Going Against The Grain: Thomas' Apartment

Thomas’ Apartment, the band behind the beautiful piece called “Coda” used in trailer and film of  Operation Babylift,  is celebrating a year of great shows and a recent CD release. ATG spoke with Pete Nguyen from the band to learn more.
Picture 9


Full Name(s) :
Thomas’ Apartment is comprised of Pete Nguyen (lead vocals, lead guitar), A. Thomas Tran (keyboard, backup vocals), Billy Vu Lam (rhythm guitar, backup vocals), Nam Tran (bass, backup vocals), and Krystal Sae Eua (drums).
Current Residence:
Nam, Billy, Thomas, and Krystal all reside in the Los Angeles area, while I’m in Irvine.

How do you feel about your piece “Coda” being used in the film?

We’re absolutely thrilled that “Coda” was chosen for Operation Babylift, and even more thrilled that the hope and inspiration that went into this piece are shared among your crew and audience. We couldn’t ask for a greater honor and thank you again for letting us be involved.

Coda is a very special piece to us. When it came time to put the Synchrony album together, we felt the album needed to end on an epic and emotionally uplifting note. We had an existing song called “Blue Skies” that was written about the Fall of Saigon, and we felt the song’s uplifting musical structure could be fleshed out instrumentally and turned into something much grander. I had been trying my hand at scoring independent films (such as Owl & the Sparrow, directed by Stephane Gauger) and I thought I’d put an orchestral arrangement to Billy’s uplifting song structure and Thomas’ brilliant piano playing. One thing led to another, our imaginations ran wild, Thomas put an amazing harp melody on top, and “Coda” was born. To add a sense of both closure and continuity to Synchrony, “Coda” ends with the same 8-note motif that begins the album in “Prelude”.

How did Thomas’ Apartment begin and what is the story behind the band name ?

About 9 years ago at UCLA, original members Billy, Nam, and Thomas all got together at an apartment that Thomas lived in to play music for fun, which eventually evolved into a more serious and ambitious musical project named after the place where it was born; Thomas’ Apartment.

What has been your favorite part or gratifying part of being a part of Thomas’ Apt.?

All five of us are very diverse in terms of our musical influences, and it’s always fun to have it all mesh together in the songwriting process. Personally, my favorite part of being in this band is the fact that we get to share these musical collaborations with so many people when we play live.

What was the inspiration for the new album?

Tuesday Night Lights is sort of an emotional snapshot of where we are at this point in our lives. Heavier and darker songs like “Miles Away” and “Today” are an in-depth analysis on the intricacies of relationships. “Tuesday Night Lights”, the title track, tells a story of the torment and helplessness felt by someone watching a friend become a victim of addiction. “Believe” is about the frustration felt by someone on the shorter end of a one-way relationship. “Stainless” is about finding the strength to walk away from an abusive relationship. There are also more lighthearted songs about falling in love and having good times, such as “Just For Tonight,” “Your Voice,” and “Michiko’s Song” (which was written by guitarist Billy Vu Lam for his recent wedding). And of course, musicians couldn’t be musicians without some tragic heartbreak stories, which you’ll find in “July,” “Give It All Away,” “Christmas Song,” and “Belong.”

What has been some of the biggest challenges you all have faced and lessons that you have learned?

We’ve all been there for each other through personal tough times, whether they be related to relationships, family, work, or our music itself. The most important lesson we’ve learned is to maintain positive and stay excited about the music we make. We’re all very lucky to have each other and there are some exciting times ahead!

Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Bookmarks