Profile June 29, 2024

Molly Sides

The Power of Movement

A late March night vibrates with the energy of rock n’ roll. The Whiskey’s dance floor is a mass of motion, bouncing and swaying with music. But all eyes lead to the stage, where Thunderpussy’s show entrances its audience in a symphony of sound and movement. “Thank you,” lead singer Molly Sides says. “For bringing us back home.”

Sides is a born and raised Blaine County artist; dance and movement are in her DNA. While her lure to the arts is genetic, her range of talent manifested in Sun Valley. After spending her childhood playing “fairies” in the Sawtooth forests and writing songs with sticks into rocky mountain dirt, Sides owes much of her creative approach to art to her relationship with Sun Valley’s landscape.

“I feel so connected to that place, to the water and the mountains and the plants. Having space to cultivate your inner imagination was huge for me,” Sides says. “A lot of what I do through movement and music is connected to mother nature, to the source, to the elements.”

Molly Sides

A true entertainer, Molly Sides brings a distinctive spirit to the stage.

Side’s fate to pursue the arts was set by the mountains and sealed in the valley. Camp Little Laugh, nextStage Theater and Footlight Dance Centre kickstarted her career, where her teachers laid out the artistic blueprint. “There’s so much power in believing in each other,” Sides says. “And a lot of the teachers in town showed me that.”

Today, Sides is a Seattle-based Sound, Movement and Film artist, a Pilates teacher and a birthing doula with training as a death and bereavement doula. Despite juggling a breadth of disciplines, Sides intertwines her talents on the stage by sealing them on the foundation of movement. Her presence for new chapters and transitions of life and loss ground the interconnection of her talents, and her curiosity to learn pushes her to new skills.

Side’s toolbelt of talent is best exemplified on stage. In 2014, Sides and Thunderpussy’s guitarist Whitney Petty founded the all-female rock group. Dating at the time, Sides and Petty considered Thunderpussy their classic rock love child, born from a love of rock-and-roll. Sides says the show is tongue-in-cheek and a little unhinged, but at its core, it’s all about music. And while its style has evolved since its start, Thunderpussy has always offered open arms to its audience.

“I think it’s about integrity and authenticity. There’s such power in vulnerability,” Sides says. “My hope is that we create a space that’s fun and playful, inviting and a bit wild, and feels different from a day in the life of the norm—like a sanctuary or a portal.”

Despite offering an unconditional invitation, being a female band in a male-dominated genre and boasting a controversial name has familiarized the group with rejection. Thunderpussy didn’t initially want to be funneled into the “women in rock” category — they wanted the same acknowledgment and treatment as their male counterparts. However, the band eventually embraced becoming a symbol of feminism within the genre.

“You can only push against the stream for so long,” Sides says. “After a while, you’re like, ok, I am a woman in rock, I’m a woman in music, I’m a woman in art, I am an artist. I know who we are, I know who I am, but the industry may not understand, and there will always be pushback. There will always be doors to high kick down.”

Thunderpussy released their new album on May 10, playing alongside the Seattle Symphony to debut the music. Sides describes the album as a “color wheel of emotions.” While the band’s tongue-in-cheek style is maintained, beautiful darkness can be uncovered in their latest work. The show turns the page into a new chapter of Thunderpussy, opening the space for connection and vulnerability.

“I truly believe in the power of connection, but we can only do that by showing up for each other. To have a space that people are invited to, where there’s an open door to walk through,” Sides says. “At the end of the day, it’s an invitation, and it’s up to you to show up and see what happens.”

This article appears in the Summer 2024 Issue of Sun Valley Magazine.