Kamara Thomas

With a killer new album just released and a gang of tour dates ahead of them, I caught up with bassist Kamara Thomas for a quick trip into the world of Earl Greyhound.

RF: Tell me about the title.  First, there was Soft Targets.  Now there’s Suspicious Package.  There’s definitely this modern paranoia, slightly military theme in your titles.  What’s that about?

KT: At the risk of going on a tirade– I think language is how we humans spin the web of our reality with one another, for better or worse.  Words can get so loaded with meaning that they get heavy, and then they weigh on us, and before you know it we've spun ourselves into a trap.  The fear of it feels real, but it's an illusion.  If you follow the news or ride a subway in NYC, you hear words whose constant message is that we should mistrust each other to feel protected– so we made the words mean something different to us, to get free.

RF:  How’s the Earl Greyhound of this album different from the band who recorded Soft Targets?

KT: We've really grown up a lot and learned to get along with each other.  Also, this is the first album we've recorded with Ricc, who brought a lot of new ideas to the table.  Suspicious Package was a much more collaborative effort from start to finish.  We've all traversed a few difficult passages both personally and creatively to record this album, and we've all had transformative experiences that made it possible to create with each other on another level.  We've also learned how to thrive on our creative tensions, to use them to make better music.

like the samurai-shogun shit that both the road and the studio
require of me. 

RF: It’s nice to hear you singing more on this album.  Is that something you’ve had to work your way up to?  You didn’t take the lead much on the first album.

KT: I've always been interested in exploring the full range of what I could do vocally, but being in this band has taught me to sing in ways I never imagined I'd be singing.  My solo stuff and other projects and songwriting outside of EG aren't really rock-oriented– I started out more of a folk-country-americana singer-songwriter.  Finding full expression in EG certainly hasn't always been easy, and I'm a bit of a late bloomer, but inevitably the creativity led its way through my voice, then found its way into my songwriting as well, and I found a multitude of new expression that made it onto this album, so I'm thankful for the challenges in getting there.

RF: What are some of your favorite songs on the Suspicious Package?

KT: I'm very proud of "The Eyes of Cassandra (part 2)"– it's one of the first songs that I brought to the band, and it felt like a breakthrough into the kind of writing I want to be doing, so as a songwriter that one means a lot to me.  "Shotgun" was a great challenge in that we all collaborated on it and it took a lot of creative imaginings and sacrifices to get it to it's full potential.  I'm also really happy that "Out of Air" made it onto this record– it's one of my favorite songs of Matt's, it has a more sensitive approach to the vocals.  That song has been around a long time, we used to sing it in the early days…

RF:  Which is more fun: Being in the studio or being on the road?

KT: They're separate beasts!  They both take a lot of focus to be done successfully, and I really enjoy focus in and of itself.  I enjoy the process of trimming away everything that is unnecessary to the creativity, the extreme clarity.  I like the samurai-shogun shit that both the road and the studio require of me.  It might sound slightly ascetic, but the fun really does expand exponentially from there…

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  • Daniel Carlton

    This cd is on heavy rotation on my Zune. Thanks Rob for turning me on to this band. I saw them live at Le Poisson Rouge a couple of years ago-based upon (I believe) something that you wrote about them