Photograph by Jason Mageau
Thousand Below on recording: “We love making new music... but it always ends up a bit stressful.”
They rock. They roll. They shred. They mangle. But one thing you don’t expect from Thousand Below, your favorite San Diego post-hardcore slamdown quintet, is finding a home for an abandoned baby in Austin, Texas.
“We were all very drunk,” recalls singer James DeBerg, “walking back two miles to the hotel, and we had to save the abandoned child we found running around in the middle of the street. We called the cops and they thought we had stolen the baby; the cop thought we had seen the movie The Hangover and were somehow inspired by that.... They ended up having to call child protective services, which was sort of sad, but the whole encounter was wild.”
The band, who drop their new album Gone In Your Wake on October 11, finds happier and saner pursuits closer to home, according to DeBerg. “I surf, and used to skate a lot. Our guitarist Josh Thomas does BMX. For bars and stuff, we love Sunshine Saloon in Ocean Beach and pretty much any bar in North Park is always a good time. Del Mar and Cardiff for surfing.”
The band members — DeBerg, guitarists Devin Chance and Josh Thomas, bassist Josh Billimoria, and drummer Garrett Halvax — got together in a house in Poway that hosted continuous parties every weekend, producing an extended family of 40 to 50 folks at any given time.
“San Diego has really changed a lot,” reflects DeBerg on the passing of time. “It’s sort of unnerving, watching places we grew up in and around change so drastically. A lot more buildings and structures are popping up and you start seeing less and less of ‘nature’ in a lot of areas, which is sort of weird. Places like the UTC mall getting completely renovated and made all fancy and stuff. A lot of good memories down there as a kid when the place was sort of run down and not as nice.”
They cut the new album in Los Angeles, availing themselves of Josh Strock and Zach Jones, who run a studio together; plus one song with another L.A. stalwart, Erik Ron. “Recording is always a love/hate thing with us,” DeBerg admits. “We love making new music and hanging out, but it always ends up a bit stressful in one way or another. We just function like that. But the music ends up being the awesome treat at the end.”