When songwriter and guitarist Ryan Reidy left now-defunct Indianapolis punk band Ari Ari, he’d already begun writing material for what would become Thunders’ “The Sympathetic Oscillations EP.” Recorded in six different houses in three different cities, the EP is Reidy’s attempt to recapture the Motown, Iggy Pop, David Bowie and Jesus and Mary Chain sounds he loves.
“I was stealing from everything I've ever liked,” Reidy said. “And because I was doing the record by myself I also had producer influences ..."
It’s been a banner year for the bedroom recording. Bon Iver scored big with his hushed folk album “For Emma, Long Ago,” which helped propel the singer to wider acclaim. Because recording technology has gotten cheaper, DIY musicians have been able to avoid purchasing studio time, allowing them to take control of their own destinies without sacrificing the fidelity of their music.
For Reidy, recording at home was a matter of practicality. Reidy was the only one available to record, and like most musicians, paying for studio time was unrealistic. His situation helped shape the album.
Reidy had help. As he recorded, he sent tracks to former Brazil guitarist Aaron Smith and played songs he was writing to Margot and the Nuclear So & So’s guitarist Andy Fry. While not entirely collaborative, the input left an indelible mark on the recording.
After the album was recorded, Reidy recruited bassist Brian Allen, guitarist Mark Tester and drummer Tony Beemer to join the band (originally named Sisters, but now recently coined Thunders for fear of copyright infringement). They set out reimagining the EP for the live show, adding new parts and stripping the album’s multiple guitar tracks to two.
“It's not that we wanted to rethink the songs,” Reidy said. “It's that we had to. I've found when you do things like that, you need to find the essence of the song and go from there. Sometimes the results are dramatically different, and that can be exciting."