jakub | June 25, 2023

Thundercat at Glastonbury 2023 on working with Tame Impala and new music

Thundercat made his return to Glastonbury today (June 25), and took to the stage for a set at The Park. Catching up with NME backstage, he told us about his plans for new music, his dream collaboration and his eagerness to make a return to the Star Wars universe.

In the final hours before he hit the stage, we met the singer-songwriter, producer and bassist for a chat and quick photoshoot.

NME: Welcome back!

Thundercat: “Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, hey.”

So the first time you were here was in 2017, right?

“I believe so.”

How are you finding it this year? Anything different? What are you enjoying?

“It is different. I think the last time I came, it was raining or something like that. And I remember, psychologically, I don’t think I was ready. I had never experienced anything like Glastonbury before. So this time, I’m a little more ready.”

“I went mobbing about and it’s just… it’s freaking awesome. Glastonbury has been awesome.”

Who are you looking forward to seeing this year?

“Who am I looking forward to seeing? I mean, I saw Lizzo. That was pretty cool. She’s pretty amazing… She’s pretty, pretty freaking amazing.

We’ve had a lot of special guest cameos this Glastonbury, but when it comes to collaborations, I don’t think anyone quite has the same track record as you do. Silk Sonic, Gorillaz, Mac Miller… we’ve even got Herbie Hancock.
Out of all of them, which one would you say has the most sentimental meaning to you?

“Sentimental. I mean, you know I feel like the stuff I’ve created with Flying Lotus will forever be burned in my memory. And also Mac [Miller] naturally, you know? Because those are the lasting impressions I have of one of my closest friends.”

“So like the stuff that I created with Mac, and you know, the time we spent together, it’s forever in my mind. Core memories.”

If you could collaborate with one person, if it was a dream collaboration … who’s on your bucket list?

“Good Lord, asking the deep questions! That’s a little too deep there! Dream collaboration… I mean, Jimi Hendrix. I don’t know who my dream collaboration would be. Bruce Lee and Andre 3000!”

I think that’s probably one of the most creative answers we’ve had.

Frank Zappa and Andre 3000!”

Looking to one of your more recent tracks, your collaboration with Tame Impala. It seems like you opened the door to say there might be more music from both of you in the future. Can you tell us anything more about that?

“I think that me and Kevin had a genuinely dope moment where it was like, we could see each other, you know? It was like, ‘Dude!’ Personally I would love to do more and I think he would too.”

“We don’t know. Maybe we’ll get to creating some more stuff in the future. I would love to, and the way it was was kind of like I told Kevin his music was important to me, you know. And it got me through some of the craziest moments… I had to express that to him.”

“I was like ‘Hey man, your music helped me through’. It’s like, especially other artists, it’s kind of like blowing smoke up their ass, you know? I just wanted to try to fill the air with words. But for me, with Kevin, I was like ‘Sir, I don’t think you hear me.’

“I was like ‘I need you to understand that your music got me through some of the craziest moments in my life.’ I don’t know, I was so happy to be able to be in the same room with him and create, you know?”

“I remember when I was younger and being like ‘One of these days, if I ever get to meet Kevin, I could tell him how much his music means to me’. And the funny thing about this song even us like the part at the end that’s all me talking trash, and he was like ‘You gotta leave that in the song … you gotta leave that there, man’. I was like ‘Oh boy!’ But I think that the song is a magical song.

That was your first Thundercat single in three years, and we’ve been waiting a long time to see more music from you. Tell us, have you been in the studio? Have you been writing?

“I have been writing. It’s just, it’s different, I’ve been touring a lot. I found my life more being a touring musician. I’ve always toured since I was a kid, so […] I’ve always looked at it like it’s one or the other.”

“You’re touring or you’re recording. You’re touring or you’re recording. But I think that’s just one part of it. That’s like two of 22 moving parts of life, which is way bigger than just me touring and recording, touring and recording.”

“And I think that the last album [2020’s ‘It Is What It Is’] was like a very intense process from the content of it, from the emotions behind what happened. It’s one of those things where it’s taking the time it’s taken to heal from that. And yeah, I have been recording you know… it’s not like I just decided to work at a deli factory! I still play the bass, guys!”

Are there any genres that you’re looking to go into? I feel like you’ve already covered so many. Is there anything new that you’re looking to try out?

“I’m looking to just keep trying to push myself in different directions, you know? I listen to a lot of Frank Zappa and I always feel like any time you listen to Frank Zappa there are no excuses. There are just none. There’s no excuses for stops and hang-ups and stuff like that. There’s too much music to create.

“So I look at it more like I like to explore different things naturally with sound. I do.”

We recently saw you in Star Wars show The Book Of Boba Fett as ‘The Modifier’. Is that a route that you’re looking to go down? We can see more acting roles from you in the future?

“I would love to do more space acting! I would absolutely love to and I would hope [to do it] again. When you’re a Star Wars fan, you’re a Star Wars fan, you know? It’s like you got the kids that get into it now and they don’t know what direction because the movies are just rampant at this point.

“But I love the Star Wars universe, and I really appreciate Jon Favreau and the rest of the directors, Dave [Filoni] and Robert [Rodriguez] for bringing me on board. It was a beautiful experience and I would hope to come back, you know. I would love to be an extra in space — the guy who gets shot with a taser on Star Trek and fall out the window, you know. I think that’d be great… I would totally love to do more space movies.”

Going forward, how are you feeling about the set tonight?

“I’m excited, I’m excited to play. I feel like another thing that’s always stuck with me is something that Kamasi Washington told me when we were kids: ‘Even if you feel like you’re having a bad performance and stuff like that… any day you get a chance to play is a good day.’”

So if you get a chance to pick your instrument up and noodle around figure stuff out, feel your fields and play and all that stuff…. That’s a good vibe. I’m really happy to be getting the chance to play.”

Glastonbury 2023 concludes today with performances from Elton JohnQueens Of The Stone AgeBlondiePhoenixThundercat and many more.

Check out all the latest from Glastonbury 2023 on the NME liveblog here, and see more news, reviews, photos, interviews and more here.

Source link