The first and most obvious question is: why was it so unanimous a decision for us to conduct the interview here at Caveman Kitchen? Why is Caveman Kitchen the headquarters of the band?

  • Lucas Tamaren (LT): We feel comfortable here and we somehow made it a tradition a couple years ago. It’s just like ‘this is where we are going to meet and talk about some stuff.’ We actually have the logo of this place hidden in our album, so it’s definitely been part of the ethos of Thumpasaurus since the beginning.
  • Logan Kane (LK): This was the place where a lot of the mythology of the band first got discussed.
  • Henry Solomon (HS):  I think even like a few of our most important songs like maybe “Space Barn” and “Dance Like It’s Your Life” are invented on walks to and from this place from our house, which was like a block or two away last year.
  • LK: Mad love to Caveman.
  • HS: The music is always fucking fire. The food is always ridiculous.
    (Editor’s note: The music is, in fact, fire, and the food is ridiculously good)

What can you guys tell me about Thump’s place within the USC Music Scene, and the scene around here in general?

  • Henry Was (HW): I mean Thump is definitely both a part of the community, and the way I see it, kind of a rebellion from it at the same time. There’s a lot of things that can happen in music school, and a lot of them really amazing. There are opportunities for growth and learning from really amazing people. I feel like especially Henry and Logan and Paul are taking great advantage of studying with some of the best players of all time. But then there’s another side of it that can be very crushing to creativity, and it rewards (you for) putting yourself in a box for the sake of easy classification. So Thump is definitely a rebellion against that aspect, and is using art to remake our landscape how we would like it to be. We’re taking risks it’s really rewarding.
  • LT: Part of the thing about Thump is that we’re simultaneously trying to have it connect to the most people as possible, while pushing listeners like pop music fans, out of their own comfort zone.

You know, there are obviously kids around you making hip hop, there are kids making dance music. You guys sound like you are more classically trained, but do you try to work in those other sounds like electronic music intentionally or does it just permeate?

  • LK: We never really thought about it or tried to do anything, but sometimes we’ll … Like Lucas has been writing new songs with a wide range of influences that have just been coming out so naturally. We’re never trying to do it, but I do think on accident we kind of have … Like we have a death metal song, we have funk jams, we have a lot of random different stuff that sometimes comes out in a classical way.
  • HS: People ask me, “Tell me about Thumpasaurus”, and I just say we’re basically a bunch of jazz musicians playing dance music. Even Lucas, he definitely has a jazz sensibility in terms of his freedom on the instrument. We’re pretty much improvising the whole time, even in the song form, which is definitely a concept that’s more present in jazz music than pop music.

Thump has a lyric that goes “I’m too funky for my muthafuckin iPhone”. What does it mean to be too funky for your iPhone?

  • LT:  I think when I was writing that song I was thinking a lot about things I felt enslaved to. My iPhone is very … Well I use it … It’s very necessary. I always catch myself obsessively checking it. I feel like I’m just looking at this piece of garbage, so it’s kind of a reminder to myself that my personal freedom is beyond this contraption. The other lyrics to the song are sort of the same deal, but iPhone’s a big one for me. Subconsciously it’s a huge part of my life, but I don’t like that-so it’s like a musical reminder. It’s like hey man, get your life back together.

If I’m not mistaken, Thump has performed at a music festival, the Teragram Ballroom, and certainly a number of house shows in the past month or so…

  • HS: In the past week!

…in the past week. So what do you like about playing different sized venues? Obviously you have a house party upbringing, but what do you like about sort of bringing it into the big time?

  • LT: Each venue, each differently sized venue, each show, presents a different challenge and a different audience. When we play bigger stages, we sort of have to figure out how to get a big room as going as an intimate house party. It’s really an amazing thing to be able to test yourself in different spaces and be honest with yourself.
  • HW: The bottom line is- how can you best connect with your audience? We’ve been playing house parties for seven years, no, for like five years, no, for like three years (laughs). That’s kind of like home turf for us at this point, but I think it’s really interesting to see how you can reach people in different sizes of venues. Sometimes we literally hug as many people as we can before we start playing. With bigger venues, sometimes we can’t do that so we have to find other ways to connect.
  • LT: I mean I guess we could…
  • Paul Cornish (PC): I think one of the beauties of this band and this music is that we definitely bring the vibe wherever we go. Whether we are playing a house party or a bigger venue, I think everyone can still feel that close knit and intimate and feel– like they are part of something.

Who are some bigger names that you look up to for inspiration?

  • LK: I mean there’s definitely a lot of George Clinton/Parliament-Funkadelic. That and The Talking Heads are big ones.
  • LT: Hendrix and Zeppelin
  • HW: Ramones, Nirvana, James Chance and the Contortions
  • PC: I think it even stretches beyond music. We’re all into visual art and philosophers and poets and stuff and it’s like– when something like that inspires us how do we bring that into our music? How do we have that effect on people? How do we incorporate Basquiat or Alan Watts?

Thumpasaurus: Lucas Tamaren, Henry Was, Paul Cornish, Logan Kane, Henry Solomon
Interview by Ethan Mark
Photos by Max Reyes & Christian Smiley
Lunch and interview took place at Caveman Kitchen near USC