Interview: Nothing But Thieves

Nothing But Thieves

Nothing But ThievesGrace Hathaway sat down with Nothing But Thieves on their recent jaunt around the UK and this is what they spoke about…

Quench Music (QM): So firstly, congratulations on the album! How does it feel for it to have gone straight into the top 10, with the UK leg of this tour all sold out?

Dom Craik (DC): It seems like a really good strong start. We didn’t really have any expectations of how it would work and how it was going to go moving forward, so it’s weird when you say both of those things. We had a really good album response and with the tour sold out, it feels like people are recognising the band and they’re into it and that’s really nice for us.

Phil Blake (PB): It’s quite an achievement and it’s still a bit of a shock now even to know that people have the album.

DC: That’s more of a thing for us. It’s great to have got top 10, we’re really thrilled with that, but its just amazing to know people finally have it.

QM: So would you say then that the fan response to the music is more important to you than reviews or official media criticism?

DC: Not saying that we can’t take criticism, but your fans are going to be nice by the nature of fans and reviews just by the nature of reviews will have negative things.

PB: Because we’re so obsessed with the record and we love it, we do tend to read everything written about us, any kind of reviews whether they’re good or not, we read it all and we’re not really bothered by it. We’re happy that people are happy with it, if you don’t like it you don’t like it, its not for everybody.

DC: We’re confident in what we do.

PB: Because we’re obsessed by it!

DC: Its what we love doing, and I feel like if bands are insecure about what they’re doing, you should make sure you’re fully confident, secure and happy about what you’re putting out there. If you’re not then you’ll get criticised for it and then change what you do based on that.

QM: In some reviews of the album, people have criticised you for having lots of different elements to your sound? But that’s also one of the things that’s so good about your music.

DC: Well that’s it isn’t it. It’s funny because we take pride in the fact that it’s an eclectic album, and some people say that’s a negative thing, but it was a conscious decision to do so. We’re not a one trick pony and we can do a lot of things, and without sounding cocky, we wanted to explore that. That’s the idea of our debut album.

PB: You only get to do the debut once, and we wanted to make sure that we had a spectrum out there.

DC: I get sick of albums that are just the same.

PB: It tends to be a running thing at the moment with new bands and their albums. Not to name any names, but you listen to things and it’s just like hearing the single another 10 times. Spending £10 on an album that’s just all the same is just not what we want to hear as music fans, so that’s why.

DC: It’d be weird if we then did that with our album.

PB: Believe me, we had a lot of tracks when the album was in pre-production, when we’re doing songs that we’ve cut out, so that we could have made 10 of the same song, it would’ve been really easy.

DC: But we like the challenge, and we’re happy with how it turned out.

QM: Have you got a favourite song that you’ve been playing live, maybe one that crowds have been more responsive to, that you might not have expected?

PB: We’ve been gigging a lot of the album for a while now, so putting new stuff into it like ‘Drawing Pins’ and ‘Honey Whiskey’ live, and seeing the reaction to ‘Drawing Pins’ has been really fun.

DC: Because it was never heard at all, it was fresh with the album for fans and they’ve really latched onto it. We’ve seen that feedback online and in person at the gigs and that’s been really great. It was the last song we recorded for the album so its still really fresh to us, and that combination of it being new to the fans and to us is quite exciting.

PB: And since it’s only been out a couple of weeks, already seeing people singing along and going mad, it’s overwhelming.

QM: Have you had a favourite crowd so far? London must have been pretty huge!

PB: It was the Electric Ballroom, and we did it not too long ago as support. To come back and do it on our own a few months later, to sell it out, is an amazing feeling. We walked out, and by the first song we knew it was going to be one of our favourites.

DC: Biggest headline crowd we’ve ever played and they were so into it. Connor would sometimes just stand away from the mic and let the crowd sing, and we were looking at each other. When I turned around and saw all those people it was like “wow”.

QM: Whilst listening to your track by track album breakdown, one of the things that was really interesting was that how you as a band write songs quite collaboratively? Any one of you will throw up some lyrics or a bit of melody and you’ll work it into something, as opposed to exclusively writing for your instrument. Do you think that changes the way your sound works?

DC: Absolutely. It’s a fundamental part of the writing process for us and how the songs get finished. If you’re changing the way you write a song and how each song starts, just by the nature of doing it that way you’re not going to write the same song twice, which is something we’re very conscious of.

PB: There’s different approaches isn’t there.

DC: Its’ really important to us that we don’t have a formula. I don’t know if you have to be really good to have a formula or if it’s bad to have one because you’d be churning out a similar thing? So the fact the results keep morphing is good.

QM: Have you started to think about what you might do next?

DC: Not over-thinking it, but we’ve written a load of songs for album 2 already. We’d written songs for album 2 before album 1 had been released! Its weird to write for an album, so we just write what we want to write and the album will form itself. The last few songs we wrote before tour are some of the strongest I think we’ve written.

PB: It’s an exciting time, we’re already looking forward to recording it, which is stupid because it’ll be a while off. But we’re not crazy, we’ve all got the same goal of continuing to write, and we want to be looking to get it out as soon as we can. We’re not fans of when bands take too long, and I think it really shows with certain bands if they take too long and they’re touring the first album forever, the ‘difficult second album’ becomes difficult because they’ve left it for so long.

DC: The pressure will build up, and that’s not really what we’re about.

PB: We’re not going to put pressure on it.

DC: It’ll happen when it happens, sooner rather than later hopefully.

QM: Following on from this sold out UK leg of your tour, any plans for more UK dates in 2016?

DC: There’s talk of doing shows, and I’ve got to be really vague here, around Easter time.

QM: So people may have a chance to see you next year, before festivals, if they’ve missed this tour?

DC: They will, yes.