Nothing But Thieves Discuss Debut, Touring and New Music
Recently I had the opportunity to chat with Connor Mason, the frontman of UK alt.-rockers Nothing But Thieves. We discussed the writing process for last year’s self-titled debut, how touring has gone for the quintet over the course of the past year or so, as well as their plans for 2017.
TUNED UP: About a year or so ago you initially released Nothing But Thieves in the UK, before it was released in North America that following February. I wanted to start off by asking you a little bit about that writing process; tell me how that went and how you guys put that album together.
Nothing But Thieves: We started the album in 2013; it took us a good two and a half years to write because we were figuring out ourselves as writers, who we wanted to be as a band, the sound we wanted to create and just the style in general. So, it did take a while, but once we hit the nail on the head with what we wanted, things flowed a lot more easily and then all the songs came out, one right after another. By the time we went into the studio we had about 65 ideas to record before working it down to about 18 (16 of which ended up on [the deluxe edition of] the record). The long process was worth it though because it was all about us figuring ourselves out, as we’d just come out of our teens and were growing as adults. That’s a theme which I think will continue to be true for us, especially on the next album.
Having been touring for about 4 years, you guys have been here in the States before, but earlier this year was the first time you came over as headliners. How has this second leg of that headlining tour been going for you?
It’s great. This time around it’s a 7-week run, and it’s gone smoothly so far; we’ve played some great shows in some really full rooms. Most of this run has been sold out, so it’s just been a real step up in America. Everywhere [else] in the world it’s gotten to that level where we’re playing thousand-capacity rooms or bigger. In America, it’s growing so you see some shows nearing that capacity. We’ve just got to keep coming back here often so we can keep building on that momentum we have already.
Yeah I’ve noticed that you guys have been starting to gain some serious steam in the States, particularly here recently. I think that’s really awesome, and I also wanted to talk some about the music scene where Nothing But Thieves is from. What is it like in Southend-on-Sea in regards to the scene, and how does that shape you as artists?
The music scene has always been thriving in Southend, so it’s been very rock-orientated, and the Essex in general has done extremely well for music. I love the fact that we’re a part of it, and now we’re bringing Essex along with us as well. There are also quite a few new bands [from that area] coming about because of us, which is so cool.
Indeed, it is. I can only imagine what it’s like, but your own music influencing other musicians from your area has got to be an awesome feeling. What about your influences as a band? Where do you get your own inspiration from, sonically or lyrically?
I think it’s a mix, and that’s the best thing about being in music: anything can inspire you. We do listen to [some] new bands, but most of what we listen to is old-school music. I’d say that personally my biggest influence is Radiohead, just [because of] the way they change up every album, and even every song; there’s something unique to offer to the listener every time. That’s massively important to us and our style of music: each song and album offers something different from the last.
No doubt! It looks like you have the rest of this year pretty much planned with shows and such, but what do you think is in store for next year?
After we finish this run, we have a few shows in England. This is our last big tour of the year though. Then we’ve actually got some time off after touring for about a year and a half straight, so we’ll probably just finish up writing before we record in January for the next album. We’re looking forward to that [because] it’s nearly done now – we’ve got about another 30 or 40 ideas for this album. I can’t wait to show the world everything [we’ve been working on].
Right on! Well thanks for taking the time to chat with me, Connor. As for Nothing But Thieves, you can stay up to date with all of their happenings on their Facebook page, or you can sign up for their mailing list over at their website.