Thyla – Interview 2017

ThylaBrighton’s Thyla have recently been carving a reputation for themselves nationwide with a flurry of singles that have been well-received in the online world. Having met at music university, the band have guided themselves through the woods of dark-indie rock to produce a finer, more agile beast, a sound taken up in their recent single releases, ‘Pristine Dream’ and ‘Ferris Wheels’. With a sound scattered in the ashes of 80s and 90s shoegaze and alt-rock, Thyla can successfully litter their simplistic structures with a range of soundscapes and sonic experimentation, leading to a noise reminiscent of Ride, early Verve and Swervedriver.

I recently had the opportunity to speak to the band off the back of their recent performance at London’s Waiting Rooms earlier this month. We got down to discuss their musical progression over the last six months or so and what drew them together in the first place. As it happens, the universe really does have its ways:

You seem to have developed quite the sterling reputation amongst the bands in Brighton, how do you find you are directly influenced by the place?
That’s very kind of you to say so. Besides London, Brighton is probably the biggest music city in the south. There is an amazing community of players and some awesome bands, the live circuit has always been buzzing so I guess we are always seeing new stuff come out the woodwork and that’s really inspiring.

I caught you play at The Waiting Rooms in London the other week, how do you find London differs to Brighton when it comes to your music?
The crowds are definitely tougher in London, people need more convincing but, positively, it makes you want to get better. When we play London it’s mostly to people we’ve never met so we see it more as a challenge to win them over – bring them into the Thyla fold.

How do you find the live reception to your music?
We’re always louder than people expect, much louder (laughs). CLICHE ALERT! It’s a two way thing and the crowd’s reception only goes to bolster our energy and performance” – it’s a symbiotic relationship if you will.

Currently ‘Ferris Wheels’ and ‘Pristine Dream’ sit as your recent releases – what do these say, musically speaking, about you as a band?
The songs/songwriting came out sounding slightly 4AD yet, conversely, slightly cleaner and commercial. I think it shows how we like to write on a broad scale but it goes to consummate each player’s own personality with their instrument.

How do you feel these tracks push you as a band onwards from your previous?
Our earlier stuff was dark indie-rock, our new stuff is less about ‘what genre is this?’ It’s a step up on the production side of things too. Millie’s vocals are bolder and better defined, the guitars are glassier and shoegaze influenced and the songs have more accessible pop structures.

How have you found the reception, both on record and live, to your latest single ‘Pristine Dream’?
The reception has been amazing online and it’s definitely a crowd favourite live. ‘Pristine Dream’ is our best-received track to date.

There appears to be a lot of experimentation with sound that embodies much of your latest single ‘Pristine Dream’ – can you tell us a little about your approach?
‘Pristine Dream’ is probably one of our more simplistic symphonies, it’s a really basic rock song if you undress it. There’s always room for sonic landscaping once you have the foundations. The riff in the chorus was supposed to ring through from the back. We used an octave to better place it within the frequency range and then used vibrato and chorus to give it that wobble. As a whole, there’s lots of reverbs and delays moving around in the background with the intention of keeping it interesting after a few listens.

How did Thyla come about as a group?
We all met at music uni and not to sound too cheesy, it seems the universe brought us together. We wrote some songs, did some gigs and just carried on doing so under this moniker.

Do you look to address any specific themes within your lyrics? Can you please tell us a little about these and what draws you to them?
Although my lyrics are drawn from personal experience, I try and make them relatable so that when people listen they can draw on their own. I don’t really write love songs but I write about longing, fear, frustration, self doubt, and sometimes anger. Morrissey is a big lyrical influence of mine, I love the contrast between happy music and sad words in The Smiths’ tunes.

Now with two new singles out – what paves the immediate future for you?
More singles, more writing whilst trying to build an organic following through live shows. Our hearts are set on doing this until we have whittled down our songs to a supreme shortlist. Then maybe, no definitely, you’ll see an album.

Musically, where do you draw the majority of your influence from?
The music we all grew up listening to was probably an innate reason why we ended up playing together in the first place. When we write it never comes from a completely conscious thought process but more of a subconscious agreement on aesthetics. Because of this it’s hard to really pinpoint further than that; pick a band from the 80s or 90s and you’ll be halfway there.

Tom Churchill