Posts Tagged ‘Danny Southwell’

Thyla

THYLA today bring the curtain down on their 2020 by offering us a look into how their 2021 is beginning to shape up. Locked away, like everyone else this year, the possibilities for a live show’s of any description were of course few and far between, if non-existent. When the chance for the Brighton band to film a live set at the city’s famous Green Door Store venue popped up, it provided the perfect opportunity to bring music from their long-awaited debut album into a live setting for the first time. In fact, this live version of new track “Dandelion” is the first song to be made available from the record.

Lead singer Millie Duthie offers these thoughts on the track: “Dandelion” is the angriest track on the album. It was written from a bass and drum instrumental jam which makes the rhythm section the focal point. Danny actually charted the drums out from the original phone recording and the parts were recorded identically on the album. The lyrical message of the track was inspired by work songs sung by female factory workers during WW2. The women used to sing to the repetitive rhythms of their monotonous labour as a way of coping.

First the heel and then the toe” is the first lyric of the song and it sums up our mantra entirely, keep putting one foot in front of the other and we’ll get there!”

Often found between the bric-a-brac and neon glow of their favourite Brighton drinking and planning den The Bee’s Mouth, as Thyla, Millie Duthie (vocals), Dan Hole (bass), Danny Southwell (drums) and Mitch Duce (guitar) find comfort in the sanctuary of their second home. Out of town, they craft explosive walls of sound from within a dock-side warehouse, culling and tailoring the sonic offspring with immaculate attention to detail.

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Self-released ‘Two Sense’ from Brighton’s Thyla is, as they say, possibly their “boldest cut yet.” Awash with dreamy guitars and sprightly, echoing percussion, ‘Two Sense’ follows the quartet’s debut EP ‘What’s On Your Mind?’ which was released earlier this year, and is the first track to come from their second EP, ‘Everything At Once’, due out early in 2020.

“’Two Sense’ is about the short-term sacrifices we make in order to create space for long-term gains,” explains frontwoman Millie Duthie. “It’s a song about growing up and claiming your right to self-determination. We’re really proud of the direction we’ve taken both in terms of the writing and production, it feels like our boldest cut yet; the vocals are purposefully front and centre and the message is clear.”

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Songwriters: Millie Duthie, Mitch Duce, Danny Southwell, Dan Hole

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After the release of their exceptional debut EP, What’s On Your Mind?, Brighton four-piece Thyla made their American debut at this year’s SXSW. The band performed misty guitar cuts like “Pristine Dream,” “Only Ever” and “Blue,” with enigmatic frontwoman/guitarist Millie Duthie at the helm of their lush dream-pop meets moody post-punk. With an impressively consistent discography thus far and an exuberant live show that does their cloudy atmospherics justice, Thyla have all the bearings of a band worth obsessing over.

Music towns like Brighton often come with a set of contrasts. They’re inspiring, because there are tons of artists milling around, collaborating, figuring out their voices alongside each other as they jump from band to band. You’ll always find one gig or another to go check out. But on the flipside, that means there’s that much more noise to cut through, that many other names from which you have to stand out. In the last year or so, one of those bands that has stood out from the local pack is Thyla, a group that’s putting their own spin on the tradition of dream-pop.

“It’s just crazy, every other person in Brighton is a musician,” Thyla frontwoman Millie Duthie says over a Skype conversation from her home in the seaside UK town. “It’s really competitive and sometimes it can get a bit catty, but you just have to stay above it, and then it’s amazing.”

Duthie who was actually born in the States before her family returned to the UK when she was a small child — is like a lot of other musicians in Brighton, in that she moved there with the explicit goal of being a musician. The same goes for her bandmates — drummer Danny Southwell, bassist Dan Hole, and guitarist Mitch Duce all of whom came from other parts of the UK and relocated to Brighton to attend the British And Irish Modern Music Institute (otherwise known as BIMM). That’s where Thyla came together in its earliest form: Duthie met Southwell on their very first day of school, and the genesis of the band goes back to when the two lived in the same house during their college years.

When they found each other, it was the result of years off exploring by themselves. Southwell, Hole, and Duce all grew up as musicians; Duthie started a little later, picking up a guitar at 16 and discovering she had an innate knack for songwriting despite lacking formal training or theory knowledge. All of them gigged around Brighton with other groups until their own project started to percolate. Duce, the latest addition, joined last year, a moment Duthie locates as Thyla truly coming into their own and beginning to feel a distinct forward momentum.

“Things didn’t really start moving for us until he really started gelling with the band and our sound developed a little bit,” Duthie remembers. “About a year ago, we started playing gigs and people started turning their heads rather than going ‘Oh, this band has loads of potential.’”

The band’s early days and growth have, thus far, been catalogued by an impressive series of singles that span early 2017 up to the present. Earlier tracks like “Pristine Dream,” “Ferris Wheels,” and “Tell Each Other Lies” took a lot of cues from dream-pop: aqueous-then-chiming guitars underpinning Duthie’s vocals, which could escalate from an elusive breeze to a gale-force wind in one beat. Oddly, you can find them compared to Interpol in some write-ups from the time, which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense — aside from the fact that, crucially, they injected a propulsive edge to their soaring dream-pop choruses by grounding them with hard end post-punk rhythms on occasion.

While Duthie still writes solo and sometimes brings a song to the band, she argues that their best material arises when it’s the four of them in a room jamming, ideas developing on the spot within minutes. “That’s where the magic happens,” she says. “You just have to hope for the best, but it’s where the coolest music comes from.”

