THWOMP Interview: On Video Game Bands and Niches

Nintendo Cover Band TWHOMP of Calgary. Photo credit: THWOMP. In Part Two of this exclusive interview, Brad Stanton and Dave Marshall of the Nintendo® cover band THWOMP discuss band names and niches.

Inspired by the music of video game composers Nobuo Uematsu (Final Fantasy), Koji Kondo (Super Mario Bros) and more, Nintendo® cover band THWOMP share their music with a growing fan base of gamers young and old.

Brad Stanton (lead guitar) and Dave Marshall (keyboards/percussion) from THWOMP take a break from their Animethon 17 preparations to chat with Suite 101. In the first part of their interview with Suite 101, Brad and Dave discussed THWOMP's origins. In this installment, they discuss Nintendo® bands, names and niches.

THWOMP on Naming the Band

It took the band a long time to settle on a name."I don’t even remember any of the iterations before we figured out THWOMP", said Brad. "We tried to have some “Legend of Zelda” reference for a while. We could never find one we liked."

By then, the band was starting to get gigs, making it necessary to name the band. "I don’t remember who came up with it," said Brad. "We should just attribute it to the drummer. It was probably him. I remember we were all standing there out in the parking lot of our jam space, drinking beer and smoking; and somebody said, “THWOMP”. We all just looked at him and we were all like, “Yeah!” It was definitely one of those "light shining from the clouds" moments. On the parking lot of our shitty jam space."

Nintendo® Bands and MAGFest

There are several Nintendo® cover bands out there, such as The Advantage, The Minibosses, Armcannon and NESkimos. Some have carved a niche for themselves in the realm of video game music. One of the top groups is Powerglove, a metal group. Another band, The OneUps, performs jazz interpretations of video game music.

Some of these bands perform at anime conventions and comic cons. The popular Nintendo® bands perform at MAGFest, a video game festival and conference in New Jersey. "Everybody but us, pretty much," said Brad. Their time will come.

On THWOMP’s Musical Niche

The members of the band are involved in other music groups and projects, ranging from jazz to rock and from bar gigs to workshops. THWOMP's focus, however, will forever be video game music. "It will never be anything other than that," said Brad. "It will never be watered down. It will never be compromised."

Their musical background and training, along with their love for the original music influences their philosophy. "We’re all purists about it, really," said Brad. "We really try to make everything absolutely note-for-note. Absolutely exact. We have really high standards for each other." They admit to holding some "good natured but fierce" cutting contests at rehearsals and putting each other in his place on occasion.

Giving others the same nostalgia factor they experience when playing classic Nintendo® music is not only important to them, it's their favorite part about playing this style of music. "We really want it to be fast, punchy, everything you remember," said Brad. "Every show we play, there’s some 30-year old guy in the audience who has no idea who we are and just stands there agape, staring at us, nearly crying. That happens at every show we play and it’s so gratifying.

The band enjoys watching the audience going through the actions from various Nintendo® video gameswhile they perform. "Tetris is always amusing because people try to become Tetris pieces," recalled Dave. "I don’t know if anyone’s come very close to being a Tetris piece yet but we’re interested to see people keep trying."

THWOMP is a Nintendo® band comprised of Calgarians Brad Stanton (lead guitar), Colin Mitchel (lead guitar), Scott Munro (bass), Scott Moffat (drums), David Marshall (keyboards/percussion) and Kirk McVean (keyboards). For more information about THWOMP, the band or to listen to audio clips, visit their website, BandCamp and Myspace page.

The full interview series:

Full interview series: Part 1 – THWOMP’s Origins | Part 2 – Band Names & Niches | Part 3 – Songwriting | Part 4 - Hey! Listen! CD Release | Part 5 - On Gigs | Part 6 - Convention Gigs | Part 7 - Video Games | Part 8 - Fun & Food

Hey! Listen! Album Review

Originally published on Suite101.com on July 27, 2010. Updated on March 22, 2013. All rights reserved by Rhona-Mae Arca.