Whether it’s the fear of rejection and ridicule for many expressing themselves and sharing their feelings doesn’t come easy. Many find other ways to express themselves whether it’s through the arts or their own unique style. Michael Thomas of Abandoning Sunday is one of those individuals who has used music as a way to vocalize himself, whether it is writing about things that have happened and how he feels or what he thinks about his feelings. What started out as an outlet has turned into so much more.
We recently got the opportunity to speak with Michael about Abandoning Sunday’s path from personal escape to journey of discovery.
Joe: Where did the name, Abandoning Sunday come from?
Michael: It comes from the idea of abandoning living out what you believe only on certain days of the weeks or at certain times and making it an everyday way of life instead.
Joe: What made you start Abandoning Sunday?
Michael: It sort of just started as an outlet. I’ve always been pretty introverted and not really a sharer of feelings. So music was a way of getting it out. I just write about things that have happened and how I feel or what I think about them.
Joe: How would you describe your sound for those who are just getting to know you?
Michael: This has always been the hardest question for me to know how to answer. I’m not really sure. I usually just say rock music. To be honest, I care way more about the lyrics then I do about what style or genre the music ends up sounding like. This sometimes causes me to end up with a record that is musically all over the place but if the lyrics are consistent then I feel like that is what matters the most.
Joe: As you tend to due majority of the songwriting for Abandoning Sunday, what’s your creative process like?
Michael: I actually do all of the writing for pretty much everything these days. I write all of the lyrics and generally all of the guitars. Sometimes I’ll have a friend of mine play drums and bass, but generally it’s a solo project these days. As far as the creative process goes, every song is different. Pretty much everything starts on an acoustic guitar. Words are way harder for me than the instrumentation is so if a song is taking awhile to finish up then it’s usually because of the lyrics. Once those are finished, I’ll record acoustic guitar and just start layering from there (drums, electric guitars, keys, bass) until it sounds how I feel like it’s supposed to sound.
Joe: What would you say are your biggest inspirations both musically and personally?
Michael: I love late 90s and early 2000s rock bands. Acceptance and The Spill Canvas are probably the most influential bands as far as the way that I write and sing and play. I try to keep what I listen to diverse so as to not get stuck in a rut. I’ve been listening to a lot of Twenty One Pilots and Penny and Sparrow lately which are two totally different sounding bands. So now you’ll know why if the next record sounds a little all over the place.
Joe: You started Abandoning Sunday back in 2008 and since that time, has your approach to music changed at all?
Michael: Yeah, it has actually. I hadn’t really realized it until recently. It’s crazy how your mentality about something changes when you go from just doing it for fun to trying to make a living out of it. I think for awhile I was probably slightly more concerned with what would sell or be the most widely liked instead of making music that had lyrical integrity and was true to what I was about and what my music was about. I’m working hard to get back to my roots with the new music to make sure that, no matter what it sounds like musically, the lyrics are strong and honest and true and the music that supports is quality as well.
Joe: What have you discovered about yourself in all that time both musically and personally?
Michael: Wow. A lot. Musically I’ve learned that I still have a long way to go in so many areas. From just practicing more to making myself take the time to intentionally write more instead of just sitting around waiting for a song to happen. I’ve also learned that I mostly only write when bad things happen or I’m stressed out as a way to release. So I’m trying to grow and write more in general and especially when things are good and I don’t necessarily feel the need for a music release.
Michael: I would say that honesty and trust and people that abuse both of those have been a major theme in my music and my life. This seems to for some reason be a key experience that continually reinforces itself over and over again. So as long as there are people like that around, I’ll keep writing about them I guess.
Joe: What are you hoping to achieve?
Michael: My whole goal the entire time has just been to write good music with honest and relatable lyrics that people can enjoy and know that they are not alone in whatever hard times they are going through.
Joe: What’s in the pipeline for 2016?
Michael: A lot of things actually. I’m releasing a new album for my ambient instrumental project Auburndale Sound called Day on 1/5/15. Plenty of new Abandoning Sunday releases in the future as well. A full band album called Reflect Part 2 comes out January 26th and features some full band versions of old acoustic songs, and instrumental song, and a brand new song. The goal is to release something at least once a quarter this year, either an Ep or a single or hopefully a brand new album with tons of new songs. That’s the hope anyways.