Thomas Silver is known for both his artistic qualities, multi-instrumentalist and composer. His name remains linked to the hard rock band Hardcore Superstar of which he was the founder and quit in 2008.
"The Gospel According” To Thomas" is his first solo album in which he expresses his own muscularity and style in an extremely elegant way. In fact, the album in itself represents perhaps the most intimate part of Thomas. I remind you that "The Gospel According To Thomas”, already reviewed here was released last year in November via Volcano Records.
It is with enthusiasm that Rockers And Other Animals has the pleasure of interviewing one of nowsaday most interesting artists Thomas Silver.
Hello Thomas, it's really a pleasure to have you as a guest in the pages of Rockers And Other Animals, first of all again congratulations for your album, which as I wrote in the review, manages to reach the height of delicacy and style.
The first question comes to me spontaneously, how was your solo album received by fans and critics?
Hi and thanks for having me. Thanks also to the great and precise review of “The Gospel According to Thomas”.
My debut album has got such a great response from all directions. Not a single bad word actually.
This makes me very happy, as a musician and songwriter but also as a person with feelings and emotions. I always known the album is good but you never know how it will be until people listen to it.
How long did it take you to compose the songs contained in "The Gospel According To Thomas”?
The writing process took some serious time actually. I started writing songs shortly after i left Hardcore Superstar in 2008. There was this guy at Universal who said one day when we met that he wanted to release my solo album. I asked “which solo album”? He replied with “the one you haven’t made yet”.
That got me going and thinking how i, a guitar player who cant sing could do something like that? I started to work at home in my little studio, trying to sing to some cover i recorded just to try. It felt horrible at first but soon I realized i had a very personal voice in a way. I just needed to get the notes right. A few months later i had some songs and showed it to the Universal guy. He told me to go into a proper recording studio and record a song or two. I immediately called my friend Roberto Laghi who produced and recorded a few Hardcore Superstar albums.
At the time he was working in “In Flames” studio in Gothenburg. We recorded a song called 24 Nations under the name Silver Silver. We had the Universal guys to come and listen and they liked it a lot.
Soon after that the label guy switched company and to make a long story short, it never happened. I released it on Spotify and YouTube, a bit dissatisfied with the situation. But i had gotten my goal clear from this on and decided to record another song. Also this time with Roberto Laghi. It was “Minor Swing” but in a completely different version from the one that is on the album. I didn’t like it and never released it.
Still writing and hoping for something to come up it took a few years until i met Scott Lamb. In 2013 if I remember correctly.
He had just moved to Sweden from New Zealand with his band and they had built a studio. He told me that i have to record an album there. He pushed me a lot to do this.
So, i hooked up with a few friends to record the album. Kane Bennett, who was the singer of this New Zealand band produced, co wrote, recorded and mixed the album.
Scott played drums. The album was ready soon after that. We did some shows and then i found Volcano Records here in Italy. They wanted to release it so i decided to move to Italy with my girlfriend. Form a band here with my friends Daniele Petri, Luca Montegiove and Lica Cetroni.
So it took almost 6 years to write and another 3 until it was released.
Damn i am old.
Is there any part of the album that portrays Thomas Silver as a man and not just as a musician?
Actually all of them.
One thing is that I find out is that lyrics is very important. To me at least.
This is my story, my gospel.
I think i am to old to write about partying and drinking. I find it much more interesting to tell a story from experiences in life or a place you visited, stuff like that.
I have been lucky to travel around this globe a lot, i am lucky to have met interesting people and especially my girlfriend since 9 years. There’s a lot to write about if you just rise your head from the typical cliche material.
Is there anything you'd like to add to your work?
Well, not really. I am a very satisfied person these days.
The artwork of the album is really interesting, I immediately noticed your initials at the center of it Wicca spirits. Love esotericism, representation of the tracks or simply an idea born by
chance? The hanged man's tarot card also appears in your "D-Day" video. I'll ask you about "D-Day" in the next question.
I love the artwork. It’s so perfect and very personal. The spirits are not Wicca, it is The Olympic/Olympian spirits that Agrippa von Nettesheim worked with a lot and so do
It is seven spirits mentioned in many renaissance books about ritual and ceremonial magic, such as the Arbatel de magia veterum and The Secret Grimoire of Turiel, just to name a few.
I have been working with esotericism for a long, long time now. Agrippa, John Dee, Crowley etc and also the Bible.
It is a big part of my life.
This is extremely personal to me and I very rarely talk about it.
Frater Orion, who did the artwork, have done an amazing job. Putting the right symbols in the right place for meanings only the initiated will understand.
One of the songs I like the most is "D Day", it's an intense and deep song and every time I listen to it, I listen to your album every time I turn on the car, your voice reminds me of Andrew
Eldritch. Also, the video that accompanies has a great photograph and the cameo by Lindsay Kemp that I've always loved.
What can you tell me about this song and how did you meet Lindsay?
