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While seminal Danish Death/Doom band Caustic considered their options, a couple of the core members set up ThunderWhip and set about recording. Bassist/vocalist Rune Hellmann Anderson fills in the details of the story for Comrade Aleks.

Interview with ThunderWhip.
"This story started long ago when a few guys gathered in Esbjerg, under the name Caustic, in the service of death and doom. Caustic was founded in 1991, the same year their demo 'An Integral Sense' appeared, and that makes them the first Death/Doom band in Denmark, for what that's worth. However, they disbanded soon after releasing EP 'Moments In The Infinite' (1995), though some of the members tried to relaunch it in 2011. As things with Caustic were developing really slowly, Rune Hellmann Andersen (bass, vocals) and Rolf Hansen (drums) started power trio ThunderWhip along with Kenneth H. Nielsen (guitars). Their first and only album, 'Forever's End' (2018), is a big, heavy and massive slab of Doom with Stoner elements, so why not learn more about it directly from Rune?"

The band: Rolf Hansen - drums, Kenneth H Nielsen - guitar, Rune H Andersen - bass, vocals.

Salute Rune! As I understand it, ThunderWhip was formed about five years ago by two ex-members of ancient death doom band Caustic - you and Rolf Hansen - plus Kenneth H. Nielsen. How long had you known each other? What made you gather together?

Rolf and Kenneth were already playing together in a rock-coverband when Rolf joined Caustic, in 1991. Through Rolf and I got to know Kenneth, and the first time the three of us played together was in 1999, where we had a Black Sabbath cover band. Later on I joined their death metal cover band, around 2007. It was a five piece band, and after losing our singer, we swapped the metal for rock'n'roll/hardrock, and I started singing. We played lots of gigs in bars, motorcycle clubs and at private parties, mainly with songs by ZZ Top, Motorhead, Danzig, Thin Lizzy and so on, and after losing the second guitarist, ThunderWhip was born, as we wanted to write and perform original music, like the stuff we were listening to.

Caustic performed Death/Doom while ThunderWhip tends towards a heavy blend of Traditional Doom and Stoner. Do you have a chief songwriter in the band? How did you manage to leave all your Caustic baggage behind?

We like to think of Caustic as melodic doom, but yes ThunderWhip has a simpler and rough expression. I write the music, sometimes as complete songs, other as parts, and sometimes I just bring riffs. In every case we play and discuss the songs together, trying out different ideas, until we are satisfied with the songs. That also answers how we separate the two bands, as Søren and Rolf write the Caustic material. We have agreed to do it this way, to keep the bands from blending too much together.

Do you mean that Caustic are working on new songs? How soon do you think to finish the new recording?

Well, that's a actually a hard one. Caustic signed an album deal with Danish metal label Mighty Music. We have been writing and rehearsing song over the years, and drums and guitars for our debut are recorded. However, as the deadline for the final recordings came closer, we met up, but no one was really motivated to fight the time pressure we had come under. The decision we then agreed on was to cancel the record-deal and take a break with the band. Gert then chose to leave Caustic. As mentioned, the album is roughly halfway done, and we will finish and release it when we feel the time is right again. I know it must sound weird not being motivated when being so close to the goal, but that's just how we felt and feel about it.

ThunderWhip's first recording was the self-released 'Bloodsucker Demo 2015', how did you shape the band's sound on these songs? Were you satisfied with this material in the end?

We recorded the demo in our rehearsal space, which has a studio. We had an idea about the sound we wanted, and also about the musical style. Through writing the first 4-5 songs together, we started moving towards a heavier sound, which is expressed by Nighthorse being the newest song on the demo. We were happy with the result, though we knew at the release that we were moving in a heavier direction. We handled all recording, mixing and mastering ourselves, it was hard and time-consuming, but worth it.

'Bloodsucker Demo 2015' is quite strong stuff, but you didn't include any of its songs on ThunderWhip's debut 'Forever's End'. Didn't you feel them good enough for the album?

We had songs enough for an entire album, and having chosen a different path, it seemed the logical thing to use those. However, as the album won't fit on a single vinyl, we have remastered two of the demo songs for side 4. So yes, we still feel the songs are great, and Nighthorse is still on our live setlist.

ThunderWhip - 'Forever's End' (Album, 2018):

How did you organize the 'Forever's End' recording sessions? Did you record it at your home studio or in some professional studio?

