What The Thunder Said
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What The Thunder Said

Band Rock Funk


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This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music



Summertime has unofficially arrived and with it comes an onslaught of humidity, flip-flops, and more opportunities to rock out than any other time of year. What The Thunder Said, the Guelph-based rock foursome “bent on creating epic sounds and a positive atmosphere,” turned heads in 2005 with an array of crowd-pleasing performances. This summer, they’re armed with a brand spanking new, full-length studio release entitled Turn, and continue to wow audiences with an evolving style that’s honest, fierce and just plain fun.

Bandmates Steve De Piante, Mike Brooks, Paul Cope and Fraser Charles recorded Turn at Brampton’s BWC Studios earlier this year over two unbelievable weeks of band bonding, says Brooks. “Our dynamics and tones had never been better. The songs were tight enough to nail down in unison, it was an exciting recipe. [Producer Gerg Dawson] has a reputation for getting big, raw sounds, he [has] ludicrous speed on his console and is quick to solve problems and offer advice and ideas. He’s extremely knowledgeable and respectful of all instruments in a musical moment. We wrapped up recording, edits and overdubs in six sessions. More importantly, we settled right into a fun, never-a-dull-moment, low-stress collaboration.”

“I love the new CD,” interjects Charles. “It's the result of a lot of time in the jam space with the boys. Most of the tunes have evolved in a big way since the first time we played them. Being in the studio was lots of fun given the crowd of somewhat immature boys playing around with lots of expensive toys.”

Says De Piante says about Turn “I was able to respond to the nuances of the other guys and I feel there is a very human aspect to the recording as a result. I now stand over a finished product that I was nowhere near being able to accomplish even two years ago.”

The sleeve artwork is primarily from Jim Slansky and Carl David Ruttan, and the musical landscape of Turn is of mountains and valleys - ecstatic crescendos and resplendent plateaus - best enjoyed as an entity. With “Mullen,” a toe-tappin’ track replete with shakers, cowbells and funk-party organ and guitar riffs, the album opens with a bang. De Piante, with his matter-of-fact vocals evocative of Soul Coughing’s Michael Doughty, calls this song his best lyrical piece to date. Track two, called “Three Blocks,” is a rainy-day kind of tune that blurs into Tennessee Miles, a highly danceable, turbulent song about healing and new beginnings. Like thunder itself, the album rolls along, descending into the instrumental “Embark,” a beautifully melodic, star-gazing ballad, and rising to the occasion again with tracks like “Ring,” “Tidal” and “Here Kitty” - a full, ballsy ditty that revels in a funked-out version of Rage Against the Machine’s “Bombtrack.” With the telling lyric, “Don’t rush me, I’m not ready to leave,” the album wraps up with “Uiit,” a somewhat mournful yet thoroughly satisfying denouement.

“The deal with the album title is that it can be interpreted any number of ways,” explains De Piante. “I think it peaks the interest. My personal interpretation is that the album is meant to inform and inspire. To improve your life you need to turn a corner on issues that are in your way; you need to take frustration and turn it into lessons. As in, are you going to get frustrated and quit when the ascension stops? Or are you going to grow the fu$% up and turn this time of stress and disarray into beauty and strength, and commit yourself to start living the lesson that is inherent? [The title is] multi-facetted...I like that.”

Through their experience over the past couple of years, both in and out of the studio, the boys say they’ve learned a lot about being patient, playing cohesively and how to improve their stage presence. They’ve developed a better understanding of the scope of the Canadian music scene, the business side of being a band, and as Charles puts it, “finding the balance between letting progress move at its own pace and pushing progress.” Adds Brooks, “I feel like we've [developed] a lot of good habits that have pushed the band into something that is nice to be affiliated with. We work bloody hard.”


- Echo Weekly, Guelph, June1-7 2006



Eclectic. The word has been used, to varying degrees of success, to describe artists ranging from The Arcade Fire to the late Frank Zappa. Try as I might, though, I cannot ignore the word when considering Guelph’s What The Thunder Said.

