Five Records That Shaped Thornhill’s The Dark Pool

Subscribe to Mixdown Magazine

Five Records That Shaped Thornhill’s The Dark Pool

The Contortionist – Clairvoyant



During the recording process of Butterfly I was shown the studio video of ‘Language (Rediscovered)’ and I was blown away. The musicianship, the number of instruments and the songwriting was all just so unique and fresh to me. I hadn’t heard of The Contortionist prior to the Clairvoyant cycle so I did some back catalogue digging, but it was this new album’s sound that I really fell in love with. I think the main element that grabbed me was the progressive writing style that flowed so well, which is something that I have always strived for in my songwriting. I find this style much more interesting to listen to because you don’t really know what to expect from section to section. In saying that, sometimes this is very hard to achieve. Writing a whole bunch of random sections and pushing them together is easy, making those sections flow smoothly, whilst changing the mood just enough to justify the change, that’s the real art.


Thrice – Palms



Again, I hadn’t heard Thrice before this album. The first track I heard was ‘The Dark’ and it hooked me straight away. The combination of the super raw guitar and drum tones mixed with this cinematic, synth-based chorus was so epic. As I dove into the album, another element that really grabbed me was the use of analogue synths, particularly on ‘Only Us’. I had already discovered a bit of a love for this retro sound from absolutely smashing the Stranger Things series. This lead me to actually purchasing my first synthesizer which appears on most of the songs on The Dark Pool. Initially I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, it was a completely foreign territory to me. At first I was quite frustrated because in the past if I had an idea I could play it on guitar, punch some MIDI in or hum something to Jacob (vocals). In the end, getting my head around a completely different instrument was a really rewarding experience. I feel like I have broadened my horizons which is really important to me as a musician. I don’t think I will ever be 100% satisfied with a release so learning new things is really my best bet at getting as close as possible.


Jordan Rakei – Wallflower 



I randomly discovered Jordan’s music on Spotify one day, and immediately I got this modern, jazz-y, synth-y, Jeff Buckley vibe that had my name all over it. I grew up with Jeff Buckley’s Grace which is also a massively important album to me, but this was something fresh and inspiring. Structurally it’s relatively straight forward, with repeating choruses, verses and a big change up in the bridge. However, I found that this was a perfect example of less is more. The parts themselves were so unique and creative that I was not disappointed if and when they repeated. The mix of this alternative, jazz, R&B sound was just so refreshing and unlike anything I had heard before. Similar to Jeff Buckley, it was his ability to change the mood of a song so suddenly yet so smoothly that really got my attention. Two contrasting melodies that you would initially think could never work in the one song, somehow melted together like butter. It’s something I wish I did more of on The Dark Pool and something I plan to focus on more for Thornhill’s future releases.


Arcane Roots – Melancholia Hymns



Something I have always enjoyed listening to and wanted to achieve in my own material is really embracing the different genres I’m influenced by. Doing this in small doses is easy enough, but I think this band does it extremely well and intelligently, which grabbed my attention straight off the bat. I picked up a Radiohead flavour straight away in the vocals and chord progressions but these guys really made it their own. This album was a little different in terms of influencing me. There weren’t really certain sections where I was like “wow this is the craziest thing I’ve ever heard”, I was more influenced by their approach to an LP and just being a band in general. They left themselves so open to do anything they wanted which I have the utmost respect for. I feel like a lot of bands (including Thornhill at times) get stuck in the one genre or sound because they feel like they have to, when really there is so much more they want to do with their material. Obviously, this is easier said than done but again, it’s something that really opened my eyes and changed my outlook on what I write.


Structures – Life Through A Window



So many people looked past this album when it came out, but in my opinion it is one of the most underrated heavy releases in the last ten years. It feels like there’s only so much you can do in metalcore whilst still keeping it metalcore. For example, you can have some big octave riffs, breakdowns and throw in a fresh part to add a point of difference that isn’t really the same genre. These guys just took those riffs and breakdowns and did it better than anyone else at the time and I found this release extremely refreshing because of that. How they were able to keep the guitars so technical whilst still being tasteful and cohesive just blew my mind. It’s unlike anything else that has come out of this genre in a damn long time.



The Dark Pool is out Friday October 25 via UNFD.