Unlike many other genres and music communities, the indie/alt culture appreciates new and rising artists that create diversity and new insights within the genre.
We constantly feature notable rising indie and alternative artists on the verge of success. Meet this week’s artist, the Miami indie-rockers that make up the group THANKS.
In this special Record Release edition of Alt Rising Acts, we talked with Danny Garcia, Andy Hernandez, Brett Gilbert, Jakki Davison, and Marc Fiol about their new album entitled Isolated Bloom, their culmination and farewell as THANKS before parting ways as they depart to college. Read on to get to know this amazing group in their final act, in our exclusive album release interview.
It's an incredible collection of pensive guitar lines, exploratory melodies, musingly arpeggiated synth lines, all with a driving jazz sentimentality as the backbone groove. The rhythmic texture of Isolated Bloom is wonderfully diverse and interwoven into the unique vibe of the group's aesthetic nature of fusing jazz elements into experimental alternative rock. The lyrics along with the reverberating vocals are thoughtfully crafted revealing intimate aspects of Andy's mind. It's an artistic showcase of exemplary writing full of charming vulnerability and hidden strength.
The album starts with a great atmospheric psych/funk rock intro, and dynamically progresses into eight interestingly enticing soundscapes full of soul, passion, and innovative vision. Each track is distinct yet relative to the nostalgic blossoming theme centric to THANKS last hurrah. The group immaculately flourishes with this meta concept album, and it's invigorating to say the least.
It all started when I (Danny) moved down to Miami and was looking into jamming with people. At first I talked to Marc (the drummer) and Andy (the singer) and we got together and had a really crappy jam session together. That's when we decided that Andy would be the bassist, I would play guitar, and Marc would play drums. Then, Danny jammed with Brett, our keyboardist and we all came together and started writing songs, back in the day with our other singer. We've been through a few singers before finally realizing Andy fits the music we write best. Last year, Jakki joined on the bass and she really was able to bring that missing element that we needed to our sound and chemistry.
We were freshman and high school and Andy thought it would be a cool name.
I’m a firm believer that the environment that artists are based in helps craft their sound. How would you describe the Miami and Florida music scene? How has it influenced you in crafting your sound? Has it inspired you to infuse Latin elements into your aesthetic?
I would describe the Miami music scene as sparse. Although there are amazing people in it, a lot of times we all wish there was more of it. But when its fun, its fun. I wouldn't say that the Miami sound has influenced us much. With our first releases even before the first album, we had an EP where we tried going a more indie-latin-pop sound, yet we soon were able to hone on a different sound.
What can we expect in your [latest] release?
This is our second and last official release as a band unfortunately. With this album, we really honed in on the specific sound we have been able to craft over the years and tried to experiment with our "indie-nostalgic" sound, as some have described it. On our last album, we experimented a lot in cliché ways, but on this album it seems as though we've matured as songwriters and made our experimentation a bit more unique, we're kind of trying to push the indie sound we're used to, and see how far we can take the different elements of the genre in terms of songwriting.
The content of the album itself is a lot about Andy's personal growth into young adulthood and how he was kind of a loner throughout a lot of high school, hence the name "Isolated Bloom", but also the name Isolated Bloom represents our band as a whole, we've come a long way and we take pride in doing it completely independently, we manage, produce, and promote ourselves. Similarly, the album itself is our "Isolated Bloom", a flower's most beautiful point is its bloom (our album), however, some flowers die after they bloom, just like our band is unfortunately 'dying' because we're all going off to college.
You all cite different musical influences, from metal and modern indie/alt rock to jazz and punk. How do you think wide ranging taste contributes to your experimental and innovative sound?
I think this is really important as we all know different musical languages. Brett is huge on jazz so sometimes he'll help us with melodies and chords that no one else would have gotten, or with Danny's rock background, sometimes he incorporates that 'big' over the top band sound that you'll hear come through a lot on this album. It all comes through in certain ways, and I think that's what makes our music unique rather than cliché indie.
You all are headed to college in the Fall. I read that you plan to take a hiatus on Thanks during the school year. Danny, you’re the producer on THANKS and have the solo project Caposhi Coconut, and are going to NYU. Mark you’ve been working on some solo material. Jakki is attending school in Texas, and Brett to Tulane. Andy is headed to Oberlin and as a lyricist you plan on being an English major. Since you’ll all be going in different directions, are you planning on working and developing other projects, both musically and in other artistic ways?
I think we'll all be working on other music, Thanks made music such a big part of our lives throughout high school that I think we will all need it to keep ourselves sane throughout college.
In another interview you said writing yours songs is “like a story book, and every song on the album has a moral. Some songs it’s easy to figure out what the moral is and others songs it’s not. It’s like a narrative.” I was wondering if this same level of craftsmanship is extended into the visual elements of THANKS? What’s the story behind your album artwork and art for single Good Time? Do you incorporate visual effects into your live performances?
Yes definitely. On this album, the art work is all based off of Expo 67, which was basically a world fair held in Quebec in 1967. Danny actually was the one that came up with this concept because he's intrigued with the eclectic architecture and photography that came out of that and he came to us with the concept of the fake tree building (it's actually called the Pulp and Paper Pavilion), and, of course, the fake trees tie into the previously explained idea of the "Isolated Bloom"
Finally, a question we ask all of artists: which songs are you currently obsessed with? What new acts do you recommend to our listeners? What bands do you believe are your best kept secret in the indie community?
Listen to Department of Eagles!!!