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  • Tiana Speter

INTERVIEW: Dom Craik & Joe Langridge-Brown (NOTHING BUT THIEVES)

 

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, but for UK rock luminaries Nothing But Thieves, the return to Australia for a second year in a row has been met with nothing short of full-blown celebration.

Returning for Part 2 of their Welcome To The DCC World Tour in late April and early May, Nothing But Thieves are resoundingly furthering their love affair down under; a mutual adoration that only exploded following the group's first-ever visit in 2016.


Also fresh off the release of Dead Club City Deluxe, a divine expansion of the conceptual universe established on the original, 2024 holds many Nothing But Thieves delights for fans across the globe. But before the five-piece head back to Australia later this month, The Soundcheck's Tiana Speter grabbed some time with the axe-wielding duo Dom Craik and Joe Langridge-Brown to chat album expansions, Australian memories, AC/DC songs, early performing days for the band, as well as some insight into the backstage goings-on when these staggeringly talented gents roll into town. Read on!



TIANA SPETER: Hey Joe and Dom, thanks so much for joining me today! Let's chat 2024 and Nothing But Thieves, and selfishly Nothing But Thieves returning to Australia for the second year in a row. And of course the cherry on top is that you'll be returning with Dead Club City Deluxe as well which just recently dropped. First and foremost though, how does it feel to be heading back to Australia? And thank you for making good on the promise you made onstage last year that you'd be back soon, you're men of your word!

 

  • DOM CRAIK: Yeah! It's surprising because sometimes you have the best will in the world that you're going to get back somewhere and it doesn't always happen. But it's happened, and we couldn't be happier! And as a country, it just feels like you're on holiday between the gigs in Australia. You don't always get that, especially when we're on tour in Europe where it's grey and it can be miserable. So it's a nice little break for us. And on top of that, the gigs there are always awesome. We can't wait to be back!


 

TIANA: I'll just keep my view hidden, it's currently grey and pouring rain outside my window near the Gold Coast right now. But I'm sure it'll be way nicer when you guys get here. Let's talk Dead Club City Deluxe for a moment here, when I spoke with both of you and Conor [Mason] last year while you were in the country, we touched on the ominous note that the original Dead Club City ended on with Pop The Balloon. You guys always tend to end your albums with, for lack of a better word, a "softer" note. And the deluxe version has delivered this and continued that tradition. Did you guys always plan to extend beyond Pop The Balloon and expand the Dead Club City universe?

 

  • JOE LANGRIDGE-BROWN: I think there were a couple of reasons. All of those songs were recorded at the same time, we did five months in a studio we built and Oh No :: He Said What? had to be, just thematically, in the concept near the end. That's just where it made the most sense. It kind of leaves the door open to the concept of that song little bit. Pop The Balloon did feel incredibly final, which I didn't like. I sort of got to the end of it, and I was like, "I don't really want to leave it like that". Maybe in like 10 years we'll come back and do another few songs from Dead Club City. I liked the thought of being able to do that if we wanted to. And then the other two songs we loved. We wanted to release them, but they just didn't make as much thematic sense. So for the deluxe version, it gave us the perfect opportunity to get 'em out!



TIANA: I like the idea that these sonic universes can be malleable, and it's exciting to think you can revisit and expand things potentially down the track if it feels right too. Speaking of the album, another thing we chatted about last year just before its release was favourite songs at the time. Dom, you chose Keeping You Around at the time, and Joe you chose Do You Love Me Yet? as a fave. Now that the full album is released, you've been touring and relentlessly dominating at the world, what's a song from Dead Club City that you love at this point in time?

 

  • JOE: Well, now we have dominated the world, I think I'd still keep my answer the same!

 

 

TIANA: I love that! That's a good sign, you chose well. What about you Dom, still the same, or has playing some of the songs live changed your mind?

 

  • DOM: I think we've found...I don't want to say new found love, but I guess we didn't ever expect Overcome to have that reaction that it gets live. It is so uplifting and hopeful, and I guess that's not massively common within Nothing But Thieves' music, there's a lot of darker tones and stuff like that. And I think Overcome adds a little bit of light to the shade in the set, and ending that or having it towards the end of the set is a real moment. It seems to be one of those songs where no matter how good or bad the gig's going - you play that song, and all is well in the world.



