Stockholm’s premier all-girl rock ‘n’ roll outfit Thundermother are firing on all cylinders! Their album ‘Road Fever’ is selling well and they have been nominated for “Hard rock album of the year” and “Group of the year” by GAFFA. Although they have no dates yet confirmed, we can expect a visit to the UK soon from this terrific rocking 5 piece.
We grabbed a chance to speak to Clare Cunningham (vocals) and Filippa Nässil (lead guitar) at the famous Gibson Guitars Room in London. The band had just returned from a tip-to-toe tour of Spain. We were interested to know why the band had made such a splash on the Iberian Peninsula.
“It’s just because we did our first tour there last year… And we got such a huge response. We were out in Spain for 10 days. It was very exciting. A lot of foreign bands that go over get a good response because Spain does not really create a lot of their own rock music, you know… But I tell you what, they are the most dedicated, crazy fans ever! They really are! They take photos long after the show is over! We loved all our shows but our favourite gig was at Estepona [Costa del Sol.] The beach, the weather, the food. everything about Estepona is so lovely. It’s paradise. ”
“But I think the best show on the tour was at the Atalaya Rock Festival. We were the first non-Spanish band to ever play it. The whole town turned up at the event. It was crazy. ”
We were keen to know all about their second album ‘Road Fever’.
“Yes, it was released in September. It was recorded in two studios in Sweden. It’s about being on the road but there’s quite a few aspects to it. There’s ‘Rock and Roll Sisterhood’ which is about being united as sisters-in-rock. And you’ve got ‘Roadkill’ which kinda speaks for itself. You come across quite a bit of roadkill when out touring. If you see the album (physical copy) you will see our little mascot (under the disc) — he comes everywhere with us. He’s a little road-killed raccoon. He’s drinking beer! We have him on the stage with us.”
“So, yeah, it’s about life on the road… What else? Oh yeah… ‘Vagabonds’ that was written on the road as well. We are like a family when we’re on tour. But sometimes, it’s true, we have to share the road with boys. The lads. On the European tour we shared with two male-bands [The Scams and SuperCharger]. But that’s alright. They were fine. Scandinavian guys aren’t as dirty as the guys in the UK. [Laughs.] One of the guys in one of the bands was German and he was, like, dirty. In every aspect.”
How would the girls describe themselves?
“Well, we are as described. Mothers of thunder! We are five feisty, energetic, fun-loving girls. We really are. More so on stage. We really do kinda give it everything. You have to see us live to understand how energetic we really are. ”
So how is the energy reproduced onto the recordings?
“It is hard. We do hope we can capture the same energy in a studio. And people ask us “Which do you prefer? In the studio or live?” And we are, totally “Live” A hundred per cent. One trick is that we record the songs live. It’s 1-2-3 and it’s done in one-take. We try to avoid things being too digitally processed. We were impressed that Halestorm did their third album completely live. Of course, it’s gonna take a lot longer to produce it that way… And we think that is probably the key to why Thundermother gets that raw feel.”
Does the band ever feel underestimated because they are all girls?
“If they (the crowd) don’t know us, before they see us… then, maybe. When we arrive somewhere, we are very short (physically) and they certainly think we are younger than we are! Which is brilliant! But as we get more and more, like, famous… people will know what to expect.”
“For people who don’t know us, it makes them go: “Oh! All females!” So being an all-girl band has got its pros and cons. So it’s a unique selling point (for anyone who doesn’t know us) but on the other hand we would rather be known ‘just’ as a rock band… Why mention that we are all females? Then we would be contributing to a more equal society. But it’s true, on the flip-side, it does help. But we would prefer not to be called a ‘girl band’. We are ‘Female Classic Rockers’. ”
Do all band members write the songs?
“Filippa writes the music and she does half of the lyrics with Clare. It works really good! Filippa gives us a riff (she’s a riff machine) and her demo is like a highly polished production… But my singing is shit (says Filippa) “Ya da da da da…” I have to say “Imagine Clare singing…” And then, of course, when you get together and start rehearsing as a band, things come up, things are said… And there are some changes.”
So what are the plans for Thundermother? What’s happening next year, for example?
“The plan is we are playing a couple of shows with W.A.S.P on the Rockklassiker boat.”
“And there is talk of maybe coming to London some time next year. It would be lovely to come for a weekend. And we are gonna do a headlining tour in May (probably) in Europe and then, for sure, we will visit the UK. We love coming to Britain. And Filippa loves curries. So that will lure her back! Madras! Madras!”
Well, we are certainly looking forwards to seeing you. And congratulations on delivering such an exciting album…
Thank you, Thundermother.