Noise Annoys: THVS on debut LP Fevers and Belfast release show
Belfast heavy pop fiends THVS have just released their debut album, Fevers. Here, Michael (guitar/vocals), Matt (drums) and Dave (bassing) go On The Record about making their magnum opus
CONGRATULATIONS on Fevers, what can you tell us about how you made it?
Michael: We went back to Jonny at Bearcat [in Belfast] who did our Plague Widows EP. We do it all live and like to work fast – that actually makes some engineers uncomfortable, but Jonny just rolls with it.
Most of the songs were all first or second take, we don’t want to do 30 takes of a song 'cause a note sounded a little off or you hear a string ring that you shouldn’t, it just kills the energy of the song. Music is meant to be about feeling and emotion, that all get lost when you get to clinical about it.
This album was a definite and conscious step in a certain direction. It sounds huge, clear and in your face – the world's first 'heavy pop' album!
Where did your obsession with 'heavy pop' begin?
Michael: Heavy pop is the sound we were born to have. I love it. We all bring different things to the table; Dave’s like the heavy metal guy, Matt loves his noise rock and underground stuff and I love pop, so it all coalesces into heavy pop.
There’s crossover in that we all like some of the same kind of music, but everyone’s got their own thing. It gives us free reign to do whatever we want; if we’ve a two minute noise freak out we can do it, if we’ve a three minute catchy pop wonder, we can do that too.
The album is a reflection of that, I say it's like a heavy pop colour wheel, it starts off kinda light but keeps turning, and by the end it's dark as hell. Shades of heavy pop.
Influences for me are Nirvana, At Drive-In, Narrows, Deftones and then I really love Lana, Lorde, Taylor, Pale Waves, Sleigh Bells and Purity Ring. While none of those really overtly come through in the music, it's all there.
Matt: It's bigger than us. It's its own thing. However, the emphasis is still on the heavy, even if it does have a pop bent. There's more letters in heavy than there are in pop, so you know who's really winning the war!
For me, bands like Metz, Narrows, Ken Mode, Coilguns are influences on how I approach drums for this band. They're all heavy bands but definitely have some pop elements. They're maybe just too bashful to fully embrace the heavy pop.
There’s a real sense of release/catharsis in your music – how personal are the songs on Fevers?
Michael: Like I say, music should make you feel something, be it happy, sad, angry, like you wanna shotgun 40 beers or maybe you can just relate.
This music makes me feel a certain way and that’s the release on stage – I can't control it. We get up there and that’s what happens. So, every show, there’s a release and a catharsis physically and mentally.
Part of that comes from the lyrics. All the songs are intensely personal to me, before I would wrap things up in metaphor or story but on this album I feel I really laid everything bare, just very direct. The album is about achievement, fighting for your place the fall out from that, people left in the wake, self-doubt, its about the shortfalls in people and self belief.
There’s also joy in there as well although that might not ever seem obvious. I cant sing about things I don’t believe in or connect to in some way. So it has to come from somewhere real.
Matt: Musically THVS is and always will be a cathartic release when we play. We're a noisy and abrasive thing and there's a definite release that comes from playing this type of music and sweating and aching it.
It's definitely saved me on more than a few occasions from having a Falling Down moment, the way society is headed presently.
Dave: I wrote Distances while I was out of the country for six months and it's very much rooted in that experience. I brought it home, gave it to the guys, let Mike know what it was about and the lyrics came from there, with his own take on it.
Michael, you're pushing your voice to breaking point on a lot of these songs – how do you avoid blowing it out?
I drink three glasses of stem cells mixed with whiskey every day. That keeps it loose and limber. It's strange, now I’m actually trying to sing a little more rather than just giving it the 'pterodactyl/seventh circle of hell' scream all the time.
I never wanted to be a singer, it was thrust upon me many years ago and now I think I’m stuck with it. I don’t blow out cause I’m so used to screaming for 40 minutes that when I come to ease back and try to sing a little, I can push it more. I just give it everything I can and again this part comes from what I was talking about before, it all comes from somewhere and you can't sing these songs without pulling from some emotion. We're an 'all or nothing' band.
You did a launch show in Dublin recently, how did it go?
Michael: Dublin was amazing, we played with this band Pecking Party who were great, I’m going to bring them up here next year. Crowds in Dublin aren’t afraid, If they’re at the show its to have a good time, to get drunk, rock out and dance to some heavy pop. Which is amazing for us, it allows for a back and forth with the crowd. Let's be a part of it all together.
We've got our Belfast show in Voodoo on October 12 with Alpha Twin and Fagash McCann [6.30pm, £5]. We’ve played with Fagash before and they kill it – I mean, they do a Kylie cover, so they’re all right in my book.
I've been listening to Alpha Twin for a while now, so I’m looking forward to playing with them. Three amazing rock bands in one night. We're hoping Belfast brings the ruckus for us, to help us birth this beast properly and then come drink heavily with us. Just like any other birth.
What are your long term plans for THVS?
Michael: Ultimately, I just want to see this continue to grow, to build upon what we’ve got already and keep taking steps forward. Dave and I have already started writing new material, so we're not resting. I can't stop, I don’t know how.
Dave: Bigger shows, more recorded music, all the things musicians want to do really. I think its pretty much the same for anyone. Getting our beautiful faces in front of more and more people is really where its at for me.
Matt: To continue to sweat on stage regularly and ache afterwards.
:: Fevers is out now, listen/buy via Thvs.bandcamp.com.