Interviews — August 17, 2016 at 10:00

The Noble Thiefs


thenoblethiefs1Photo Credit: Travis Ross

We draw from retro influences but our sound is something fresh. – The Noble Thiefs

There’s really nothing better than discovering (and then sharing) great Canadian talent.

Comprised of Myron Dean (vocalist), Joel Armstrong (drummer), Johannes Lodewyks (bassist/backup vocals) and Riley Hastings (guitar/backup vocals), The Noble Thiefs are what you get when rock meets soul. Based in Winnipeg, the band recently released their album ” It’s Tough To Be The Bad Guy”, which includes the infectious track “How Can You Think of Love (At a Time Like This)?”. American fans recently got a taste of the group’s energetic and exciting live show, with the band embarking on a slew of dates in the USA throughout the month of June.

We caught up with the band recently to chat about their album It’s Tough to be the Bad Guy, their favorite summer concert memories and what tracks they can’t stop listening to.

CONFRONT: What’s the first thing you’d want a new music fan to know about The Noble Thiefs?

THE NOBLE THIEFS: We’ve got a sound that cuts through the noise. We could not be more excited to share it with you. We want to share this unbridled passion with you.

CONFRONT: Your album “It’s Tough to be the Bad Guy” was released late last year – what was your favourite memory in studio recording the album?

TNT: Some of the first playbacks once we had laid everything down. The realization that we had outdone ourselves and created something special.  When you’re doing hours of tracking you kind of get tunnel-vision.  That moment you can step back and hear everything you’ve worked for come together? Indescribable.

CONFRONT: What’s one important thing you learned while recording that you’d bring with you next time you’re in the studio?

TNT: Take micro-breaks. It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. Get fresh air. Not hitting a part? Move on temporarily.  Remove yourself from the booth for about 15 minutes each hour.  This approach kept us sane and objective.  There are so many decisions to be made. Get hung up on details and you may miss the big picture. This approach made the recording process far more successful than past efforts.

CONFRONT: Which song did you most enjoy watching come to life in the studio?

TNT: That’s a tough one. We did a pretty intensive pre-production session with our producer Mike Nash.  During that time we tore down all the songs, did restructuring and full out re-writes. We put every bar under a microscope.  Watching our good songs become great songs was thrilling. Before we ever hit the record button.

CONFRONT: What do you hope fans will take away from listening to this album?

TNT: “Man, I love this band, I want to see them, know them and learn everything I can about this group.”  More than anything we want our audience to feel the same excitement we felt creating this record.

CONFRONT: What inspires you the most when writing new music?

TNT: As far as drawing subject matter for songs, inspiration comes from all directions.  Some of our songs tell stories of real world struggles, classic human condition , and a whole lot of them are about love.  Let’s face it. Most rock and soul music is love and sex, and we’re all about it.  But when we can tell a relatable story that’s a bonus.  Very often the inspiration comes from one melody, one riff, one lyric.  Once we have that kindling we start a fire.

CONFRONT: Who’s your biggest musical influence?album

TNT: When it comes to writing Thiefs, we influence each other.  We bring our eclectic backgrounds to the table and get our hands dirty.  I could go on telling you about how we love The Clash, Otis Redding, The Stones, reggae music, hip-hop, classic rock and roots music,(I guess I just did) but we are more than the product of our influences.  We draw from retro influences but our sound is something fresh.

CONFRONT: If someone were to listen to The Noble Thiefs for the very first time, which song would you recommend they listen to first?

TNT: How Can You Think of Love (At a Time Like This).  It opens up the album with a bang. Once you start you’ll want to listen to the whole album. That’s how we get ya!

CONFRONT: How would you best describe your sound?

TNT: We call it Rock & Soul. A fan once described it as “motown on amphetamines.”  We found that to be pretty apt.  Some our newer stuff delves into more roots sounds with a larger focus on harmonies and powerful melodies.

CONFRONT: What’s your favourite thing about playing a summer festival vs a club show?

TNT: Festivals give you a chance to be that “crossover” appeal to a music fan that has come to see some of their favourite bands.  We thrive at festivals because our music can be enjoyed by damn-near anyone. The larger the stage, the more we can impose our physical presence upon the crowd.  Once we’ve grabbed the attention of a large festival crowd, we tend to hold it.

CONFRONT: What’s your favourite summer concert memory? (as a music fan – not a band)

TNT: This summer we were lucky enough to play Milwaukee Summerfest.  When we weren’t playing we were running from stage to stage, catching shows by Willie Nelson, Joan Jett, Weird Al and Joe Jackson.  A few hours after our show we watched Michael Frianti play through the heaviest rain storm we’d ever seen.  He did the whole show in the crowd, dancing in the rain with a corded microphone. What a performer.

CONFRONT: What 3 songs do you currently have on repeat?

TNT: I’ll give you some of the most played songs in the tour van.

James Brown’s Funky Christmas

The Highwaymen- Highway man gets a lot of novelty spins

Zeus, Alabama Shakes, Whitney, The Hold Steady and Charles Bradley get a lot of play.  We also listen to hours of stand-up comedy.

CONFRONT: What does the rest of 2016 have in store for The Noble Thiefs?

TNT: 2016 has been a wild one already!  Between watching our album get heavy international radio play and travelling to new US markets, we feel like we’ve hit a new peak as a band. Creatively, we have some phenomenal new songs on our hands.  Once we finish the summer festival schedule, and that cold northern wind blows in.  We are likely to bunker down and dive into more songwriting.  Winnipeg winters are perfect for that.


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