Formed as a trio in the spring of 2004, adding a fourth roughly a year ago, and sometimes joined by a pair of horn players, the quartet borrowed their name from a T.S. Eliot poem and came together because of three distinct shared qualities: widely varied musical tastes, well–developed musicianship, and the drive to make original music. Once solidified as a quartet, What The Thunder Said spent the next year setting pen to paper, fingers to instruments and rubber to road and promptly achieved more than most young upstarts hope to in twice the time. They have played to enthusiastic audiences across the province, and have just completed their first record with Gerg Dawson of BWC Records (Moneen, The Junction).

Along the way, the band has instinctively fallen into a musical style that encompasses heavy progressive rock elements, moody art–rock tangents, percussive pieces with latin and deep funk feels, anthemic FM rock singalongs, and everything in between. De Piante caps off their ever maturing compositions with a voice that is as energetic and soulful as it is John McCrae (Cake) deadpan. An eclectic sound, indeed. And while it is a studio technique generally reserved for punk, blues and other more ragged styles of rock, the band opted to translate their sound to tape by cutting the record largely live off the floor. “We were a challenge in that we were unchartered territory for Gerg,” says De Piante. “But we know our stuff, and we work to ensure that our tones compliment each other so we got the tunes down and the tones were gritty enough to expand upon, but clear enough that (overdubbing) wouldn’t mud it up. We were done the basic forms quick enough so that there was time to experiment. Raging feedback coming in from the background, some layered four–part vocals with all of us singing, a little extra percussion.”

Of their decidedly eclectic nature, De Piante is frank and has clearly thought a great deal on the matter; he’s as full of sound bytes as he is clever bass lines. “I think there is a cross marketability to it, to borrow a dreaded business parlance. Essentially, the What The Thunder Said listener (can) recognize the dance from the rock, the folk from the joke, get their psychedelic massaged while their country twang gets fed cornbread and their pop sensibility gets spoken to in a language they can relate to.” And of the audience they cater to, he charts a daunting course. “I think with the way people listen to music these days, hopping from Arcade Fire to James Brown in an iPodian MP3 snap, we are a band that’s begging to be around. We just have to infiltrate every scene and get to the fringe folk who want something like what they’ve got, but just need that little extra stimulus... sounds easy right?”

It certainly looks easy, at least the way What The Thunder Said does it.


- View Magazine, Hamilton, April 2006


Welcome to the global village, although Kae Sun hates that term. “I hate the concept of a passport too, you never realize how horrible the idea is until you’re a citizen of some so-called third world country.” Hamilton-based hip hop phenom Kae Sun was born in Ghana. Ghana is notably the first African country to become independent of colonial rule. Does Kae then think of himself as African Canadian, African or neither? “I lived in Ghana for 18 years. I definitely consider myself Human first and foremost with experiences that would make me identify with Ghanaians and Canadians probably simply because I’ve spent some time in both cultures. I think for most people what defines them is their individual experience of the cultures they ingest.”

Kae is having some more success as of late with an EP Traveling and the more collaborative LP Soliloquy under his belt. He won a Hamilton music award for Hip-Hop Recording of the Year in 2006. He’s not quite getting the traction that peer Shad K is getting at the moment but his attitude towards growth is rock solid.
“I think taking it to the next level for me will be maintaining my vision as an artist, sticking to my beliefs and honing this gift. That’s really the aspect of my career I have full control over, the rest will be up to the people,” he explains.

Like Shad K, who used to play around Guelph with a live band – the Fountain Street Blues Project – Kae Sun is playing with a live group. Local prog-funk outfit What The Thunder Said (Steve De Piante, Mike Brooks, Fraser Charles and Paul cope, with journalist Shain Shapiro playing congas), has gone from being Kae’s backing band to more full collaborators. As group leader Steve De Piante put it recently, “it was getting a bit James Browny. WTTS is about collaboration. Kae was very much into this spirit, but the repertoire was in its infancy and it really only made sense to have us play and then completely shift gears to perform Kae's stuff.”
“The fact that WTTS and Kae were truly blending their art was not really exemplified. We've moved past that where we compliment one another with this set so it's less like ‘that rock band brought a rap guy out’. It's unified and showcases the strength of both acts without any outshining,” explained De Piante.

