Thumpers | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Sunday, December 3rd, 2023  


Wise Heads and Beating Hearts

Jan 08, 2014 Issue #48 - November/December 2013 - HAIM Bookmark and Share

Euphoria and celebration feature heavily in the music of U.K. duo and recent Sub Pop signees THUMPERS, whose sound is anchored in two decades of friendship and endurance.

“Our history together is what this whole project is about,” explains drummer John Hamson, Jr. over a beer in a cozy London pub. The dynamic he shares with best friend Marcus Pepperell (guitar and vocals) is one forged through numerous false starts, supporting roles with other bands, and the routine adversity of life. THUMPERS’ sound resolutely bucks the often-cynical slant of the U.K. indie scene. It’s guitar music that shares the same beating-heart conceptuality we hear in Arcade Fire or The Flaming Lips with a side-by-side assault of multi-layered drums and vocals.

“The way we communicate and how open we are is the key to it,” asserts Hamson. “We make each other better. In a creative partnership, you have to be so honest. We can argue…but we know the end goal.”

Now based in London, the two friends grew up in Warwickshire, almost 100 miles north of the capital, and started playing music together at school. Early success with alt-rock four-piece Antihero led to a record deal for the teenage friends, and when that band folded, they formed indie trio Pull Tiger Tail. It was another short-lived success, but the determination to find a sound in line with their ambitions trumped such setbacks.

Hamson joined up with Friendly Fires as their live drummer following the demise of Pull Tiger Tail, while Pepperell returned home and took a catering job. “[It] was an emotional experience,” he explains, “because that’s where the bands we were in before really sprang from and where all of our shared experience came from…growing up and rushing headlong and falling into things and the spontaneity of that time.” Metabolizing events to date, Pepperell began to write the songs that shape the buoyant and expansive DNA of THUMPERS.

Collaboration and community are key to the band’s live setup, which is fleshed out with a supporting cast of talented friends. The “natural and raw connection” between performer and audience, says Hamson, is what THUMPERS are all about. That connection was enough to entice boutique labels Kissability and Paradyse into a joint release of the band’s debut 7” back in February. The Sub Pop deal that followed will bring an early 2014 release for long-player Galore.

“We wanted to make an escapist record,” explains Hamson. “It’s called Galore because it’s about a three-dimensional, Technicolor, overwhelming experience and nostalgia of firsts…the noise and heat and darkness of going to a gig for the first time; a sensory overload.”

“The drums are overloaded…the melodies are as bright as possible,” adds Pepperell. “It’s intentionally escapist.”


Submit your comment

Name Required

Email Required, will not be published


Remember my personal information
Notify me of follow-up comments?

Please enter the word you see in the image below:

January 21st 2014

I just resent the whole thing. But right now it’s my bread and butter. I’m waiting on a check from Universal right now, you know what I mean

January 21st 2014

I just resent the whole thing. But right now it’s my bread and butter.

January 21st 2014

If I want to compose a song, I’ll compose a song.

January 21st 2014

And that’s what it’s about.