The artist needs the audience. We all need the crew, the space, the atmosphere to disappear into for a while. And we all have to Show Up!
850ME: Tell us about the full-length album, what went into putting it all together, and the team you had behind you (including having friggin’ Mike McCready take a shine to ya!).
MS: We made the album with Sylvia Massy whom we like to call “Magic Mama Massy”. She works wonders in the studio and in moments you feel you aren’t able to spark that flare, she has a way of pulling it out of you and creating an explosion. There’s no giving up just goin’ deeper. She’s a pusher in the best way possible.
There were a couple songs we weren’t sure were going to make it on the record but still wanted to record them. Mike walked into our lives at the perfect moment and ended up being the missing link- in many ways. He is one of the coolest most creative people I have ever met. He lives and breathes music! His energy is magnetic!
850ME: Being a band from the Seattle scene, you had a snowball’s chance in Hell at standing out, yet here you are. Did you ever expect the reaction you’ve garnered? Seems like it all blew up pretty fast for you.
MS: We can only hope that people enjoy what we do and want to be a part of it. We’re building a massive sonic ship and everyone’s invited on board!
850ME: What is it about that late 60’s/ early 70’s Rock’n’Roll that led you to create the Thunderpussy sound? Was it meant to be that way from the beginning, or was it just a natural thing that emerged from the initial jams?
MS: We wanted to cultivate a unique raw sound and breathe new life into something that felt a bit lackluster. In that, I think our sound is organically evolving. It’s uniquely us with little influencer echoes.
850ME: Your live shows are pretty high energy, to say the least. How do you keep yourselves able to schlep out there night after night and leave every bit of your soul out on that stage?
MS: I love that you mention soul because I feel like every show we give our heart and soul. It’s awesome that we get to do this and share our work with people.
That in itself gives us the energy to do what we do every night.
850ME: What changes in gear do you make between recording and playing live, or do you keep things as close to the same as possible?
MS: It always depends on the space and what the song calls for.
We love to experiment.
850ME: The videos for “Speed Queen” and “Badlands” are both very well done. What was the process for those, and whom do we thank for producing such wonderful visuals? Hell, even your live clips on youtube are better produced and edited than most bands’ actual videos.
MS: Ha! Thank you! We’re pretty fond of them as well. Labors of love they are. Seattle is an exceptional city full of unbelievable artists willing to connect and collaborate. We’ve had the honor of working with great production talents such as Cheryl Ediss, Sam Kelly, Carrie Robinson, Lustre Studios, and Super Best Friends.
850ME: We know you are all women. We know what you’re about. We’re not going to spend much time with that, as the music is what is important here. However, I’d just like to ask how important you feel your voice is in the current situation we find ourselves in as a society. I’m sure there are a lot of young women that hear your music and feel more inclined or inspired to stand tall and prove that nothing need be “male-dominated”. You are lucky enough to have a platform, where so many others don’t. How do you use that?
MS: My voice is just as important as your’s, but I am aware that I’m in an interesting industry where I use mine a lot.
I really hope that we can be a light for people. That we can bring joy, laughter, and movement into your life. I hope we can inspire people to be better to themselves and to others. I like to remind people that we all have a little beat maker inside these weird vessels we exist in. We ALL HAVE A HEART. We should consider sharing that warm rhythm with people more often.
850ME: I’m sure everything has been crazy, what with releasing records, touring, and all that comes with it, but when you do find time to enjoy the things that keep you from losing your mind, what are those things, and how do you keep parts of home with you wherever you go?
MS: Home is where the heart is!
850ME: Thunderpussy has went from playing clubs to headlining in a relatively short time, even considering having formed in 2015. That’s still really fast. Though you can hold your own on your music alone, if asked to be direct support for a dream tour, whom would be the band you’d kill to play with (living or dead, past or current)?
MS: Ohhhhh that is a LONG list!!
But the first thing that comes to mind is to share a stage with Patti Smith and Robert Plant.
850ME: Before we split, how are things going with the name copywriting thing? Any progress? I hope it isn’t a sore subject. I know it has to be aggravating being tied up with all that shit.
MS: Still waiting. Cross those fingers!
850ME: We at 850ME thank you for your time and wish you the best of luck in all of your future endeavors. Are there any words you’d like to leave with our readers?
MS: Thanks so much! Hope to see ya at the shows! Life’s too short, listen to Thunderpussy!
Check out the amazing videos for “Speed Queen” and “Badlands” via the links below, and be sure to catch Thunderpussy on tour. Dates and info at thunderpussyusa.com.