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  • Vasili Papathanasopoulos


Hard Times is out now!

Image: Romon Yang.

Sydney five-piece Thunder Fox are back with their new single, Hard Times. To celebrate the release, band members Sam Dawes, Jesse Tachibana and Max Vallentine have shared with MILKY key factors that went into creating the song, as well as some inspirations.

“Hard Times is a song of catharsis. I was feeling pretty down and out at the time, growing tired of the bad news, bad people and bad jobs sucking all the joy from our lives. The song tells the story of two people who are struggling with 21st century issues like the effects our media has on body image, the fear women can feel for their safety when walking home at night or working a shitty job and still not being able to pay for rent." vocalist Sam Dawes shares.

"When I really thought about it, almost everyone has experienced one or more of these problems; I’m really just singing about average people like myself or my friends. The idea that we’re not alone in this was the inspiration that tied the track together and where I found the hook. There’s a pumping beat to boot so we’re all gonna listen to this track and get down to it thinking, “Oh well, I guess we’re just living through hard times”. (but also let’s take action on these issues after we dance away our frustration).”



What I loved about making Hard Times what approaching it in such a unique way to the usual songwriting process with the band. It was sick to just hop into the studio with Pat for the first time and see what we could come up with then, to bring it to the band and see it take shape was beautiful.


A really fun challenge I had when we began working on this song was trying to recreate a bunch of the synth sounds that Sam and Pat had whipped for the first demo prior to the song coming to the band. I'd recently bought a brand new analogue synth and was just beginning to dive into its intricacies, and trying to emulate the software synth's rich and complex patches was the perfect way to familiarise myself with a shiny new instrument.


At first it felt strange taking on a song that was originally written without the band. It was difficult for me to accept it as one of our own, but working through it with the guys and coming up with the final product was very satisfying. In the end I fell in love with the song and I’m proud of what we came up with together.



The primary focus of Hard Times lyrically is the shared struggle I’ve seen in so many people my age, living in late-stage capitalism. Whether its working hard at jobs we hate yet, remaining unable to afford bare necessities or looking in the mirror and wishing you could see anyone else’s body but your own, this millennium is fucking exhausting. I wanted to illustrate these common gripes through two individual stories in the verses and to introduce an almost sarcastic quasi-positivity in the choruses, shedding light on the few comforts we have. We’re all in this together after all.


It’d be remiss of me not to eventually mention the danceable element of the track. Our trumpet man, Jesse has been taking dance classes and has always been a phenomenal dancer which, brings a welcome excitement to live shows; not to mention our instagram stories. It was great to really dig in to that “Four to the Floor” kinda beat that should be completely played out by now but remains a primal source of joy for so many - we just had to taste a piece of that.

MJ I know the man’s controversial but, I don’t mind admitting his music seems to transcend any misgivings and separates itself from the personal life of Michael Jackson. MJ’s music was so good its almost sentient and, doesn’t evoke the creepy persona, it’s just pure joy and escapism. Pat and I were discussing this in the studio when we sat down to write and were so inspired by Quincy Jones’ production, especially the way he layers percussion and such a huge wall of sound while keeping the vocal intimate and up front. We definitely wanted to bring that inspiration into Hard Times.

Hard Times is out now!


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