Transatlanticism

Transatlanticism

This Is Thunder’s overseas collaboration yields ambitious debut

By Tim Anderl
Photo: [l to r] Nopse [aka Marc Navoizat] and Jen Schnade of This is Thunder

This Is Thunder grew out of a transatlantic bond and concrete desire to create together in spite of geographical boundaries. It takes a certain unity of vision to make a project work with so much space in between and little to no time spent in one another’s presence. Jen Schande and Nopse (aka Marc Navoizat) were fortunate enough to hash out demos in Nopse’s apartment in France and build the foundation that ultimately culminated in their eager, oft-ominous debut EP.

Jen Schande cut her teeth with San Francisco band Boyskout as well as ‘90s indie act Shove, whose second album was recorded by James Murphy (LCD Soundsystem) and who toured with beloved Dayton act Swearing at Motorists. France-based Nopse created a noisy, experimental electronic project in 2000 and went on to release a solo EP on his SP1 label in 2004, followed by a remix EP with Los Angeles trio Meho Plaza in 2010 on Better Looking Records.

Dayton City Paper caught up with the duo to discuss This Is Thunder’s EP – which was self-released on May 28 – and the collaboration that combines the sum of their parts. This is what they said about their roots, the joys of making music together and Schande’s time in Dayton …

Did you actually live in Dayton for a while?

I graduated college in January 1998 and spent February traveling around the country visiting friends and just exploring places I had never been to before. I stopped by Dayton to see some friends and I honestly really missed it. The amazing benefit of the Shove-Dayton love affair was getting to meet, know and make friends with people from the handful of times we played there, so hanging out in Dayton was almost like a homecoming of sorts.

During the time I lived there, I was still writing songs with my Shove bandmate Jay Howell with a band called Bead Arithmetic (which would feature Dayton locals PJ Paslosky of The Motel Beds and Jennifer Bockrath). Jay was still living in California at the time but he came out to visit for a couple of weeks and Kim Deal recorded our demos, which was really fun and really nice of her. Unfortunately, nothing was to become of the demos. -Jen Schande

How did This Is Thunder meet and what was it about your relationship that inspired this project together?

A few years ago, I fell in love with Schande’s song “Penultimate Panache” (it was on Myspace). I really wanted to make a remix of that song. Jen said yes, so I did a remix and it was really new to me to work with that kind of sound. Living with an ocean in the middle of us created an orientation to the project where big spaces, “geographic reflections,” were inspiring factors to the sound the songs and their composition. -Nopse

How difficult was this project to undertake since it was a trans-Atlantic collaboration?

Starting the project was easy, conceptually, as we were both really excited to create together and see what/how the music would sound like. But the distance definitely was a handicap. In particular, I think the main difficulty we faced then, and still do, is how to be prolific with this specific project when we are not in each other’s day to day life, let alone each other’s country. How do we stay in the same creative space with each other and maintain the connection? -JS

Under what circumstances was the effort written and recorded?

When Marc and I were actually able to be in the same room together, we played each other songs we thought would work together. Once we both figured out exactly how both of our parts would go, Marc would record us laying down our basic parts – guitars, vocals, etc. After the initial layers were recorded, Marc would spend a lot of time adding in extra parts and production, then send them to me for input. So basically, bottom line, we would both present blueprints of songs and help the other build it into something solid. -JS

It was always hard on my side, I was always trying to know if Jen would see what I was trying to do on a song. But, she was always able to see it so … recording was good. It was a special experience to record in a real studio the songs that you decided were in their final form the day before. -N

What is next for This Is Thunder? Was this a one-off or are more releases on the horizon?

We are currently writing new songs and fine-tuning our live show. Ideally, we’ll have a new release next year or even more ideally sooner, but that might be a bit ambitious. Regardless, this isn’t a one-off and you will be hearing from us again! -JS

For more information on This Is Thunder, visit facebook.com/ThisIsThunder.

Reach DCP freelance writer Tim Anderl at TimAnderl@daytoncitypaper.com.


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