Interview with Thieves Like Us

Back with their latest release ‘Sending You Messages’, Thieves Like Us are an indie band on a mission to change the industry forever. A timeless outfit and an effortless new offering, the new release is a collection of six songs that range from Ultravox inspired cinematic stories of missed chances on Stockholm subway platforms to jagged Devo-like pop songs about the messages we send each other. Detailing miscommunication and everyday human interaction, the release is musically enchanting and jives somewhere between indie, punk and even blues.

What made you decide that music is the right path for you?

I don’t know if I chose music as much as music chose me. And I think I can speak for the rest of Thieves LIke Us. Music snatched me as a baby. Music kidnapped me. For a while I was into writing – but all the books I read were music biographies. I was into film and working in documentaries – but the only documentaries I ever watched were music documentaries. Music grabbed me and put it’s hook deep into me – and it has never relinquished its grasp. A song can make me feel so intently alive, to learn about someone else’s story, to experience love and heartache, to believe in magic and revolution and making out in the corner of a bar and totally falling apart on stage.

What’s your writing process like? Do you write the music or lyrics first?

Thieves Like Us is an interesting band in terms of writing music – because we come from other bands and have experienced previous band dynamics when it comes to writing songs. In Thieves there is a commitment to co-creating. It first started during the pandemic sending parts of songs around, just small song ideas. Didier would have a bass riff. I’d have some words. Colleen would grab the words and create a melody. Ari would add rhythm. So we write in the practice space with each other. Usually it helps to have at least three beers and that we are totally comfortable and supported by each other. We also come from a shared background of post-punk music – Blondie, New Order, The Cure – so we all understand each other’s references. Then, when we’re lucky, the actual magic happens – you can see the arcs of energy shooting across the room and something that wasn’t in the room before – a hook, a catchy melody, a line of heartbreak – has suddenly appeared.

Give our listeners some music recommendations that we should check out!

Oh hell yeah. Everyone loves Wet Leg and The Idles, but you want to be blown away with the best underground music: France Moon “Gave It All I Could,” Fertile Hump “Run Free,” Hotdoggrrrl and the Sesame Buns “Queen of Fucking Everything,” Grace Joyner “Dreams.”

Tell MoggBlog viewers about your latest release! What’s the inspiration behind that?

We’ve always been interested in the art of songwriting, pop song writing as an art form. Some of our collective favorite bands – Blondie, The Cure, New Order – they wrote the best best pop songs of the 80s. And they were all art bands with underground art backgrounds. They were searching for their own truth through this lens. Sending You Messages is our deep dive into melody, hooks, heartbreak – as underground artists. Looking back at the collection there are songs which are evocative of 80s synth bands like Ultravox and also jagged pop punk bands like Devo. The lyrics aim squarely for the heart. These are unabashed three-minute love songs, the greatest art form of all time. These songs are about missed connections and searching and secret messages and looking for another.

What’s the music scene like where you are from?

The underground music scene – the Asheville underground music scene  – is better than anything else. It’s better than the old Seattle Scene, better than the early CBGBs scene, better than the Renaissance. There’s a nice part of the town for tourists and breweries and that’s all fine and good – and then there are dark music clubs, bathrooms where you would never sit down on the toilet seat, loud garage rock, punk rock, surf rock, synth rock, basically bands and people who have left behind the real world and have devoted themselves to the alchemy of true music. Before the pandemic you could go out any day of the week and see amazing local bands and amazing touring bands coming through, and see them in cramped sweaty venues, where you are pushed up on the bands and the stages.

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