- 26 Jun 20
'Topher Grace' showcases a new, minimalist noise-rock direction for the melodic punk band. Vocalist Oisin Leahy Furlong explains how the new stream-of-consciousness style track came to be, and how it's impacted his approach to songwriting.
THUMPER’s new single ‘Topher Grace’ is a stream-of-consciousness track that dives into the band’s punk roots with a minimalistic flair. Moving away from the tried-and-true verse-chorus structure, the Dublin group took a risk with a radically different writing style – and one that paid off immensely.
“The writing process for this was very purposely a different approach to anything Id done before. I was trying to take away some of the normal songwriting crutches I would go for,” vocalist Oisín Leahy Furlong explains.
“I realized pretty quickly that the style of writing didn’t really work for a melody-based, verse-chorus kind of situation. Once I wrapped my head around that, it was a couple of months of writing. It was on scraps of paper and notes on my iPhone.”
The process of writing ‘Topher Grace’ was a long and somewhat strenuous task for Oisín, learning to strip away the band’s massive melodic punk sound for something, somewhat ironically, simultaneously more minimal and noisy. Well-known for maximalist riffs and mosh-worthy choruses, releasing the track as a single felt risky, especially as Oisín shared his vision with his bandmates.
“Bringing that to the band was pretty terrifying, because I just sounded like a madman when I brought it into the room,” he admits. “I brought this seven-minute-long noise rock thing with no chorus, spoken word, and I’m asking them all to play the same thing for like ten minutes, over and over again, and then asking them to release it as a single. I think I had them at their wit’s end, it was a departure in a lot of ways, but ultimately I think it pushed us out of our comfort zone, which can only be a good thing creatively.”
The song dives into the depths of self-destruction, thinly veiled under the guise of self-reflection. It’s a sometimes all-too-relatable trope, having nonsensical but deep conversations with a stranger you’ve met at a party, only to realize the next morning that the your moment of self-actualization may have just been a half-baked exploration of absurdity.
“It’s that world of not being your lucid self in the guise of trying to discover this ultimate truth about yourself. If you ever find yourself at a party and you’re having this intense conversation in the corner, it seems so importing the following morning, and either you can’t remember what the hell you’re talking about or you do and it’s just nonsense.”
But these nonsense conversations might have a deeper truth to them – and that’s the sober honestly Oisín wants to address.
“I’ve definitely had some nonsense conversations that have changed me for the better,” he says. “There’s glimpses of answers in there. The song flips between this really tender spot where the character is baring their soul. But often the following line will be macho, or bragging about yourself, those moments where you suddenly realize you’re being too honest with a stranger and puff your chest out.”
The different approach to ‘Topher Grace’, intentional or not, has impacted the way Oisín views songwriting.
“I hope it’s not a one-off thing. In the past, a lot of the elements of the songs are compartmentalized, they’re not feeding into each other. I imagine them as jigsaw pieces that sort of live separate to each other. I’m writing the chord progression, the lyrics, the melody and it all slots together, whereas this song Is written as one dynamic mess that lives and breathes. Everything has its own part to play,” he explains. “It’s not just melody-based. I want to take that energy moving forward.”
That intimately dynamic energy is just what makes ‘Topher Grace’ one of THUMPER's most memorable tracks yet.
“If I’m going to be terrified anyway, I might as well make it as honest and worthwhile as I can,” Oisín reflects.
'Topher Grace' is out now.