Both Kae Sun and the WTTS members share a deep belief in what could be called the world healing power of music. Kae attributes the church tradition as the source of his moral centre and having exposed him to musicality in Africa, whereas some of the Thunder camp might think of themselves as atheist. All the musicians would likely identify themselves as spiritual. When asked directly if he believed in healing through music De Piante replied definitively: “yeah we believe in it,” citing a lyric from their final song of the set Damyata: “You’re the sound/ you form yourself”.

“Kae has a religious slant to what he's doing WTTS in my humble opinion defines god as coming from within. Tap into that inner god and overcome that inner war and you can effect anything. Look at us, soul, funk, hip-hop, rock, indian, jazz, blues, atheism, Christianity,” He explains. “Does it move you? Is it positive? Are you helping? Check check, check; it's valid. Let's tell everyone and maybe they'll leave feeling stronger.”

Clearly Kae and What The Thunder Said are reading from the same hymnal. Fighting inner war as a means of effecting global peace is an old idea expressed in modern times by the likes of Ghandi, Martin Luther King and Jiddu Krishnamurti. This is not loose talk for Kae Sun.
“Honestly as an introverted individual by nature it takes a lot of courage to get on stage and do what I do- I credit my faith in God as the fuel for my ability to offer my music to people. It’s the belief that what I have to say is of relevance to the human condition and just the notion of being gifted and the responsibility of using that gift to uplift, inspire and inform others when I can.”

In building their collaboration beyond the front man/backing band dichotomy Kae and WTTS found some interesting common ground. At one point in rehearsal De Piante started playing a piece of music called “Shivaree’s Theme.” The song came from a previous collaboration with sound designer and director Greta Dearing on Shivaree, a Guelph production by American playwright William Mastrosimone.

“I played it for him just to show him a little about WTTS' history and he freaked,” recalls De Piante. “We've reworked the arrangement and are now playing it for the first time in year's with Kae rhyming on it. It's going to be on his new EP.”
Dearing recently described the collaboration as, “a true melding of musical influences for emotional purposes.” A shivaree (or charivari) is defined as, “a clamorous salutation made to a newlywed couple by an assembled crowd of neighbours and friends.” Mastrosimone’s play Shivaree is about a young man with hemophilia named Chandler who is sheltered from the world by his mother due t - ECHO WEEKLY January 18 - 24, 2007


Guelph band What the Thunder Said brings its power to the people with an end-of-year funky rock bash that's more house party than concert.

For members of the Guelph-based band What the Thunder Said, a live performance is as much about creating positive energy in the room as it is about the music. And the fledgling band, at just 10 months young, has had such a positive year, they're hopeful their New Year's Eve gig at Van Gogh's Ear will bring good energy for 2006. "I don't normally use New Year's Eve as a landmark, but this year I will," guitar player Mike Brooks said earlier this week. "2005 was an unbelievable year of achievement and 2006 is full of promise."

The three-piece band of Brooks, Steve DePiante on bass and vocals, and Paul Cope on drums, grew to four when keyboardist Fraser Charles joined in February. Since then they've redesigned their website, built their repertoire and played some significant festivals, including the Come Together Festival in Waterford, and the prestigious North by Northeast Festival in Toronto. They also plan to record a CD in January. So what's next?.

"Who knows?" DePiante replies. "We didn't even exist 10 months ago and now we're opening for bands we only ever listened to before." Their whirlwind success came after years of heavy slugging- learning their instruments, in some cases working with other bands, and then finally melding their sound as the four-man team came together. At the same time they've each pursued higher education- Charles, 29, is an environmental engineer, Cope, 23, is studying political science in Toronto, and Brooks and DePiante, both 27, met while studying computer science at the University of Guelph.

