Seven Questions - THOR HARRIS

May 5, 2021

A University of Texas art-school dropout, Thor Harris has gained national prominence in recent years as an Austin-based musician (and sculptor and artist and writer and carpenter and plumber . . .) His long and storied music career includes stints with SWANS, Bill Callahan, Davendra Banhart, Shearwater, Arthur Brown, Rob Halverson, and his own new(er) project, “Thor & Friends.” In 2017, Thor was kicked off Twitter for posting a Nazi-punching tutorial that went viral. In 2018, he accidentally launched a bid challenging Greg Abbott for the governorship of Texas. He talked with us from his Austin house, which he built with his own hands. He’s currently working on new Thor & Friends material, and on a dub record called Doom Dub 2. Doom Dub 1 and some other Thor records are available at Joyful Noise Recordings. Others can be found at

A Man with long hair and hat sits on a porch chair with a dog laying nearby, a bottle of Still Austin Whiskey by the dog.

1. You wrote a viral online (very short) “self-help book” in 2016. If you could give people one bit of advice to improve their lives today, what would it be?

Get exercise. It actually gives you energy to expend it. It can right your brain if you’re stuck.

2. This blog’s all about creativity. Tell us about a work of art you feel is woefully misunderstood or underappreciated.

Pong was an Austin band that could have and should have become way more nationally and internationally known. They couldn’t really tour though, so they were mostly only adored in Austin.

3. You’re sort of a jack-of-all-trades artist. Sculptor, musician, painter, writer. Did you make a conscious choice to live such a creative life, or did it come naturally?

I guess it comes with the territory of getting obsessed. I find a thing I like, and I wanna get good at it and learn everything about it. I was terrible in school, but I have intense ability to focus on my many passions.

4. You built your own house on the East Side. What was that like?

So fun. I learned so much. Now I work on other people’s houses. That’s my day job, and I must say I’m pretty passionate about being good at that in a similar way that I wanted to become a good musician. I hope to someday feel less defined by my work.

5. You’re an outspoke advocate for mental health. What advice would you give to creative people who have struggled during the pandemic?

I too have felt fatigue and despair in this pandemic, but as they say when you enter prison, “Don’t serve the time, let the time serve you.” This has been a time to study, woodshed, build new skills. Without constantly thinking of time as money, we’re free to study and hone our craft.

6. What would you tell someone who’s maybe working a job they don’t love, but secretly dreams of being an artist?

There are millions of reasons to make art and music. Money ain’t one of them.

7. How do you take your whiskey?

One ice cube, and I sip it. No shots.

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