Together with Mud Cake Records we are stoked and loaded with positive energy to give you the newest high-octane EP from power skate punk rockers THOUSAND OAKS, available on all digital platforms on November 27th and on CD via the amazing line-up of DIY labels Disconnect Disconnect Records (UK), Fast Decade Records (Finland), Milestone Sounds (Japan), No Reason Records (Italy) and Punk & Disorderly Records (Canada). Hell Is Empty marks the band’s fifth release and includes six brand new tracks of fast paced melodic hardcore/skate punk, recorded, mixed and mastered by the band’s own Alessandro Gavazzi at Hell Smell Studio in Rome, Italy.
“Hell Is Empty is a bleak reminder of the abject fall of society. Thousand Oaks grapple with this through their intrinsic technical Skate Punk with loving nods to the seminal stylistics that have perpetuated the genre for so long.” Ear Nutrition, UK“Thousand Oaks are paving their way to the creme de la creme of European skate punk by delivering a technically precise punk rock sound that demands your full attention while listening. Hell Is Empty comprises six compelling skate punk numbers that are bursting in all their glory with very delicate harmonizations, powerful guitar shreds, intense basslines, and a tremendously dynamic drumming performance.” Thoughts Words Action, Serbia
“It feels like a lot of bands didn’t waste the chance to write a bunch of material during the spring lockdown and we’re no exception.” – comments the band’s drummer and vocalist Alex. “In March and April 2020 we put together all the demos we had laying around and ended up having a large number of new songs, some of them 100% completed, some 50%. We were too eager to release something and didn’t want to wait for a full-length to be produced and released so we decided to do a 7″ instead. While selecting the songs we thought were most suitable for the 7″ we realized there was a conflict between our choices and the actual capacity of the vinyl in terms of tracks duration. The songs we wanted to put in the record were just too long to fit in a 7″ so we ended up going for a 6 songs EP which would be released both on CD and 10″ vinyl.”
“This release marks the beginning of our partnership with Mud Cake Records from Germany which will print the 10″ vinyl. The CD will be printed as a digipack and will be released and distributed by NoReason Records in Italy, Milestone Sounds in Japan, Disconnect Disconnect records in the UK, Fast Decade records in Finland and Punk & Disorderly records in Canada.”
“We’re still left with many new songs so we’re hopefully going to be able to pull off a new full length pretty soon.” – he adds.
𝐼 𝑝𝑒𝑟𝑠𝑜𝑛𝑎𝑙𝑙𝑦 𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑛𝑘 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑠𝑘𝑎𝑡𝑒 𝑝𝑢𝑛𝑘 𝑚𝑢𝑠𝑖𝑐 𝑠𝑐𝑒𝑛𝑒 𝑖𝑠 𝑡ℎ𝑟𝑖𝑣𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑖𝑛 𝐸𝑢𝑟𝑜𝑝𝑒 𝑎𝑙𝑚𝑜𝑠𝑡 𝑎𝑠 𝑚𝑢𝑐ℎ 𝑎𝑠 𝑖𝑡’𝑠 “𝑑𝑒𝑎𝑑” 𝑖𝑛 𝐼𝑡𝑎𝑙𝑦.
“There are plenty of amazing active bands now, so many that sometimes it’s even hard to keep track.” – admits Alex. “It used to be like this in Rome too but it was a lifetime ago, when there was a skatepunk band in every corner. It kept going till the early 2000’s and then everyone moved on into something different. The community is still there, only on a greater scale, I think we make a good example for it: Matteo, Ago and I are from/live in Rome, Ray is from Venezuela but lives in Berlin and Dave is from/lives in Scotland. We manage to carry on remotely and always find a way to make things work. This has been possible because we kept in touch for years even though we lived thousands of kms away, so I’d say the sense of community is still very strong. This is becoming a common habit in these troubled times, everyone is trying to make it work even though shows and tours now are off the table. After all, the music scene is about friendship, connection, helping each other and having fun together.”
Scroll further down for a list of bands recommended by Alex.
Track by track commentary:
We used to call this one the “Japanese one” because Ray (our guitar player) thought it sounded like J-Pop when he first heard the demo. This song was born with that NOFX-ish/Burning Heads-ish riff you can hear at the beginning and at the end and the rest of the parts followed shortly after. Sometimes in life you get in touch with someone who has a tendency to fool people and take advantage of them, but ironically most of the times you can see their plan since day one and so you just witness this painful show while they try to deceive you while ignoring that you know. That’s where the lyrics of this song come from: pretending to be used just to backfire at the right moment.
I once started this side project with some friends and we tried to write songs together. One of the guys had this approach to songwriting that was totally different from mine: he would start with the drums and then build everything else around them. I found it so new and fresh and promised myself I would try it again someday. So at the end of last year with Thousand Oaks we decided to give it a try and demo four songs following this method. We were pretty pleased with the result and maybe this new approach brought something different and new to the table. Eventually we picked one of those songs to be part of this new EP and we called it Barren Hearts.
HELL IS EMPTY
I wrote this song while I was covering Going Nowhere Fast from the Satanic Surfers (https://youtu.be/B2iH6DIBf0Q) so I would say it’s strongly influenced by that sound somehow. The infamous line “Hell is empty and all the devils are here” comes from The Tempest by William Shakespeare but sometimes it just feels like that in real life. My good friend Giacomo (Rushmore/Bedtime For Charlie) accepted to sing some parts of the songs so you can hear him in the choruses and the bridge.
THE BOTTOM OF A BOTTOMLESS PIT
This is the “Thrashy one” as we always called it. Here I finally had the chance to use that line from Blade Runner “I’ve seen attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion” I always wanted to. We decided to place it halfway between the start and the end of the EP to give it an extra aggressive touch right in the middle.
HUNT THE HAZE
This song was originally written as a post rockish instrumental track I recorded for my girlfriend some years ago as a christmas present. We played with the idea of turning it into a Thousand Oaks song for a while and then eventually we made it happen. It’s the most melodic song of the record so we chose to put it right after the “thrashy one” to restore balance in the universe.
Ray wrote the most of this song, it originally was divided in two halves and those original demos were two different ideas in different keys. Working remotely we’re slowly mastering the art of patching together our ideas and many times we end up with these frankensteins made of a bunch of different ideas coming from all of us. That way we hope we can give our songwriting a more diverse imprinting and our goal for our songs is for them to be a blend of different styles and influences.
OTHER BANDS AND ARTISTS WORTH A CHECK
Asked about other bands worth looking into, Alex commented: “If this kind of techy-fast-melodic-skatepunk is your cup of tea I would totally recommend The Affect Heuristic, PMX, One Hidden Frame, Dead Neck, Darko, Fair Do’s, Our Darkest Days, Debt Cemetary, Contra Code. It’s nice to always be curious about new bands, often the most precious pearls are the most hidden ones.
10 bands that influenced me the most are: Propagandhi, Bigwig, Satanic Surfers, Belvedere, Strike Anywhere, Strung Out, Nofx, Osker, A Wilhelm Scream, and Good Riddance.”