What's most notable about the band in an interview is their sense of humour, quick wit and genuine desire to make music that strikes a chord with a crowd. "We want to keep people smiling," DePiante explains. "We want to keep the tempo up, the energy positive and the music inclusive. The vocals keep people engaged and our onstage antics are amusing. It feels more like a house party."

"People tell us we draw the best crowds," Brooks adds. "These are contagious good times." Their music is eclectic- a blend of rock and funk- and works the way jazz does in that the players improvise during rehearsal and on stage. They'll play cover tunes from Led Zeppelin to Jimi Hendrix, although they'll add their own twist and put their own stamp on the old standards. "Anyone who writes their own music doesn't want to be pigeonholed. When we're writing we try to be honest, natural and allow each of us to find our own voice. It's very collaborative," Brooks said, adding with a laugh: "Collaborative, but I'm the president- no, the dictator."

They've enticed Michal Kuciara on saxophone, and Matt Phillips on trumpet, to join them on New Year's Eve. The horns will add a different colour and round out their sound. Ty West, a Vancouver-based acoustic guitar player, will open the show and Jomomma, from Brantford, will also play a set. "These are wicked musicians and we're absolutely thrilled to have them in the room," DePiante says.


- GUELPH MERCURY December 23, 2005


Even though What The Thunder Said has officially been a band for only six months, their roots have been established for years. It began with a twosome, a couple of musically–minded long–time buddies who “got bored of computer science and decided to cut class and play guitar.” They branched out, wholeheartedly embracing the Guelph scene, itching to evolve. They sought out a third, added a fourth by fortune, and hit the ground running. In a short time, they have become one of the most buzz–worthy up–and–coming bands in the area.

WTTS, or Thunder, is Steve De Piante, aka Deeps, on vocals and bass, Mike Brooks on guitar, Paul Cope on drums, and Fraser Charles on keys. For a new band, their headway to date is almost unheard of. They’ve opened for big names including The Wassabi Collective, Jomomma and Flattstreet, wrote two well–received theatrical soundtracks, released a live ep, and jumped into the festival circuit with both feet, playing the Come Together Festival in Waterford, Wakefest 2005 in Ottawa, and Toronto’s celebrated North by Northeast Festival. On a Monday night, I met up with the guys for a drink at the pub, and got the dish on what’s with the name, what they’ve been up to, and why they dig Guelph.

ECHO: So, where’d the name come from?
MB: Paul read it in a TS Elliot poem he was forced to read in high school. It’s a pretty morbid piece of literature, but it’s a cool name, though.

ECHO: What were some of the others that didn’t cut it?
SD: “The Hyperbolic Groove Chamber”…
MB: …“Roadies with Instruments” was a possibility — well, it was a possibility for me.

ECHO: As a former hardcore drummer, Paul, what kind of energy do you contribute to the music?
PC: I think I bring a different level of intensity to the band, and I hope it comes through effectively in my parts. I think you see a lot of drummers that are into heavier music gravitate to the jam style, perhaps because there’s so much room for different kinds of intensity and energy.

ECHO: And Fraser, you’re the newest member, yeah? What was it like to join three musicians who’d been playing together for a while?
FC: I first played with them in their basement, which is small and loud, and I was just really happy to find people who liked to just jam instead of trying to make set parts and songs. I felt right away that we had something in common: we all like to improvise.

ECHO: You’ve played some incredible shows this summer. How’s that been? Highlights?
MB: The best gigs have occurred in the past month, and we haven’t had a bad gig this summer; they just kept getting better. The first gig Fraser played with us took a huge stress load off me, just to have another person up there. The more people on stage, the more support you feel you have. That’s actually the first gig that I stopped staring at my feet and started looking up.
PC: The summer’s been fantastic. Music’s purely a social event for me, and I love talking to people when I’m in that musical state of euphoria, so that’s the kicker.
FC: My personal highlight was playing at Van Gogh’s on July 9. After a few tunes, Deeps asked the crowd if they wanted to hear a song or should we just jam. They cheered for a jam. The next thing I knew everyone in the room was jumping up and down and the dance floor was packed. Everyone was covered in perspiration and it was so loud. That is my definition of fun.
MB: What is consistent at every show is that everyone seems to pay attention. That doesn’t necessarily entail dancing. A lot of the time we find that people just sit there and look at us intently. It’s a little bit weird. I don’t have a lot of stage experience and it’s difficult to respond to. But people are always engaged, and we’re pretty damned thankful for that.

