Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Theme Interview

(c) Photo by: redsnapperpics.co.uk

Hey there, Gary. It's great to talk with you.

Your band, The Theme, are amazing, I have been listening to the album and really vibe on 'Fallen Hero', what is your favorite to listen to off the album, and what is your favorite to actually perform live?
Thank you, we appreciate that a lot! I really like 'Hits The Sky', it's been our most popular song so far along with 'First Time I Saw You' from our ‘Time for Change’ album. Both of those are great to perform live too, but Take Me Away, usually the last song in the current set, can get a bit epic and the drum kit usually gets trashed!

We all hate labels, but how would you describe your sound? I mean, you are a British band, but are you really classified as Britpop?
We're definitely influenced by the Britpop era, but between us all we've got a wide range of influences from punk, Mod, blues, rock, indie...it's quite difficult to say what we sound like as a lot of the songs are very different.  Our live set starts off quite melodic but ends in a wall of sound, with everything in between from ska to punk. We've got a strong following in the Mod scene in the UK, thanks to DJs like Alan May who give bands a chance to get their music heard by wider audiences...I'd say we were BritPopRockIndieMod....

When it comes to influences, who are some of your musical heroes? Name a guilty pleasure and a band that really, truly inspired 'The Theme'
For me it would be Oasis, Ocean Colour Scene and the Stone Roses. Paul loves the Small Faces and the Beatles, Peter is a rocker…Pistols, Clash, Nirvana, Stones and Martin is a Mod ace face and a huge Who fan, although he has got a Led Zep tattoo on his arm as well as one of his dad's band, The Fixations! The other lads are big Pink Floyd fans as well, you can hear some of that influence in a couple of the slower songs we play live, a bit unexpected for a band that is labelled Britpop!

How does the writing process typical go for you guys?
Paul writes the majority of the songs and usually works up a demo, if we like it he brings it into the rehearsal room to see how it sounds as a band, then we'll work out an arrangement and add parts, middle eights, lyrics etc until we're happy, or we scrap it and revisit it another time. Quite standard stuff! It's democratic, Paul is very open to ideas as long as the song benefits. We've also been fortunate enough to work with a great producer/engineer, Ollie Thomas (from the band Flash Fiktion) who pushes us and makes great suggestions and ultimately helps us produce a better song/recording.

What was the best gig you've had to date, and what was the worst? I'm sure you got some stories, am I right?
The one I remember as being the most enjoyable was when we played the 100 Club in London to a packed and noisy crowd, I've got a recording and the atmosphere before, during and after was incredible, such a legendary venue as well. No wonder stars like Paul Weller and Paul McCartney have played there in the last few years even though they could sell out the venue a hundred times over. Peter didn't go home for three days and Paul has no recollection of it!

We've had a few shockers over the years, not down to us of course! Usually when we're let down by equipment or the PA, or promoters don't bother promoting their own event, which is weird but it happens such as when we played a gig with a few other great bands last year in a really nice venue...the soundman disappeared, the equipment didn't work, one band walked off (rightly so) and our cheque bounced. We got a few free beers out of it and we actually played a great set, so it wasn't all bad. The worst ones are when you know you've let yourself down and in turn your band mates and the audience, it can happen but if you learn from it then you can turn it into a positive.

If you could play at absolutely any venue in the world, where would you chose?
Before we played there earlier this year, it was always The Cavern Club in Liverpool, but fortunately enough we played there twice in July which was amazing, it was even better than I'd imagined, a dream come true. Peter wants to play at CBGBs in 1976, which is unlikely to happen! Now I'd love to play at one of the big festivals like Glastonbury or the Isle of Wight.

How influenced by your country are you when it comes to the band's style, lyrics,etc?
I think we're a very British band in our look, approach, sound, lyrics etc. It's not a deliberate thing, it's just who we are and where we're from. We're not that flash, we don't sing in fake accents, we're pretty normal people from London who have been influenced by our culture and surroundings, specifically the British Invasion bands of the 60s, Mod and punk from the 70s and 90s indie/Britpop, all very British darling!

Do you think you guys could be well received in America, where most British bands have some trouble?
I'd like to think so, we've got a few fans in America and have a distribution deal here as well as some radio play, so we haven't been totally ignored! We're massive in Utah by all accounts. There's definitely a market for British bands there, but the ones who tend to do well there now are pretty bland in my opinion, I'm not even sure a truly British band like 'The Who' would do well over there if they started now rather than in the 60s!

