Thanks: „Mountains don’t give a fuck“

(c) George Barberis

mokant.at talked to Thanks lead singer Jimi Hendrix about their new album, about nature not giving a fuck about your problems and the Austrian music scene.

Thanks are back. The American band from Portland, Oregon has just released their second album, No Mercy on the Mountain, in Europe, and is coming to Austria for six shows in May and June. On May 20th, they will be in Vienna, presenting new songs filled with melancholic darkness and inner conflict. Jimi Hendrix, the band’s female lead singer answered our questions.

This is the original version of the interview. You can also read it in german: Thanks: Du bist der Natur egal

mokant.at: You named your new album No Mercy on the Mountain. Do you assume Thanks to be on the peak of success?
Jimi Hendrix: Not really, but success is real arrival, right?

mokant.at: What does the mountain metaphor mean then?
Jimi: I was driving through a mountain pass years and years ago, in a bad relationship and a weird place in my life. I remember throwing a question up into the mountains, asking them what I was supposed to do, and it felt like asking a mirror. I knew the truth and the mountains just reflected that back at me, matter of fact, with no mercy. So I guess it means trust your gut, even if it’s not easy. It also speaks to the neutrality of nature. The mountains, the sea, they don’t give a fuck about us. We exist in their realm. So asking them for answers is futile, the answer is always the same: ask yourself.

mokant.at: Keyword success: Do you assume yourself to be more popular in Europe or in America?
Jimi: We definitely have a good following on the west coast, concentrated in our home town, but have more spread-out fans across Europe. So, it’s hard to say!

mokant.at: What is your definition of success in the music business?
Jimi: Quitting our day jobs.

mokant.at: In your last interview with mokant.at in May 2014, Drew and Garret said they quit their jobs in order to do the first Thanks tour through Europe. Did they get their jobs back? Or didn’t you guys need to get another job besides music after the first tour?

Jimi: We all kept our jobs, and we’re still working.

mokant.at: While listening to your new album, I felt an inner conflict between life and death, light versus darkness. Where does this conflict stem from?
Jimi: I’ve always been one to see both sides, all angles in life, and am totally fascinated with the contrast and conflict between the two, especially in trying to find a balance. When we were writing the record, I was going through a really bad illness and it caused me to really swing from one depth to the next, and acknowledging that in music was and is super cathartic.

(c) George Barberis

(c) George Barberis

mokant.at: Who writes the lyrics?
Jimi: I do.

mokant.at: So, you’re dealing a lot with real-life experiences in your lyrics?
Jimi: Absolutely. I think the most material comes from personal experience and reflecting on past moments, moods and decisions.

mokant.at: When creating a new song, what comes first: the music or the lyrics?
Jimi: Each song is different, but usually we write the music and then the lyrics. Vocal melodies come afterward.

mokant.at: Which song on the new album was the most difficult to write?
Jimi: We spent the most amount of time trying to find the sweet spot of Breathing in a Fatal Stillness. Lyrically, the most difficult was Warm Hands, for no particular reason. I wrote the last lines minutes before the recording.

mokant.at: I had the impression that especially the last song on the album The Only Prayer, is a kind of motivation booster that tells the listener to pull themselves together and be confident. Was this the intention of this song?
Jimi: Absolutely. I was reading a lot about the poet E. E. Cummings when we were writing that song and I came across one of his quotes: „May I be I is the only prayer – not may I be great or good or beautiful or wise or strong.“ It really resonated with me and I wrote the song around his words and the power in that message.

Jimi about her guilty pleasure song

Titelbild: (c) George Barberis


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Sophie Minihold ist als Redakteurin für mokant.at tätig und studiert Publizistik- und Kommunikationswissenschaft in Wien. In ihrer Freizeit ist sie auf Konzerten zu finden. Derzeitiges Lieblingslied: Beirut - No No No

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