This week Northern Transmissions caught up with Thao Nguyen from the band Thao & the Get Down Stay Down. Filmed behind the Cobalt here in Vancouver, Canada, Thao gave us a list of some of her favorite albums, from her youth to today. Some of her picks include albums by Lucinda Williams, Andrew Bird, and A Tribe Called Quest.
A bit on Thao & the Get Down Stay Down latest release A Man Alive.
A Man Alive was recorded at Tiny Telephone Studios in San Francisco and was produced by Merrill Garbus of Tune-Yards. The two, close personal friends, experimented extensively during the creation of the record resulting in a unique, new sound for Nguyen.
“With this record I had clearer vision and aspirations. I wanted emotion. I wanted power. I wanted A Man Alive to be beat- and bass-driven,” says Nguyen of the album. “A Man Alive is more instrumental, more riff- and loop-centric, and has more manipulated sounds.”
The new album also finds Nguyen exploring previously untouched subjects including her relationship with her father who left the family when she was a young girl. “The record is essentially about my relationship with my dad, its trajectory,” Nguyen says. “It’s a document of my life in conjunction with his, even though we’ve always been leading our lives away from each other. Some are optimistic and forgiving, some are the opposite.”
A Man Alive explores new territory for Thao & The Get Down Stay Down, but regardless of subject matter the songs on A Man Alive are vibrant and danceable, lending themselves well to the band’s trademark high-energy live show. Nguyen says, “I wanted to make a record that was very introspective and personal, but would also seek to communicate and that we would have fun performing. Not just fun, but I wanted a kind of crazy, rabid, animal energy. That’s my favorite thing about performing-you can tap into this frenzy.”