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How Twin Musicians, THEBROSFRESH, Are Taking Austin by Storm

Get to know Torrence and Thurman Thomas, local brothers growing a successful music career with talent, charisma and effortless style

THEBROSFRESH (photo by Roger Ho)

THEBROSFRESH know the rumors: “Twins Torrence and Thurman Thomas stormed into Austin from little Geismar, Louisiana to gobble up gigs and mint brand paydays.”

“Some people think we’re industry plants. We’re not even on a label,” said Thurman, lead guitarist of the band that landed in the capital city a few short years ago. “They see brand deals with Volkswagen, Google Pixel, Nike, Jack Daniels. It looks like we have to have someone feeding us jobs.” 

Voracious for success and dressed for the part, the charismatic pair want to meet talent buyers, billionaires, and key cultural players in town, but their ace in the hole, besides monetizable swagger and musicianship, is plain work. With a background in creative agencies, they often film their own promotional spots for brands often alongside Tony Ramos and Julian Munoz of Weird Forever. 

Genuine altruists, THEBROSFRESH also founded a nonprofit called Tankproof to provide no-cost swimming lessons to children and fight food insecurity with weekly food distribution for the hungry. They film well, give back, and “play each gig like the rent is due. Most times, it is due,” they said.

But their urge to plant roots in Austin, find recognition musically, and be of service locally could also be seen as the result of a traumatic break with their faith community. 

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THEBROSFRESH at Hotel Saint Cecilia (photo by Roger Ho)

Sunday Best

“If it wasn’t for the pandemic, I would still be trapped in my church,” they agreed. 

Before they were THEBROSFRESH, the twins were known as Ask The Thomas Bros, playing covers at clubs and gatherings, but also playing worship music in God’s house. Now layering rock and roll like a birthday cake with velvety RNB, soul, and rap today, the church was where they were taught lessons in “hard discipline,” improvisation, and under-pressure performance for big crowds. 

For 12 years, shared Torrence, bass player for THEBROS, the spiritual community was their world. They even studied theology in divinity school before they left that world behind, losing friends in the process. It’s an experience they said they haven’t had time to unpack. 

“Here’s what I’m saying. Yeah it was (messed up). A lot wasn’t right … But a lot of the experiences that we’ve had, I am thankful for a lot of them because it made us who we are today,” said Thurman. 

“The best qualities that people love about us were created in that setting,” said Torrence.

As we sat on the couches at the Commodore Perry Estate, Torrence’s piercing gaze filled with tears, and Thurman’s softer look turned inward as he inhaled deeply. 

“That phase of life was hell,” said the brothers. 

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THEBROSFRESH (photo by Roger Ho)

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THEBROSFRESH at Hotel Saint Cecilia (photo by Roger Ho)

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THEBROSFRESH at Hotel Saint Cecilia (photo by Roger Ho)

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THEBROSFRESH at Hotel Saint Cecilia (photo by Roger Ho)

The Drake Effect

Earlier, Thurman explained how a seed needs rich soil. For the Thomas brothers, Austin became their soil when Louisiana no longer could be. As the artists moved to seize the day, they looked forward with optimism and relentless determination. Their goal? Try to replicate what Torrence called “the Drake effect — the art of conquering a second city.” 

Past residencies at C-Boy’s Heart & Soul, numerous gigs, and a coveted spot on 2022’s ACL Festival lineup show THEBROS are off to a running start. On New Year’s Eve, they mounted stages on Auditorium Shores and at ACL Live.

“Austin is where New Orleans was from about 1997 to 2002,” explained Torrence. “I can taste it in the air.” 

He referred to the rap label Cash Money Records. As he sees it, the collective proved artists united at the grassroots can climb the ladder, but every bit of help and mentorship — something the Thomas brothers wish they saw more of in town — matters.

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THEBROSFRESH at Hotel Saint Cecilia (photo by Roger Ho)

“Shout out to Mitch Ballard at BMI,” they said, gratitude flowing. “KUTX has been huge,” added Torrence. “They do good work to help if you know how to utilize them… A lot of artists here don’t ask to get their songs played, but we ask.” 

Bold confidence is their edge. Asking is also how they played ACL Live when they opened for Gary Clark Jr., a respected friend and mentor. To lend their own hard-won wisdom, THEBROSFRESH are co-managing up-and-coming acts LeTrainiump, Shakiel Smith, and Sean Fresh. 

They also look forward to planned studio time with Austin luminary Adrian Quesada of The Black Pumas and Grupo Fantasma fame — a mentor they thank in our interview — along with Portugal. The Man and Neil Francis, among others. 

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THEBROSFRESH at Hotel Saint Cecilia (photo by Roger Ho)

Fresh Fridays

“We don’t know what we’re doing. If we did we would already have the hit record. We’re building,” they agreed. 

What nobody talks about, said Thurman, is how to handle notoriety. Two panic attacks were shocking to him, triggered, he believes, both by intense crowd adoration and the thought of mass rejection. 

“I honestly don’t believe humans are meant to be lifted up and praised like that. I don’t think we’re meant to be able to sustain that,” he said. 

At ACL Fest, the twins asked James Blake how he handled it and got even more valuable advice — “create a persona.” 

For fans, the two cue favored fashion brands on Instagram every week with a series called Fresh Fridays. Look out for Lucchese boots, Tereasa Foglia hats, eyewear from Vada, and threads from Buck Mason. 

In the cowboy hats, they agree, they’re in work mode. Out of them, maybe not. Other mysteries are about anchors and belonging.

“If it wasn’t for Austin, Texas, I don’t know where I’d be,” said Thurman, and then the two were off, chatting about what to wear for an engagement later that night, though they were already dressed to kill. 

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THEBROSFRESH at Hotel Saint Cecilia (photo by Roger Ho)

Fresh Style Q&A with THEBROSFRESH

Where are your favorite places to shop in Austin?

Our two favorite places to shop locally are STAG and ByGeorge. Both have a well-curated range of offerings, from more approachable and to elevated pieces. We are both “slow” and rather minimal shoppers, so we like to go in-store to explore, try something on, maybe come back again, and then pull the trigger on things that catch our attention.  

What are your favorite local brands? 

Our favorite local brand by far is VADA! Their truly unique design and world-class quality with their eyewear and fine jewelry put them in a league of their own. 

Where do you find style inspiration? 

Our style inspiration comes from our Louisiana roots, where “bling bling” and “getting yo’ shine on” was born. We’re not the most flashy, but we love uniform pieces that make subtle statements. Secondly, we would say a big style influence for us is the band, Midland. When we started to explore this whole Western aesthetic that has now become synonymous with THEBROSFRESH, we gleaned from Midland’s originality and willingness to take chances with their style. Fast forward to now, we feel the utmost confidence in expressing ourselves aesthetically and we believe our style speaks as definitively as our sound does musically.


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