Thief Thief is a two-man band that deliver an onslaught of intense rhythmic synthesis in a high-decibel package. The unorthodox guitar playing, that is exciting to watch as it is to hear, and bombastic drumming sounds like Lightning Bolt getting buried alive by an avalanche of prog records. Come check them out tonight at O’Briens with Double Dragons, Hangman’s Alphabet, and Thousands.
Q&A w/ Colin (drums) and Jeff (guitar) of Thief Thief
Q: How did Thief Thief form? What musical projects were you two in before starting this project?
A: We met while working at the same company a few years back. We spent some time playing at a pay-by-the-hour rehearsal space and in Jeff’s basement before starting to write songs and audition bassists. After a few auditions it seemed more appealing to just write songs that the two of us could perform together. Over time, we got happier and happier with the music we were producing and decided to stick with it. We’ve had a lot of rough starts as a band and with our music. It took a lot of practice from our first tour this last summer and continued 3-4 days of rehearsal every week to make this work the way it does now.
Prior to this, there were no serious projects for either of us. Colin was in a band in the 8th grade and was in an a cappella group in college. Jeff hadn’t really been in a band besides messing around with people in high school. Part of what we had been doing for the past couple of years is figuring out what these things called “bands” do.
Q: Jeff plays an unorthodox style of guitar. Tell us about this technique about how you came about playing this way.
A: Being a two piece, I wanted to do things that make the lack of a bass or a second guitar not an issue. I tried some crazy things with a pick, but it sounded thin. I never used any guitar pedals before, and didn’t feel like going down that route. There are enough bands out there that are using looper pedals, and I wanted to do something that isn’t possible with pedals. I started with two-handed tapping after some experimentation. My genre touch points are people like Ian Williams or Marnie Stern, but their stuff is either looper-assisted or doesn’t use the second hand as a complete instrument, like a piano. I’d like to get more of the technique of a Stanley Jordan into this genre, but what he does is over the top impossible. I’d like to get crazier than what I’m doing now, but I’m still learning how. I’ve been playing guitar for more than twenty years, but only using my right hand this way for the past year or two. It’s just about getting my right hand to do what my left hand can do, together (and apart!).
Q: What is the most flattering/sickening musician/band comparisons you have received from fans, friends, family, press etc…?
A: I dunno… “like Hella, but listenable”? We obsessed over Hold Your Horse Is for a while, first trying to figure out how the fuck they were doing what they were doing, then gradually picking apart some of the secrets and learning a few songs. They’re pretty untouchable though. Colin’s girlfriend’s father said we sound jazzy. A guy at his also work said we have a “nice [King] Crimson thing going on” in one of our songs.
Q: What does 2009 have in store for Thief Thief? When are you hoping to record/release an album?
A: We’re trying to write one or two more songs, and then we want to do an awesome full-length this summer or fall. We recorded an EP a year ago, but we’re looking to improve on that a lot. By summer time we also want to hit the road for some short 1-2 week tours.
Q: If you could play a show in Boston with 3 other local bands who would they be and at what Boston venue would you play?
A: Jeff: Number one would be our friends Ba-na-nas, but they may have broken up again. The world needs more Joyce brothers. We really like Big Bear too, and throw in Helms for good measure. Probably Middle East Upstairs.
Colin: Aerosmith, Godsmack and the Dropkick Murphys on a blimp over Fenway.
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