Local Noise: Magic Thrust

Magic Thrust have burst onto the scene with, well, you can make your own pun based on the name of the band. But musically they have developed a unique sound that has brought them to the forefront of the New Brunswick party circuit, as well as venues such as the Starland Ballroom, the Stanhope House, Architekt, the Court Tavern, and Rutgers University.

The group started as the brainchild of Michael Dersch, who sings and plays guitar, keys, synth, and tenor sax, and handles the recording and sound engineering. Mike is joined by Zachary Price on guitars, keys, synth, and clarinet, Andrew Moghadam on bass and synth, and Matt Puleo on drums, percussion, and chimes.

“Matt and I started playing music with a friend and collaborator, Louis Cohen, DJ, a couple years ago,” says Michael. “Then Matt and I eventually started just playing as a two-piece, writing a little and jamming a lot. When ideas of playing live started coming about, we thought of no better person to call on for the bass needs than Andrew. After practicing with Andrew and writing some more, a few shows were played as a trio. With Matt and Andrew both going to Rutgers, and Andrew having rented a house with some friends, practice during the school semester started happening there. It was shortly after this time that a housemate and friend of Andrew’s, Zach, started to show interest in the music and started to become integrated into the sound, and before we knew it, the full band was in action.”

Musically, the sound of the band is an amalgam of styles, not easily classified. “Experimental exploratory progressive rock,” says Mike, when asked to describe the band. “We always have a problem describing our sound when people ask. We play jazz, funk, blues, post-rock, math rock, progressive metal, reggae/dub, deep groves, and ambient electronics, all while maintaining a certain sound and style. Some songs, I will bring an almost completed idea of a song to the table to be touched up by everyone. But most of the time, Zach, Mike, Andrew and even Matt will have a riff or musical idea, and from there it is a completely collaborative writing effort.”

As one might expect, there are a wide range of influences that the group would cite. Ones they all agree on include The Mars Volta, Radiohead, and Umphrey’s Mcgee. But individually, they have tastes that are quite varied, such as Deep Purple, Opeth, Mastodon, Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd.

Similarly, tracks that the fans (and the band as well) consider favorites are also quite varied. “We have a great deal of songs, and they are all as different as our fans themselves,” Mike says. “But if we would have to choose, ‘Pink Sock’ is always a party pleaser, ‘One Rub-Uh-Dub-Dub,’ and ‘Fat Man’s Funk.’ As for us, there isn’t one song we don’t enjoy playing so it’s hard to pick a favorite, but we really like ‘Desert Sun’ and ‘Guano Loco.’”

In fact, “Guano Loco” was the impetus for quite a scene at the last show the band played at the Stanhope House. “Our good friend, Evan, decided to get down to his boxers and dance to ‘Guano Loco’ during our set,” Mike laughs. “After about only a minute, a security guard started showing his distaste for the matter and forced him to put his clothes back on. Respectively, Evan started to put his clothes back on, still dancing as he clothed. Now once he was fully clothed, not doing anything wrong, he looked down at his shirt which read ‘Question Authority’ and sported a hefty looking police officer. He stretched out his shirt just so the security guard could take a gander at it. For some reason, the guard promptly decided to choke a kid half his size while pushing him towards the door, followed by yet another security guard. I watched the whole thing, and at this point was already putting down my guitar and bolting off stage to back Evan up. As the guard shoved Evan out the door, I in turn pushed the guard and knocked him in the face to only hear a stunned security guard say, ‘Don’t put your hands on me.’ After the guards seemed less violent, I angrily made my way back on to the stage, while the rest of the band continued playing, to finish a surprisingly good version of the song!”

As far as future goals, Magic Thrust wants to continue the upward spiral they’ve embarked on. “Musically, we would like to continue writing, playing and expanding our sound and fanbase,” Mike explains. “We want to explore all sonic possibilities and push ourselves past our limits. Professionally, we would all love to reach a level of success that we can all abandon our respective careers and pursue music full-time.”

And what of the unusual, and somewhat suggestive, moniker? “Magic Thrust has many meanings and can be taken in any way you want,” says Mike. “The most popular being it is about a child who was conceived through witchcraft. Another being someone with a premium sensual touch.”

You can get in touch with Magic Thrust at magic.thrust@yahoo.com, and check them out online at facebook.com/magicthrust.