Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Artist Profile: Declan Thomas

Declan Thomas discusses solo career, Stock Goblin and the release of his new album ‘Acid Phase’
Photo courtesy of Declan Thomas

Last week, I sat down with local artist and producer, Declan Thomas. Thomas, who recently graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst has been developing his music career since his time in college. With the latest release of his newest album “Acid Phase,” Thomas has come a long way from his early days as a musician.

The seven-track “Acid Phase,” released Feb. 24, traverses a large range of different styles and genres, displaying a showcase of various sonic qualities. This unconventional, genre-bending album mixes multiple musical mediums together for a unique listening experience. The record simultaneously blends together a mix of electronic music, and more traditional instrumentation.

Recorded and mixed using MIDI, Thomas created most of the bass percussion parts from his computer. In fact, the record’s name, “Acid Phase” takes inspiration from the name of the presets for the basslines in the program he used. “The reason why it’s called acid phase is because those presets were all called acid…that’s a style of techno bassline,” he said.

Thomas explains that this album was very much a collaborative effort, revealing that he took inspiration and help from his friends. His close friend and Stock Goblin bandmate Eli Feldman helped record much of the percussive elements. In the third track on the album, “Acid 3 ‘goin crazy,”’ Feldman is featured playing djembe and bongos. Feldman is also featured using a talk box on multiple tracks on the album. The first track, “Place Within a Place,” features a verse written by Feldman, honing the collaborative nature of this record.

Thomas talks about the second track on the album, “Acid 5 ‘as above so below’”: “I was going to scrap that…it needed to be reworked a lot.” Suffering from a lack of inspiration, he called in a  friend for help. While he did most of the reworking himself, he mentions that having another opinion sparked valuable inspiration. His friend added trumpet to the track, creating another layer to the record’s mixed feel.

Collaboration was very important to Thomas during this process. In a surge of inspiration and motivation, he was able to put the album together, start to finish, in  a matter of two months. However, he had been conceptualizing this record for a long time prior. He first started making beats in a new style for over a year.

“I had these beats that were sort of stale… But I thought to myself if I have some of my friends come in and help me with them, it’ll breathe life into them and kind of give me a new perspective on them,” he said.

Thomas’s love for music began at a young age. He started out rapping around the age of 15. “I started taking rapping seriously in 2019 when I was 18. And then probably a year later I started playing guitar,” he said.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, he was able to hone his talents at guitar, practicing day and night for about four to five hours.

Thomas is a multifaceted artist, identifying himself as a producer, audio engineer, guitar, bassist, rapper and singer. Aside from his role as guitarist and bassist for Stock Goblin, he has also had a long and rich career as a solo artist. Thomas released an EP in 2021 and “then four or five singles between then and this project.”

Thomas also talks about his role as the guitarist and bassist for the local student band Stock Goblin, and what it is like being a part of the music scene in Amherst. Being in Stock Goblin helped propel his musical career forward.

“It was really, really hard for me to get any type of traction, any type of like opportunities, like gigs or anything like that, before I was in the band,” he said.

Being a member of the band also came with other benefits. He explains that previously, when creating music solo, he felt immense pressure to produce something that would appeal to a wider audience. But being in Stock Goblin alleviates that burden and allows him to focus less on being “listenable”.

Thomas also talks about the difference in the music scene he has seen since he was a freshman.  “The scene has expanded and become more of a thing,” Thomas said. “In the sense that there’s venues for us to play at, people know about stuff that’s happening, even people who aren’t part of the underground scene they sort of hear about stuff now.”

Thomas also noted an increase of local concerts and shows in the area: “I feel like you really had to seek it out before yeah when I was a freshman and now it’s an option for you right off the bat.”

Thomas also helped put together a music festival, Zenith Arts Festival with his friend. The festival, which took place on May 11, was presented by Underground Pulse, UMass SSFA and Groovy Events. The event offered live music, art, vendors, lawn games and food. Thomas performed with Stock Goblin.

“Acid Phase” and Stock Goblin’s latest EP, “Trinkets” are out now and available for streaming on all platforms. More information about Declan Thomas can be found on his Instagram account @declanthomasmusic.

Victoria Thompson can be reached at [email protected].

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All Massachusetts Daily Collegian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *