Nothing But Thieves are the latest band to break out of the seaside haven of Southend-On-Sea. Currently in the middle of a gigantic worldwide tour, in support of their hugely successful debut self-titled album, the band continue to grow their dedicated following (with over a hundred thousand fans on Facebook alone). The five-piece have come to accept the nomadic lifestyle and the realities associated with months away from home, but fear not, these are five young men that are living the dream.
We grabbed a rare moment of downtime with guitarist Dom Craik to talk drinking games, the future and the rhythm of life on a tour bus.
Earlier in the year you were touring Europe with Muse, and at the same time you were headlining your own successful sold-out tour across the UK and the USA. Now NBT are consumed by the festival circuit, how do you prepare for a huge touring spell like this?
“Pack a well calculated amount of clean underwear and make sure you turn up with your instruments. Normally we’d consider locking ourselves away in a rehearsal room for a few days but since we’ve been on tour for roughly 47.6 years that didn’t seem necessary.”
Moving between headline shows at midsize venues and arena-sized shows with Muse day-to-day must have been a little mind-blowing? The transition is surely a little jarring?
“It kept things quite refreshing. The constant change of pace was nice. The rush of playing to new people in arenas, trying to win them over, paired with headline shows with our own fans singing along was a healthy balance.
Don’t get me wrong, it was tough at times. Particularly the night we played in Brussels with Muse at 7pm and then drove up to Amsterdam to headline a festival at midnight. We should be endorsed by red bull for the amount we consumed that day.”
Have you been able to grab any pearls of wisdom from Muse?
“Lasers. More lasers. Think you have enough? You don’t. Lasers.”
You’re a hard working band, what keeps you going through those moments when you feel like it’s all too much?
“Lasers. Erm, the shows and the fans. The energy they give you definitely makes you feel a certain way. It’s why we do this. Also, reminding yourself that you’re one of the few people in the world that gets to do what they love every day. Shouldn’t forget that.”
Your acoustic performances are always special. Do you enjoy re-working the tracks into a stripped back format?
“Thank you. Yes and no. Acoustic guitars aren’t our best friends but having said that, it’s nice to revisit the song in its original form and remind yourself of how it was written.”
You wrapped up your tour last year with a Foo Fighters themed drinking game, did you actually follow through with it in the end? The rules didn’t seem very forgiving…
“We tried playing it before a show on Joe’s birthday. Let me put it this way, it needs refining. We lasted about 5 minutes and took an executive decision to call it off before the show was a write off…We are professionals.”
Since forming Nothing But Thieves you have achieved quite substantial success across the globe. Is band life at this level, what you expected it to be?
“We didn’t really know what to expect. There are definite perks. I didn’t initially grasp the shear amount of time you spend travelling. Vans, planes, buses, trains…And the waiting can be painful. The travelling and being away from family/friends is probably the peak of the difficulty of being in a band. We don’t have it that bad, don’t feel sorry for us haha.”
Last year saw the release of your debut album. What has been the most surprising thing that has happened since you releasing the record?
“Finding out people actually bought it.”
Have you begun to think about the follow up to your debut album? Are you one of those bands that like to write on the road?
“We write 24/7. I don’t really stop with writing music. We have a studio on the tour bus and in my room, and my MacBook never leaves my side. Same is to be said for the other boys. I see Joe stockpiling lyrics in his phone whenever we’re waiting around or travelling. Not giving too much away but things are shaping up nicely for album 2.”
Festival season has started! NBT are playing at a lot of festivals this year. Which festival are you most excited to travel to and play?
“Reading and Leeds (main stage!) and Summer Sonic in Japan (main stage with Radiohead, madness).”