Meet The Band: Thousand Below

Thousand BelowThis week’s Meet The Band features southern California’s Thousand Below. The post hardcore/post rock quintet’s debut album is The Love You Let Too Close. Vocalist James DeBerg introduces us to his band.

Chad Bowar: Give us a brief history of Thousand Below.
James DeBerg: The history of Thousand Below doesn’t run that far back. We’ve all been friends for a long time, but were always in different bands playing shows with each other or just seeing each other at parties and whatnot. All of the bands we were in kinda started going off in different directions we weren’t happy with and the timing just sort of worked out. Me and Josh our guitar player started working on a couple songs and got the other guys involved. We recorded more, made a press kit, and sent it around to some friends of mine in the music industry and people liked the music. It all sort of just snowballed from there.

Describe the songwriting and recording process for The Love You Let Too Close.
We’re one of those bands where every member contributes an equal share to the songwriting process. We all respect each other’s ideas and try to meet in the middle at a point where we’re all happy with the song, while at the same time feeling that listeners will enjoy it. Our goal is to make people experience the feeling and emotion we put into the songs, so we team up and do our best to accomplish that.

What inspired the album title?
One of the underlying themes of the record is the way love can change a person, sometimes to a point of making, or quite literally breaking a person. The main and more literal focus of the record is a darker subject but The Love you Let Too Close felt poetic, descriptively correct, and broad enough to open up the mental discussion the record attempts to create.

How would you characterize the album’s style/sound?
We tried to take as much influence from the old school post-hardcore legends we grew up listening to like Underoath, and mix in a sort of post-rock vibe similar to what Bring Me The Horizon is doing now. You’re Only Chasing Safety by Underoath and That’s The Spirit by Bring Me The Horizon were heavily in rotation during the creation of our album.

How did you come to sign with Rise Records?
We wanted to sign with the label that was the most excited about us. We had a few different labels interested in the very beginning but Rise seemed the most excited to work with us, and were very open to letting us freely express the artistic vision we had for our band.

What are your goals and expectations for the record?
We just want as many people to hear the music and hopefully be able to connect with the emotion we put into the songs. Connecting to the feeling and message of a record is a very powerful thing. The Love You Let Too Close is about pain, loss, coping mechanisms, love and transition periods at a damaged time of my life. We just want people to have an outlet of connection to those things.

What has the response been to the songs you’ve released so far?
Beyond our comprehension. We really hoped people would like the songs and felt very confident releasing the music we’ve put out so far, but we had no idea it would receive this much traction so fast. Rise Records giving us such an amazing platform to release our record is such a blessing. We feel like we’ve been received really well by their fanbase.

What has been your most memorable Thousand Below live show?
We’re on the No Sun No Moon tour with The Devil Wears Prada, Veil of Maya and Silent Planet right now, so just about every conscious moment of this tour has been insane for us. The quality of musicians we are playing with makes everything very intense and exciting for us. Night one of the tour was an absolute trip.

Do you have any tours lined up after your run with TDWP?
We’ve got some things in the works, nothing locked in yet but once the record comes out and has been out for a little bit we should have a good idea of who we’re hitting the road with next.

How did you get started in music?
I got dragged to a show at a venue called SOMA in San Diego. Watched The Devil Wears Prada play when they were touring for their <em<>With Roots Above and Branches Below album for the first time and I was hooked. I had never listened to them before and I was blown away. I went to Guitar Center and bought a microphone the next day.

Who were your early influences and inspirations?
TDWP and old I Killed the Prom Queen back when Ed Butcher was in the band.

What’s the heavy music scene like in San Diego these days?
It used to be absolutely insane. Back when we were all in different local bands the scene used to be so tight-knit and every single local show was sold out no matter what bands played. SOMA was a place to connect with people and feel a part of the SD music scene. I made so many lifelong friends there. Not sure what happened, but I feel like that sense of community has faltered a little bit, the shows don’t do as well as they used to back in the day. But there are still some amazing musicians working on stuff in San Diego. Just not as exciting as it used to be.

Seen any good movies/DVDs lately?
Goon 2 was absolutely amazing.

What’s currently in your heavy musical rotation?
I really don’t listen to that much heavy music anymore other than Counterparts, Capsize, and the new Prada record. I listen to a ton of Drake and bands like Turnover, Balance & Composure, The Story So Far, etc.

Anything else you’d like to mention or promote?
Just a huge freaking shoutout to everyone at Rise Records, our manager Jason, and our agent Eric for helping us get to where we are today, and helping us release this record in the best way possible. Our dreams are coming true out here on this tour and we wouldn’t be able to do all of this without them. Also shoutout to The Devil Wears Prada for having us on this insane tour, it’s been absolutely mental.

(interview published October 7, 2017)

Watch Thousand Below – “Sleepless” Video

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