Though their promotional photos paint them as a house band for a Suzanne Somers workout video, Lawrence's Thighmaster brand of catchy, surf-tinged garage rock strips away the kitsch and establishes them as one of the region's bands to watch. Their debut--Between the Knees and Squeeze--was released earlier this year on High Dive Records, and we spoke to the group about their formation, their unique sound, and their idiosyncratic taste in neon workout attire.
How did the group come together?
Jennifer (Drums): I think the group came together because Jake knows a lot of people who know a lot of people in the LFK music scene
Max (Vocals/Guitar): The group came together when me and Jake wanted to create a chiller version of garage rock/pop to balance out the heavier stuff we were playing in other bands. It started with us just meeting and playing guitars until riffs became songs. And as we added members the compositions just filled out and got gnarlier.
Jake (Guitar): Max and I's friend Sean who is the drummer for JC and the Nuns was talking about starting a band and naming it the <Delightfully Raunchy Play on the name of a 1990s Alternative Rock Band> and asked if Max I wanted to be in it. Max said, he would be in it if we played chill garage music, rename the band and if he could write all the music. I thought that sounded cool. So Max and I started getting together and writing songs that would later turn into Thighmaster.
Your sound features a unique blend of garage rock, surf rock, and classic pop. How did you land on that sound?
Jake: On purpose.
Max: Our sound comes from a desire to make fun retro pop/rock. We all have our own influences but we lean toward the surfy rock sound in this band.
Jennifer: I would say our sound was born out of the blend of people we have in the group. All of us have slightly different tastes in music and I think that shows through what we each add to the band.
Considering that many of the group’s members have been involved with other bands in Lawrence, how is Thighmaster different than the other projects you have been involved with?
Jake: How fast it came together. I've never been in a band that just clicked so fast.
Max: Thighmaster is different than other bands I've been in because I think we strive for power through simplicity. That is the more stripped down and basic we can make a hook or riff or lyric the harder it hits emotionally.
What does a typical songwriting session look like? Do you work together as a group or is everyone bringing different things to the table?
Jennifer: Typically one person has a riff they've been working on and everyone else listens and then jumps in when they feel it. If it sounds good, we record it so we can work on it later.
Jake: We work together. Usually Max or I will bring something to the group then we'll hash it out till it becomes a song.
What inspired the group’s 80’s-workout-video chic? Is this something that is at the heart of what Thighmaster is, or do you see your aesthetic evolving over time?
Jake: It just came naturally. After we decided on Thighmaster being our band name it was only natural to dress up in 80's work clothes.
Jennifer: I wouldn't say the workout chic is our forever aesthetic. We chose it because of our band name and because it was eye-catching for our album photos. We continued to dress up for shows to promote ourselves and the album. I'm sure any future albums will have their own unique aesthetic.