Behind all the glitter and sweet guitar licks, NWMS talks with Thunderpussy

Photo by Meredith Truax

It’s pretty hard not to take notice of Thunderpussy. This local Seattle quartet stars Molly Sides on vocals, Whitney Petty on guitar, Leah Julius on bass and Ruby Dunphy on the drums. But that’s not all Thunderpussy does, as anyone who’s had the pleasure of attending a Thunderpussy show can contest; the band specializes not only in sweet licks, but…damn can they dance! Starting from humble Seattle beginnings, Thunderpussy has recently worked (and danced, and sang and played) their way up to the big dogs at Stardog Records/Republic Records, with whom they just released their debut self-titled album on May 25th.

Thunderpussy at Sasquatch 2018 (photo by Julia Olson)

Thunderpussy recently celebrated their release with a show for those willing to endure the hot heat of Sasquatch, performing complex melodies and moves without appearing to even break a sweat. When asked later that day by NorthWest Music Scene just how they managed to stay so poised and smooth in the summer heat, the band’s Leah Julius cited the help of their longtime costume designer, Pakio Galore, “he will kind of look at where we will be, and what kind of costumes we should have for each setting,” she said.

“He’s such a collaborator.” Molly chimed in, “he doesn’t take anything personally, he’s just an open book. You can go to him with the idea of wearing mesh or sequins, and he will talk with us about it and is so open to each one of us.”

But the question remained about the moves, are they planned? Just HOW does Thunderpussy always appear so energetic, sexy and confident?

“It’s always a surprise,” answered drummer Ruby Dunphy.

“That’s the best part about it, there’s not a lot of staging; you just never know…even if you you’ve rehearsed a set for days on end, it’s not going to go the way it does in rehearsal. Ruby’s girlfriend Allison also stepped in to help choreograph more dancers and perform for this show, and I think that’s why this performance felt really special. The additional dancers already enhance what we already have, but when we are all connected in that way there’s something more like an…explosion,” added Sides. 

Moving on to talk about their brand new release, I asked the band what it’s been like working with a major label for the first time.

“It’s had pros and cons, while it’s like an infinite game of telephone that goes on, at the end of the day it’s been surreal to have the help of the label and people who have that kind of a reach,” answered Petty.

Thunderpussy at Upstream 2017 (photo by Julia Olson)

“It’s a lot of work no matter what, so having a bigger network and more wheels in motion than just the four of us has been helpful,” said Molly.

At this point, I was thoroughly struck with the realization of how cool it is that a genuine, local band like Thunderpussy can get signed to a major label, prompting me to ask the band for their best advice to new musicians.

A recent grad of Cornish college of the arts, Dunphy stressed the importance of “experimenting and doing things you’d regret…but not realizing it until like a year later.”

While some other key considerations like the importance of networking and hard work were thrown around, the band kept coming back to the importance of putting yourself out there. Ruby elaborating that “if you don’t know yourself and you aren’t driven yet, you’ll get there eventually. I just did everything I possibly could and then I found something I loved, and with that comes a further push of self-drive.”

Leah throwing in that “it takes a long time, you just have to be patient.”

“As cliché as it is, be a risk taker”, Molly added.

To learn more about Thunderpussy’s advice to fellow musicians, check out a feature they did for KEXP on “Mastering the Hustle”

Finally, to close out the interview I asked the members what ONE word they would use to describe their new album;

Molly: “Atmosphere”

Leah: “Gravity”

Ruby: “Push”

Whitney: “Space”

You can follow Thunderpussy via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and on their website.