A Thousand Shall Fall's Get Together Discussion

Let's get dangerous with A Thousand Shall Fall, who stand to continue to do what they have done for years and more to come at that... create music, one that is not afraid to experiment every now and again. Thus they went on to release their debut efforts "In the Shadow of the Mighty" (2013) with follow-up release "Horizon" (2014). They are currently at work crafting together the band's first ever full-length debut with further plans to play shows, tour, and continue to create music from here on out. A few of the members Daniel Johnston guitars, Jesse Williams vocals, Kevin Loftus bass, and Dhruva Noel guitars, got together to discuss their latest, show plans, and more!

1. Can you give those of us who aren't familiar with A Thousand Shall Fall a brief history of the band and can you please describe your sound for those who have yet to hear your music?

Daniel: ATSF is a metal band out of Santa Cruz, CA. We have been together almost four years and have been endeavoring to play all over the world! The band formed like all wonderful bands do, by way of a Craigslist ad and harassing any known musicians in the area. We perform metal that pulls from a wide range of influences and I have heard referred to as all manner of bizarre genre titles. Ultimately we strive to make aggressive music with interesting composition that is fun to perform. I've heard our music described as blackened thrash with elements of power slop and turbo samba but at the end of the day we don’t think about it much. We write music that is enjoyable to us, folks seem to enjoy it which is downright amazing.

Jesse: ATSF was formed by the string players. I met them on the casual encounters section of craigslist. Later I asked Gena if she wanted to play drums when I saw her on a bus. We had the same pink phone. Our sound is reminiscent of honest metal played by intelligent young adults.

2. Why do you think A Thousand Shall Fall?

Daniel: Because we will perform in one thousand cities, then one thousand nations, then ONE THOUSAND GALAXIES WILL FALL BEFORE OUR MIGHT! It’s a cool band name, dig it.

Kevin: I feel many have been sundered by our music and many more listeners will follow.

Jesse: Why do I think our band name? Because our band rules!

3. Which bands influenced your music?

Daniel: I personally am influenced very melodic things in the spectrum of metal and all over music. I love bands and guitar players that utilize far reaching influences in their composition. Bands such as Arsis, Unearth, Old Man’s Child, and In Flames that are able to mix heavy stuff with wonderful musicality really get me going. Admittedly I have a major soft spot for power metal. Bands like Hammerfall, Helloween, Iced Earth (The Glorious Burden album), Sabaton, Gloryhammer, and so on are favorites of mine and constant influences on what I write with ATSF.

Kevin: At The Gates is up there on the list.

Jesse: I just write the vocals, but I'm influenced by the vocals of Mike Patton, Dennis Lyxzen, Tommy Rogers and many others.

4. Do you write your own songs?

Daniel: All of our material is original. I proposed we do a cover of Africa by Toto but everyone just yelled at me.

Jesse: The band writes the music and I write most of the vocal parts.

5. What are your songs about?

Daniel: They are about 5 to 6 minutes long. You’ll have to ask Jesse for lyrical content.

Jesse: I usually write about abstract struggles. Sometimes from the perspectives of animals or other creatures. I try to be vague enough for the listener to be able to relate to the song on their own terms. I also write about dinosaurs.

6. Why did you want to release your EP "Horizon" without the help of a label?

Daniel: We have made all of our musical releases completely independently. This allows us to control all aspects of the creative process, branding, and ultimately do whatever we like with the band. At the end of the day we absorb all the responsibilities involved and it seems the most feasible for us for where we are as a band currently.

Jesse: I think it may have been out of necessity. We aren't on a label, but we want to be able to share our music with our friends and the rest of the world. So, we release our own albums.

7. Do you want to pursue getting signed to a label or do you prefer the DIY approach to your music?

Daniel: It really depends on what is offered by a label. I’m sure all musicians have the 70’s fantasy of being signed to a label and flying their own personal helicopter out of their mega mansion in order to get to practice 45 minutes late, but this doesn't seem probable. We are never opposed to hearing the proposals of labels; we just haven’t heard one that fits yet. We tend to be realistic in our expectations of what labels provide and so far the DIY approach has been best. That being said if a label wants to give us all free helicopters, finance all levels of production, and buy us fancy equipment we don’t fully understand then we might be able to pencil them in for an appointment.

Jesse: I'm not sure. It would depend on the terms of the contract.

8. How would you say "In the Shadow of the Mighty" and "Horizon" compare, differ, and have evolved from one another?

Daniel: I’d definitely say that we are at a different place in time as a band. We wrote the music for “In the Shadow of the Mighty” almost two years ago now. As such, we have grown considerably and continue to do so. Musically I’d say “Horizon” has been naturally moving in a more technical direction. We are improving as musicians every day and we get closer to expressing the music we want to. It’s one of the things I love about being in a band with this group, they are rarely satisfied, and they want to push what we are capable of together.

