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Thumpers reflect on a six-year career and open up about their decision to split

21 February 2018, 14:11 | Written by Laurence Day

Last week Best Fit faves Thumpers decided to call it a day - we've had a quick chat about their decision, their farewell EP, and good memories.

Thumpers - formed from the ashes of Pull Tiger Tail in 2012 - were one of our Ones To Watch for 2014, and they released excellent debut Galore that same year. Last year Jack (John) Hamson Jr and Marcus Pepperell returned with "charmingly lopsided" sophomore Whipped & Glazed.

"The time is now really right to put them beaten drums in their cases and hang that melancholy on the line," the pair said in a statement. "You can hold on to the joy."

As well as confirming their imminent disbandment, Thumpers announced one final four-track EP as a parting gift and shared lead single "Life All In". Check the wonky elegy out below and read our final Q&A with Thumpers after.

BESTFIT: How did you decide the time was right to call an end to the band?
Marcus Pepperell: Hourly Whatsapp updates about feelings, beer, etc.

Jack Hamson Jr: Well yep, it was tough, especially as we had this EP and show coming up. I mean... in some way, it had been in the very (very very) back of our minds separately for some time, but we were so focused on getting the record out. But a week or so ago we had this weekend whilst finishing the new video when we hung out and just chatted about everything and about what we wanted from music and life and just realised how so much had shifted since we first started... music takes everything - in amazing ways as well as destructive ways - and we just felt unhappy that we couldn’t give it everything it needed. Then we sat back and watched the video and that, coupled with the EP, just suddenly felt like a good way to end it.

Any regrets?
Jack: Hmmmmm... there's definitely a handful of dry, behind the scenes stuff we got wrong early on... a few really big decisions that I think had we got right, things might have played out differently. We really, really believe in what we made and we can stand by it, but once some of those decisions unfolded, rectifying them became harder and harder, and a lot of energy was diverted to that when we should have just been touring and making more music.

Marcus: I think on the most recent album, we got into the habit of letting our own mistakes become the inspiration for songs too. So, really, it’s lucky for our musical future that we did loads wrong.

What's your proudest achievement as Thumpers?
Marcus: Seeing fans from all over the world meet and become close friends because of what we made will never not blow us away. Three in particular - Jen, Jen, and Melissa - stand out. Three strangers united across seas and continents by one Twitter feed. Those guys have clocked up some serious road - and air - miles in the name of seeing us. And, genuinely, to think that we’re the reason that they first met is amazing.

Favourite memory with Thumpers?
Jack: SXSW 2014. We were brought out to Austin early to do some other shows, and then were put up all week in this house before SXSW really kicked in, and we just got to hang out, make music, play shows, and anything/everything seemed possible. They were also the first shows we played after people had heard the record which definitely changed what the gigs were like. Unforgettable.

Marcus: It’s hard to explain the camaraderie of being in a touring band (at its biggest a six-piece) as just one memory but the blend of those times is what affects me most when I look back. Ever grateful to those people who came with us on the road, or sang/played on records, or organised their roller derby/softball/step team to support us. And to Jack most of all.

Can you tell us about the EP? We hear the lyrics for "Life All In" have an interesting origin.
Marcus: Break It Down, the short story by Lydia Davis that was the inspiration for that song, just zeroes in on the feeling of being lost for explanations in the face of heartbreak so accurately. Nails it. The story stuck with me through the years since I first read it and finally this seemed like the song to pay some sort of homage to it, especially in the context of writing an album about breakup trauma in general.

Jack: This song has been around for maybe 10 years... we tried a version when we first started making music together for Thumpers in 2012 but it wasn't quite right… when we were touring in India and thinking about making more music for album two, a piano version of it came on shuffle and it finally made sense that it should be this sloooooowww thing, which is what it should have always been in turns out.

How did it all come together? Were these songs all part of the Whipped & Glazed sessions?
Jack: "Tenor" was from the album sessions, and was a song we really, really loved but it just didn't fit on the album with how we chose to sequence it - this has a way more dreamy feel to it. "World Removed (Reprise)" - the outro of "World Removed" from the album - was lifted from an abandoned song called "Bruising Hours" which again was a song that was recorded at the beginning of the life of Thumpers. Back then we recorded some friends of ours doing the strings part and so that, coupled with just the vocals we also recorded years ago, seemed like an interesting al.t version and a reason to come back to it for the EP. "Monolith" was a song I actually wrote (Marcus is the main songwriter on everything else) and was always meant to be for something that wasn't the album and on this EP it worked thematically with everything else.

What can people expect from the final show?
Marcus: We've got a few surprises... We're playing songs we've never played before live, plus maybe a guest spot here and there... don't want to ruin too much, but hopefully, it'll be a fitting way to end it.

What are each of your plans next? Are you still gonna be making music?
Jack: Doing anything creative consists of these huuuge, unbelievably exhilarating highs coupled with dark, intense lows, and we both just need time to reflect on everything without any expectation.

Marcus: I think enjoying a period of having no plans is the plan. Thumpers has been our life for the last six years, and being in bands has dominated generally for much longer. So being on the outside of one now is actually the more vulnerable place to be and we’re both excited to see what creative stuff that leads to.

Thumpers' final live date takes place at The Lexington on 23 February. Get tickets while you can.
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