When I ask Thorington to describe his music in three words, he laughs and replies “I… don’t… know…” technically being three words, I accepted the answer with a smile myself. Although very, very, very broad… it is an accurate way to explain the densely electrifying soundscapes made by Thorington. It’s hard to narrow down specifically what it sounds like… INXS mixed with Prince…? It has the exciting new feeling of discovering a great new album, while also having the nostalgic joy of rediscovering an old album that you used to love. Thorington’s new project is an attack on the senses – strong guitar riffs powering through your headphones, with the enchanting keys of every favourite 70’s pop hit, and the cherry on top is his smooth vocals floating effortlessly through every track – all of this combining to create an electric intensity that is carried through the entire project. “I kind of always like there to be some sort of intensity, it’s not a very subtle project. Even the quieter songs still sound really intense to me, and feel really big” he says.
“It’s okay to just shut yourself away and work on your own. You don’t need to feel like you’re being selfish”
Thorington’s creative process consists of him sitting down at either some form of keyboard or guitar and just “noodling” until he plays something that gets him excited. Essentially, it is just messing around until the pieces of the puzzle fit together perfectly. “Usually I can tell when something gets me excited because as soon as I start playing with it, I can hear how the whole song is going to be” Thorington tells me “…and that feeling is really, really exciting! It is better than any kick from any drug, and it always has been.” The more excitement he finds within the idea, the better the song ends up sounding in every way. It is all very clear he says, not looking away from it until it is a finished song. “That’s why I prefer to record on my own a lot of the time… I don’t have to explain anything… sometimes it’s okay to just shut yourself away and work on your own. You don’t need to feel like you’re being selfish in nurturing an idea totally on your own.” he continues, “I often feel very guilty wanting to work on my own, however now I’m thinking even if it is, fuck it? Because that’s what benefits me the most emotionally and in my opinion that’s what gets my message across the best. It ensures that the music definitely sounds like me.” While speaking of influences, Thorington breaks it down into a few sections. He focuses on two prominent sections; the metal, and the pop. “Some of those primary influences in order of appearance in my life were Black Sabbath, System of a Down, and then moving into Prince, Stevie Wonder and all the offshoots of those guys too. All of the metal that came after Sabbath and System of a Down I loved it, and also everybody who tries to imitate Prince and Stevie Wonder I like, because I try to do that too. And I suck at it, but I try to do it. If there was to be one big influence that stands above all of the rest it would be Prince. He is definitely my number one influence in every way.”
Thorington’s lyrical style is fascinating, comical ways of describing pain or sadness, creating odd visions in my mind when listening. Most of his music is introspective without making it very obvious, he tells me. “I love vulnerable music, and I enjoy listening to it but I don’t enjoy listening to myself on vulnerable music. At this point in my life, I want the music I’m putting out to feel cool. I want it to give me a feeling of confidence and coolness. I feel like if I’m being way too transparent I don’t get that. So it’s a mixture of trying to be introspective, but still make it a little more cryptic and hard to read into.” While he describes his biggest lyrical influences Joni Mitchell & Steely Dan – a lot of the influence finding its way into his notebook comes from outside the music realm. A lot of his lyrics come from American comedian and writer Larry David, who famously co-created the U.S television show Seinfeld. “He has some really interesting, often over the top observations of society, and I really attach to that and I really wanted to bring that into the music in a way” It is evident in his lyrics this is true, observing certain circumstances with a chucklesome point of view. “That’s another thing – I don’t take myself too seriously with my lyrics, because once again that’s super hard for me to listen to, with myself… I love when other artists use very serious lyrics. But I could never face myself doing that.”
“I can tell when something gets me excited because as soon as I start playing, I can hear how the whole song is going to be.”
His upcoming project is an exploration of music, never properly fitting into any one category. Making music with such vast and contrasting influences, Thorington expresses to me the importance of exploring in music, and diving into waters you may not be entirely comfortable swimming in at first... “Showing people that it is possible for people to find quite a lot that they like across pretty much every single area of music, and I think we’ve been taught that’s not how it works… when why not?” he tells me… “This is one thing I’ve felt very strongly about since I was maybe thirteen or fourteen… I remember sitting on the bus with a bunch of friends with my headphones in. we were all mates who listened to rock and shit, and I was listening to Beyonce… and just fucking loving it. When one of them asked what I was listening to, and I said Beyonce, they found that weird… and it kind of started this series of realisations of people love deciding that they like one sound, and then sticking to it. They love sticking to one or a couple of things… which is fine, I get it… but I think a lot of the reasons why people choose not to listen to certain types of music is because that’s what you’ve been told by the industry… “People like this, so you will like this.” I want to say hey, I know that this doesn’t sound anything like country music, but that is directly where the inspiration came from, and I know this doesn’t sound like Korn, but that’s where I got the inspiration from. The whole thing with genre once again, I get it… I think it’s necessary to help consumption, however I don’t think it’s necessary to determine what you like. I think what’s necessary in deciding what you like is identifying sounds, and certain sounds feel like they’re bound to one genre but they’re not.” He hopes that this is the main take away from his project, “I guess I’ve recently become very open-minded about music, and I really hope that other people can do the same... it is fucking mean. It’s so fun.”
Listen to Thorington's last EP, 'Maybe They Love You' on Spotify below:
Thorington is featured in Tenner Magazine's 'Discover' issue - available to pre-order now!
Words by Oli Spencer
Thorington wears Beach Brains
Photography by Oli Spencer, shot over FaceTime