In this interview we talk to the man behind a project called DOUBTING THOMPSON, a Crossover Thrash project from
Fox Lake, Illinois.
Jeff Thompson has been doing music for a long time and came to do this new music with a classic sound and style.
His influences can be heard, but his songwriting style is all his own.
The raw sound of this project is refreshing yet at the same time, harkens back to the thrash heyday of the late 1980‘s.
Doubting Thompson has recently been signed to a label through Satanica Productions. Their new EP dropped on
November 24th. Read on!
Your sound is very raw, can you tell us why you chose that sound and how you came to that sound?
I guess you could say the rawness of the sound goes back to that thrash metal period of the late 80s that
inspired this project. I remember when the Big Four were all underground bands. It was exciting hearing all of
that stuff for the first time, you know, when all those bands were on small labels. It was a new sound, and it wasn't
getting a lot of exposure (if any) on MTV on the radio. Thrash was this underground thing that only you and a
handful of friends knew about. Just pure raw energy. I wasn't particularly trying to capture the production sound
of those albums from small labels with modest budgets. I guess it just came out that way. The main thing I was
after was to capture that energy.
You have some interesting songs. What can you tell us about the song "Death Descent of the
"Death Descent of the Lemmings" is a song about people in society being duped into voting against their own
interests. It's got some politics in there, but I don't think I wanted to be terribly obvious about it. Politicians know
their base and they know what to play up to get people on board. I think I also wanted to say something about
herd mentality in general, that kind of well so and so is doing this or supporting this so I'm going to jump on the
bandwagon. And at the end of the day people get screwed.
What was the recording process like for your latest material?
The recording process for the material I'm working on is the same as the first EP. It all starts off with a riff. The
whole thing gets structured around the idea for a riff and takes off from there.
The riffs, the rhythm guitars, that's what drive my music. I lay those down with a metronome so the timing's on point, then
everything else gets layered on from there. I save doing the solos for last because getting the rhythm guitars down properly is
hard work, but trying out different approaches for the solo is the fun part. At some point during this process a catchphrase or
song title will pop into my head and I'll start writing lyrics.
Please tell us about your songwriting methods
Like I was saying before, it usually starts off with a riff. I usually hear it in my head and at least
get that part down on an 8 track so I don't forget it. Then I'll play around with adding different
sections until I get something that sounds good. Sometimes the arrangement comes together
quickly, sometimes it's like pulling teeth. A lot of the time I'll get an idea for a riff and it takes a
lot of practice until I can execute it. I write a lot of stuff that's hard for me to play initially, so I
have to work at it. That keeps me from getting complacent. I don't want to get lazy and settle
into a comfort zone. As far as the lyrics go, once again, I'll usually get some phrase stuck in my
head and expand on it.
Tell about the other musicians on your recordings.
|Interview by Dave Henninger
Louis Cypher plays bass and Otis Firefly plays drums on the first Doubting Thompson EP. I brought them over
from Banshee Swans, my previous project so there's a continuity there. I think they were great for what we did
and we get along well on a personal level, which always helps. While I've been demoing material for the next EP,
they have been doing side projects. I'm liking the sound that's coming together for the forthcoming EP so I'm
heavily leaning towards handling all of the instrumental duties myself. I can assure you it's going to be a true
Doubting Thompson project because I'm the principal songwriter and producer, so there's going to be a
continuity there regardless of whoever is or isn't involved.
I would like to go back a bit into your history. How old were you when you got into music and how did
it all start?
I was 14 when I started to seriously apply myself to trying to play the guitar. I got sent home from music lessons
because learning to sight read music playing "Mary Had a Little Lamb" was boring to me. So yeah, I was kicked
out of guitar lessons. I learned how to play barre chords and started sitting in my room playing Black Sabbath
riffs. Someone at school told me about tablature and I started learning how to play songs properly - Zeppelin,
Floyd, Hendrix, and bands like Metallica and Slayer as well. I was in a cover band in high school and we used to
play all of that stuff at keg parties. I played with a friend's band that was doing the local club circuit, they had just
fallen out with a couple founding members so it was a kind of hired gun situation. I was playing in a jam band for
a while but I missed music that kicked a little harder. Ultimately, the thing that I always wanted to do is what I've
been doing in the last few years which is writing and recording original material. So now the biggest challenge I
face is getting it out there - getting it heard.
If you could hand pick a group of musicians (dead, alive, local or international) to make an album, who would you
choose and why? What kind of album would you make?
To be honest, although there are many musicians who I admire and would be thrilled to jam with, I really don’t have a “dream
lineup” for a Doubting Thompson project. To be honest, I’m really focused on the direction my music takes, so as far as the kind
of musicians I would enjoy collaborating with would be ones who could compliment the music and help me get my vision across.
So in short, I would just really like to have rock solid supporting musicians who could add their own style and talents to what I’m