MUSIC FEATURE: Five Minutes With…Thousand Below
Thousand Below have made the most of their time during lockdown, getting experimental on their new, stripped-back EP, let go of your love. Featuring four acoustic versions of tracks from their 2019 album Gone In Your Wake, as well as a brand new song titled let go of your love, the EP shows another side to the band which we’re very much on board with. We caught up with bassist Josh Billimoria to find out about Thousand Below‘s formation, influences, their upcoming plans and more.
Firstly, tell us a bit about yourself and your band.
Hey, I’m JB and I play bass in Thousand Below. We’re a four piece post-hardcore band from San Diego, California. Our new EP let go of your love was just released, and if you’re new to the band we also have two full-length records out on Rise Records.
How did the band form and how long have you been together?
The band started in the middle of 2015, so we’re about five years old now. James was in a metalcore band on Tragic Hero called Outlands, and they were about to call it quits. James and Josh (our guitarist) wanted to start a new project that was more in the post-hardcore vein, and they hit me up to play guitar originally as well. We had all known each other from playing shows together in the local scene, and Josh had also done photography and the album art for one of my old local bands. Eventually I moved to bass and the drummer from Outlands, Garret, also joined. We recorded four songs at a local studio and filmed the video for Tradition. We sent the video around to some of our industry friends. We ended up getting super lucky and found a manager who was interested and he got us a deal with Rise before we had even released a song. We had a very non-traditional start but we had all spent 5+ years in other bands grinding in our local scene and doing DIY tours.
Can you remember the first time you realised you wanted to make music?
One of the first albums I ever bought was Blink-182’s Enema Of The State. I remember listening to it on my old Walkman non-stop and thinking it would be the coolest thing ever to be able to be in a band and play music for a living. Mark Hoppus was a huge inspiration to me and that led me to beg my parents to buy me a bass guitar when I was in 7th grade. Ever since then music has been the only thing that has really mattered to me.
Who and what are the band’s main influences?
It’s changed quite a bit over the years. I think when we first started the band we were listening to a lot of throwback stuff from when we were in middle school. I was listening to a lot of MCR, The Used, Underoath, and Saosin during that time. We also loved bands like Northlane and wanted to blend in all the layering of lead guitars and production into the older post-hardcore sound. When writing the second album we were influenced by bands like The 1975, LANY, PVRIS, and The Midnight. This led to the more production heavy sound we added on Gone In Your Wake.
What do you aim to achieve as a band?
First and foremost our band has always been about putting as much emotion as possible into every song we write. For most of us the time around when we started the band was one of the hardest times in our lives. I think you can hear the desperation and pain in that record. The last couple years have definitely been challenging for us as well. We’ve dealt with a lot of loss, depression, and suicidal feelings recently. The vibe of our second record and new EP, Let Go Of Your Love, try to capture that feeling of hopelessness that we’ve been experiencing. We hope anyone who has had these experiences or feelings can listen to our songs and hopefully get some catharsis out of it.
For those who are yet to see you live, what can they expect from a Thousand Below show?
I’m pretty bummed out writing this because I really miss getting to play live haha. Since a lot of our music revolves around personal tragedy you can expect it to be a pretty emotional experience if you’re going through something. Playing songs about the losses we’ve faced helps us feel better about it, and I’ve talked to a lot of people after shows who say that experiencing it live and singing with us has helped them overcome feelings or negativity they’ve been holding onto. Even if you don’t have anything to be sad about, we try to make every set a fun experience and bring as much energy as we can.
What’s next for Thousand Below?
Since unfortunately we are unable to tour right now, we’ve been spending most of our time writing for our third album. We are all really excited about the direction and the new songs take our music to a whole new level. We also have a tour booked for March-April of 2021 with Normandie and Captives in Europe and the United Kingdom!
Thousand Below‘s new EP let go of your love is out now via Rise Records, available to stream or purchase HERE.