Thou Have No Myspace and No Masters
Trying to hear a song or check some tour dates from a band is a bloated affair these days. Most bands choke down their MySpace page with quantum-powered graphics and banners designed to eat your computer's speed. Music-lovers needn't worry about this with doom metallers Thou, the five-piece has become an underground obsession -- deservingly so -- and they've abandoned their space on the social site, making it an entrance to their own Web site.
"Having our own site means we can make it look however we want, and there won't be any stupid ads or anything like that," guitarist Andy Gibbs told Noisecreep. "That's my main problem with MySpace: the all-out assault on the senses. Our site is also a very convenient way to have all our info easily accessible and all of our music right alongside the lyrics."
With the turning riffs on their 15 releases, Thou's Web site is almost a throw back to an earlier time for bands on the Internet. Also included on their site are free song downloads to nearly every song they've put out. According to Gibbs, no labels the band has worked with have put up any major argument about giving away the music they're otherwise selling. Vocalist Bryan Funck contended that there was one label holding issues. "There was some reluctance when we were recently talking to a label about a more long-term, three-record-type deal. But that contract ended up getting nixed, so it's a moot point."
By many standards the Baton Rogue, La. band is young -- four years old -- but in terms of releases, they are old wise men that have worked with more labels than worth listening. "The reason we've worked with so many different labels is because we were just taking them all up on offers to release our stuff," says Gibbs. "And I think it's worked out well. All these labels reach different crowds, so it's nice to reach more than just metal dudes, and we were able to form relationships with some awesome people."
It's this outreach that has helped put Thou atop the map as a band to keep watching, as well as one with an undeniable DIY ethic that has them controlling all parts of the machine themselves -- including booking, which of course can make things interesting for any band constantly on the road. "The booking is the easy part. Getting to the city and the show being a success is the hard part," commented Gibbs.
"We've had some rough spots here and there with shows, but to be honest with you, I think we've had it pretty easy from the start. I had toured with other bands for five or six years before joining Thou, and even our worst shows can be amazing in comparison to some of what I've been through," Funck added. "We've just been incredibly lucky to get such a warm response from people, and we've had a lot of really solid friends helping us out."
But much like the Web site, Thou is a band that wants to be up close, not just a band to wander into, which is why they tend to prefer the smaller DIY spaces rather than large stages. "One that I would point to was our show in D.C. in October '08," Gibbs recalled, pointing out the differences in shows. "The night before we had played at a big venue with Sunn O))), and the crowd just kind of sat there and watched us like droids. So the next night we're in a basement sweating with a packed crowd of punks just yelling and getting in our faces. That kind of stuff is cathartic. Sharing in the experience of a show with people instead of presenting a show to them on a big stage is always more fulfilling."