Thomcords – Ripe for the hearing
By Gianna Dalla-Vecchia
7th December, 2013
According to Wikipedia, the term thomcord is defined as a seedless table grape. It is also commonly used when describing a type of wine. So why then would a group of musicians choose to name themselves the ‘Thomcords’?
I recently had the opportunity to sit down with a guy called Dennis Alberto – the lead singer of the Thomcords – a Melbourne based band with a funky fresh rock beat fused with a raw Latin sound.
When I asked Dennis about their band’s name, I found out that there’s much more to this local muso that meets the eye. This is why… Dennis explained to me that there are three reoccurring themes that appear in their music: “Life, love and God”.
Yes! ‘God’. This is something you don’t hear everyday and to be honest, I found it quite refreshing, as it’s rare to see somebody feel comfortable enough in sharing his or her faith in such an overtly secular world, regardless of one’s belief system.
Enough of me ranting; now back to the interview…
Dennis verified with me that the term ‘thomcord’ is linked to wine. “Wine is used for all occasions. It brings people together, most commonly when celebrating,” said Dennis. “In fact wine is also prominently used throughout Bible.”
“As you explore our music, you’ll see three reoccurring themes, our passion for life, love and faith. We felt that wine can fit in each of these categories – it’s fundamental to our style’.”
What is life like for The Thomcords behind the scenes?
The Thomcords is made up of three band members, Dennis, Daniel Hernandez and Ces Alberto, who happens to be Dennis’ older brother. In fact there used to be a fourth member, Nitin, their keyboard player, however, he sadly past away in November last year from cancer.
It wasn’t easy for Dennis to talk about Nitin, as he played an integral role in the band’s growth thus far. Dennis explained the devotion Nitin had for the band. Right up to his last days, Nitin spent time perfecting their first recorded song, entitled ‘Amazing’.
“Our first single, Amazing was produced and mixed by Nitin. He gave life to the song. He enabled it to tell a powerful story,” said Dennis. “We’ll never forget him.”
When not gigging, where can we find you guys?
The Thomcords officially got together in 2011, just after Dennis finished his Teaching degree. Once again the importance of ‘faith’ was brought up as he described what life was like when not performing. Three other F’s prominently featured: family, friends and most importantly, food.
“Family is very important to us. It unifies us. We regularly have barbecues together or watch a movie. We also regularly pray together. We’re very lucky as we have the same friends, so we often see each other at parties which is great.”
“Food is an integral part of the Thomcords too. We have a mini studio at the back on my parent’s house. Every Tuesday night, when we get together in the studio, while producing music, we’ll eat my mum’s awesome food. Her dishes inspire us to keep going!”
What was life like for you as you were growing up?
Life wasn’t always easy for Dennis. He was born in El Salvador. For those who don’t know, El Salvador is the smallest and most densely populated country in Central America and is known for civil unrest. As you could imagine, raising a young family would be an incredibly difficult task. With this said, in December 1987, Dennis along with his parents and siblings fled to Australia to start afresh.
“I was originally from El Salvador. However, a civil war broke out and it was becoming very dire. My parents decided to flee the country and move to Australia for a better life. We were granted refugee status upon arriving here. At the time I was only four years old.”
“We ended up living in Australia for five years. I had everything here. But then my parents decided to return to EL Salvador. It was so different returning to a developing country,” said Dennis. “At one point, my dad even had to leave home and work in another country to support the family. These tough times taught me to never give up and to fight for what I want.”
“We ended up returning to Australia in 1997. I have a real clear view of what’s important in life. I have experienced poverty and extreme hardship. I can clearly see having the best of everything isn’t everything at all. I keep reminding myself of my roots. It keeps me grounded.”
Where did your love for music originate?
One huge part of Dennis’ upbringing is his love for music, which was all thanks to his father.
“My dad loved listening to music. He had a huge and very broad collection of music. He actually used to be a disc jockey. He didn’t just listen to Latin music, but new music that was gaining popularity in the USA too.”
