Now, usually we’d reveal the true identity of the band in the post, however, it seemed everyone was way too excited about this one to hold it in. But, in case you missed it, the mysterious “Cold One City” is Portland band, Thanks!
I was very excited about this interview, because since seeing this six-piece dark soul rock & roll group perform at the PDX Pop Now! festival, they have held a high platform on my favorite local bands list, possibly even making my list of top ten favorites ever! They’re really that good!
In our review of PDX Pop Now! (located here), Thanks came in at number two, right before Summer Cannibals. Plus, they are officially the 100th band I’ve seen live, so that’s a big milestone! In a feat of having no clue of what would come of this, I reached out to Thanks to try and book them for our interview series. And of course, them being the amazing people they are, agreed. I met up with five of the six members of the band at their practice space in Portland. We began by talking about their beginnings.
The band began on a Halloween night, three years ago.
“I knew Drew socially,” says Jimi Hendrix, the lead singer of the band. “And Noah and I were talking about starting a new project.”
Luckily, Drew also wanted to start something.
“He told me he wanted to make a band called either Thanks or Cold One City,” Hendrix says. “And I was like, ‘Thanks it is!'”
The band name is a very short, simplistic one. The name comes from a song by one of Drew Sprouse, the band’s drummer’s, favorite country artists, Earnest Tubb’s, song, Thanks A Lot.
“It’s a sarcastic sad song in which he’s thanking his ex for pretty much ruining his entire life,” says Sprouse. “That’s more where I was at the time, but it’s more turned into a positive thing.”
Slowly, the pieces of what were to be Thanks began to come together. All of the future members of the band went to a Halloween party together, and started playing music together the next day.
At the beginning, the sound of what Thanks is now was not completely together and figured out.
“We had a lot of different influences, each of us personally,” says Lilly Maher, the band’s cellist. “We tried to take elements together and see how it turned out, and luckily for us, we liked how it turned out.”
Thanks sound, described by them as dark soul rock and roll, is just that. Their music has a uniqueness to it, blending rock and roll elements with a dark orchestral tone, accomplished by Maher’s cello and Hendrix’s emotionally developed vocals.
Not only does the sound contain these dark elements, but the lyrics fit right in with it.
Hendrix explains writing these dark lyrics as “processing. Writing lyrics is like writing in a journal that you want to sound cool because you know everyone is going to hear it.” Though the band’s sound may be very dark, their music is still very accessible.
Thanks currently has one full length and one EP released. Their debut album, Blood Sounds, was recorded in the span of one week on the property of Destination Universe Studios (not Universal Studios).
“It was awesome,” says Hendrix of the experience. “But it was also incredibly stressful because it was only a week, which is not even close to enough time to finish a full length, but we made it work.”
A lot of the album, mainly the mixing, was funded through the band’s Kickstarter. Though the band aimed to raise $3500, they ended up making about $3800. Thanks will be using the Kickstarter platform again in March to release their sophomore album.
“The next album is in the works,” says Hendrix.
Says Sprouse of the new record, “It’s coming along really well. It’s interesting to explore not really a completely new direction, but you can hear us evolving.”
“There’s some jams,” Hendrix says. “There’s some really solid songs that make you wanna fucking shake it a little bit.”
Though their sound may be evolving, not to worry. The new material will be just as dark and depressing as the first album.
The band will record two songs in January and release them as a teaser for the album, so we have something to look forward to!
Aside from recorded music, Thank’s has been mastering the live show as well, playing a lot of gigs throughout Portland, and also touring overseas in Europe.
“We played on a wide variety of stages [in Europe],” says Hendrix. “Tour made live shows even more fun, so it feels more natural.”
Though the band had a lot of factors while touring in Europe, such as stage size and power outlets, playing shows is Portland is a much different experience.
Says Sprouse, “Compared to the preshow jitters or any other stressors like that, playing shows in Portland is really fun every step of the way.”
“Live shows are fun,” Hendrix agrees. “And tequila. Live shows and tequila.”
Thanks will be playing more shows in Portland for sure, but they will also be returning to Europe for a round two tour in November.
To close it off, Thanks gave their advice to bands coming into the music scene.
“Make sure you’re loving what you do,” says Sprouse.
“It’s a hard road,” Hendrix says. “But if you’re not having a good time and you don’t love it, there’s no point at all.”
Watch the full interview in the video below, which includes more on pre-show rituals, struggles for the band, the infamous speed round, and all filled with inside jokes.
During the interview, we also asked what the band is listening to now. Their answer comes in the form of our playlist, “On the iPod of… Thanks“.
Make sure you share this with your friends, and spread the word of these amazing local bands. You can buy Thanks album, Blood Sounds, through their Bandcamp.