Nothing But Thieves are a band to keep an eye out for this year. Made up of schoolmates Conor (vocals), Joe (guitar) and Dave (drums), they originate from Southend in Essex. They take inspiration from artists such as Jeff Buckley, Foo Fighters and Arcade Fire, and they have gained invaluable experience on the local live circuit and a six-week trip to the States in 2012. Already getting strong recognition from the likes of industry respected individuals such as Radio 1’s Zane Lowe, these guys have huge potential to make their mark on the music world. We had a chat to find out what the boys have been up to and what they have in store for us in the near future!
How did you guys form as a band?
Conor: Joe and I have been playing in different bands for years, just for fun really. We met at school and then when Dom joined during sixth form to study music, it went from there.
Why the name ‘Nothing But Thieves’?
Dom: It’s actually a lyric from an old Steel Train song we happened to be listening to at the time. You would not believe how long it took us to find a name any of us liked. There’s a list of all the rejects somewhere, so funny to read back now. (Note: Steel Train is Jack Antonoff from Fun’s old band)
You took a six week trip to the States in 2012, how was that?
Joe: Best decision we ever made as a band. Before that, we’d spent 18 months writing in the same garage with these horrible fluorescent lights. I swear to God we were turning green. We gathered whatever money we had at the time and took a trip right across the US (LA, Nashville and New York) to soak up any inspiration we could find. We also got to chill with some great producers and music enthusiasts which was invaluable. When we came back and knew exactly what we wanted to write, we wrote it, and that was the EP.
Who was your favourite person to work with in the states, and who was the most influential?
Joe: Same person, Ron Aniello. He’s produced the last couple of Springsteen albums and had all these great stories. It was actually my birthday at the time and we spent it talking about old rock ‘n’ roll records and jamming with his guitar collection. We wrote a song too actually, which hopefully will surface some way or another. By far the best birthday present I’ve had.
You’ve mentioned that Jeff Buckley inspires you, what aspects of his music do you find most inspirational and influential?
Dom: Buckley’s music has something you can’t quite put your finger on. It’s almost frustrating how talented he was – an incredible guitarist, vocalist and songwriter. Hats off to him for spending six years playing guitar in various struggling bands. We’ve played our fair share of gigs to the sound guy, but six years… He had such a way of building an atmosphere with the simplest components, we definitely try and take influence from that.
How do you feel about online music platforms and how they help new artists to be heard and develop an online presence?
Conor: We’ve come realize how important it is to have a solid online presence. The access to a worldwide platform to promote and share your music is invaluable. Admittedly, we can be fairly rubbish at the online stuff from time to time, it’s a work-in-progress.
What has been your best live performance to date, and why?
Conor: Last November we played at the Sebright Arms for our EP release show. It was our first headline show which sold out. Small, packed out, dark, sweaty room with a low ceiling. It was fucking great.
Will you be playing festivals this summer?
Dom: We are indeed. We’re playing at Y Not, Truck and Brownstock which will be our first festivals to date, very excited for those.
If you could play any one venue or festival, where would it be?
Joe: The Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado. That YouTube video of Mumford playing there… The place looks ridiculous.
What’s been the most embarrassing moment of your musical career?
Dom: Where do we begin??!
Other than obviously creating music, what else do you guys get up to? What are your other passions?
Conor: Nothing that interesting really, you won’t catch us taking up yoga. We have a few places we like to go out to for drinks, the usual.
What are your favourite songs at the moment?
Joe: We’re loving the new Arcade Fire album at the moment, it’s the gift that keeps on giving. Also that new Royal Blood track is fucking killer.