When you hear the name Thundercat –– do you first think of the animated series, or the multi-award winning musician?

If you ask the musician himself, he honestly wouldn’t mind being recognized for either, considering what he told the crowd present at the Wanderland Festival this year –– “You guys know me, I love anime more than anything (well, aside from my cats)”, he proclaims. Yet ultimately, Thundercat stands as a luminary figure in the contemporary music scene, celebrated for his unparalleled mastery across multiple instruments and his adeptness in seamlessly blending various genres altogether.


Photographed by Mayks Go

With a fusion of funk, progressive R&B, soul, psychedelia, and acid jazz, he crafts sonic tapestries that transcend conventional boundaries, inviting listeners on a journey through kaleidoscopic soundscapes. His virtuosity as a musician elevates him to the status of a musical virtuoso, where each note he plays serves as a testament to his extraordinary talent and creativity. His eclectic style not only pushes the boundaries of conventional music but also transports audiences to a realm that is almost spiritual in a sense.

Headlining the Wanderland festival, Thundercat brings a transformative energy that transcends the standard fare of live performances. His avant-garde approach to music-making serves as a game-changer to what we’re often used to, infusing the festival atmosphere with an ethereal and seamless ambiance that captivates audiences throughout the night –– becoming an immersive experience where music becomes a conduit for transcendence.

Right before he took the Wanderland stage, Billboard Philippines caught up with the musical virtuoso himself –– talking about his first time performing in the Philippines, what he appreciates most about his audience, his non-conventional approach when working on his creative process, as well as what lies ahead following his headlining performance at the festival.

Billboard Philippines: Your presence as the headliner for Wanderland 2024 marks your first time performing in the Philippines. What are you most excited about being here and performing today?

Thundercat: I’m excited about the people, I’m excited about the energy, and I’m [just] very appreciative of being here. 

Because you know, you get surprised on so many levels, and it’s definitely an enjoyable surprise for me. I’m just happy to play some music, and hopefully, people will sing along, and it will be great. It will be fun. You have everyone, children and adults alike, I hope it’s gonna be great. 

I think the crowd out there, they’re ready to match the energy you guys are going to bring on stage. So that’s really great to see.

It’s gonna be fun, it’s gonna be a lot of fun!

Your music blends genres such as funk, soul, progressive R&B, and psychedelia among others. What inspires you to mesh all these genres together?

Drugs. I’m just kidding. (laughs) Totally kidding. Guys, I don’t drink anymore! Um, I don’t know, I just enjoy seeing the shifts and changes in music. I’m happy to partake in the ability to create differences and changes in music. 


Photographed by Mayks Go

So what is your creative process like, whenever you work on a record or when you collaborate with another artist?

First, you gotta get broken up with. Then you gotta have some depression, then you gotta give up on so many levels. And then comes the energy of a Sith lord. No, I don’t know. *laughs*

It’s that you find inspiration in everything really. The process is you know, it’s just what it is. It can come from anywhere for me, it comes from farts, from my cats, from the PlayStation, from arguments, and life overall.

So a while ago, you mentioned that you were really excited to see the crowd as you play later. When performing live, what do you notice about your audience usually, and how they receive the music?

I don’t know. I notice that there’s a lot of people with cat ears in the audience, that always makes me very happy about stuff. (laughs) A bunch of cat people in the audience.

I don’t know, I enjoy the diversity of the people that come to my shows. Everything from gangbangers, to strippers, to you know, Steely Dan fans. *laughs* People who like listening to Pantera. You know, it’s pretty damn diverse. I notice first the diversity more than anything really, and that’s why I enjoy seeing the crowd appreciate my music.


Photographed by Mayks Go

So what songs are you excited to play for the Filipino audiences tonight?

All of them. I’m excited about all the songs. Anytime I get the chance to play with Dennis and Justin, it’s a whole lot of fun on stage. So I hope that will be able to translate well with everybody else in the crowd.

And we’re really excited to see how all of it comes together tonight. So, it’s been almost four years since the release of your Grammy-winning album, It Is What It Is. Are there any new things that your fans can look forward to for 2024 onwards?

I don’t know man. (laughs) I don’t know what’s gonna happen next guys. To look forward to? I’m always constantly working and creating, there’s lots of stuff — I don’t want to give away too many secrets on what’s coming –– but uhh, for now, I’ll say just working as usual. And trusting the process really.

Well, whatever you’re working on in the future, we at Billboard Philippines will be looking forward to what’s next from you. Thank you so much for your time!

Hey, hey, thanks so much too! 

Listen to It Is What It Is by Thundercat below: