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“I was pretty candid on socials about how fucked my year was,” says Tuka, AKA Brendan Tuckerman. “I wasn’t going into extreme depths, but I think like a lot of people in 2016, it was a weird year. That being said, I think when bad things happen, art always rises to the top. It’s unfortunate, but a godsend at the same time. I think I have a lot of artillery now not only for the album that we’ve just written, but for the next, like, ten records. It was great working together every day, and to tell you the truth, the band is going better than ever, but our personal lives, everyone had some pretty big barriers come up, deaths or severe problems, which all came out in the record.”


Across Everyone We Know there are countless references seemingly drawn from life. It has always been one of Thundamentals strengths; inserting those kind of universal, everyday details to make a song seem somehow closer – more relatable for the sincerity and specificity of their lyrics – one of the most entertaining songs on the album, ‘Sally (feat. Mataya)’, is a prime example.


“That’s part of being authentic. That song is based on a real experience. I basically had this huge crush on this girl, and she just totally wasn’t having it. Then one night she rings me up really randomly and says ‘look, I’m at this club with some friends, you should come meet me’. And I was like, ‘sweet!’ And once we got dancing, she seriously danced like Elaine from Seinfeld. It was hilarious. But that said, she’s a very suave, beautiful person, she had heaps of style. It was almost a good attribute, it was showing her having fun and not caring whether she can dance or not. It was actually really attractive. I’m not trying to poke fun in the song, I’m more saying to be comfortable in your own skin. In all the songs, we like to try and make things feel inclusive. We think that everyone is feeling isolated in general now, because of technology and all the stresses to live. We’re trying to bring people together, hence the title, Everyone We Know.”


From outside the band, it seems like an appropriate album title for a variety of reasons. There is Tuka’s own insight into inclusiveness; there is also the album’s somewhat retrospective tone, looking back across not only the life of the band, but their own personal histories. There is also, of course, the hip hop staple of inviting the other artists you meet along the way to jump on board and make a song soar.


“We pretty much wrote all the top lines ourselves, where you have this voice in your head of what kind of character is going to say this narrative. Mostly, what’s in your head you can’t perform, and so then you have to go out and find who it is. But in that is the magic of creating some thing brand new that you still have half control of. There’s ‘Think About It’. When we wrote that, the chorus, I imagined a kind of Joy Division male vocalist there. But as we went along and couldn’t find the right voice, Peta & the Wolves kind of came up with her own awesome spin, and we thought, you know, when a song wants to go a different direction, you have to trust that sometime.”


Tuka isn’t the first artist to talk of songs having their own autonomy, nor will he be the last. But he comes across as truly sincere about needing to serve the song before serving how the band intended it to sound. The task is all the more difficult when they are each emerging from a difficult year, with no clear vision of what Everyone We Know would eventually resemble.


“You can’t think about it while you’re putting it together. These days when I go into a project I just accept that I don’t know what it is yet, and all of a sudden, after a couple of songs, a collage of themes start to appear. It’s really misty and you can’t see what it is, but the more you’re aware of that collage, the more attention you pay it, the more you start to see. You start moving things around, like, mixing up the track order, or working out how many times have I said ‘everyone we know’? How many characters are here that we could bring back later? Once you’re aware the collage is there, you can start getting deeper. You just move everything around until the pieces of the puzzle start making sense in your head. Communicating that to other people though, that’s another art in itself.”



Everyone We Know by Thundamentals is out now through High Depth.