Combined with the effect of a recently-expanded lineup and the new perspectives that inevitably come out of a fresh band dynamic, the result has been a slightly different aesthetic in their most recent work. Two months ago, Thyla returned with “I Was Biting,” a composition that still had shimmery guitars and Duthie’s voice swooping up into the stratosphere, but now paired those facets with a distorted, grunge-indebted churn — the fire to the air of Duthie’s voice, each element in tension with but also fueling the other.

That’s partially how Thyla concocted their latest single “Blame” as well. The most aggressive and hard-hitting single the band has released yet, it bears the mark of that specific energy — the energy not just of the four of them kicking up then containing a storm together in a room, but also of their intensifying live shows. “We wrote it out of a real want to go for it onstage, and we didn’t have the tune to facilitate that,” Duthie explains. “’Blame’ was written for the need of a live energy we didn’t have before.” She adds with a wry laugh: “It’s 170 [BPM], you could nearly call it drum n’ bass. It’s super fast and it’s wicked to play onstage.”

“Blame” still has traces of the more otherworldly moments in earlier Thyla singles, but there’s a new ferocity, a frantic forward charge and Duthie opting for vocals more percussive than parabolic. The tone of the song mirrors the fact that it came from a more furious and desperate place thematically, influenced by the anxiety and insecurity that can come with trying to make it as an artist and the more detrimental qualities of a music town like Brighton. “’Blame’ is the frustration of that, the pressure to be a specific type of person, to look or sound a specific type of way,” Duthie explains. “The chorus … it’s a bit extreme, but it sums up the attitude of ‘Ugh, what do I do. I know what I want to be doing, but I don’t know how to get there.’”

Topically, these are concepts Duthie often likes to traffic in elsewhere, too. “I tend to write a lot from insecurity, because I’m always scared that it’s not going to be good enough, because it’s all self-taught and a bit untamed,” she says. But she’s quick to point out that, by her estimation, a lot of Thyla’s music comes from a sad source yet counters itself with the brightness of its music.

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That’s often the unique quality of dreamy, ambiguous music: It can be what you need it to be in that moment. Out of any of the songs Thyla’s released so far, this might be most evident in the bursting chorus of “Tell Each Other Lies.” You can’t quite tell if it’s defiant, melancholic, or exultant. That’s where a lot of their music’s power is rooted. Whether it’s the burn-it-away catharsis of “Blame” and “I Was Biting” or the gleaming heights and pure beauty of “Pristine Dream” and “Tell Each Other Lies,” Thyla look inward to this emptiness, this feeling of not being good enough, and roar back to prove themselves worthy. “An answer to it,” as Duthie asserts.

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Accordingly, these singles have started to catch on, garnering Thyla a bit of buzz in their homeland, earning them some tour slots outside of Brighton’s local music scene. But they’re careful not to let any external pressure threaten the fragility of a still-sorta-nascent project that’s just now taking shape. There’s more music in the works — Duthie’s currently recording new demos — but it remains to be seen when Thyla may arrive with an EP or a full-fledged album. “An EP would be awesome, hopefully by the end of the year, but it just depends on whether we think we have the tunes to do it,” she says. “We’re not just gonna do it because someone thinks we should have an EP out. We want to make sure we have something to say.”

They might be proceeding with level heads, but they are also aware of, and feeding off of, the positive attention that’s been bubbling up around them. As Duthie puts it, there’s a “real cool energy” surrounding Thyla right now, which is the kind of gratifying encouragement you need at some point, the realization that toiling away on music while holding down a day job is worth it when people start responding to your work. Thyla might feel the hype, and want to capitalize on it, but they’re also not letting those reactions impact their focus. “You have to straddle it, and have confidence,” Duthie says of this moment in their early career. “It’s just sheer grind and hard work. Every second we get, we’re in the room writing music. Because that’s what we love doing.”

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Brighton dream-pop outfit THYLA are cementing their position as one of the UK’s most promising acts. They’ll be touring the UK this October, including dates in Manchester, London and Bristol.

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Brits pop quartet Thyla have unveiled an infectious new single today, “I Was Biting”

The up-and-coming, Brighton-based group have flirted with many different genres on their impressive slate of singles thus far: “Pristine Dream” with dark pop and glimmers of post-punk, “Tell Each Other Lies” with gloomy dream-pop, and their newest offering “I Was Biting” is a dazzling indie-pop tune, but it still contains remnants of Thyla’s trademark brooding atmosphere and commanding presence. Thyla majestically blend glassy distorted guitar tone with driving rhythms and lilting ethereal melodies; front women Millie Duthie brings crystal like beauty to Thyla’s blend of dynamic alt-rock. Herself, Danny Southwell, and Dan Hole met at college in early 2015 and found instant musical companionship but it wasn’t until guitarist Mitch Duce joined, that the band found their sound. 

The band’s magnetic frontwoman Millie Duthie sings of a desire to escape a world that revolves around capitalistic greed, and is constantly on the brink of imminent and monumental turmoil. (“I was biting the insides of my mouth / When I was trying to forget about / The dreams I’ve had,” she sings.)

Speaking about their new single, the band said: “I Was Biting” is about dystopian aspects of modern society and a discontent for it. We talk about a unanimous feeling of anxiety and a desire to live in a fictional state of our own dreams; to escape from the mundane routine and expectations of society.

Released 6th March 2018 via Rex Records

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