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Interview: Jon-Lee Martin from Then Thickens speaks to Alt Dialogue

Alt Dialogue recently caught up with Then Thickens front man Jon-Lee Martin for a chat about the band’s debut album. Death Cap At Anglezarke available now and have a read of our review here.


AD: For anybody new to Then Thickens how would you describe your sound? If you had to give one reason to check out Then Thickens, what would it be?

JLM: We’re a song band, the arrangements on this debut LP are predominantly traditional to a rock band but the melody and lyric are the main feature I guess . I personally cut my teeth in the 90’s starting my first band in 1995 as a kid , and I was obsessed with the alternative music from the states : Pavement , Weezer  , The breeders  so that flavour creeps in all over the record . One reason to check us out ….. Were a damn sight cheaper than Fleetwood Mac and there are no flapping jowls on stage.  
AD: What is the story behind the name? Then Thickens is a bizarre name!

JLM: Well to me it’s evocative of how this band exists, I have an idea, it then thickens ….. that and the fact that no one else would have the name. 

I actually took it from a Karate lyric. 
AD: It’s hard to pin the album down to one genre or style, was it a conscious effort to create a wide ranging and fresh sounding album?

JLM: Not at all no it literally fell together that way. To me it’s all very linear and, now as I listen to it, it feels almost like one huge piece of music. 

The songs do stand alone though and continue to surprise me. I hated the recording of Tiny legs right up to the release, I really didn’t want to put it out  at all . I think the video really brought that song to life and I’m glad we put it on the record now
AD: One major strength of the album is that it flows brilliantly, its set up to run like an album should be – rather than a mishmash of songs. However how do you see the future of music in terms of formats? (Have albums made a re-emergence due to streaming services or has this hindered them)

JLM: I don’t really care how the trends go to be honest, I’m too long in the tooth to try and keep up with what’s cool and how people get their music. My main ambition with Then Thickens is to make albums, long players, something that takes an hour out of your life.

I hate all that retrospective bullshit about having a physical thing in your hand but I have a much deeper connection with LPs over Tracks and playlists , in fact I fucking hate playlists and i detest when people get impatient and skip the track before the song has finished , I have nothing against streaming sites and torrents though , I’ve never made a penny from being in a band so it’s not hurting  bands at the bottom of the barrel like us , it’s an honour to have people listen to our music in any format.
AD: You’ve got a bit of pedigree (having former members of KONG and Rolo Tomassi), how has this helped (or hindered) the band?

JLM: Well Joe (Rolo) has gone, that wasn’t working out so well musically and our founding member Bobby Mambo came back a few weeks ago and I’ve never been happier. I’ve always wanted this band to stand on its own but inevitably our connections from our other projects still exist. I was a little took a back that people would come to our gigs and shout “ Magpie” “ leather penny” and shit but it soon faded away when they realised we sounded more like The carpenters than Jesus lizard .
AD: What have Then Thickens got lined up for the rest of the year?

JLM: We will be out promoting “Death cap at Anglezarke” for at least a year and we are back in the studio this winter to record the second album. Most of the writing for is finished for album 2 so I’m currently writing for album 3. I like to have lots of material ready when putting albums together as I grow tired of my songs pretty quickly , I really value the time to sit with something a while ,  it helps my “shit song” filter. 
AD: Then Thickens has already has some prestigious support slots, supporting Biffy Clyro and Mariachi El Bronx, given the choice to support any band in the world who would you choose?

JLM: The Kinks (1970) Lola Vs Powerman tour or Can with Damo. Current artists i’d say Feist , she is incredible! 

Watch the a fore mentioned Tiny Legs below:

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