“I started song-writing whilst studying at high school, so I guess the music I listened to when growing up was then translated into the music I produced back then and has now influenced our sound today.”
What does each band member bring to the Thomcords?
Dennis, Ces and Daniel are all completely different, yet as the Thomcords, they complement each other very well.
“I have to say, I’m very good at hearing different melodies and lyrics,” said Dennis. “It changes depending on where I am in my life. I think we as a band always maintain an open mind and heart. New ideas are always appreciated. We bring our own various talents, personalities and musicianship to the band.”
“Ces is very good at writing music and melodies. And Daniel, well he has this groove imbedded within him. He always comes back to the music and stirs it up again.”
How do you define your sound?
When a band is asked to define their sound, they usually come back with an immediate answer. Well, for the Thomcords, it took them a few years.
“We really struggled in the beginning to define our sound. I guess we never wanted to define ourselves because we feared being stuck to that one definition. When we started recording, that’s when our prominent sound starting coming through – rock, funk and especially, Latin as it’s entrenched in our personalities and identity.”
Who is your musical inspiration?
What I love about the Thomcords is that they are inspired by such a vast array of recording artists.
“Our greatest inspiration is Michael Jackson. I remember the first album I bought was ‘Bad’ by Michael Jackson. I remember that feeling when I first heard it right through. When I listen to him, I visualise these amazing stories. He’s incredible,” said Dennis.
“We’re also inspired by Boys 2 Men, The Eagles, U2, Jamiroquai, The Red Hot Chilli Peppers; as well as the classics, The Beatles, Creedence and Fleetwood Mac.”
What’s your first single, ‘Amazing’ all about?
The Thomcords’ first single is called ‘Amazing’ and was written by Dennis around 10 years ago.
“Amazing was one of my earlier created songs. After I first wrote it, five years later I revisited it to perfect it. It’s a love song. It’s about a person reminiscing their past – the good, the bad and the ‘what ifs’.”
“The story behind the song relates to all of our lives in some way. In fact a guy recently said to me that he and his wife ended their marriage not too long ago and then he listened to our song and it helped him reflect on the decisions that he made during his marriage. The song transcends in breaking those barriers in many people’s lives.”
How would you describe your EP?
The Thomcords’ EP is entitled ‘All Roads Lead Home’ and features six songs.
“It’s a colourful palate featuring different stories and sounds. It has a solid balance of fun and seriousness. We are telling our stories in six different ways, as there are six very different songs. We just want people to press repeat. Life, love and faith – This is what fires us up.”
|'All Roads Lead Home' EP cover|
Where can we listen to you?
Did you know that the Thomcords are launching their very first EP tomorrow! Yep! It’s all happening this Sunday, the 8th December at The Evelyn Hotel in Fitzroy (Melbourne) at 2pm.
“We’re so excited for the launch! The EP is all pressed and mastered. We have around six songs on our EP, including our first single, Amazing.”
“For those who want to know more about us, our Facebook page is a great way to connect with us and to see what we’re up to. We’ve also got a website and Twitter account as well,” said Dennis. “Don’t worry, you’ll be able to find us online as we’re the only band that has this name, so we take up the first few pages of Google!”
“My wife Maria is our band manager. She’s been awesome in getting us some great gigs. We’re about to have a baby so we’re going to go into hibernation from mid December to February, but we will be back in full force in March!”
Where can you see yourselves heading in the future?
This is a question every band gets asked. But for a fan, it’s always good to know.
“I would love us to explore music even more. I reckon in five years, our sound will really develop. In the last couple of years, our sound has already changed so much. It’s really important that musicians change and develop their sound as the years go on – exploring new sounds and music is vital for growth,” said Dennis.
“We would also love to develop new relationships in the music scene and work with other bands and musicians out there.”
Pages leading to the Thomcords: