Featured Artist – Thula Borah

12 02 2012

TRY AND CATEGORISE THIS BAND………I DARE YOU.

Word of mouth is a great thing. It’s how I heard about Glasgow 4-piece Thula Borah and I am happy that I happened to be paying attention when I saw Thula Borah mentioned. I am even happier that I decided to check them out because it was probably one of the most challenging musical experiences I have come across since I started listening to Adebisi Shank. Honestly, I haven’t know a band to mesh so many genre types together at once so successfully and create such an infectious sound as Thulah Borah have done. Their E.P. “Mind River Matter” is one of the most excellently bizarre and polarising E.Ps I have heard, merging post-rock, prog, punk and god knows what else into a single recording. Safe to say I enjoyed it as it ticked the one major box I am looking for. To be challeneged.

Mind River Matter kicks off with the gloomy “Oppenheimer I”, a song which has a Godspeed feel to it with some excellent instrumental layering and, if i’m not mistaken, some cleverly placed acoustic guitar. The first time I listened to Oppenheimer my immediate thought was that this song was setting the tone for a deep, dark post-rock recording. WRONG!!! After the first track finishes it launches into a totally different direction with (my favourite trck off this recording) “Dirty Injection”. A shift from a song that is post-rock through and through to an almost punk-rock song is something that would sound like it wouldn’t work. WRONG AGAIN!!! Chirist almighty this works bloody well. There are so many facets to Dirty Injection that I love. The vocal harmonies, the vocals themself, the overall guitar tone, the punk feel with a post-rock sound to the guitars. Hearing the first two songs made me desperately want to see this band live as soon as (I will get this chance at the second installment of the Breadcrumb Trail which Thula Borah are playing at. I strongly recommend that you go) and the rest of the E.P. just solidified my need to see them. Other stand out tracks for me were “Inevitable” which returned to a more post-rock feel and “Shimmer” which had a sort of folky feel to it and some terrific vocals (who knew that a me, an instrumental band freak, would love vocals so much).

Check out this video of  Thula Borah’s beastly track “Oppenheimer I” here.

As I mentioned previously Thula Borah will be playing the second installment of Kenny Bates’ Breadcrumb Trail Night at PivoPivo on the 26th of February along with Suplex the Kid and Little Bay and I really cannot highlight enough how much you need to go. The first one was extremely enjoyable and this one is sure to follow in its footsteps and not disappoint. I will be there doing a follow up coverage feature on the second night (my coverage of the first one will be coming soon too) and hopefully I will get to talk to the Thula Borah boys and see how they thought it all went.

There is a link to one of my favourite tracks off Mind River Matter – Shimmer.

INTERVIEW WITH THULA BORAH

 

So, as I do with every band, please give me a little background into Thula Borah and how you started. Also, what inspired the band name? Is it a reference to something or was it simply pulled from nothingness?

The band came together quite slowly but organically. After years of seeing me frustrated by not being able to put a band together Matt surprised me by buying a bass and learning to play, so in the summer of 2007 Matt and I started to jam together with a drum machine. Then Brian started helping us out and when we landed our first gig in 2009 we realised we needed another guitarist to flesh out the sound so we asked Kevin to join.
The band is named after a real person, an Indian recluse who went to his bedroom to study for his exams in 1962 and has never reemerged, living in complete isolation and not even talking to his family. I found the story fascinating and that whole rejection of the world resonated with me so I wanted to do something with that name.

Listening to your E.P. “Mind River Matter” I couldn’t help but notice that almost every song had a different feel to it and drew from different genres. Do you guys draw inspiration from a large array of genres and where does most of your inspiration come from?

We certainly draw inspiration from a large array of genres as well as other artforms, particularly literature and film. I think there are lots of reasons why we have songs with different feels. One is definitely that we listen to all kinds of music and in turn we write a lot of different types of songs and work on whichever songs ‘stick’ so to speak, so we cast the net wide for material. I’d say we draw a lot of inpration from bands like Aereogramme who on their records were not afraid to follow up an aggressive heavy song with a progressive number and then follow that with an all out ballad with strings and eveything. Similarly, albums like ‘Mellon Collie…’ by the Smashing Pumpkins are a massive influence, where really heavy songs sit side-by-side with gentle lullabies. And then throw in the whole post-rock genre which we are also associated with. I think the one thing that brings it all together though is our love of big guitars underpinning all we do. Our new EP is a little bit genre-hopping too. There are no rules to these things though and we’d love to do something in the future that focusses more on one style or sound.

You are playing the next instalment of The Breadcrumb Trail at Pivo Pivo. Are you encouraged by the amount of support and exposure that this night seems to be giving to post-rock, instrumental and progressive bands in the Glasgow area?

Yes, we went to the first one and there was certainly a healthy turn out. Hopefully it will continue to attract fans of this type of music and maybe even expose it to those who might not yet know they would like it. We play the second Breadcrumb Trail night on Feb 26th and are looking forward to it.

Since your formation, what have been your biggest and most enjoyable gigs?

Our album launch for Mind River Matter in April 2010 was certainly our biggest and most enjoyable at the time. Since then we’ve had some memorable nights. We had great gigs at both Nice n Sleazys and King Tuts and of course the gig we played as part of the Whole Heart showcase last December was a great night. Beyond that and looking forward, we have a big one on March 11th at Sleazys.

Have you got any plans to release any more music to follow up “Mind River Matter”?

Yes, our new EP, ‘Live Secretly’, is to be released very soon. With mixing and mastering now done we are no more than weeks away from the official release. We have a teaser for this EP on our facebook page and a video for lead track, ‘Skye Falling’, is currently being put together and will be available to view in a matter of days. Beyond that, we hope to have more music released before the end of the year.

 

What’s the plans for this year? Any big announcements coming our way?

 Yes, to coincide with the release of our new EP we have a series of gigs lined up to support this. We are in the process of trying to put together a mini Scottish tour and plan to play further afield, too. Details of all these shows can be found on our Facebook page and website which we will be updating accordingly.

 

Before we finish up, hit me with a random fact about the band or a band member.

 Our guitarist, Kev, was born in Johannesberg, South Africa, and spent the first 6 years of his life there…………….Will that do? (Yup, certainly will.)

Thanks to Thula Borah for doing this interview with me and for doing at such short notice (safe to say I have not been on top form this week).

FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS GOOD GO GET “MIND RIVER MATTER”!!! NOW!!!


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