Musicscan: What's your self-understanding of Abnormal Thought Patterns - what does your band stand for? Please introduce yourself and the idea behind your band to our readers, please.
Abnormal Thought Patterns: Abnormal Thought Patterns is a mathematical instrumental trio that fuses heavy riffs, intricate time signatures and shredding solos. The band came to life in 2008. I was building my recording studio, knowing that my brother was going through some problems with his arm. I knew that things were going to be different with how we rehearse and track new music. So I built my studio and basically, I did a couple of test runs with just recording a couple of instrumentals, so I could get the ins-and-outs of the new system that I had. One of those songs was all four movements of “Velocity and Acceleration.” My brother [Troy Tipton, bass] was like, "We should put out an instrumental CD." I was hesitant to do it, and then I started playing it to some of my friends, and they just said, "Oh my gosh, man. When are you going to put this out?" The reaction was very cool, and then we saw Animals As Leaders out there playing and they were getting a great response for instrumental music.
Musicscan: The first thing people probably notice about Abnormal Thought Patterns is the absence of a singer. Was it always your intention to be an instrumental band?
Abnormal Thought Patterns: Right out of the gates Abnormal Thought Patterns is an instrumental band. We always felt the music from the band member's did all the talking. We really enjoy being an instrumental band as we grew up listening to a ton of instrumental artist..
Musicscan: A lot of people think that all music is better with vocals. The idea is that instrumental bands start at a deficit, having to try harder to keep the listener entertained and having to “compensate” for the tangible emotional connection a singer brings. As an instrumental band, how does Abnormal Thought Patterns approach its music so that the listener is not only entertained but emotionally invested?
Abnormal Thought Patterns: There's a lot going on in our material and we try to capture many flavors for the listeners. Our music is a total headphone experience. Songs like "Velocity and Acceleration movements 5-8" and "Harmonic Oscillator's" captures a film-score vision of big wave surfing. The songs have a bunch of twist and turns with Heavy, technical passages along with some very beautiful, melodic sequences. Other songs like "Calculating Patterns" and "Autumn" intertwine styles of Jazz and progressive music.
Musicscan: Is it liberating not having a singer somehow?
Abnormal Thought Patterns: I do feel without vocals you can push the instruments further. When writing and formatting songs for a vocalist you always have to hold back in areas for the vocals to breathe. The instruments can create more of their own voice and sound without a vocalist. They both honestly have their advantages.
Musicscan: Where do you guys see the line drawn between progressing on what you do well, and completely offering a new direction or sound? Especially in the context of your band of course…
Abnormal Thought Patterns: We've always been fans of Heavy sounding material that fuses intricate lines. Mikey, Troy and I can play different lines that are not following or laying the same parts as the other instruments in the band. At the same time we still come together full-circle to create the sound we're all about. The name Abnormal Thought Patterns really is a great name for the band as you can identify Abnormal Thought Patterns in the music we write. We do step out with lots of feel as the mood changes throughout the songs. Putting in some Jazz and progressive elements time to time to keep things fresh. Like I said before the band is a headphone experience and when you throw it on you'll feel the pulse of the music and get lost in it. We'll have moments stepping outside and giving the listener a new sound and direction here and there. Kind of a difficult question to answer because the lines are worked differently album to album.
Musicscan: Do you think it is necessary to create a certain distance between you and the music in order to get a better understanding of its inherent quality – how do you handle such questions?
Abnormal Thought Patterns: We do invest a lot of time writing and recording the material. I do get a little obsessed with the process and there does become a point where I just need to step aside. I'll record everything but I'll have the music mixed elsewhere. It's good to have someone outside of the band to come in and put their touch on the material sonically. I don't start writing material for the band unless I'm getting the itch to do so. I will take many breaks away from the music to clear my head from it. It's good to come back and listen to what you have at that stage with fresh ears.
Musicscan: What are you looking for in your songs? Do you think there are still genuinely new sounds to be discovered or can modern music basically be said to be a recombination of already existing forms and known elements?
Abnormal Thought Patterns: You can always find new things for yourself musically. New tones and sounds can spark a new side to your writing style and playing. Even tones that have been used elsewhere can create a new vibe to your playing.
A strong part of your sound is about experimentation. Of the songs you guys have recorded, which one do you feel crosses the most borders? What other borders, musically speaking, do you guys wanna knock down in future?
Abnormal Thought Patterns: I feel "Calculating Patterns" and "Quintessence" are the two tracks that we went a little more outside of the box with experimenting. Both tracks have a Jazz vibe. "Calculating Patterns" has darker feel on the Jazz side where you feel you're in an old, smokey bar style but painted with some new colors in high definition. "Quintessence" gives a little bit of the Latin flavor with some cool solo's from Troy on bass. Looking to further that in the future with some chunky riffs.
Musicscan: How important is the improvisation factor to your music, and is it different when you enter a stage?
Abnormal Thought Patterns: A couple of songs we play live have a good amount of improvisation and will sound a little different from the album. Most of the songs are calculated to be exactly what you hear. Improvisation is an important tool for Abnormal Thought Patterns.
Musicscan: What are the feelings you get out of what you are doing with Abnormal Thought Patterns, and is there something you want the people / listeners to leave with?
Abnormal Thought Patterns: Abnormal Thought Patterns for me has a lot of excitement in the music. I get drawn into the music and grip my seat a little to hear what's coming next. It can be dark. heavy, chaotic and all of the sudden fall into a beautiful, clean, lush sequence that breathes beautifully. For me it's about listening to the track start to finish. The more you listen the more you find within the song.
Musicscan: Are there specific aspects on Manipulation Under Anesthesia that stand out in your mind, or aspects that have an inner meaning to you you would like to share with us?
Abnormal Thought Patterns: The whole "Velocity and Acceleration" series is my take of riding big waves. I use to surf back in the day and love watching it still. "Calculating Patterns " shows my love for Jazz. "Autumn" gives that feel of beauty with some soloing passages of players like John Sykes and Gary Moore who I'm big fans of. All the songs pull a piece of my past.
Musicscan: How did the deal with Lifeforce come about, and were they sort of your first choice, or did it just sort of fall into place?
Abnormal Thought Patterns: When we finished our demo material and was ready to start shopping "Manipulation Under Anesthesia". The first package I put together was for Lifeforce Records. They have a lot of cool bands on their label and I just had a feeling this is where we belong. We're very pleased to be with Lifeforce.
Musicscan: Last one: Do you care about fitting into a certain scene or genre?
Abnormal Thought Patterns: That's a tricky question because I do feel many of us (The bands and musicians out there) see ourselves touring with certain bands in a genre or scene. What we care about is writing and creating the music we want to hear and play. If a band isn't pouring their soul into the music the listener's in the genre or scene will look the other way.