Interview: A chat with Keifer Thompson of Thompson Square
blog by Kathryn Przybyla • March 07, 2012 @ 8:15am
After a break-out year in 2011, Keifer and Shawna Thompson have really hit the ground running with their duo, Thompson Square.
The husband and wife team have a perfect chemistry that comes clear through their music and with each new song. In town for the WYRK acoustic show going on Wednesday night, we got a chance to talk to Keifer about music, chicken wings, and how much he hates (yet loves) Hunter Hayes.
So the Grammy nominations were a big deal for you guys. How was that experience?
Keifer Thompson: When we got the news for the two nominations, Shawna and I weren’t together. She finally called me to tell me the news and she kept screaming “what? what?” I was doing the same thing, screaming right back. It was so hard to believe that two people that have been hitting our heads against the wall for 13 years, it happened. We couldn’t believe it.
It was the first time attending for us as well. With a chance to see other artists from all different genres around us, it was incredible. Just sitting that close to the Foo Fighters, it was absurd. Just so much fun.
Any favorite songs to perform on tour?
KT: On tour now, we’ve just been doing our own songs off the record. We sing “Glass,” “I Got You,” “Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not” and whatever we can fit into a 20 minute set. But in our own shows, for a longer set we’ll throw in some Tom Petty and Shawna will sing some Joan Jett and a Katy Perry cover. We want our shows to be high energy and fun and it can be hard to keep everyone’s attention with only two songs on the radio. But it’s been awesome to hear the crowd singing back to all the songs off our record.
Do you have any funny stories from being on the road?
KT: There are a lot of things, but I can’t tell you. [Laughs] We’ve been staying on our toes with the Lady A bunch. They’ve all got a great sense of humor. It’s been amazing to tour with them and they’ve really opened up to us. I can’t say enough nice things about them. It’s been a really cool thing.
During the day we’ll play Call of Duty on the bus which is always fun. But a little while ago, we had some of my wife’s late father’s friends on the bus, just a bunch of old-timers. They had so much fun and called it a once in a lifetime opportunity, and it really was for us too. Pete in particular was a singer-songwriter from back in the day and a little, skinny nothing of a man. He didn’t sleep for two days because he didn’t want to miss anything.
“Glass” is a step away from your more catchy and upbeat singles. Tell us a little bit about the song.
KT: We wanted to show some depth and that we’re not just a one trick pony. We felt that the song was just a beautiful representation of what Shawna’s voice can do. She really killed it in the studio. We’ve had no bad comments about the song, and there’s usually a few haters when it comes to doing something different. Most people are in love with it.
It’s mostly me singing on “Kiss Me or Not” and now we’re introducing Shawna’s voice and to hear how good she is. When you have two lead vocals, it’s important for radio success for people to recognize both voices. It gives us a freedom in choosing songs and is a nice tool to use both. It’s a little freedom. We wanted to show we can sing ballads as well as the upbeat tunes.
Anyone looking to collaborate with on music soon?
KT: We’ve been talking with Hillary Scott [of Lady Antebellum] about writing, and our management is friends with Merle Haggard. To be able to write with him would be amazing. Those are the only two we’ve talked about possibly working with. It’s still early for us to do a collaboration.
Looking to forward to anything while you’re in Buffalo?
KT: That’s the one bad thing about being on tour. We are in and out so fast and the whole day is consumed by sound checks, we have no time. Buffalo’s a great town though. We’ve been several times and the people are amazing. The crowds are always good to us.
You’ll be joining JT Hodges and Hunter Hayes at the show. Have you worked with them before?
KT: I hate those guys! [Laughs] Just kidding. We know JT’s wife pretty well, she’s a Gibson guitar rep and they endorse us, so I’ve gotten to know JT. But I hate that little guy, Hunter. He plays like a 50 year old man. He’s so talented and seasoned, it’s insane. He has more talent in his left hand then I have in my whole body. He’s definitely been touched by music in that regard. JT’s a great guy too. We just saw him at the Music Row Awards show and got to hang out. I’m really looking forward to seeing them both again.
Anyone a fan of Buffalo wings on tour?
KT: We just finished lunch at Buffalo Wild Wings right now. I got the curry flavored ones and we’re big thai food fans too. We’re meeting our manager for dinner tonight. He’s from Buffalo and just got a new home here so we’ll hang out with the family and eat.
With 2011 being so successful, what are ou guys looking forward to in 2012?
KT: Well, immediate time frame, I would love that duo of the year award at the ACM’s. That would be a good wall mounter. I’d like tosee our next two singles go top ten and hopefully build a catalog of top ten records. With “Glass” it’s a really amazing song and we are really excited to push it and release it. But, winning at the ACM’s would be an amazing thing.
The nominations every year are a big part of the game and sometimes it can be difficult to win at a small label. But they are an amazing experience, getting an award based on your accomplishments.
Here is Thompson Square’s new single, “Glass.”
Photo courtesy of Thompson Square.