ETHAN MCCANN (THORNHILL): “We Achieved Things I Didn’t Think We Would Be Able To At This Point In Our Career”


Australian Metalcore outfit Thornhill are set to release their sophomore album, entitled Heroine, on June 3rd. The band’s guitarist Ethan McCann took the time to talk with Metal Express Radio about the band’s upcoming album, the pressure of writing their second full length album, the music scene in Melbourne Australia, and more. Check out the chat below!

Metal Express Radio: The bands second full length album Heroine is set to be released on June 3rd, what can you tell fans about the upcoming album?

McCannn: We took a very different approach to this album. We knew we wanted to sound and look different; it was just a matter of how different. I think a lot of people can hear a more alternative rock influence as opposed to Metalcore which is what we wanted, that’s the style of music we enjoy listening to and therefore want to play. I think a lot of people weren’t expecting the change, given that we have only released one album so far, however I think we are always going to be changing and challenging ourselves and our listeners.

MER: How was it writing and recording having this being the band’s second album?

McCann: There was quite a lot of pressure, the whole second album pressure is very real. We are still finding our footing with what works best in terms of writing, I think we will always continue to learn because every song is different. That said, although there were some trying times (quarantine, mental health etc) we also had some of our biggest highs as a band. Jacob and I found that writing to visual stimuli was extremely beneficial, almost treating the album like a film score. We focussed a lot on the emotional journey of this record, we wanted you to see and feel very particular emotions.

MER: How would you compare Heroine to the band’s first album The Dark Pool?

McCann: The Dark Pool had a very consistent tone throughout, it was a big collection of random ideas and half songs that even dated back pre Butterfly EP. Believe it or not Jacob and I actually saw that album as a bit of a backwards step from Butterfly, we thought the EP was much more interesting and innovative. I think what makes Heroine so different is the intent behind the songs. I think after our first album we learned how to focus on some of the finer details and instead of creating a standard song arc with a breakdown in the middle we wanted to take a different approach. Especially because nobody in this band really listens to Metalcore anymore, it wouldn’t make sense nor be genuine if we did another standard Metalcore record. There’s much more alternative rock influence, especially from that late 90s/ early 00s era of music because that’s what I grew up on. Those influences have always been there, I could point out parts of The Dark Pool that were inspired by the same bands, we just leaned into the different genre a bit more this time.

MER: The band has released three singles from Heroine. What kind of feedback have you received?

McCann: I think a lot of people are confused, I think this isn’t what they expected and a lot of people aren’t sure how they feel yet. Like I said, we knew it was going to upset people so we were prepared for it. The thing is we all love and idolize bands who evolve, take risks and do whatever they want to do, that’s what we have always wanted to be. I think without pissing some people off, turning some heads, and challenging people’s taste in music, you aren’t challenging yourself as a creative. It did reach a point with Casanova where most of us started to freak out a little but we all still stood by the song, it sounds exactly how we wanted it to sound.

MER: Do you feel like those songs give fans an idea on what to expect from the full length album?

McCann: A little, we touch on a bunch of other things on the album that won’t be in the singles but it all adds up to the one cohesive body of work. When you choose singles you try to give the audience a little sampler of what the whole thing will sound like, which I think we did, but there’s still plenty more surprises that I think will catch people off guard.

MER: What are plans for the band after the album release?

McCann: A lot of touring, our year is getting more and more busy every week. We also have to start writing the next album at some point. I think having live shows back and being able to hang out as a unit again has helped us a lot, being locked away from each other for so long wasn’t the most inspiring environment to write in. I’ve had some ideas on the road and Jacob and I have discussed what angles we might take, so we are very keen to get stuck into it as soon as we can.

MER: How is the music scene out in Melbourne Australia?

McCann: The music scene in Melbourne is always thriving, which is amazing, however it can be intimidating and challenging for bands as the market is so over-saturated. That said, because the scene is pumping, there are a lot of opportunities for bands to grow. We are extremely grateful for the opportunities we received early on in our career, I think we were extremely fortunate. To be honest between my day job and my time that goes into this band, I don’t have a lot of time to just go and see gigs anymore, which I miss because I love so many different styles of music.

MER: Who would be the ideal band to tour with? (Headline or support.)

McCann: My favourite band of all time is Radiohead, I doubt we will ever be on the same bill as them but that’s the dream. I feel like there would be so much I could learn from everyone in the band, it would also probably make me want to quit music because they are such incredible musicians. But that’s a risk I’m willing to take haha.

MER: Since releasing your first album in 2019, what have been some of your favorite memories with the band?

McCann: I’d say our first overseas tour at the start of 2020 was our biggest highlight from The Dark Pool cycle. We had dreamed of playing in Europe and the UK since we were in school so seeing people like our music enough to send us overseas was a pretty surreal experience. I’d also say writing some of the songs on Heroine, like I said before we had some of our best memories cracking songs like “The Hellfire Club,” “Valentine” and the title track “Heroine. We achieved things I didn’t think we would be able to at this point in our career and I’m extremely grateful that we have been fortunate enough to do so.


  • Matt Zaniboni

    Matthew is an interviewer here at Metal Express Radio. He started his passion for music journalism back in his college radio days serving as the Heavy Metal Director at WKKL out of Hyannis Massachusetts. During Matt’s tenure in radio, he has had time working for commercial stations in Boston Massachusetts such as WAAF, WZLX AND 98.5 The Sports Hub before landing with Metal Express Radio. Anytime you want to talk heavy Metal, hockey, Guiness, and dad life, Matt is your guy m/

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