It’s taken Thundermother a while to find the perfect mix. In the 13 years since the Swedish band formed in Stockholm, the card-carrying old-school rock’n’rollers have seen band members come and go; only guitarist Filippa Nässil is left from the original line-up.
Third time’s the charm, though, and now, with singer Guernica Mancini, drummer Emlee Johansson and bassist Mona Lindgren on board, the band have hit the high notes, both literally and figuratively, with their new album Black And Gold, stuffed with the kind of anthems Bon Jovi would have been proud of in their prime.
“I just showed up with a kick-ass new line-up,” says Nässil, “and people were stoked”. Here are the things you need to know about the band before you join their ever-growing gang.
They’re finding fame on the football pitch.
No one is quite sure how it happened, but Thundermother are capturing an audience outside the confines of the rock crowd, thanks to Italian football giants Juventus, who have been using the band’s song Driving In Style as their warm-up music. Cue a stadium-wide singalong, spurring Nässil and co. on to write more in the same vein on Black And Gold.
“We got inspired from that to make more music for sports events, and arenas,” she says. “We got videos of it, when they were running into the field and forty thousand people were cheering on the football team. So we got a little bit inspired. We wrote these big songs during one week when we were together in the fall, and we focused on that sports-arena theme.”
They’re a product of Sweden’s pro-rock stance.
It’s difficult not to form a band in Sweden, where musicians are granted funds from the government and given help with putting on shows for free. “It’s part of our tax thing, says Nässil. “And also, it’s very dark here seventy per cent of the year. People don’t have much else to do, so they go into the rehearsal room. That’s my theory. It’s very nice to have this kind of support from the government.”
They’re partying with Scorpions as the two bands tour North America.
As Thundermother hit the road with a band they idolise, they’re on a mission to say a big hello to Scorpions and bid a fond farewell to Whitesnake, who are on their farewell tour [note: this interview was completed before Whitesnake announced they would no longer be taking part]. Given that the bands have been encouraging Mancini to channel her inner Coverdale on the new record, they’re expecting cheers, beers and possibly a few tears.
“I really love the voice of David Coverdale,” Nässil says. “Like, who has not stolen singing licks from him? He’s one of a kind. It’s a huge honour to be playing with these people. And also the drummer in Scorpions, Mikkey D, is Swedish. I think it will be fun to hang out with another famous Swede on the tour as well.”
Folk music’s loss is rock’n’roll’s gain.
Guitarist Nässil began her music career as a kid, playing folk songs for wedding guests as a key-harp player. But an introduction to something a little more aggressive at her elder brother’s school concert sent her down a very different path.
“One band played Rage Against The Machine,” she says. “I was shocked. I’ve never seen something like that. That made an impression.” A growing obsession with Ozzy Osbourne followed, before she later fell in love with AC/DC. “I listen to everything,” she says. “I still do. But you never get the real ‘wow’ feeling again.”
The audience is the fifth band member.
Having learned at the altar of AC/DC et al, Thundermother are all about bringing the party to the stage, whether it’s a dingy basement venue or a vast festival set.
“Everything is worth it every time we’re standing on the stage,” says Nässil. “That’s what we live for. We say that every night, and people can feel it, we’re genuine. We’re having fun together with the audience. They’re like the fifth member. That’s why I go out in the audience every night to show that we are down-to-earth, we are one of you. If you watch the video for Into The Mud, we’re in the mud with the fans, partying.”
They’re making rock accessible to all.
It’s a long time since rock’n’roll was the domain of mainly crusty white guys, and Thundermother are doing everything in their power to make their sets welcoming – and inspiring – to all.
“We see so many more girls in the audience,” says Nässil. “Younger girls and also gender-neutral people coming to shows, which we are stoked for. They found out that Thundermother is badass, and we love that we inspire them. A lot of children have been coming with their parents, and we always take extra time with the kids as well, because they’re the future. We try to play venues where everyone can see us; not just the old classical rock venues, but in open squares or town festivals where we reach out to more people that normally don’t know about what we do.”
Black And Gold is out now via AFM Records.