boys of thunder
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boys of thunder

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"A Storm is Coming..."

Staff Writer
An augmented beam of light streams into a poorly lit apartment room. Gothic style paintings hang on each opposing wall, with a relaxed ambiance controlling the room.
They sit across from each other, separated by a footstool and a cloud of soft gray smoke.
These seemingly opposite characters come together under a common allegiance; they are the anti-Hip Hop Heroes. Well, according to them that is.
James Brown a.k.a. P.O.E. (the Poetically Organized Entity) and Matt Barrett a.k.a. MC Custom Matty B are the microphone man-handlers known as, the Boys of Thunder.
Brown, a thick beard and curled blond locks tucked underneath a black toque, reminisces on how he and Barrett met.
“We are both poets who met at work, but had different musical styles,” says Brown.
A tattooed Barrett further recollects on the initial meeting.
“Working in the truck we used to mess around and sing back and forth to one another,” he says.
This eventually led to the naming of the group.
“It actually started as an inside joke. James used to sing Don Henley’s Boys of Summer and then we would mix it up with Tom Cruises’ Days of Thunder. It was only supposed to be a joke, but when we decided to become a band we just had no choice, it stuck,” says Barrett
Two years later, the BOT released a 6-track demo aptly titled, The Anti-Hip Hop Heroes. An electronically balanced sound combined with reverberating bass lines can suitably define the group’s style.
“It’s funny, says Brown, “we don’t even look at our music as hip hop, but it actually is hip hop. We don’t even really listen to it [hip-hop music], but it just comes naturally to us. Our stuff reads as poetry. Take out the expletives and that’s how it would sound if you were to read it.”
Barrett mentions their musical influences.
Ranging from punk to metal, “hardly any hip hop though, maybe an Eminem track every month,” Barrett says honestly.
Last year, three months after completing their demo, the group was approached about an opportunity to join in a hip-hop venue. Absinthe, a bar in Hamilton, had been pitched the idea for a hip-hop variety show by a promoter named, Kris Octane.
Since their first show, these two unconventional hip hoppers have performed numerous venues in Hamilton. They even organized a rock/metal/hip hop show. This helped extend their fan base; simultaneously complimenting myspace, another communication tool that’s helped in the bands success.
“You can only get so many people out to a 19 plus show and we have a lot of fans that are under 19, who would have no idea who we were if it weren’t for myspace,” say the two in unison.
They also mention that every time they play a show, they gain new fans.
“Everyone seems to love us. Our friends have been extremely supportive, they’re like an army,” says Barrett. “We come down from the stage and people we don’t even know give us high fives and tell us how amazing we are.”
What’s next for the BOT?
“We have songs for a full length album,” says Brown, “but we’re kind of bidding our time to see what happens with our little demo.”
“Ultimately we don’t want to have to pay for studio time. I’ve been looking into record labels,” says Barrett.
The BOT have three shows scheduled for February. February 3 at Absinthe in Hamilton, February10 at the YMCA in Hamilton (this is an all ages show) and February 17 at the Casbah in Hamilton.
For further information on the group, go to - Niagara News

"Boys of Thunder Break the Mold"

> 1. How did Boys of Thunder come to be?

The Boys of Thunder came to be just after we started working together unloading trucks in the night. We grew up listening to similar music, mostly a lot of punk and ska. We would sing along and chat about our own musical endeavours. He told me about myspace and we checked out eachother's songs. Matty was making experimental industrial as Suffocate the Stars and I was rapping over top of other people's beats and dabbling in making my own. We decided it would be cool to mix our styles since neither of us had heard anything like that before. The rest writes itself. We did a song called "the deathblow" where we killed eachother in our verses, we liked it and never looked back.

> 2. What inspires your lyrics?
Fluffy kittens mostly.

Our lyrics come from our frustrations. We both work night shift and it's cold and it's hard and just awful so we write songs that are about having had enough of that. There are others that are satirical. Some are angry. It's a lot of venting from verse to verse.

> 3. What inspires you musically?

Fluffy kittens mostly. Musically we're inspired by the desire to keep things fresh and to keep getting better. We want to keep putting music behind hip hop that typically doesn't belong there.

> 4. Describe your live show to someone who has never seen it

Our live show is pure fury set loose on stage. We practice hard and we know our songs so well that we just get tigheter and tighter. Matty runs around all crazy and I yell and's fun.

> 5. If you could compare your sound to another band(s), which would it be?

We always seem to get compared to the beastie boys but lyrically I think we're a little more complex. The Bloodhound Gang is probably as close as your gonna find. Maybe an angry bloodhound gang.

> 6. If you were a critic, how would you describe your sound?

Our sound is agressive. I think that's the word that best describes it. I like to think intelligent as well. We're taking common frustrations and putting them out there in a way that's clever and artistic.

> 7. You’ve called your selves “anti hip hop heroes”, tell me about that

Hip hop has it's stereotypes and we don't fit any of them. We hear a lot of people say that they hate hip hop but they love us. There's no denying we're a hip hop act but at the same time we aren't. We're kind of a new age alternative hip hop. So we go against the hip hop grain while at the same time bringing rap back to it's purest form with fantastical wordplay.

> 8. How do you plan to keep your edge, now that you’ve built up your reputation?

Just keep doin what we've been doin really. We try to play with different sorts of bands all the time from hip hop to metal acts. That keeps us exposed to all sorts of different types of music fans.

> 9. How did you feel when you found out about your Hamilton Music Award Nomination?

We were excited but kind of figured that maybe only a handful of albums came out all year and we were just thrown in to round out the list but then we won. It was nuts.

> 10. How did you react to the win?

