Standing Room | October 2017

5 questions with Akron Drummer, DJ and Producer Brad Thorla

by Floco Torres

Floco Torres: How long have you been creating music & why do you continue to do so?

Brad Thorla: I’ve been putting out music for about twenty years now. I used to be really obsessed with staying as creative as possible, really focusing my life on it. I sort of put out something like 20 recordings, though, so I got a lot of that out of my system. Right now everything is either easily coasting with people I enjoy enough to schedule making noise with them in a windowless room for hours and hours each week, or giving myself small projects to work on in my attic studio. I’d actually been really burnt out a year or two ago, but lately inspiration has been a lot easier to come by for some reason. Music is just fun. Making that air vibrate and hum, man.

FT: When are you the most centered when creating? Is it playing drums, producing or DJ’ing?

BT: I’ve played drums in most of my projects, so that’s the most comfortable instrument for me. I do DJ, but I don’t scratch, just spin tight jams, you know, so that’s easy, too. Playing bass is probably the most fun because I’m obsessed with low end but I feel most creative making beats and writing guitar lines. I really like layering melodies. I also once wrote a book, and recently I’ve been writing for the EarthQuaker Devices blog. And I do a lot of photography, mostly on the nature side of the game (found at @bradleythorla on Instagram) and do video work for EQD as well.

FT: What are all the current music projects that you’re involved in?

BT: My main thing is Relaxer. I also have a political hardcore band [which was] formed the day after the election called This Is What We Are Now with Mike Farris from FEDS, and Fej and Matt Slater from Pankration. We recorded recently and that may or may not be coming out this month. Leaning towards October 20th at Annabell’s Bar and Lounge as our release show, but that may have changed by the time this interview comes out. Who knows? Either way, we’re definitely playing that show, which will be fun. I also have a solo project called THORLA (playing at Annabell’s on Nov 16th). The first band I ever played in was called Dolly Trauma and we are doing a reunion at the Outpost in Kent on November 4th, first show in ten years, one of those “getting the band back together” vibes.

FT: What is your favorite thing about the Akron music scene?

BT: I feel like there have been times when the scene has been more robust and plentiful but the interesting thing about the scene now is how much it overlaps. There’s less pockets of specific genres, more varied people know each other and shows are a lot more fun because it’s less obvious what you’re going to get from a band you’ve never heard of.

FT: What are your plans for 2018?

BT: Beyond continuing to rock with Relaxer and TIWWAN, and the occasional DJ Brad Bradley gig (usually every other month on a random Thursday at the Matinee), I recently started recording a drone meditation album that I’d like to put out next year, which would be the first THORLA release since I put out four records, one on each of the solstices and equinoxes in 2014. I also want to put together an album of instrumental beats. And I would really, really, really like to start an Afrobeat band. I’d play bass and I already have guitar and additional percussion set up. Just looking for a “gospel chops” drummer that wants to dice up some Tony Allen style beats, and maybe some lead instruments, so hit me up if you’re out there. Beyond music, I need to travel and find tons more good food to eat. Iceland, Bannf, maybe Yellowstone again? Something, just gotta stay moving.

Image courtesy of Brad Thorla and Tim Fitzwater.