Four Letter Nerd

Nerds in Bands: Josh Schwartz from A Sound of Thunder

The main reason for the “Nerds in Bands” series even existing is because I love both comics and music (especially metal) so much and I really wanted to find a way to combine the two here on 4 Letter Nerd. This newest entry of Nerds in Bands perfectly captures that sentiment, and I think you’ll see why…

Ladies and gentlemen, nerds and metalheads, I present to you my chat with Mr. Josh Schwartz, guitarist for epic metal band A Sound of Thunder. They’ve got something pretty damn cool coming up that you should check out!

4LN – Give us a little background on A Sound of Thunder and how you guys got started.
Josh Schwartz – The drummer Chris Haren and I met in a local cover band. We discovered we had a passion for the same kind of powerful, slightly proggy hard rock and metal and for writing original music, so we said goodbye to playing other people’s songs and started on our journey with A Sound of Thunder. Things didn’t really take off until our vocalist Nina Osegueda joined us in late 2009, and the final piece of the puzzle was when our bassist Jesse Keen joined in 2010.

4LN – What bands, would you say, have had the biggest influence on you guys?
JS – We all have different tastes, but I would say the two most influential bands and the two that all 4 of us love are Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden. Nina, Jesse and I also share a major love of King Diamond, and the 4 of us have a growing appreciation for Rush, spurred on by our drummer Chris who is a Rush fanatic!

4LN – Your new project is a pretty epic one, especially for those of us who are Valiant Comics fans. It’s a concept album based on the series Shadowman. Can you tell us about that and how it came about?
JS – Nina and I are both comics fans, and like writing songs that tell stories, so doing something based on a comic book was a no-brainer for us. There was never a big plan to find a comic book publisher to partner with us though. We just walked up to Valiant’s booth at the Baltimore Comic Con in 2013, with no forethought or planning, and told them we liked their comics and would like to do some music about some of their characters. We were surprised that they said yes almost immediately, and from there things took on a life of their own!

4LN – The Kickstarter you guys put up has already almost doubled the amount of money you needed to make the album happen. Did you anticipate that big of a response?
JS – We expected the Kickstarter to do well, because our fans are extremely loyal and helped us fund the last two albums through Kickstarter too. But we didn’t expect this campaign to blow up so fast! It really has been amazing to see and we are all incredibly thankful to everyone who has backed the campaign and helped spread the word!

4LN – Let’s talk a little Valiant comics before I let you go. If someone came to you and was interested in getting into Valiant, where would you personally suggest that they start?
JS – My favorite Valiant character is Shadowman, but for another reader, I might suggest they start with Harbinger or X-O Manowar, because I think they had longer, more consistent runs and there is more to dive into there. Shadowman was great but is kind of broken up into two distinct, shorter runs, with quite a change of tone and direction in the middle.

4LN – Ok, last question… If you could craft a concept album around any other Valiant Comics character, who would you pick and why?
JS – I think Bloodshot or X-O Manowar would both translate well to metal concept albums, or maybe Harbinger for a more progressive, thoughtful album. But for our band, I think Eternal Warrior would be the next best fit. Shadowman was really perfect for us because it has elements of black magic, and of course the Deadside, which suggest some of the darker tonalities that we use, and the New Orleans setting which suggests blues and jazz influences which we already have in our music. But Eternal Warrior would be great for some epic battle metal! You could really cover a lot of ground, from ancient Mesopotamia all the way to 4001AD!

I want to say a big “thank you!” to Josh for taking the time to talk with me! If you’re a fan of bands like Mercyful Fate, Hammerfall, and Nightwish, then I strongly urge you all to check out A Sound of Thunder. If you’re a Valiant Comics fan, make sure to also go to their Kickstarter page and support what they’re doing!

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Stephen Andrew

Stephen has spent most of his life reading comics, watching horror movies, listening to death metal music, and speaking in the third person. His favorite comic book character is The Punisher, and he believes that the Punisher: War Zone movie is criminally underrated. His favorite film of all-time is National Lampoon's Vacation, and his favorite album is Pantera's "The Great Southern Trendkill".

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