5 Questions With: Tom Monda (Thank You Scientist)

5 Questions with Tom Monda

If you don’t know who Tom Monda is, you need to get hip real quick. Tom is one of Vigier’s newest additions to the artist roster and he and his band Thank You Scientist are making big waves. Thanks to his incredible chops and pop sensibilities, Tom is quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with. We caught up with him recently to just get some basics down on paper.

For a more in-depth look at Tom’s playing and influences, check out issue 17 of Guitar Interactive (which also features a cover story on everyone’s favorite doubleneck playing madman, Bumblefoot).

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1. Tell us about what’s going on with Thank You Scientist and any other projects your working on.

We are currently super busy writing a new album and gearing up for our first major tour! We are driving ourselves crazy trying to push beyond what we did on our last album, “Maps of Non-Existent Places.” I’m also writing a jazz thing that will hopefully be complete before I’m too old to remember how to play the material. Also I’m working on growing a beard right now. I can use all the encouragement the general public is willing to offer. 2. You are a psychotically talented transcriber and songwriter. Can you tell us how you arrange TYS songs or how the songs typically get written (if there is a typical way)? Just to clarify, by answering this question I’m not agreeing with what you said about me! Regardless of the validity of that aforementioned sentiment, the song writing process nowadays consists of me bringing a skeletal idea to the table which myself and the other six guys put through the ringer.  We obsess over every minute detail until we feel we’ve made the best possible choices arrangement wise.  We hold back A LOT and try to make sure whatever we write still has some semblance of song, no matter how convoluted we get…
tom-monda-5-thumb 3. What makes you reach for a guitar more than anything else? (This could be a feature of the guitar or a feeling you get or really anything).
It could be hearing a great player, having a good day, having a bad day, having a great cup of coffee, anything! I have a guitar on my lap for most of the day…It’s a tool for expression, therapy, education, relaxation, interaction, I could go on and on. I play a couple different instruments but guitar is the one that I have the deepest connection to. When I listen to a piece, regardless of instrument it’s being performed on, I see it on the guitar.
4. Do you have any tricks or tips for playing the Surfreter live and in the studio?
Prayer! Haha…just kidding. In the studio it’s fine. Live it’s essential to be able to hear yourself to intonate properly and as the performers out there know, stage mixes at rock clubs are often times not the kindest… Now I feel the pain of the acoustic instrumentalists in my band! 5. If you could put together an all-star band with you on guitar, who else would be in it (living or dead)?
An all star band wouldn’t have me on guitar!  How about Mike Patton, Ben Monder, Brian Blade, Jaco pastorius and Roland Kirk? Jeff Buckley, Bumblefoot, Les Claypool, and Jojo Mayer can tour with them.  I would also really love to hear bill frisell play a duet with bill Evans!  Or Lenny Breau jamming with Ralph Towner!
You can buy Thank You Scientist’s full length “Maps of Non-Existent Places” now at ThankYouScientist.net , Bandcamp and stream it on Spotify .
All photos by Sarah Sturges.
Tags: excalibur surfereter supra, expert standard 63, thank you scientist, tom monda