It was amazing it was the first time I'd ever won anything ever in my entire life. The Hammy sits proudly on my shelf. It was amazing to be recognized for something we both love to do so much. And for it to happen in Hamilton made it even better.

> 12. Hamilton seems to be really important to you, why is that?

Hamilton has been amazing to us. Everyone is so encouraging and proud. It's like they want us to succeed and that feels amazing.

> 13. What do you say to critics who talk negatively about you?

I don't know that there are any out there. It would depend on the critique I suppose...if it was valid then I could accept that but I've been at the shows and there's not a whole lot of weak points. No one could watch the show and not be impressed. At the very least they should be able to appreciate the effort and the intensity that goes into each peice.

> 14. What is the most important thing to boys of thunder?

We don't wanna work the night shift anymore.We both love music too much to not do it full time. The most important thing to us is being able to make more music and having the time and resources to do it properly.

> 15. Even your first show was sold out, what do you think is the reason behind your success in Hamilton?

I think it's mostly because we're something different. There's a lot of metal in the city and there's a lot of hip hop in the city...actually there's a lot of everything in the city...but we're a nice alternative to either or. We also spent a lot of time plugging our myspace and handing out flyers before we ever played a show as well so that helped us create a buzz before we ever even took the stage.

> 16. How important is Suffocate the Stars and POE to you, as the success of Boys of Thunder increases?

P.O.E. is alive and well. He lives through the Boys of Thunder. I got lucky there. I - Mohawk Campus Paper

"Music Notes"

Warsawpack, Peoples Republic, Fresh Pro, HEAT and other local performers have been adding their beat and rhyme to a burgeoning hip hop community over the last few years. But long time readers may be surprised to discover that Matt Barrett, the man behind the unsettling and experimental Suffocate The Stars project, is part of one of the area’s latest hip hop offerings. “Suffocate The Stars is and always will be my alter ego,” explains Barrett. “Although I haven’t been able to focus on it as much lately, I am currently still working on new tracks for an EP release. But when I started working out in Burlington at a new company, James (Brown) was one of the employees that I instantly become good friends with. We both shared a love for older punk and ska bands growing up and found that as we were growing older with our musical tastes, they were still along the same lines with one and another. “I had told him about Suffocate The Stars and he had mentioned that he was a rapper known as Poetically Organized Entity,” adds Barrett on the collaboration. “I think starting off, it was merely just to see if I could do it and if I would even be successful and could do it well. The Boys Of Thunder came about when we decided it would be interesting to see what would happen if we combined the two projects.” Recorded in their own home studios, some might compare Boys Of Thunder on CD to the likes of The Beastie Boys, but with music that owes more to Naughty By Nature or Digital Underground. The lyrics, however, are where the pair seems to pack the most punch when they focus on the realities of their lives. “Our influences are not at all what most people would think,” confides Barrett. “In fact, we don’t really listen to hip hop at all. Our songs are a change from the songs about girls. We have the songs about depression, working and struggling, you know, the everyday blues. “It’s easy and therapeutic to write about what you hate,” he adds on BOT’s visceral vocals. “But it’s also fun because others might hate it, too. I think we really try to focus more on the points that we feel need to be changed or make more people aware about. You don’t have to have a gun to be hardcore like 50 Cent is telling these kids.” The last couple gigs of note for BOT have aligned them with rock if not metal bands, but their lack of allegiance has seemingly opened their music up to a larger community. With songs like “Welcome To The Hammer,” BOT offer a credo and perhaps an explanation for why they refer to themselves with an unusual moniker. “Since we grew up on punk bands, we try to have the same feel,” offers Barrett. “We are more of a live band, we literally give everything we have and leave ourselves up there on the stage by the time we are done. We work on pure energy and adrenaline. “We call ourselves ‘anti hip hop heroes’ since we don’t really fit into the hip hop scene nor the rock scene, but both communities have been amazing to us and even overwhelming with their responses,” he adds. ““Welcome To The Hammer” was more of a song not just about Hamilton, but a song for when you feel like you are stuck in a place that you just can’t get out of. You start blaming your surroundings for everything going wrong. It’s also saying how other people are talking bad about it, yet we choose to stay since it is the place we call home. We owe so much to Hamilton, not only have they embraced us and let us come with a new style and genre, but also we are getting sold out shows here, based on just word of mouth. It’s quite impressive how the scene in Hamilton works.” [RIC TAYLOR] - the View


The Definitive E.P.
radio singles: we got guns
the descending lights over lowville
waking eyes



If you threw the bloodhound gang, the beastie boys, nofx, the chemical brothers and bob dylan in a blender, you would end up with a whole lot of blood and mangled'd get the boys of thunder. Two poets each with their own dark way of making depression beautiful.
Mixed with electronic beats you can't help but hurt yourself dancing to, these boys slaughter microphones regularily.
The monotonies of life (working, bills, idiots) are transformed into beautiful complaints, a social commentary if you will.
Matty B (also of suffocate the stars) brings his industrial tinged background to a whole new playing field.
And P.O.E. (the poetically organized entity) brings an ear for the ambient .
Together they create beats that not only catch your ear and make you dance but they actually force other attractive people to have sex with you (it's in the frequencies).
With rhymes tighter than a vice on your ball sack (or a mammogram for the ladies) they feel they give back to the microphone community.
The boys sold out their very first show at Absinthe in the hammer and are well on their way to crucial recognition. With interviews on college radio and local papers, a stint on the edge 102.1, a Hamilton Music award for hip hop album of the year and a loyal army of friends and myspacers the boys are making waves.
So, ride with them on their journey of chaos.