Q&A: Thunderpussy discusses artistry, Austin City Limits experience

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Photo Credit: Carlos Garcia | Daily Texan Staff

What do you get when you combine Elvis Presley’s charm, Tina Turner’s flair and Led Zeppelin’s zest? A band called Thunderpussy.

Consisting of vocalist Molly Sides, guitarist Whitney Petty, bass guitarist Leah Julius and drummer Ruby Dunphy, Thunderpussy fuses theatrical glamor with the sounds of energetic rock. With an EP, their self-titled full-length album and an ongoing tour, the quartet has had a jam-packed year. The Daily Texan had an opportunity to speak with the band following their performance at this year’s Austin City Limits festival.

The Daily Texan: It’s your first time at ACL. How has this experience been for you?

Molly Sides: People showed up. I was so happy to see that. It’s so hot and humid, and it was early, you know? But the fact that people were standing there in the morning heat, the midday heat, and ready to rage with us, it felt really special and really cool looking out at everybody singing along and screaming. I felt a lot of excitement and enthusiasm for everybody who showed up.

Whitney Petty: We haven’t gotten to hang out very much. We’ve been busy, we’ve been working, running around — we saw some shows last night, but we were so tired. It’s a really cool festival. I didn’t know what to expect. Austin’s just a very good town for music.

MS: And food! I’m so ready to eat.

DT: What artistic approach do you take to your music, and what influences do you put into your music as well?

TP: It’s a little bit of Tina Turner’s wig, a little bit of Elvis’ peanut butter sandwich, a little bit of Prince’s lapels, there’s a little Beyoncé in there, maybe some spandex … We love the glam. We love the glitz. We love to have fun. We love just putting on a show.

DT: One of the things that impressed me the most while watching the performance was the way you could have fun and joke with one another in the middle of the performance. What’s your secret behind having such a great relationship?

Ruby Dunphy: There’s a lot of sexual tension (Everyone laughs.).

MS: You have to feed off of each other’s energy to bring out something more to share with others. We like to go off of, ‘Your vibe attracts your tribe.’ But energy is important, and the way that you release it, spread it, and take it in — it’s really important. We work on it. Some days, it’s hard, but we just have so much fun. You have to share that with people. What do you say, Leah?

Leah Julius: We just have fun with it. Honestly, the thing is that we’re having fun. So it’s easy to interact and have fun with each other. It also makes every show special and different for us as well. We may be playing the same notes, but nothing else about the show is the same. And that’s an exciting part of getting to play live with your friends every night.

DT: Do you have any goals?

WP: Say it with me now … (WP, RD, LJ and MS in unison)

WP, RD, LJ and MS (in unison): Total world domination.

LJ: We’ll be working on new music. We’re going to go back in the studio next year, we’re going to make another record, we’re going to hopefully hit new cities. And I’m going to work on my high kicks.

DT: Do you have a message for your fans?

MS: Forget fear, never give up, and f---ing go for it. Right now, I feel like fear is just shoved down our throats, and it holds people back. What is it? What does Oprah say, Leah?

LJ: “Stay in your track.”

RD: If that means loving Thunderpussy, then we love you back.