Interview: Nothing But Thieves

Nothing But Thieves

Words: Gary Lambert

Photos: Gaz Jones

Il1sKqTbQsokA6Fg52Q9EUEi1XrnofZT-OgW_viYrjI,3ibiedJ7DkuABTHPJ4XMz47h7a0eF-Q_GQvXPAHFDns“The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry” – Robert Burns. This was experienced at Popped Music’s latest Snap n Chat with the all-conquering Nothing But Thieves. With an early evening slot booked to meet the band, we found out that things were running late and only singer Conor could meet us for a short period and our photoshoot was not going to happen. The cause of the problem was the very un-rock and roll, but understandable, cancellation of the ferry from Dublin the night before. With the band originally due into Liverpool this morning everything became very squeezed before the last gig of their six week tour, but we appreciate the effort that went in to making sure we were able to spend some time with the band and so here we are!

In case you have been asleep or on a three month holiday without wifi, we will give you a quick rundown on Nothing But Thieves. This five piece from Southend-on-Sea have come from relatively nowhere to hit the top ten with their debut album, sold out a six week tour about a month and a half before it even started, played in front of said adoring fans and started selling for a tour next year. Whilst not everybody has heard of Nothing But Thieves yet, they will do soon. These Essex boys are going to be massive.

Sitting down on the comfortable couches in Arts Club, Conor looked like a man for whom being a rockstar was edging close to being like a hard day in work. In the last five days he and the rest of the gang had clocked up some serious mileage in order to take the sounds of their eponymous debut album to their ever-growing fanbase. Paris, Bristol, Belfast, Dublin and now Liverpool. Sounds like a list of tour high points not just the last five days of it. “We are all really drained right now as this last leg of the tour has been so hard. Every day since we got off stage in Paris we have spent an average of seventeen hours travelling and sleeping in the vans and then a few hours at the venue. This afternoon my voice feels so tired”.

With gigs in Paris being under the media spotlight I asked Conor what it had been like to play there this time “we have played Paris before and it is a hard town to play, people come out to see what you can do and you have to work to entertain them, this time was different though. There was so much action and energy in the air from the start. People were there and they wanted to enjoy it – and wanted you to see that they enjoyed it”.

Although Nothing But Thieves are a British band, they are already having success further afield. For Conor, the highlight of his year had been the support slot Nothing But Thieves had in Rome for Muse. “We played Rock in Rome in front of thirty five to forty thousand fans, in a horse racing course converted for a music festival. Every time something like this happens it feels like a big moment to us”.

Similar overseas madness is likely to happen in the near future when the band head to Japan, Australia and the US. Showing the power of social media in bringing bands to their audiences, Nothing But Thieves have managed to chart in both Japan and Australia despite only ever playing over two weeks in Japan and not yet stepping foot down under. “It is quite exciting to know that you have got all those fans out there waiting for you already. We have not yet really hit America, but we are doing two-three weeks touring there and we will fit a lot of gigs in on that. And then the album is released in that territory in February.”

There does not seem to be a black cloud on the horizon for Nothing But Thieves. Even a career-defining tour like this seems to have solidified the unity within the band whereas we would have seen some bands buckle under the intensity of the pressure, the fans, the travelling, and playing so many shows. “This tour has been great. We are all friends, but we have had such a good time even on the bad days like this. It just makes you tighter”

nothing but thievesA big difference with this tour to previous tours is that “now the fans all know the words to every song. It really makes you want to make a difference to their night and give them something to enjoy as you know they have not just invested their money into you, but they’ve invested so much time listening to your music that they don’t just know the words, but they’re singing along with the riffs even”. As he said this the look on Conor’s face proved to me that this was not an added pressure but an added bonus.

Another bonus for the band came in Dublin when their tour manager got a phone call from one of his friends who is working on Game of Thrones to invite him and the band down to the set to have a look around and have their photos taken on The Throne. “Me, Joe and Phil are all big fans of the show so that was great and it was good to get on there. In the last year I have got quite friendly with Hodor and Maisie Williams because they are big fans of the band. Hodor just messaged me out of the blue on Twitter to tell me what he thought of us and then I bumped into Maisie at a party and then when we were playing afterwards she came to watch”. Celebrity fans, world tours, and acts of God. It’s all in a day’s work for Nothing But Thieves.

 

As a postscript to our interview Gaz and I got to meet the entire band and the rest of the crew as they prepared to start the end of term party by having a quick photoshoot. If Nothing But Thieves continue their upward curve, this fifteen minutes will forever be in the memory. Everybody was in a celebratory mood, hugs were exchanged and then when Gaz passed Conor and Joe his copy of their debut album things got serious. “Is this our album? Really? I’ve never seen it on vinyl before. This is beautiful and awesome”. After a few photos the album went back into the sleeve and birthday boy Joe slid over to apologise for biting the record, “I just had to check it was real”. Nothing But Thieves, living the dream.

 

Find Nothing But Thieves on Facebook.

 

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