Thank you, it’s also one of my favorite songs from the album. It is co written by Andreas Kleerup. He has written tons of hit songs for many artist and is a close friend. He wrote “With Every Heartbeat” by Robyn. It was nr 1 on the British charts.
He did the remix for Lady Gagas hit song "Alejandro" 2009. Just to name a few things this genius has done.
Lindsay Kemp i met through Andrea Poli Dirolan who directed the video.
We filmed the part with Lindsay in his home here in Italy. It was so amazing to meet this man. He was so extremely kind and he was a very interesting person in many ways. We bonded right away and i want to believe that he liked me.
We even had time to sing a song together and we talked about recording a duet.
Sadly he passed away before we had the chance to make it happen. He is truly missed.
Another great piece in my opinion is the beautiful “All Those Crazy Dreams”, but it's almost like you're inspired by the great Bowie. I also ask you for this song how it was born and what inspired you?
This song is actually partly written by Jonas Almqvist, singer of the Swedish cult band “The Leather Nun”. He wrote the basics of it for me and then me and Kane wrote additional parts and put it together. Later the Leather Nun also released their version of it.
If you check it out their version on Spotify you can hear a clear difference.
Mine is much more in the style of Mott the Hoople and David Bowie.
David Bowie is my all time biggest hero and inspiration. The first album i ever bought was Aladdin Sane.
“Coming in, Going Under” shows your rock roots, what and how will Thomas Silver's artistic career evolve? In this album you've got us some intense tracks outside of the hard rock genre that I can say are cut to measure for your artistic level. Are you going to go back to playing rock in the future as massive sound and thrilling riffs?
What is rock anyway? Is it a music genre, a way of life or something else maybe? I am a rock guitar player but i have always listened and loved many other kind of music. I don’t like to limit myself or get stuck in just rock.
Next album will be more heavy riffs but also much in the same emotion and feeling like “The Gospel According to Thomas”. I just make music for my own sake and if people like it i get happy but for me it’s a way to live and get my emotions and demons out.
I write about what inspires me at the moment, about what gets me happy or sad.
How much does it 'weigh' on you to always be remembered as the founder of Hardcore Superstar?
Hardcore Superstar will always be a huge part of my life. I’ve shared so many tears and laughter with those guys. We were like a family and we still speak a lot.
Sometimes i join them for a few songs live when there is an opportunity for it.
There is not really any “weight” from that, it’s the opposite. It’s a blessing to have been a part of one of the best Rock bands.
I am proud of my years and my work with Hardcore Superstar, we made some great albums together. They still stand the test of time. Especially the last two i did with them.
Picture By Michele Aldeghi
I'm asking because you look different as a musician and as a person.
I am very different from that period. Almost a completely new person in a way.
You know every cell of your body is brand new in ten years time or something like that. So I really am a “new” person.
I have stopped my insane amount of weed smoking that i did on a daily basis for about 20 years or more. It is really a depressing habit and it kills your imagination after some time. Its not for me anymore. Ever.
I also have the best girlfriend since 9 years, she has made me to a better person.
Without her I wouldn’t be here today i think.
I could make a comparison that goes beyond rock, it's like when David Sylvian left The Japan, taking on a different style for his solo career. As I said before, yours being a musician seems to have changed and matured.
Yes, its of course a bit hard because everyone is expecting you to do the same thing as your former band. I love David Sylvian and Japan. What a great band and
As musician, in a balance between arrangement, lyrics and melody, which is most important to you?
For me its the result of all those things you mentioned. Also it depends what kind of song it is. A heavy and groovy guitar riff is of course the important part of a song like that. But as i said, its the result of the perfect ingredients that make the cake taste good. Also it depends on who it is that do the baking.
Which musicians have been your main musical inspirations? And which are your favorite bands nowadays?
I am boring this way because I rarely find something new that i think is good enough to remember. I know it’s my own fault for not being able to take in new music, but these days music has somehow lost it’s magic.
I grew up with David Bowie, Deep Purple, Iron Maiden and bands from the 80s.
They all had something that i think is missing in today’s music.
The limited edition of your vinyl album in real purple or gold is intriguing. Choice from the very return of the vinyl or nostalgia of the sound that produced an LP?
It’s so cool that vinyl has returned in such a massive way. It’s a great format.
The artwork finally makes its presence again. You can do su much with this format. Great covers, cool colors and so much more. Also if it is pressed well the sound is so sweet.
Speaking of vinyl, in your opinion, how much has the search for a record changed in the age of the internet where you have everything at the click of a button?
I love that the internet gives us so much but it also kills the way we search and find that particular artist or band.
I remember growing up in a time when you had to go to the record store to search for music. It was a great time and feeling. You looked through the records and the you had to go to the counter as ask if you could have little listen to them. They gave you a pair of headphones and put it on for you. So nice.
Thomas, I thank you so much for this interview, do you want to add something that I did not ask you ?
Not really, I enjoyed doing this and I thank you for letting me a part of this.