Exclusive Streaming: Thin Hymns – Popular Mechanics


Thin Hymns have been featured earlier on this blog and they will be featured in the future. This time, however, you’ll get the opportunity to listen to a track from their forthcoming album “Black Water“. It’s the track “Popular Mechanics“, a sweet and fluorescent atmospheric track. Quelling the urge for some top-notch ambient work, with distraught rhythms – and symphonic qualities. Soaring through the motionless world of an orderless frame, cascading into a subliminal piece of musical caricatures. But, this is not one of your regular premieres, because I’ve also asked a few questions for their songwriter Michael Hilgers. Find out more about it down below.

Could you tell me, in general, about the history of the band?

– The band formed out of my own desire to do something different or more free than what i was involved in at that time. At first I used the name just to share my songwriting experiments with my close friends. The first recordings were mostly just ambient and drone based music and over the years as I felt more comfortable as a singer, I became more interested in writing pop songs and  releasing music in a more substantial way.

It seems like the band was founded in 2009. However, you didn’t release anything until your first EP “LOGIC & THEORY” in 2011. What happened between those years?

– I had a few songs available online even before 2009, but they were mostly just goofy unfinished song ideas or ambient music. For the first few year or so that i had the name, my intentions with it weren’t very clear i guess, even to me.  It didn’t really become a very serious project for me until we were ready to make Logic & Theory. We had a few different versions of those songs before that, but our lineup was changing so rapidly that it was hard to keep up a creative routine. For a long time, I was spending more time teaching new members old songs rather than writing new material.

Since you seem to have a lot of re-structuring that was done within the band, considering your past members, what makes Thin Hymns different from the founded one?

– Well, at the start, it was a duo with me playing guitar and keyboards, and Joe Starita of Hunt Hunt Hunt Camp playing mostly cello. We would actually play mostly improvisational ambient stuff back then. Since then we’ve gone through several different iterations of the band. Chicago has a pretty incestuous music scene, so it can be difficult to keep a band together here. For the past two years it has been a pretty solid lineup with Michael Gillilan on drums, J Fernandez on synthesizer/guitar/vocals, Kyle Vegter on bass/vocals, and myself on guitar/synthesizer/vocals.

Currently, you’re releasing a forthcoming album titled “Black Water”, on Sanzimat in April. To add up to this, you’ve also recorded a series of live-sessions, whereas one of them have been released so far. Could you tell me about the process behind both those things?

– I’ve had the idea to make a visual counterpart to the records we make for years, with many different ideas of what it should look and sound like. I’ve always loved the idea of having different versions of each of our songs. Having them played with varied instrumentation keeps them interesting. I also really wanted to play with the idea of the normal performance videos that I’ve seen. Our good friend Julia Miller, who is an incredible artist and puppeteer, was essential to this process. As director, she helped me reign in my weird ideas and created some kind of a narrative from them. There are some nice twists and turns in the next two videos, so stay tuned.

Thank you! What will you be doing after you’ve released your debut-album?

– We’re looking forward to getting to work on a full length record. We’ve got some tentative plans of touring with our friends, Absolutely Free, in Canada and the midwest in May. I would love to make it out to Europe this year as well. All four of us are pretty heavily involved in other projects right now as well, so we’ll probably just be doing some shorter regional tours this year. Thanks for having us!

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