Thursday, October 2, 2014

ThunderWorks Interview

1.For those that have never heard of you before, can you tell us a little bit about the musical project?

My name is Michael J. Amari, and I formed ThunderWorks in November 2008. I write the music and play all of the instruments on the album “Thoughts & Thunder”. The album was mixed and mastered by J-F Dagenais of Kataklysm, and self-released in August 2014.

2.Recently you have released your first album, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recording?

I would say it’s a heavy album, blending elements of death, thrash, and progressive that may appeal to fans of bands like Metallica, Dream Theater, Opeth, Kataklysm, etc. There are many varied elements to the music and times that once you think you know where a song is going, it can change it’s path to something interesting and different. Musically, there is an effective blend of heavy rhythm guitars, clean passages, and guitar solos. Vocally, there are death growls, high screams, clean vocals, and other styles that are hard to compare to anything.

3.The musical project has been around since 2008 but only released an album recently, can you tell us a little bit more about the 6 year gap?

I first wrote these songs in 2008-2009 and actually started recording them way back in 2009. Somehow, between moving around to different parts of the state/country and searching for the right vocalist, the actual recording process took years. Different parts of the album were actually recorded all through the years from 2009-2014. You may hear two different guitars on a song like “Rainwalker” and one of them could be from 2009 and another from 2013!

4.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects you explore with your music?

I usually write lyrics after I write the music, I’ll just listen to the riffs and see what the song seems to be saying to me. Often I won’t even know what I’m trying to write about until after I’m mostly finished. I hike a lot and being outdoors and things relating to the natural world find their way into my lyrics, which usually deal with themes of self-introspection and struggles in life. The lyrics always have a personal meaning to me, but not so much that they cannot be open to interpretation and deciphered to fit someone else’s opinion of their meaning. The lyrics in the song Thoughts and Thunder tend to sum up my lyric writing process: “All I see, All I feel, brings me Thoughts and Thunder”

5.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'ThunderWorks'?

The name itself came together by accident when I was thinking of different names for the band. I recall saying different words “this works, this doesn’t work, something about thunder would work, thunderworks…” It was two words that came together unexpectedly and it just fit the music and sound perfectly.

6.On the album with the exception of a vocalist from Belgium you recorded everything solo, are you open to working with a full band in the studio during the future?

I would like to have more people involved during the recording process in the future. A drummer, a bass player, I’ll always play the guitars on the recordings, but having these other elements would be welcomed in the future.

7.What are some of the best shows that you have played with your live line up so far and also how would you describe your stage performance?

It’s been a while since we were very active live, but we have always had a positive reception from most any venue we played at. I think the best show I can remember was right around Christmas a few years ago, we played a “metalized” version of “Carol of the Bells” and there was just a great atmosphere about that show that was very memorable. Another great one was at a local college, where people slowly joined the crowd after hearing the music and eventually people got really into it and had a great time. I tend to get more zeroed in on playing my guitar during a live show, that I won’t be going crazy or thrashing around on stage or anything, but have always given 100% to each note that is played and we tend to get a good connection with audiences by the end of the show.

8.Do you have any touring or show plans for the future?

As of now, we are short a live vocalist, so things have been slow in that department. Once we find someone who can do justice to the album vocals, it would be great to begin playing live again!

9.Currently you are unsigned, are you looking for a label or have received any interest?

I would definitely be open to receiving label interest, the whole project still seems very under the radar right now as expected, not sure if any labels really have heard the music yet!

10.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of extreme and progressive music?

I have just been trying to get the music out there in any way I can, so I can get others feedback and some fans. Not many people know about the album yet, but the ones who have heard are usually impressed. I have had emails from people telling me how the album reminds them of any number of old school bands, and how honest this music sounds. That is a grew thing to hear, when people recognize the intentions of the music and relate to it in any way. Having any number of people like the album makes it a very rewarding experience even without being a very known band.

11.Where do you see your self heading into musically during the future?

I actually wrote a 2nd album way back in 2009-2010, long before this album was finished being recorded. So I know where ThunderWorks will be headed, at least for this next album. Let’s just say it will be a much more progressive and interesting direction!

12.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?

My biggest musical influence would have to be Metallica, specifically the rhythm guitar of James Hetfield. This is what got me to play guitar in the first place when I was 13-14, just practicing as many Metallica songs as I could learn. John Petrucci of Dream Theater is another, not so much for the technical side of his playing, but for the emotion and tone of his work. Especially on “Images and Words” and “Awake”. Another influence has to be Opeth. Then there are tons of bands I like and have been a huge inspiration for me in life more so than musically: Paradise Lost, Blind Guardian, Lost Horizon, Amorphis, Kataklysm, Before The Dawn to name a few.

13.What are some of your non musical interests?

Mainly hiking (although I guess that is somewhat musical since it inspires the music) and lifting weights.

14.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?

I’d just like to tell everyone to check out ThunderWorks debut album “Thoughts & Thunder”. Everyone I know seems to have a different favorite song, so there might just be something for everyone on this album!

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