We’d barely descended into Cavern when a friendly Essex voice greeted us with a “hey what up, love”. With Dom being the first to enthusiastically acknowledge our presence, the rest of the down-to-earth band members welcome us to talk with them. Conor (vocals), Joe (guitars), Dom (guitars), Price (drums) and Phil (bass) make up Nothing But Thieves – the band with the beautifully intense vocals, heart-shaking instrumentals and personalities so endearing it would be hard for anyone to dislike them. As sound checks are going on on stage, we head outside to hear them better…
Photo credit: windishagency.com
Let’s talk a little bit about your current tour. So today we join you on your antepenultimate gig of your UK tour! Where has been your favourite destination so far and why?
Dom: One which was really good was Aberdeen and what was the one…
Conor: Thekla was wicked, with Darlia, that was fun. I swam in a sea of people.
Dom: Yeah! He stage dived so that was fun.
So it wasn’t scary at all?
Conor: No it was a laugh! I did get my shirt kinda ripped open which was a bit weird.
Dom: Erm, I think that any gig where people sing along, that’s when it’s great.
Well we hope Exeter will be good for you tonight!
Dom: Yeah I hope so!
Speaking of which, you come down to Exeter quite a lot I’ve noticed. What is about here that makes it so appealing?
Dom: Friends (laughter)
Conor: It’s where your friends are really, Dom has got like one friend (more laughter)
Dom: I can’t make many in Essex or London.
Is this the guy who was in the band and then came to uni?
Dom: Yeah! Yeah so we call him Dicky, that’s not actually his name or that would be a bit unfortunate. Dicky lives just round the corner and he’s coming tonight and he’s still my best friend and we’ve come down here before just for big nights out and stuff, it’s a good laugh.
So where do you guys go when you go on a night out in Exeter?
Dom: (laughs) well it’s always to the Lemmy isn’t it (cheeky smile) Or Arena.
Ah so all the best places then!
Dom: Or Mosaic, maybe a bit of Timepiece, I mean I don’t wanna name them all but…
That’s basically all of them…
Dom: Oh, and Vaults as well once!
A band that I saw last month at Cavern was Amber Run, who I know you have previously played a show with and will be singing with again at Barn on the Farm this July. How did you guys originally meet?
Dom: Well no beating around the bush, they’re on the same label as us, and they have been signed for slightly longer than us now but erm, we met them at…(asks band) where did we originally meet them? I think we went to see them didn’t we?
Conor: Yeah we saw them when they played with Kodaline at Brixton Academy.
Dom: Yeah, and they were really cool, the loveliest guys.
Conor: We’ve stayed friends with them haven’t we.
Dom: We’ve kept in touch and done a few sort of Sony-related things with them and we’ve got a few festivals coming up so yeah, we’ll keep in touch with them cause they’re lovely. Yeah, it’s nice to make friends, although I don’t know about doing that cause my friend is in Exeter…singular not plural. (laughter)
So you latch on when you can then!
Dom: Yeah, so you’re not going anywhere! (laughter)
Okay, I’ll be your friend. Another artist you’ve recently supported is the baritone singer George Ezra. How was this experience?
Conor: I love that – “the baritone singer George Ezra”. Yeah, he’s brilliant as well, we had a little chit chat didn’t we?
Dom: Yeah, he was really cool.
Conor: He’s a nice boy, he’s actually very, erm (searches for word)…young, yeah he’s 21! He’s younger than you might deem.
Dom: Yeah you forget because he’s got such a mature voice & his music’s so mature too.
Conor: He’s just a really cool & nice guy.
Dom: And it’s just like we’re chatting to him and he’s not an alien. He just likes his home comforts and he’s a family guy.
Conor: He was in his dressing room listening to Hawaiian music – it calms him down.
Dom: And the show was cool, it was for a Brit awards thing and it was a good laugh.
One of the most interesting things about you guys is that you change your style quite a lot from Rock like in Ban all the Music compared to some of your slower, softer songs like Graveyard Whistling and Tempt You. Is there a reason why you change your style so much?
Conor: Well no, we’re not changing our style we’re just writing whatever comes out naturally and it’s all quite diverse, you know. We have influences with the rock and then Dom has influences with his electronic stuff and then there’s… (laughs)
Phil: *DJ mime*
It’s a shame we couldn’t get that on the recording!
Conor: So we just write and see what comes out and try and not put it in a box, we don’t want to do that.
Dom: Yeah, I think we’d be a bit scared if all our songs sounded the same. Like, the worst thing is when you listen to a band and all their songs sound the same and you just want more from them. You could just listen to one song rather than listening to the whole album. (Reflects) That’s just mean isn’t it! So yeah, we experiment a lot and have lots of different influences like Conor said, so it takes us to a lot of different places.
Which artists are you personally listening to at the moment, and how do you think this has an effect on your own writing and style?
Conor: Actually, everything that we listen to kind of does have an effect.
Dom: Whether you like it or not!
Conor: You kinda write similarly to what you listen to yeah, it does take a toll.
Just to mix it up a bit, we’re going to ask the Pokémon question. If you had to pick a Pokémon, who would you be?
Conor: Jigglypuff, she’s got some curves (laughter)
Phil: Yeah, he’s said it.
Price: I’ve got my answer and I’ve got a backstory.
Price: My answer is Ninetales because in maybe year two, I took my Pokémon cards to school and I had a shiny Ninetales, and I left it in my cloakroom. I went running back but it was gone and someone had stolen my Ninetales, so if I could be anything, I would be him.
Phil: To be honest I didn’t really know any. I was too cool for Pokémon. Well (laughs) I was too poor for Pokémon. (laughter)
We were watching some of your music videos online and we really liked them, but which was your favourite one to film? Wake up call is pretty different from your other ones, how did you guys come up with that concept?
Dom: Well all of our lyrics influence our videos, so that one was about empowerment of youth.
Conor: So I guess it came from that yeah, it’s kind of a weird video…
Price: The power’s in the eyes.
Dom: We try to be quite active in all of the arts and visuals that go on, like the artwork, the videos the merchandise; we wanna make sure it’s the whole package that we’re willing to put out. Ban All The Music was the best one to do- so fun.
Conor: A lot of red suits, a lot of Burgundy going on!
You’ve released a lot of EPs and singles, but are you thinking of releasing an album soon? And if so, when?
Conor: Yes! In August.
Dom: It’s gonna take you on a musical journey to the end of the Earth and back (laughter). No screamo though.
Conor: We would say it’s like an extension of the EP really, it has rock with it, and then softer moments with Graveyard [Whistling]; it explores all these different avenues.
Dom: I hope that with every song you’ll be like “I was not expecting that”. That’s something that we would appreciate as listeners.
When will we next be able to see you and what festivals will we be able to catch you at?
Dom: We will actually be playing at lots of festivals this year, I’ve been looking at my calendar. Some big some small: 2000 Trees is out there isn’t it, Barn on the Farm as you mentioned earlier…(sees girl walking towards Cavern for their gig) Ooh she’s got a nice jumper on, look at that jumper! (signalling to the “Nothing But Thieves” jumper) (laughter ensues)
Last question from me! How else can keen listeners check out your music on the internet?
Dom: All of it! Sound cloud, Spotify, YouTube, iTunes, Facebook, Twitter, the lot.
With that, we thank them and wish the boys luck as they head over to a meet and greet session held at Dom’s friend’s house. With their leaving promise of an invitation to their after party, the band have since gained two new friends, pushing Dom’s number to a solid three.