How would you describe the bands overall style and attitude?
Our motto is 'All or nothing', from the Small Faces song. There's no point in doing this if you don't mean it or believe in it, every recording, every live show, every note we play has to be played like it'll be the last one ever. We're usually quite relaxed but underneath we love doing this and want to carry on for as long as we can before we kill each other! We've all got our own personal style...some better than others!

Are you political? And is that part of you brought into, or subtracted from your tunes at all?
We're politically aware, songs like 'Shake up The Youth' and 'In This Town' comment on what we see happening around us, e.g. poverty, violence, 'broken Britain' where people don’t feel safe or happy or valued. We're all working class lads from London and have seen things change for the worse for some of the people we know, but whether or not we'll write more about issues like that remains to be seen, it's a possibility, things aren't great in this country right now for the majority of people, so if we can comment on that and make it relevant then we'll do it, but it has to be done correctly.

You were inspired by Liam Gallagher. What did you think of the whole Blur V.S Oasis hype in the 90s'?
They sold a lot of records didn't they? It was like two boxers at a press conference trying to sell tickets, it worked, but to be fair they could back it up with the quality of music they produced so why not? It was all good fun and no one got hurt, same as the Stones v Beatles, Nirvana v Pearl Jam, Neil Young v Lynyrd Skynyrd, everyone's a winner! Except for those who died of course.

Do you guys have any superstitions or rituals before a live show?
We usually punch the drummer for being late! The boys also rub my head for good luck as they think I'm a leprechaun.

Being that its 2015, and we have bands available mostly online these days, what do you think of apps such as Spotify or Pandora for music listening?
We got thrown off Spotify for some reason so we hate them! Actually it was an admin error so we'll be back soon. If those channels allow people to hear new music then that's great, as long as the artist is recognised and fairly compensated which I think is a big issue at the moment. It’s killing albums though.

What song is currently your "I could repeat this song over and over'" choice right now?
A song off our latest EP called 'New Revolution'.

If you could be in a super group with a bunch of musicians for a night, who would they be and why?
Gary: Noel Gallagher, John Squires, Oscar Harrison and John Entwistle, all bases covered!
Peter: Phil Lynott, Rory Gallagher, Jimi Hendrix, Little Walter, Mitch Mitchell, Peter Green...how much could you learn from those legends?!
Paul: Steve Marriott, Steve Cradock...my guitar heros, and the rest of The Small Faces
Martin: Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix, John Entwistle, Steve Marriott and Ian Anderson...with me on drums!

Fill in the blank...Your band is the love child of...?
Pete Townshend and Wee Jimmy Krankie

What should people expect from your new material versus your first album, 'Time For A Change'?
The 'Hits the Sky' EP was a definite step up in recording quality and playing, we spent more time on it and it was better produced, the same for our new EP 'In A Daze' again produced by Ollie Thomas. Two of the songs could easily sit on the earlier EP, and the other two songs would work well on the first album as they're quite raw. As I said earlier we've got so many influences, the next release after this one could be prog rock or doom metal (joking!) We'll probably never go 'electronic' with dance beats etc but we don't have blinkers on, if it works for the song we'll do it.

You guys toured with Paul Weller's Guitarist, Steve Cradock, What was that like for you?
Steve's a cool bloke and a great guitarist, he's got a great band and gives up and coming bands a chance to shine in front of appreciative audiences. Paul is a massive fan of Steve's playing and it was a dream for him to play with someone he really respects.

'The Gig Of The Year' That's what they called one of your shows in Canning Town, describe that! What made it so amazing?
We'd played at the venue before and it didn't go quite so well that time- it's not a big venue but we were playing with some other great bands who are friends of ours so there was a certain amount of 'who's going to be the best tonight?' going on! Everything came together this time, the sound, the playing, the attitude, when it clicks it the crowd realise that and you feed off each other, it's a brilliant feeling and makes it all worth it even for that brief moment.

And lastly, if you were to suggest one song of yours for people just learning about you guys, which one would it be?

Difficult! Come and see us live and make your mind up! Hits The Sky?

(c) Kim Acrylic 2015