PHOTOS AND REVIEW BY: ALLEEN HUGHES
Old friends, new band, different approach, well done. These are the few phrases I can think of when referring to being there for Thousand Below’s first show as a band at the legendary Chain Reaction on 03/03/17. I was able to snag a few minutes with vocalist James DeBerg after their set and got some answers to questions on everyone’s minds about this newly signed band to Rise Records. Let’s do this by breaking down each phrase so you can understand what I mean.
Old Friends…I know James and Garrett (drums) from their previous band Outlands (Tragic Hero Records). Here is a little back story on Outlands for those who have never heard of them. Outlands was a metal core band from San Diego that signed to Tragic Hero Records in 2015 and released their LP “Grave Mind” that same year. The band parted ways with each other and with Tragic Hero Records in 2016. I asked James about what happened and he had nothing but humble things to say about them coming to a close in 2016. He starts off by saying “our album didn’t sell as much as we hoped it was going to. We had some disagreements with Tragic Hero, nothing bad or sketchy; we had some ideas and they had some ideas about what was going to happen in the future and it didn’t line up and so we made the decision to mutually go our separate ways.” He continued with “No bad blood at all, they’re super nice, super awesome and we thank them for giving us a chance and everything but things have to line up for them to work.”
New band…Once Outlands had concluded James says he paired up with Josh Thomas (guitar/vocals) to begin what is now Thousand Below with Devin Vermuelen (guitar, ex-BLINDWISH) Josh Billimoria (bass) and Garrett (drums, ex-OUTLANDS). So how does a band have only one single out and be playing their first show but is already locked in and signed with Rise Records? By playing it smart and by doing it fast. Once instrumentals and vocals were paired up James says “we made a website, recorded a music video for ‘Tradition’ and we started sending it around; we got a manager who was super interested, and we had some immediate record label interests right of the bat and the people that seemed the most interested was Rise so after that it went pretty fast.”
Different approach…Given that I’ve had a back history with some of the members of Thousand Below, I have seen them play in a completely different style and a different presentation. This is the first time James changed his singing to include clean vocals with his ever so powerful screams. Those clean vocals are beneficial for Thousand Below because that is what is taking back over now. Appealing to multiple genres in the industry creating a strong and diverse fan base that can come together for the sake of the music. Heavier guitar riffs, deeper bass compliments and catchy vocals are what shows the full transition of leaving Outlands behind and moving forward with Thousand Below.
Well done…doesn’t that phrase speak for itself? This exact sound that comes from Thousand Below is my favorite when it comes to post/hardcore. Smooth enough vocals that make you want to move and sing but also deep hitting drums matched with heavy bass tones that will make the crowd move. The only thing I wish that could have been better for this night was a better pairing with the rest of the line up. Since Thousand Below’s name is still fresh on everyone’s lips, most of the crowd was there in support for the other bands and we’re unsure of Thousand Below at the start of their set. But like I said that was at only the start, the crowd eventually warmed up showing support. This just goes to show that this band has that sound that can do that to people who don’t know who they even are just yet. There was however a good amount of people that came just in support of them which is great to see for a band’s first show who are more than 100 miles from their hometown.
So what can we expect in the future from Thousand Below? As far as music goes, James says “we have a full 11 song album done that we are not allowed to release until we have a tour to release it on.” As far as a tour locked in at the moment, James continued with “we have something in the works but nothing is set in stone until its set in stone. As of right now I want to shoot for mid to late summer for that. That’s my goal.” So keep your ears and eyes open on these guys for bigger things coming this year that couldn’t yet be revealed.
Did you miss Thousand Below at Chain Reaction? The guys will be playing their hometown show at Soma in San Diego on March 9th opening for the “Everything Was Sound” tour with Silent Planet, Hail The Sun, Dayseeker, and Ghost Key.