Some people say to fully understand and appreciate music, you have to step outside of your comfort zone and embrace other forms of it. One band that champions this principle are punks Thought Vomit who have a wide array of influences. Last year I got to speak to bassist Jordie Hilley about the band’s origins and music, punk music and what’s on the horizon for the band.
Jack: Hi, thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. How are you?
Jordie Hilley (Bass): Well, since we’re talking on the night of our CD release, we’re all kinda beside ourselves to be honest. Thank you for taking the time to chat it up with us.
Jack: How did Thought Vomit form?
Jordie: Depends on who you ask. It could have started in 2007 as Catheter Suckfest, or maybe a year later when the name changed and we started taking music (emphasis on) somewhat seriously.
Jack: What’s the music scene like in California?
Jordie: Well, it seems like everyone is very dedicated to whatever genre or sub-sub-subgenre they’re into. When you’re actively trying to avoid pidgeon-holing your sound, you notice people in all scenes, whether it’s punk, metal, hardcore, etc., who either love or hate what you’re doing. I guess it’s just ID politics for musicians…
Jack: You take influence from metal and punk. How important is it for artists to take inspiration from multiple sources?
Jordie: Some of the best music was written by people who had “no business” listening to what they did. Without Black Sabbath, Black Flag would never have sounded the way they did. That shaped an entire sound within punk music and it was because they bent the genre rules so to speak. If you really appreciate music, then you listen to all kinds of music.
Jack: Do you think there are divisions between the metal and punk community?
Jordie: Only if you’re an asshole. We know plenty of heshers who rock Suicidal Tendencies, and punk rockers who love Motorhead. Maybe there’s a lot of squabbling from guitar geeks who like to use words like “technical” and “prog,” but that’s about it these days.
Jack: Is the current sound you have the one you imagined the band would sound like when you formed?
Jordie: Well, after losing our other guitarist we lost a big influence that took us away from the beginnings of this band. The older stuff is much more Van Halen-ish, with tons of solos and over the top harmonies and shit. Now it’s much more stripped down, faster, dirtier. So yes for some of us, no for others.
Jack: How did you discover punk music?
Jordie: We all just grew up around it. Most of us had been going to shows our entire lives, and with the Phoenix being right in Petaluma, it was pretty easy to catch a good show every weekend.
Jack: What bands made you fall in love with punk music?
Jordie: Dead Kennedys, The Exploited, The Clash, Minor Threat, Generation X, Fear, Suicidal Tendencies, The Weirdos, Choking Victim, NOFX, Bad Brains… the list goes on.
Jack: What album best captures the spirit of punk?
Jordie: None of them. Punks don’t get caught.
Jack: Is punk music too unfairly associated with protest and politics?
Jordie: No. Punk and politics have always gone hand in hand. It’s not the entire focus of the scene, but it’s definitely a part of it.
Jack: Back to Thought Vomit, you’re about to release your fourth album Punks Brutal Retaliation. Do you get nervous before the release or just curious about the reaction?
Jordie: Booze helps.
Jack: The album has been done DIY. What is so attractive about the DIY ethos?
Jordie: Getting behind our own soundboard and actually cutting the tracks has always been a rush. It’s a whole different side to music and you can cut out the red tape and actually make your own means of production, and that’s key if you want to get ahead.
Jack: What was the recording process like?
Jordie: It was a blast. The best part of not having to pay for studio time is you can do all your takes wasted.
Jack: Did you ever think you’d make four albums?
Jordie: We’re all surprised we even made one!
Jack: What inspires you to keep going?
Jordie: The hope that someday we can all get paid to day drink.
Jack: What’s been a career highlight for you?
Jordie: Going on our first tour was definitely at the top of the list. We don’t remember half of it but it was fun!
Jack: What are your upcoming plans?
Jordie: Well the album is going up for digital sales. Hoping to slap together a tour for summer. We have a few music videos in the works. Until then, just day drinking until soundcheck.
Jack: Finally, there’s been a big debate in the UK about if a band should stay for the whole show and watch all the bands. Do you think a band should stay and watch the whole show, or is it acceptable for them to leave early if they need to?
Jordie: If you’re playing a set on your lunch break that’s one thing… But if you have the time, and you’re planning on staying, you should support the rest of the bands playing that night.