The all-girl rock and roll band from Sweden is comprised of five ladies that all share a common love of music — specifically rock and roll. Earlier this year, musicians Clare Cunningham (vocals), Filippa Nassil (lead guitar), Giorgia Carteri (rhythym guitar), Linda Strom (bass), and Tilda Stenqvist (drums) signed with Despotz Records for the release of their album Road Fever due out next month.
Formed in 2010, these girls have worked hard in promoting their music having spent countless hours practicing, performing, and touring to hone their skills into what is sure to become a band that will make their mark in rock and roll.
Having garnered the attention of Despotz Records, Thundermother earlier this year released their first single “It’s Just A Tease” from their upcoming album, as well as following up with the release of the Official Music Video in June.
The band took the time between shows to fill is in on how the band was formed, their songwriting process, their individual backgrounds and inspirations in music, and what we can expect from their new music — which is a lot of rock and roll.
GGM: Thundermother was formed in 2010 with some of the band members from different countries throughout Europe. From Sweden, Ireland and Italy, how did you find each other and form the band?
Band Rep: Bit of a long story this one but a very common question!!
Filippa Nässil, lead guitarist, had been in various bands but in 2010 she joined forces with rhythm guitarist Giorgia Cateri, originally from Italy (then living in Sweden) having met her at a party. That day Giorgia was going to sell her guitar, but Filippa told her not to and insisted she meet with her the next day for a jam. The start of the real future for TM began! Having gone through a few different line-up changes the girls had great success with the band. The biggest to date was when TM were billed to open up ‘Metaltown’ 2013. Problem was they were 3 members short, having gone through another change up, and only 1 month to find new members!! No pressure! The girls then teamed up with old friends, bassist Linda Ström, and drummer Tilda Stenqvist. All they needed was a singer. Having scouted through many videos on YouTube, they found their woman!! Clare Cunningham, lead singer, originally from Ireland.
The girls met for the first time the day before the festival, clicked straight away, had one very quick rehearsal and it was off to play their biggest show of their musical careers!! The rest is history….
GGM: For each of the band members, can you tell us about your background in music?
Clare: Music was always a huge part of my upbringing. From a very young age music was all I ever wanted to do. In fact, my mother has since told me when I was only 5 years old I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up and my answer was ‘A rockstar’! My first public performance was in church for my school at 7 years of age. At this time I started learning the piano and continued through all my classical grades until the age of 16 when I received a guitar for Christmas and self-taught and still play today (but not in TM)! It was at this age I started songwriting, also. My education includes a National BTEC diploma in popular music performance and technology and a BA Hons degree in popular music performance and technology.
Tilda: My parents have told me that I could sing before I could talk, so I’ve been into music since I was a child. Between the age of 10-15 I went to a music school where we had music education every day (singing, etc.). After this I went to a music and entertainment high school in Stockholm called Rytmus (where I met Filippa). Except drums I play guitar and piano, I also write my own songs.
Giorgia: I started to play my dad’s classical guitar when I was 14. Then when I started to listen to metal, blues and classic rock, I bought my first electric guitar. I was 16. I used to spend my weekly pocket-money or work in the summer in the vineyards in my hometown in Italy just to buy guitar tabs of my fav bands, cassettes and a crappy stereo system so I could take down chords and solos. Had to throw away many cassettes cause they got so worn out (haha) but I was the world’s happiest girl when after many hours of practicing I was able to reproduce the songs I loved. I have no musical education but I put in lots of dedication and passion.
Linda: For me, music has always been there. My grandfather was playing in a bigger band here in Sweden and always wanted the others to start play something. But my biggest interest was singing then. When I graduated high school, I wanted a bass and I got one as a gift from my parents. That’s when I started to play and have been in different bands since then.
Filippa: I’ve beenwWriting songs since the age of 13 in Tomelilla, Skåne. I went to music school when I was 11 and then continued to the age of 15. When I was 16, I moved from home and studied the electric guitar in Rytmus (The Music Conservatory of Stockholm). In university, I became a music producer where I studied music production. Now I own my own record label, I write songs on a regular basis and play more guitar than ever. I always try to develop my skills and I’ve been to Africa and learned the instruments of Senegal for example. I will play ’til the day I die, probably on stage (haha).
GGM: Again, for each of you, who were your early musical influences?
