Abandoning Sunday - Sound In The Signals Interview

I recently had the opportunity to interview Michael Thomas of Abandoning Sunday. We discussed his early interest in music, why it’s fun to take risks when recording cover songs, covering “My Happy Ending” by Avril Lavigne, how his songwriting has changed since releasing his album, ‘Forget’, his plans for new music, and more. Check it out below.

First, thanks for the interview.

Of course! Thanks for reaching out. 

Can you tell me how you got together and formed the project for those who may be unfamiliar? How did you initially become interested in music?

I started writing and playing music in high school. I grew up with abusive parents so music was an escape from that and other hard things. But it was also an outlet and avenue for me to try and deal with and process stuff. I was a pretty introverted and quiet kid who was pretty awful at expressing myself. So to be able to do so through music really made a huge difference for me. I started releasing songs under the Abandoning Sunday project title and did solo acoustic stuff for a while. Then in college I had a few friends who were really great musicians and liked the music and we started doing some shows as a full band. We recorded a few singles and then a full record. Then life happens and there was a few month period where they literally all got married and/or moved away. So I went back to doing mainly acoustic stuff on my own and for the most part have been doing that since. I still like to record most of the songs as a full band track since that’s how I hear them in my head but I haven’t played live with a band in a very long time. 

One thing you’re known for is the large amount of cover songs you’ve released. How do you choose which song to cover and what inspired you to be so prolific with the amount of songs you covered?

I never actually intended to do covers in the first place but I’ve come to enjoy them. As I’ve gotten more into the production and recording side of things they’re a fun opportunity to try different things and take more risks that I probably wouldn’t with my own original music. And writing lyrics is a slow and painful process for me so it’s a good and fun way to release songs more regularly without having to write any lyrics myself. As for how I choose what songs to do, I try to pick songs that most people will know but you’ve kind of forgotten about yet can still sing every single word too. 

Your most recent cover release is of “My Happy Ending”. Why did you pick that song and how did you adapt it to your style?

I picked that song because it felt like the perfect song to end what I had dubbed “the year of covers”. The song is basically “you were supposed to be really great but ended up really sucking” and that felt like a pretty accurate description of last year as a whole. Plus who doesn’t love Avril Lavigne? As far as adapting the track, I tried to make it feel really old school Abandoning Sunday where it was a really stripped back track with pretty minimal instrumentation. When I first started playing music, I wanted to be as loud as possible but only had an acoustic guitar so I would play every song with the energy of a full band even though it was just me. I wanted people to feel like there wasn’t a compromise in energy or excitement levels just because I didn’t have a drummer or an amp or anything. That's kind of what I was going for with the vibe of this cover.

Your album ‘Forget’ recently celebrated its nine year anniversary. What has changed and stayed the same about your project over the years?

Yeah, that’s crazy. Time is weird. I think one thing that has stayed the same is the overall “sound” or vibe of the project as a whole. If you listen to a song off of that record and then listen to something more recent, the newer song doesn’t feel like a huge departure. My hope is that new music always sounds like healthy growth as a musician and songwriter but also familiar. One thing that has changed though would probably be the way I write in general. There is something about when you first start writing songs and don’t know any of the “rules”  yet that is very freeing. I miss that. One thing I always really like about the Forget record is how all of the songs are a little different. Some are more acoustic, some are more electric, some are bigger, some are more stipped back. That’s definitely something I want to get back to in writing is feeling more free to let the song be whatever it wants and not trying to force any sort of formula or structure to it just because I feel like I’m supposed to.

What are your thoughts looking back at that album now?

I am very proud of that album. Potentially more so than anything else I’ve ever done. I like the songs, I like the instrumentation, and I made it with friends which was so fun at the time. Most of the time now it’s just me in my home studio doing everything myself. Most of my favorite memories regarding that record don’t have anything to do with the music but just hanging out with friends doing what we loved.

It looks like you’ve been in your studio. Do you have any plans to release more music this year? If so, what can listeners expect?

I try to spend as much time in my studio as I can. I do a lot of client work but also am always writing and demoing out new songs as well. I’m hoping to have a new single or two out this year and a new ep or record out sometime next year. As far as what to expect, I think people can expect the same things they’ve liked about songs in the past but some healthy growth in a new direction both lyrically and musically. And I’m excited about bringing in friends and my brother to play on the tracks which I think will help the music be more interesting and creative to listen to. And I’ve been writing more about growing up with abusive parents which is not something I’ve really touched on too much before. In the past I’ve tended to be more vague and “artsy” in my writing but I’m trying to be more overt and direct and I really like some of the new songs and where they are headed. 

Thanks for taking the time to answer the questions. Do you have anything else that you would like to add?

I’d like to say thanks to everyone that has stuck around this long. I’ve been doing music for what feels like a very long time at this point and it’s been awhile since the last time I released any new original music, so the fact that people are still listening and care really does mean more than I can express. So, thanks. 

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