After reviewing Thornhill‘s incredible EP Butterfly, we were left curious about the interlinking of the six tracks, and if there was a story behind them that the band would care to open up about. Thornhill’s vocalist Jacob Charlton was kind enough to share more about each track of Butterfly.
I am curious about whether there is something interlinking the six tracks. Could you share a bit about the inspiration behind the EP?
This EP is about my experiences in life so far, my passions, my fears and past events. Each song is linked to the last track “Joy” in some way or another as they each discuss tragedy and fear, where “Joy” is about the aftermath of these experiences.
“Sunflower” opens the EP and feels like rejection/hurt of another. It touches onto ‘joy’ as well. What’s going on in this one?
“Sunflower” is about the psyche and briefly delves into the complexities of mental illness. It discusses the trust issues we face when our mind is dealing with great stress and anxiety and how loved ones can become enemies without us consciously meaning to shut them out, or in worst cases become violent.
My Mum works as a learning support assistant and has many stories about children with mental disabilities facing these issues in their school and home environment. She gave me a lot of inspiration for this track because I feel like stories like this should be told and understood.
“Parasite” feels like a love-hate connection: ‘I need you’ and ‘I knowingly used you’. Are you talking from two different perspectives, or expressing two conflicting stances?
“Parasite” is about its own song title; having someone to benefit from and use as a net of trust and love but not feeling the same way. Basically it’s about humans being takers and not giving back, the feeling of being cared for is a lot stronger then caring for others and I don’t like that. It draws from a personal experience of needing someone for the way it feels, to be needed but not wanting them because you love them. So “I need you” is needing because you want to feel good and “I knowingly used you” is because you are responsible for your own actions in your own mind but you still won’t stop until you aren’t benefiting from it.
What else can you share about “Parasite”?
“Parasite” was the first track that’s name was given after the lyrics were done, I was explaining the meaning of the song to our bassist Nick whilst discussing titles and we both clicked at the same time and said “like a parasite”.
‘This EP is about contradiction.’ – Jacob Charlton
This is yet another song where the effect of layering works so very well, most noticeably around 2:43, where both of those perspectives collide. Is this to create a sense of being torn in two directions or just because it sounds cool?
This part is supposed to act like a battle in your mind, one side is fighting for sympathy and empathy for this person or event and the other is fighting back and reminding you how it feels to be needed and benefit.
“Reptile” is darker, like throwing oneself to the wolves, and enjoying it. Could you share with us the inspiration behind it?
This track is based on my love for horrors and on the music video itself. I had the idea for this video before I’d written the lyrics so it’s based on what I wanted to see and what I have passion for.
This one’s more about raw power and strength, a song for people to scream the words to but not really relate to, just to let off some steam.
Is it just me or is Butterfly full of contradictions, with “Reptile” seeming like joy in pain. Or is it more about survival through the worst circumstances?
This EP is about contradiction, it’s supposed to play with people’s minds about the meanings behind each song and go into each track blindly because I find that more interesting. Making the heaviest track the lightest name is a big example of this because I think going into a release with no idea is way cooler.
I also value people’s ideas for the meanings behind each song, a lot of this release is left to the imagination and I enjoy people relating to things in each song because of how they perceive them. If “Reptile” works for people and their life then I’m all for it but it’s really not about anything but my love for watching horror movies!
Tell us more about “My Design”, which seems like a comment on how we craft our lives and the control we should be letting go of.
“My Design” is about facades and the act people put on in certain parts of life. It’s a huge pet hate of mine when people act differently depending on the crowd they are with. This relates to relationships, families and friends, and I have experienced them all.
The title describes my understanding of what these people are doing, they are designing themselves for social circumstance, to fit in and be safe and I don’t think it’s right.
It’s very important to me to be able to express who I really am to my peers, if I can’t then I’m not with the people that accept and love me, don’t change who you are for anyone.
It’s similar to “Lavender” (to me) in talking about crafted facades?
Yes you’re exactly right, “Lavender” delves more into this theme in a personal and relationship way. It’s about someone who doesn’t like who you are so they tear you down and build you back up in a way that isn’t you.
The track feels like a raw ‘here’s my destroyed/broken self, what are you going to do with it?’
It’s more about ‘here’s my destroyed/broken self, why do you want me to be built differently’.
Don’t ever break someone down and rearrange them how you wish, people are more fragile than buildings.
Who is Lavender?
Lavender, for me is a person I had been with that has made me realise that being you is more important than making another person happy.
I wanted this character to be someone’s “Lavender” so when they listen they can’t relate to someone in their own life that is making them feel like they aren’t good enough.
“Joy” seems like a farewell from life itself, and commenting on mortality/aging. This was the track that had me curious if these tracks weren’t part of one bigger story, especially referring to Sunflower. Are you referring to characters here or more metaphors?
There are two paths you can take after tragedy, “Joy” is about the path you take into sadness, the feeling of being lost inside yourself. The songs verses are a 3rd person look at how one feels used and left to wander an empty plane of broken hearts. The chorus however is written in quotes as it is describing how we feel from the inside.
Everyone song on the EP draws back to this song because after every experience you must feel to grow. After misery, we must move forward but suffer through the healing process, in other words, it’s the road to Joy.
Thanks guys, appreciate your time and sharing with us about Butterfly. Congrats on the EP, it’s amazing!
Thank you so much for taking the time to find your own meanings, always awesome to see people interested in lyrics and themes!