I have known Henry Gates for a while, and have heard his previous band music, (Resplandor) but his new band with Paloma, his partner, and a co-creator, I haven’t heard yet. I just heard a buzz surrounding it, so once their new project “Thank You Lord for Satan” released a full-length self-titled LP through Buh Records. I gave this beautiful work of art and music a listen. From their band logo design to their masterfully crafted songs full of smooth and luscious vocals, ambiance, and driving riffs, I was blown away by their moody compositions where subtle indie pop is intertwined with the best of the 80’s nostalgia. So here is an interview with the creators of Thank You Lord for Satan where they discuss their latest work and their project.
Rock-n-Roll.biz: It’s a great band name, how did you guys even come up with that name?
TYLFS: There is a good anecdote about it that we are not going to tell because it is part of the mystery that contains the name itself. But it was like an epiphany when we got to it. We knew it was THE name instantly. We love the contradiction that it means, the humor it has, the power, the intricacy, the mystical.
TYLFS: It’s not like there’s a main songwriter but on this album a higher proportion of songs were written by Paloma. However, at some point during the process, the songs belong to both of us.
Also, we did all the music production in this album. We had sessions of euphoria and connection that we really enjoyed.
About the lyrics, that is a Paloma’s thing. She writes poetry since she was a girl, her father is a poet, she has published two books so that is her world.
Rock-n-roll.biz: Who approached whom first to start collaborating together?
TYLFS: It’s hard to answer because we were already together as a couple and we’ve both been making music for a long time. It was inevitable that it would happen. But we started just with the idea of making a song together for fun (you have to keep in mind that we were in the middle of a pandemic) and that turned into Thank You Lord For Satan. But there was a moment listening to Henry’s old demos in which I (Paloma) heard a guitar base that I really liked, and I told him to pass it on to me so I could start working on it and that’s how our first song ‘A Million Songs Ago’ was born. ‘.
Rock-n-roll.biz: How did the idea for this album came about?
TYLFS: One day, we thought about talking to Luis Alvarado, he manages the renowned ‘Buh Records’ label, with the idea of asking him if he would be interested in publishing some of our songs on digital platforms through the label. But his response was much more ambitious, he told us that he was interested in releasing a vinyl edition with our music but for that he needed it to be a whole record (LP). At that time he put us in a bind because we had to start producing quickly to be able to publish it in 2022.
Rock-n-roll.biz: It’s a very cool, Spiritualized / Brian Jonestown vibe on those tracks? What were your influences when you were writing this material?
TYLFS: When we start a song we don’t think about references or what we want it to sound like, however in the process ideas come up and we’re not scared to blatantly show our references (laughs). On my side (Henry) unconsciously I always sound a little bit like Velvet, and all the children of Velvet such as Brian Jonestown, but also Spacemen 3, Spiritualized and Jesus And Mary Chain. But in the process, many things that we also like can come out, ranging from Gorillaz, or Billie Holiday to Kanye West (we know he is an idiot though) or Jamie XX.
Rock-n-roll.biz: Where was this recorded?
TYLFS: Almost everything was recorded in our house, in a rather modest home studio, but this helped us a lot to be able to have the freedom to produce ourselves at any time. The real drums and pianos were recorded by Alonso Bentín at Monclova Records (Lima), except the drums for A Million Songs Ago which were recorded by Christian Vargas at Tamboril estudio (Lima), and the trumpets for “When We dance” were recorded at Green Dragon Studios (Lima). The mix of all the songs was in charge of Jorge Balbi (Los Angeles) and the mastering was made by Francisco Holzman in Santiago de Chile.
Rock-n-roll.biz: Is there a connecting theme to those songs?
TYLFS: The first song we wrote is about how our relationship started and how we felt at the time. I think that set the tone for the record. That’s why we have songs that talk about our conversations until dawn, about how we dance (“perreo” and “lento”), about how we wake up together, etc. There are two songs that we wrote “before us”, Sad Song by Henry and Isolation by Paloma, which we included because we liked them a lot and we thought they could work with the whole. In short, the album is about us falling in love, relearning love, our ‘lysergic love’.
Rock-n-roll.biz: If you went to live on the Moon what 1 instrument would you take with you?
TYLFS: Henry: My first thought was Logic Pro (laughs), but that would be cheating, plus I don’t know if I can get electricity on the moon. So I would opt for a piano. It is not the instrument that I master the most, but I think that on the moon I would have enough time to master it. And I’ve always loved the sound of a real piano.
Paloma: My Mac, a piano and whiskey for the voice.
Rock-n-roll.biz: What are your plans for this music? Band? Any cool gigs coming up? Any plans to come to USA?
TYLFS: We have already started rehearsals with a full band and that excites us a lot because we have the support of great musicians that we admire and who are also amazing people. Soon we will announce our first gig. On the other hand, we have already begun to compose new songs that we want to release in the course of this year and that in the future would be part of our second album that would be released in 2024.
And, on the other hand, we have already begun filming our first video clip. We hope to be able to have it ready by the date of the first show to release it that same day. In addition, the physical edition of the album in Vinyl format is already in production (thanks to Luis Alvarado ‘Buh Records’ label), which art has been designed by our friend and great artist, Goster. Soon we will announce the pre-sale.
Henry: We would love to have some shows in the USA. With my previous band “Resplandor” we had the opportunity to play twice at SXSW in Austin, TX and we also had some gigs in New York. I would love to be able to repeat this with TYLFS. Also, there is the possibility of going to Los Angeles to record some songs this year. If it comes true, it would be amazing to be able to organize some Shows on the West Coast.
Rock-n-roll.biz: Any words of inspiration for a younger listener?
TYLFS: Paloma: Fuck off… (laughs). Just joking. Never stop listening to new kinds of music. The day they stop doing it they will have become an older listener. Never lose the ability to be surprised, even with small things, like when you were a child and saw a bug crawling on a branch.
Henry: I don’t have much to add after what Paloma has said, we are very similar in that, we love to listen to music all the time, there is always a new band or a new music style that you can explore and enjoy, or even analyze, even if you like it or not. Music is everything.