Kevin: It seems to be a learning process, each release getting us closer to the music we want to hear.

Jesse: Over a year separate In the Shadow of the Mighty and Horizon. I think our song writing and performance has improved overall. On Horizon we went with a different studio and decided to focus on only two songs. You can hear a progression of style and skill from one recording to the next. Both recordings were mastered by Mammoth Sound Mastering.

9. Does "In the Shaodw of the Mighty" and "Horizon" have any connection to one another?

Daniel: Jesse should be able to shed light on the thematic connection between the two.

Jesse: Yes, they follow the same timeline. I think I am making up the history of a world similar to earth. I get to imagine whatever I want and then use the ideas to write lyrics around.

10. Why did you see fit to release EPs as opposed to a full-length?

Daniel: As a completely independent musical group an EP has seemed like the most reasonable way to release music. It allows us to release music more regularly and also helps minimize the massive cost of any studio effort.

Jesse: I think we wanted to keep our momentum up by recording and releasing our music on a yearly schedule. It's also a lot fun to have new music to play, and cheaper.

11. Are you in the process of writing for a full-length or will you release another EP?

Daniel: Despite our recent success releasing another EP we are endeavoring to try something different. We are aiming to release a full-length album for the first time in our career. We are currently in the preliminary writing stages going through the mountain of musical ideas we have stock piled since our last release.

Jesse: We're currently focusing on writing a full-length, but I'm not opposed to releasing another EP. As long as we keep the ball rolling.

12. When can we expect to see a video accompanying one of the songs off these releases or future releases from you guys?

Daniel: A music video is not something we have ever done thus far. We have talked about it briefly but ultimately do you really want to see our ugly mugs in video format? If there’s demand we will certainly film ourselves playing music atop a mountain, running from a car, in a forest, or whatever people do these days.

Jesse: In the future we can expect visual accompaniment to an ATSF song.

13. Do you play live as well? Could you describe your show to us for those who may have not seen you play before?

Daniel: We play live frequently. For me personally playing live is the most enjoyable part of the ATSF experience.  As such don’t be surprised if when you see us live I’m grinning like an idiot and not pretending to be grim. We take great pride in putting on the absolute best show we can whether it be in a house, stadium, bar, or in space (one day).

Dhruva: When we play live we try to give the highest energy performances we can. Trying to connect with the audience and have them have as much fun as we do playing live is what we strive for.

Jesse: Yes. Our live show is very energetic. I'm most often told that we are "tight" and sound "professional". We all have a good time and we make sure that the crowd does also.

14. Can you tell us about your next show or tour and why we should go?

Daniel: We are playing January 25th at the Catalyst in Santa Cruz, CA with international acts Skull Fist and Elm Street as well as Night Demon out of Southern California. It has been awhile since we have played in front of a home crowd and home cooking tends to make us frisky.

Jesse: Our next show is in Santa Cruz on Sunday, January 25th w/ Skull Fist, Elm Street, & Night Demon
The Catalyst Club.
Ages 16+ Doors @ 8:00pm

15. What do you guys have planned for this year?

Daniel: Our primary goal this year is completing our first ever full length album. Aside from that you are guaranteed more live shows then we have ever played and likely a tour following our album release.

Dhruva: We are looking froward to releasing a full length album, and our hope is to plan a west coast tour sometime during the summer.

Jesse: We plan on writing a full length album this year. We usually play about one show a month. Possibly a waste coast tour. I imagine that we will continue to rock the stage while we write our new music.

16. What should labels/zines/promoters know about your band? Why should they be interested in it?

Daniel: We’re the genuine article. We aren’t beholden to anyone but ourselves in the creative process.

Jesse: Divergent, uncompromising, and absolutely punishing; Santa Cruz, California's "A Thousand Shall Fall" stand poised to continue what they have done for years. Create music untethered to the whims of labels, magazines, or blogs. To create metal that is unafraid to experiment, to enjoy itself, and to humiliate the inadequacy of environment. "A Thousand Shall Fall" greeted 2013 with the release of "In the Shadow of the Mighty," they continue their growth and evolution in 2014 with the release of "Horizon." Having recently wrapped production of their latest release the band is currently hard at work cementing tour plans and crafting the band's first full length album for 2015.

17. Where can we listen to your band and where can we buy your stuff?

Daniel: All of our music is available on Facebook, Reverbnation, and Bandcamp. You can download all of our music for free (or provide a donation) and physical copies are available at all of our live shows. You can find everything merch and music related at www.athousandshallfall.net.

Jesse: You can listen to and purchase ATSF music and merchandise on our website at http://athousandshallfall.net

18. Is that your final answer?

Daniel: That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Jesse: Is that your final question? Thanks for the interview Natalie!

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