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Interview: Thunder Dreamer
Posted July 13, 2017 by Greg Lindberg
WRITTEN BY
Greg Lindberg
ON
July 13, 2017
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The landscape of Indie rock has changed a lot over the last decade, and Indiana has hosted several memorable rockers who have been bunched in this genre. Thunder Dreamer, hailing from Evansville, has the most fitting name. Indie rock could be described as having classical rock and post rock elements, often building subtle and minimal arrangements to louder than bombs noise. Thunder Dreamer might not be that abrasive, but they definitely represent contemplativeness of dreams with the fierce, roaring nature of a storm.

Thunder Dreamer is Steve Hamilton (vocals and guitar), Corey Greenfield (drums), Alex Wallwork (bass), and Zach Zint (piano). Since the release of their album Capture in May on 6131 Records (Julien Baker’s former label), the band has gained praise for their Midwestern perspective on fizzling romances and blue collar work life. I spoke with the band by email to find out their thoughts on growing up in Indiana and how that shaped the mood of the new album.


Greg Lindberg: Most of the press surrounding the band and the recent release of Capture seems to focus heavily on your Midwest roots in Evansville. What do you think the allure of the “heartland” band is that interests people that are not from around here?

Thunder Dreamer: Not sure exactly, maybe they all just picture us rocking out in a barn somewhere making indie rock tunes. Indiana probably seems like another planet to folks on the coasts. Most likely it's just neat to see a band from Evansville, Indiana, a place most have never heard of, giving it a shot.

GL: Did growing up and currently living in Evansville affect the mood and feel of the record?

TD: Probably wouldn't be a band if we hadn't grown up here, or we'd more than likely sound entirely different. You know…destiny and stuff.

GL: Indie rock seems to be at an odd time. With few great bands emerging, how does it feel to be both praised and garner attention on a national level?

TD: We're all grateful it's being received so well. Comes as somewhat of a surprise, but we feel very fortunate. There's plenty of good bands. We all just need to dig deeper. 

GL: From my perspective a lot of small Midwest towns have their emo, hardcore, and metal bands, and then there are the older local jam bands that play at bars and local festivals. There’s typically not a lot of room for anything in between.Capturehas such a mature sound, an anomaly for some Midwest areas. Do you feel like you’ve outgrown a local audience to a point or that the connection with your music is far greater in other places?

TD: The "In Between" is where we've always fit in. The scene growing up had plenty of gaps and Evansville had quite a few off-center type bands gigging around to fill them. It was interesting to witness. Here people get excited and really love hearing a band that's not quite this, or that - especially if they seem practiced. In Evansville, we have a lot of local support. The audience always seems to appreciate what we do and it helps that we are somewhat 'in between' what they usually experience. When we travel, we usually get a really positive response but we do sort of lose that at times. Doesn't discourage us at all, we just have to go back and play that city as many times as it takes for us to build that connection.

GL: I’m curious about you guys’ relationship with the Indiana music scene in general. Has living in Evansville made being in a band more isolating or do you feel part of the music scenes that are in Bloomington and Indianapolis as well?

TD: Isolating for sure. Starting off, it was difficult to book in Bloomington and Indianapolis. Only in the last year or so, we started to build relationships with the people involved in those scenes. So far we've been met with great kindness and we'd love to play more Indiana regional shows. We've got shows at The Hi-Fi in Indy and The Bluebird in Bloomington, which are some of the best venues in the state, so it feels like we've finally started to break through in these cities. 

GL: What was the experience like recording in Bloomington at Russian Recording?

TD: Excellent! It was a great environment for us. Very comfortable. Mike (Bridavsky) is a great engineer and had complete control of the helm. The lounge and lodging were comfy. The kitties were cute as heck. We were able to complete our album in little to no time. 
 
GL: Are there any local music influences when it came to writing and recording Capture?

TD: Not necessarily. We all have individual influences but we've always set out to create something completely original. We just make songs and don't really discuss what we want it to sound like. If we like the tune, we keep playing it.

GL: “Why Bother” is such a chill and upbeat opener. There’s a sense of somberness and contentedness at the same time in a lot of your songs. Is this a tone that you’ve tried to achieve?

TD: Thank you. That was the first tune we wrote for Capture, and in a way, it did set the mood for the rest of the album. We all really enjoyed playing that one and felt a connection with it immediately. It felt right to expand on that sound and try to achieve a similar mood throughout.

GL: Besides touring, are there any other plans moving forward for the band? Do you think you’d record the next album in Indiana?

TD: We've been working on new music. We might re-work some older songs. Undecided on where we plan to record next, but there will be another record. We have an Audiotree booked for July 13. We'll be in Bloomington September 23 with Murder By Death. And we'll be back in Indianapolis in October as well.

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