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Musician of the Month, August 2020: Tucker Thomasson of Throne of Iron

Indiana metalhead Tucker Thomasson is living every nerdy musician's dream.

Step One: Write one-man album about playing Dungeons and Dragons in your basement.

Step Two: Success!

I'm sure it wasn't quite that easy, but Thomasson's solo project Throne of Iron was signed to Greek heavy metal label No Remorse Records shortly after he posted a self-recorded demo in the summer of 2018. He then grabbed some friends from old bands to get a full lineup together, and Throne of Iron was off to the races.

But as quickly as things were moving for the band, there were also some interesting developments in Thomasson's personal life. Metalhead Money asked him a few questions about the recent purchase of his first home, balancing band life with "adulting," and more. Check out what he has to say below!

Metalhead Money: First question -- your band Throne of Iron had a ton of success with your debut bandcamp demo in 2018. What do you think gave that demo such legs? And what's it been like transitioning from being a one-man project to a full band?

Tucker Thomasson: I'd like to think that the reason that the demo reached as far as it did was because of the connections that I had built up from a decade-plus playing music prior to starting this project. A lot of people seemed really interested in me doing this end of music, and they said it with downloads.

The transition from being a one-man project into a full band happened pretty rapidly, honestly. When we got offered our deal with No Remorse, I didn't have a band yet. And I knew that they would most likely expect us to gig at some point, as generally that's what labels do. So I asked Jacob, who had been the drummer in my previous band since 2012, and my friend Corwin who I knew also had a mutual interest in 80s metal and Dungeons & Dragons to join up with me, and here we are.

MM: What's it like working with No Remorse Records? Do you feel like you've been able to do things being on a label that you wouldn't have been able to pull off as an indie band?

TT: I think the biggest advantage that we've gotten from working with No Remorse records is simply the good name of that label. There in what I like to call the "tastemaker range," in that they're a label that is big enough for a lot of people to know them, but not big enough to have too many people criticizing them. If you're into the kind of music that we make, and No Remorse is putting out a band's record, there's a very good chance that you'll like it.

I don't necessarily think that would have gotten to where we are based purely on being signed, but I definitely believe that it's open a lot of and cultivated even more relationships with people. We've definitely met a lot of people by being on the No Remorse roster.

MM: Tell us about your infamous 2020 European tour....

TT: We were slated to play Up the Hammers Festival in Athens Greece in March 2020. By this time people in the United States were beginning to take notice of the rising number of covid-19 cases here, but actual legislation hadn't been passed regarding the control of it yet. The morning that we were supposed to fly out New York City, we woke up to a notice that multiple bands had dropped off of the festival due to concerns with the virus.

We decided to tough it out and play two sets as a gesture of goodwill to the festival. About an hour after we lifted off from New York City, I got connected to the plane's Wi-Fi and began to receive tons of messages from people telling me about the travel ban that was enacted the very day that we left. We didn't know yet that US citizens were still going to be able to re-enter the country, but we weren't taking any chances. While we were on the plane to Switzerland, I was looking at return flights so that we could have a leg to stand on when we landed in Zurich, and hopefully catch a flight back to the United States.

Thankfully, the staff at the Zurich Airport were extremely helpful and we were given a return flight back to New York free of charge. We had a lot of people donate to us out of fear that we are going to have to buy tickets back home, and we then turned around and gave those donations to our friends in Smoulder, who were stuck in Europe. All told, we landed back in the United States about 26 hours after we had left, a little angrier, and about $3,000 lighter than we were before we booked the flights. So we tucked our tails between our legs and drove back to Indiana that night.

MM: What has Throne of Iron been doing during the pandemic, or are you taking a break for now?

TT: Because we self-engineer all of our releases, we have the capacity in the ability to write and record essentially whenever we want. We have been recording some songs here and there, but life was kind of transitory for a few of us, with the coronavirus, car crashes, and me buying a home and all of the costs and moving associated with that. So we have been laying low for a little bit, but I don't think we'll be quiet for much longer.

MM: Recently, you've made a huge move into the world of "adulting" by purchasing a home. How did you prepare for this? And how are you enjoying/not enjoying home ownership thus far?

TT: I had been wanting to buy a home for about two years, and had been planning a little here and there for it, but nothing really can prepare you for doing it. A home ended up on the market, and we put in our offer the day after the for sale sign went in the yard. We were tired of waiting. My wife and I had lived in a two-bedroom duplex in a college town about 40 minutes away that was on a floodplain and had actually flooded at one point in early 2019.

So we were pretty tired of living where we were living, and also we wanted to have a place that was actually ours, in that we owned it. The house popped up in my tiny home town, my mom saw it and let us know about it, and we came to look at it the next day and promptly put an offer in right then.

Easily the most stressful part of preparing to buy a home was the miles and miles of paperwork. If your credit score is not in order, start working on getting it up now. You need to keep records of the past two to three years of W-2s and tax returns, and about four months worth of bank statements before you consider going to a lending institution. And sometimes getting all of those papers together can be a little tricky. So I implore you, dear reader: if you are considering buying a home at any point in the next few years, start keeping track of your records now.

As for actually owning a home, I feel happier than I have in years. I know that this house is mine, and I can do whatever I want to it. My mortgage is about $150 per month less than my rent was. I have a substantial yard. I have cool Neighbors. I have tons more room for my cats to run around in. There are very few downsides so far. Honestly, the only downside is that I have encountered owning my house so far has been figuring out what to do with all the space that I now have, which I would say is a pretty great problem to have.

MM: How do you balance "adulting" with the time and expenses of "banding"?

TT: Under normal circumstances, when we're gigging all the time, the weekend show cycle honestly doesn't affect the rest of my life that much. I work from home and have an interesting job that lets me work ahead of schedule, so I can have things set to release over spans of time that I'm gone, and not just weekends either. As long as my work gets done, I can leave and go do whatever for indefinite periods of time, and my bandmates are in a similar situation. So honestly, balancing my adult with my band life isn't that difficult.

I think that the reason for that has been because I've always consistently had being in a band as part of my life for going on 13 years now. It's always been in my top priorities, so it's always been easy to route the rest of my life around it. My band is more or less a self-sustaining economy, so almost no money is coming out of my pocket to fund this thing. Merch sales pay for this thing to keep going, so nobody has to pay a dime. The only currency we have to expend into this band is time.

MM: How do you keep the band stuff fun as life (and the band itself!) gets more serious?

TT: I think the fact that we are a band based around fun helps it continue to be fun. Enduring horrible times, like when we're driving back to Indiana from New York at 6AM after a failed trip to Europe, we still find things to laugh about. The whole notion of this band is based around the idea of friends getting together and having fun doing things like playing music, playing Dungeons and Dragons, and lifting weights. Like I said above, playing music has always been in my top priorities, so conflict between music and the rest of my life has always been pretty minimal.

If it's not fun anymore, it's time to pack it in -- at least in this metalhead's opinion. So kudos to Tucker and the crew for keeping their passion for heavy metal alive and well as the years turn into decades. Check out Throne of Iron on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and listen to their debut full-length with No Remorse below!

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