Clare: Coming from Ireland I have been highly influenced by country, folk and Irish music. Artists like Christy Moore, The Cranberries, Fleetwood Mac, etc. My father got me into a lot of the classic rock, always playing artists like T-Rex, CCR, AC/DC and Led Zeppelin on car journeys! But as a young 8 year old, I loved Alanis Morrisette! She was my first cassette!
Giorgia: Metallica, Deep Purple, Jimi Hendrix, Creedence Clearwater Revival…
Tilda: I have many early musical influences. All from Robyn (Swedish pop singer) to Red Hot Chili Peppers. There’s so much good music in almost all genres, so I can’t say just one that’s had extra influence on me.
Linda: My dad listened to Queen, CCR, Aerosmith, Pink Floyd, ZZ Top and Led Zeppelin, so I grew up with that kind of music and liked it.
Filippa: AC/DC since the age of 13. Also, Ozzy and Rage Against The Machine were huge influences for me in these early years. Before I played guitar, I was a professional nyckelharps player. It is a Swedish folk instrument.
GGM: For Filippa, Giorgia and Linda, did you take formal music lessons and what advice would you give to beginning students?
Giorgia: I took only an “informal” guitar lesson from Filippa a few years ago. I was very nervous and feeling insecure (haha)! As I mentioned earlier, I am a self-taught musician, I started playing guitar when I was 14. I used to spend my weekly pocket-money in buying guitar tab books of my fav bands, cassettes, and a crappy stereo system so I could take down chords and solos. Had to throw away many cassettes ‘cause they got so worn out, but I was the world’s happiest girl when after many hours of practicing I was able to reproduce the songs I loved. My advice to beginners that are going to take music lessons is to always believe in yourself, never get discouraged and practice a lot and the magic happens. It’s good to be ambitious and set a goal but make sure you have FUN while getting there. Oh and practice. Again and again 🙂
Linda : I took one or two classes when I started to play, otherwise nothing, only self-taught. The only advice is to have fun, you don’t have to know every scale or go to classes – start up a band and play together with others and have fun, that’s all you need and you will learn a lot!
Filippa : Yes since the age of 7. I’ve taken classes for more than 10 years and still do it sometimes. Nowadays, I teach guitar for kids and adults in Studiefrämjandet, Stockholm.
GGM: You recently signed with Despotz Records releasing your single “It’s Just a Tease” and will be releasing your sophomore album later this year. Share with us a little about your new single and what we can expect on your upcoming album?
Clare: ‘It’s Just a Tease’ is such a fun song. In a nutshell, it simply is about teasing and flirting!
The new album is definitely got a heavier drive to it! It’s not so ‘AC/DC’ sounding as the first. More rock ‘n’ roll for sure! Very punchy! But still with a classic feel.
GGM: As a band, how do you approach the songwriting process?
Clare: As five individuals, we are all writers, but in TM, Filippa makes the demos at home and then presents them to us! It works really well!
GGM” You keep a pretty grueling tour schedule and you’ve got an upcoming European tour later this year as well as some festivals. Obviously, your music is a priority, but there are other things in your life like family, friends, practice, sleep??? How do you prioritize your schedule to keep your sanity?
Clare: I keep majorly fit! Helps with all the jumping around we do on stage (haha)! I lead a crazy lifestyle as I tour a lot with my solo stuff, too, so keeping fit keeps my mind focused! Unfortunately all my family are either in Ireland or abroad but I have a lot of friends here (including my 4 besties – the band!) in Sweden that I love to hang out with, and as for sleep…I’ll sleep when I’m dead!!
Giorgia: Yes and also everyone has a daily job! So we are often on a “stressy” schedule, and sometimes there is little time left for friends/family. Luckily we are a very tied-up bunch of girls, we support and help each other, and have fun together! We learned how to keep the happiness and good harmony during tough moments. At the end we’re on the same ship so friendship and team work is very important to keep the sanity in the band!
Tilda: What I prioritize when we’re not touring is definitely friends and family. I try to spend as much time as possible with them when we are home.
Linda: You have to decide what’s important for you, for me it’s very important to come home and breathe between shows and tours. Have time to work out, relax and sleep in your own bed.
Filippa: I am a bit insane but I think that is good for inspiration (haha)! I also feel attracted to hang out with crazy people because they are more fun and interesting then “normal” people. Other than that, I need some days a week when I do absolutely nothing at all, to keep my balance. It’s a struggle for me every day to keep it. But I can’t live without all my projects because I need to be challenged in life and in music – otherwise I loose purpose.
For more on Thundermother and their new music, check their website HERE.
Cover Photo credit: Linda Pettersson