Under the Influence: Thumpasaurus

Ahead of their shows at this year's Edinburgh Festival Fringe, funk five-piece Thumpasaurus share ten of the albums that have influenced their style

Feature by Thumpasaurus | 04 Aug 2017
  • Thumpasaurus

They are, by their own estimations, "too funky for their motherfucking grandma", and now the LA-based "funk-punk" five piece have made their way to the Edinburgh Fringe to bring the funk to the good people of the world's largest arts festival. Ahead of a run of shows at Underbelly, the band – saxophonist Henry Solomon, guitarist Lucas Tamaren, keyboardist Paul Cornish, drummer Henry Was and bassist Logan Kane – share an insight into the albums that have influenced them. As you might expect, it's a diverse list; check out a Spotify playlist of tracks from their selections in the player below.

Captain Beefheart – Trout Mask Replica [1969, Straight]

This record is our absurdist mother, in the sense that it literally created a context for us to explore to outer realms of what makes sense and what doesn't. On this record Captain Beefheart created an intensely complex yet somehow improvisatory web of colours that flow together like an infinite painting that's also a mirror into your insides. Trout Mask Replica is the complete story of a world hung from a coat hanger born from the most intense complexity of abstraction, something we strive for in everything we do as a band. [Logan Kane]

Black Flag – My War [1984, SST]

This record sets off the magic fireworks in our brain from the first note (you know the ones). Henry Rollins holds nothing back on this project, delving deep into the truth of his insides. Blistering tempos and the most blaring of volumes are heard here in frightening support of Rollins' intrepid adventure into honesty and rage. [LK]

Duke Ellington – The Far East Suite [1967, RCA]

This album is influential for us because of Duke Ellington's genius orchestration, and his ability to defy the traditional roles of instruments. One thing we frequently experiment with in Thump is using baritone saxophone in more of a bass role, which Ellington often does. He also writes giving the baritone melodic lines, writing notes in the upper register that are voiced above the higher saxophones. This type of orchestration was a huge inspiration for us in determining what roles all of our instruments play. [Henry Solomon]

Robert Glasper – Double-Booked [2009, Blue Note]

This artist kind of started it all for me in terms of thinking about unashamedly combining all the styles of music I love together with jazz. While many jazz artists protest this idea, Glasper fully embraces these two worlds and that is epitomised on this album, as the first half of the album is more straight ahead with an acoustic trio, and the second half mixes in soul, R&B and hip-hop. [Paul Cornish]

Donny Hathaway – Live [1972, Atlantic]

The band's pocket on this album is incredible. Donny is singing and playing wurlitzer at the same time on a level that is rarely heard. He also covers some of my favourite songs on this album and makes them his own, including What's Going On by Marvin Gaye. [PC]

Jimi Hendrix – Band of Gypsys [1970, Capitol]

Hendrix uses his guitar as a vessel to channel this raw primal and spiritual energy that, within his sound, rips from outer levels of space to our present world. [Lucas Tamaren]

KNOWER – Think Thoughts [2011, self release]

KNOWER is a huge inspiration for us, because of their artistic fearlessness and willingness to "go there" even with the most challenging, thought provoking, and disturbing subjects. Not only are they two of the most badass musicians on the planet, but they cover the entire spectrum of artistry, doing all of their music, production, animation, live visuals, and artwork all themselves. [HS]

Parliament – Mothership Connection [1975, Casablanca]

This is what it means to groove. A philosophy of groove and funk fully realised with the perfect amount of absurd. This is how I want to live my life. [LT]

Talking Heads – Stop Making Sense [1984, Sire]

In our opinion, this is the best live show recording of all time (except for maybe The Last Waltz by The Band). The combination of visual and musical arcs leave us in awe with every pass. This show represents the bar for presenting not only music, but a musical identity and ideology – something we have strived for since learning about the Book of Thump. [Henry Was]

Was (Not Was) – What Up, Dog? [1988, Chrysalis]

Though I'm the son of Was (Not Was)’s Don Was, we actually had no idea that we shared so much in terms of musical direction and inspiration. When we went back and checked out this record we realized that we were actually picking up the mantle of Was (not Was), which had descended through so many bands (like the Talking Heads) that we’ve listened to and loved. We feel like we are the next in their lineage (and in one sense, we literally are). [HW]


Thumpasaurus @ Underbelly Cowgate, 5, 10-12, 17-19 & 24-27 Aug, 12.15am, £5. Follow Thumpasaurus on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

http://thumpasaurus.bandcamp.com