ECHO: Tell me about some of your influences.
SD: As bass player, Jaco Pastorius, the first guy to play fretless bass.

ECHO:And, vocally?
MB: Jewel.
SD: Tom Waits, Soul Coughing — I borrow some of those styles. I’m affected by local Guelph musicians — people who are really in pursuit of being true musicians. Guelph breeds this honest type of musician that I didn’t grow up around in Mississauga. And, Jewel —– the last three songs of Pieces of Me. I have the album. She was good before the push–up bra and moral degradation.
MB: For me — [Guelph’s] Passenger, Chipotle…members of that posse are pretty much responsible for my current musical tastes. [Passenger’s] Jim Slansky continues to be what Steve and I refer to as “Musical Yoda.”
SD: He’d kill us if we called him a role model. He helps us draw parallels between life and music. I’m a better boyfriend because I’m a musician; I’m a shittier boyfriend because of my hours, but, ya know…I have an ability to respond to people and I’ve learned how to manage several things at the same time. When you’re in a band, it’s a complicated thing. It’s amazing. The first two years it was happening, I was surprised, but now, it’s like, “Oh, okay, I’m learning more about l - ECHO WEEKLY September 29 - October 5, 2005


recorded, mixed and mastered in January 2006. Good times provided by Greg Dawson at BWC Studios
Artistic contributions by Carl David Ruttan, Jim Slansky & Russell Smith (adapted with permission by Mike & Steve)
Photos by Graz and Rene Lear


Feeling a bit camera shy


Pure triumph over a base that is equal parts funk, glory rock, Mozart and Godspeed You Black Emperor. We will make you party harder than Rick James...

"In a short time, they have become one of the most buzz-worthy up-and-coming bands in the area." ECHO MAGAZINE

"...they're armed with a brand spanking new, full-length studio release entitled Turn, and continue to wow audiences with an evolving style that's honest, fierce and just plain fun ..." ECHO MAGAZINE

"Eclectic. The word has been used, to varying degrees of success, to describe artists ranging from The Arcade Fire to the late Frank Zappa. Try as I might, though, I cannot ignore the word when considering Guelph's What The Thunder Said... " VIEW MAGAZINE

"...pen to paper, fingers to instruments and rubber to road [they've] promptly achieved more than most young upstarts hope to in twice the time..." VIEW MAGAZINE

"...the band has instinctively fallen into a musical style that encompasses heavy progressive rock elements, moody art-rock tangents, percussive pieces with latin and deep funk feels, anthemic FM rock singalongs, and everything in between... an eclectic sound, indeed." VIEW MAGAZINE


Toronto, ON
North by Northeast Music Festival, North York Performing Arts Center, El Mocambo, Rancho Relaxo, Clinton’s, Crowbar, Gypsy Co-op, Reilly’s, the Hideout

Halifax, NS
The Marquee Club

Saint John, NB

Kitchener-Waterloo, ON
Starlight, Lancaster Tavern, Gradhouse

Ottawa, ON
Maverick’s, Zaphod’s, Café Dekcuf

London, ON
The Last Drop

Hamilton, ON
Pepper Jack Café, Casbah

Guelph, ON
Vinyl, Ebar, Van Gogh’s Ear, Jimmy Jazz, U. of G. Grad Lounge, Bullring, Ed Video

Moncton, NB

Peterborough, ON
The Trasheteria, The Red Dog, The Montreal House

Antigonish, NS

Windsor, ON
Phog Lounge

Brantford, ON
2 Doors Down

Mississauga, ON
Streetsville Soundbar

Wakefield, QC