As with Bloodsucker, we recorded the album at our rehearsal space studio. We had talked about recording live, but we couldn't get it to work out as we had planned, due to different circumstances. We had it mastered by Jakob at JO Sound in Aarhus, who also did Caustic's Murder the World. We had set the date for the release party before we started recording, so we were under quite some pressure getting it done.

Really? Why did you set the release party's date before finishing the album?

Well, we had the demo out but felt we wanted to show the style we actually playing. We got the venues last date before summer-break and started recording. We had the songs written and knew we would have to work hard to finish in time. As a result, we didn't have CD's ready for the release, but the digital album was out on time. I felt important to have an album out when booking gigs and with the material ready, we just didn't want to wait.

ThunderWhip's songs tend towards these bulky monolithic riffs with Stoner vibes, and you're clearly addicted to big forms as the compositions are quite long and diverse. Do you feel you need more space to express your ideas through music? What kind of bands showed you examples of where to move in your searches?

As you mention the songs are often long, and we like taking our time. It's not something we aim for; the songs just seem to have their own way of stretching long.

How would you summarise your lyrical themes in ThunderWhip? Do you have an idea which binds all the songs into one flow?

There is not an actual concept binding the lyrics together. Still, the feeling in our music likes to connect with lyrics that are dark, dystopian and sometimes even depressive. On top of that I like to hide the actual message, if there is one. Using paradoxes, and sometimes just strange ways of composing the lyrics, makes them somehow not easily accessible, and I like that. It gives the listener the opportunity to interpret the lyrics how they like, no matter what the thoughts behind may be.

Live, 2018.

Ida Bruun Marcussen Hollesen from Death Rides A Horse performed guest vocals on 'Six Thousand Steps'. Was it the initial idea to have female vocals on one of your songs or was it an improvisation? It sounds massive, but the album recording credit at "The Doom Room" seems a bit strange…

We had Six Thousand Steps on our live setlist for a long time before recording it, and I used to sing that part in a bit deeper voice, like the liveclip of it which can be found on our Facebook. I'm a huge fan of Ida and DRaH, and the idea came up as the part in the song is the voice of Asenath (the lyric is inspired by Lovecraft's "The Thing on the Doorstep"), and a female voice would for it be a nice touch. Ida did a great job, and her voice fits the part and the song just perfect! The Doom Room is just the name of our rehearsal-space, as both ThunderWhip and Caustic use it, the name is fitting, though maybe a bit odd.

How important is it for ThunderWhip to play live? Do you have a number of bands with whom you usually play in Denmark or abroad?

Playing live is the most important part for us. Meeting people and observing them observing us is a huge gift, and definitely the drive of ThunderWhip. We like to bring the audience into our own little dark and heavy world, for the length of our set, and it seems to work. There are some bands within the genres of stoner and doom we often share gigs with around Denmark. We have not yet played abroad, but hopefully we will manage to get booked outside of Denmark in the future.

ThunderWhip - 'Live in Esbjerg' (2018):

Can you name these bands? Altar Of Oblivion is the only one which springs to mind.

Actually, ThunderWhip has never played with Altar of Oblivion, but Caustic has. We have played with stoner rockers Fusskalt quite a few times, and they have become our good friends. The same goes for Stone Cadaver, whom we also invited to play at our release party. We have shared stages with local friends in Cor Vacante a few times as well.

Your first album was self-released, will you search for a label to release your second work? Do you have any suggestions already?

We may want to work with a record-label in the future. We all have families, jobs, education and so on, and we would rather spend our time writing music and gigging, than doing all the practical stuff. I mean, it's still interesting doing those things, but I probably wouldn't miss them a whole lot if I got more time for the music. We are not in touch with any labels at this point.

And, well, what about new material? Do you have some new tracks? When will you be ready to enter the studio?

We have about half of the next about written, and we will actually premiere one of the songs live, later this month. There is still a red line in the riffs and atmosphere of the songs, connected to Forever's End. We will most probably record the second album within 2020, and we will do it in a facility that will allow us to record it live. Follow us on Facebook for details, and just for the hell of it, I guess. Thank you for the great questions, hope I got them all right. Take care, everyone.

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Interviewed on 2020-02-23 by Comrade Aleks Evdokimov.
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