T is very simple band name, but T is Thomas Thielen leader of the band Scythe and member of Cloud Can, and he plays all instruments on T`s new and eight album Pareidoliving.
Thomas Thielen was borh1976-03-23 in Germany is the person behind the seven albums so far released under the project name T. Initially a keyboard player, he started taking piano lessons in 1980. One year prior to finishing those he joined a band in 1992. Although that experience apparently was rather uneventful, it lead to Thielen changing his choice of main instrument; and during his tenure with this group he decided to start learning the guitar.
Soon after he joined a blues band as bassist; but that did not last too long either. It was a useful experience nonetheless; as the lack of rehearsing, planning and innovation led Thielen to want to do the exact opposite in his music. Around this time he started checking out a band called Marillion; which subsequently made him discover early 70’s Genesis. While looking up this mythic music he also started taking singing lessons; from what one can read on his homepage, this was the start of a long and still ongoing journey of discovery and evolvement.
T has always been making music. he has always been writing music, as well. given the opportunity to learn to play the piano from earliest childhood on, he decided to learn the guitar as well at the age of 12.
Because of the girls, of course. when a few friends of his, long-time guitar hero lothar hilgers (14), newly-designed singer peter niederpruem (15), bass-player-to-be stefan hilgers (14) and drummer stefan wagner (15) decided to line up as a band (“Rockmusik, Mann!”), t joined as keyboarder and rhythm guitarist. however, due to musical differences this line-up of the rubbish was – though critically acclaimed as hell (by almost all the girls of the 9a AND 9b!) – only short-lived. that is nicer than saying it right: t was opted out because of his tendency to be too, quote, “productive, creative and constructive” at rehearsals. he sure was a pain in the ass, back then.
At the age of 14 he decided to enter his first real band backyard, formed by frederik schlenk, marius boeffgen and yours truely. to get in, he simply lied and said that he, of course, was a bass player as well. though the other boys were 18 already at that time, they decided to invite him for some rehearsals, because in the eifel there were no bass players whatsoever at that time that met their needs. t managed to get his mother to get him a bass guitar until the next day (which he still fondly plays, an aria 4string with great cure-like power), and then got the job, not least because of a lack of alternatives.
Backyard, as a blues rock band, taught him a lot about gigs, the feeling of music and dynamics, improvisation and, as simple as it may sound, listening. but the sound structure and musical simplicity of the material they played (mostly albeit idiosyncratic cover versions of classics like cocaine or white room or red house…) were not after his tastes.
So, in 1992, at the age of 16, he started looking for musicians who shared his vision of something he didn’t then know was called artrock: powds con fusion, a first version of the later prog heroes scythe, came into being, featuring udo gerhards on keyboards, marius boeffgen on drums, stephan kloep on keyboards and saxophone, alexandra simon on flute, t on guitars and vocals, uli michels and later udo hargarten on bass (and quite often on vocals, the mists of time vary in their whispers). the musical world was, once more, saved, revolutionized, shirred, staken, got a new hairstyle – and answered these effort with loads of nothing but a frown, really.
So powds con fusion was abandoned, or better: distilled into scythe featuring martin walter on drums, ingo roden on bass, udo gerhards on keyboards and t as guitar player and lead vocalist. scythe then got the interest of the crowds (which, when talking about artrock, means about 10-30 people) and subsequently a record deal with galileo records. one album was produced: divorced land (1999).
Produced is a big word for the process, really, as it was recorded in a primary school with very few microphones, mixed without one single compressor at hand and only one reverb to be used, and mastered in a rush by someone not very much interested (understandably, if you consider the quality of the final mixes). the sound quality is, let’s say, worth a remix one day, all the more so as the album got good reviews and was said to display the talents of one of the next big prog bands of the world, century etc. however, scythe split up shortly afterwards for musical differences not so much as for private reasons: their jobs called the members simply to far apart to go on musicing together.
T was then left alone with new material, and decided to go for the big egomania: a solo project. with a little luck he managed to persuade galileo records to put it out, and the result, naive (2001), was subsequently, as they say, critically acclaimed. it took him 4 years to shake off the self-consciousness and pressure this put upon our little musician, but then voices (2006) followed, which was applauded even more, to the very confusion of the author.
Now, when we talk about solo albums here, we really talk about doing everything practically alone. apart from some help in the mixing, t is control freak and artist in one go and extremely bad at delegating. so, it might not be too surprising to see that it took him 4 years again to get anti-matter poetry, his third solo album, (2010) out. having become better at sound engineering, t now mixed the whole thing by himself, as well. this is also true for the next piece of work, psychoanorexia (2012).
T then started, what he calls a fractal narrative – a postmodern novel in music that combines the pygmalion story fragmentropy (2015) with its own deconstruction in epistrophobia (2016). the lyrical i then realizes that it is, well, lyrical in nature in solipsystemology (2019) – with devastating consequences.
Unnily enough, t is still being referred to as the ex-frontman of the german progband scythe and understands a bit better how frustrating it must have been for, say, fish for all these years.
In his leisure time, t works as a teacher (latin / english) and a teacher for teachers (educational psychology) and is also a father (sophia, born 2010). he also initiated and now leads a big project in German education to fight extremism and populism by strengthening the ability to separate rational argumentation from manipulatory bullshit, and is often mistaken for an expert in reflexive logics and philosophy. he also is a husband (married to the famous photographer and writer katia tangian, and still doesn’t know why she has not realized her mistake, yet), a dedicated, yet mediocre football player and quite a lot into all sorts of literature and cinema.
1. The Same Old Everything
2. The Light At The End Of The Light
3. How Now T4. The Idiots Pr
5. The Scars Of The Sky
6. Behind This Pale Face
7. Tell The Neighbours We’re Fine
Thomas Thielen (Scythe) – all instruments
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