TIANA: That's a very wholesome sentiment, and I like hearing that. Now, the last time Nothing But Thieves were in Australia in 2023, the full album wasn't out yet, but you did gift us with Welcome To The DCC and City Haunts as well. I never want to imply it's challenging or difficult, but at this point setlist-wise, are you guys a pretty well-oiled machine when it comes to lining it all up? There would obviously be your foundation go-to anchor songs, do you guys at this point like to mix it up or do you default to what you know works best?

 

  • JOE: A bit of both. No matter what you do, people are going to complain about it (laughs). We've discovered that.

  • DOM: It's led by data.

  • JOE: Yeah, we just check Spotify streams and go with that (laughs). No, there's a lot of things that go into it. We don't want to be "that" band, the bands that don't play the songs that people want to hear. If we didn't play Amsterdam, we'd just be dickheads. You've got to play it.


TIANA: You could also become that band who play a different setlist every night. On one hand - keeps it fresh for the band. And secondly, you can catch out people who claim they were there and didn't know you switched it up!


  • JOE: Oh that's good! I do like that!

  • DOM: I like that as well!

  • JOE: Yeah, I really like that. Normally we do have two or three setlists that we rotate, that's how we'll ultimately do it.

 


TIANA: Your music dance card is insanely full already this year, and of course Australia and also New Zealand are stoked to be included in said dance card. Looking back, now that you've been to Australia few times now, what is a standout Aussie memory for you guys?

 

  • JOE: On the last tour we did get in a routine, probably too much of one, where we did do shoeys every night. It started becoming expected.

  • DOM: Yeah.

  • JOE: We got warned, they're like, "If you do it once, you're gonna have to do it a lot of times."

  • DOM: We opened the floodgates!

  • JOE: Yes, that's kind of my overriding Australian memory.

  • DOM: Yeah, same. Also, it honestly felt like we moved to Fremantle for a bit. We were there for four or five days.

  • JOE: Oh, yeah! The AC/DC cover bands?!

  • DOM: There was this whole AC/DC festival out there. There was also a bar, this incredible cocktail bar that I can't remember the name of, but we basically became residents there. They knew our regular order and they actually started giving us free drinks. They were like, "You've spent way too much money and way too much time here". But it just felt like home away from home. It was amazing!

  • JOE: Yeah, so we had our favourite bar, and we were there for a few days. And then this AD/DC festival took over with a million different cover bands. This town turned into Mad Max! It flipped on a coin, it was mad.

  • DOM: It was great. And I think it was weird because we'd obviously previously been to Perth before, I don't think we'd been to Fremantle before. And spending that much time there, we just fell in love with it, it was awesome!

  • JOE: Yeah, very cool!


TIANA: Did you guys form an impromptu AC/DC cover band while you were there? What song would you cover?

 

  • JOE: We've been known to play AC/DC at soundchecks. Or maybe even at some shows?

  • DOM: I think we'd try maybe Back In Black? Or Thunderstruck would be a good one. Now I'm just listing AC/DC songs (laughs).

  • JOE: We'd play the ones that every guitarist knows (laughs).


TIANA: Which is a valid response because you guys are a very guitar-driven band, so it's very on brand! My first ever Nothing But Thieves live experience was back in 2016 for your first ever Australian tour. I've gotta say, not just because I'm speaking to you right now, although it's helpful because I did really like it...but seeing you perform at Oxford Art Factory in Sydney is still to this day one of my favourite live music memories of all time. And as a band, you guys have only gotten bigger and better from there, which is saying something. But since that was my first Nothing But Thieves gig experience, can you take me back to your first official Nothing But Thieves gig? Can we legally class it as a success?

 

  • DOM: A success....no! I don't know what it is, but we wouldn't say success (laughs). The first "official" gig was at the Seabright Arms in London, in East London. And it's a pub, but it's like a sweaty basement that could fit about a hundred people. I don't think we were signed at this point, and we printed off a bunch of CDs, and EP that we self-funded, and there was only a limited run of about 30 or 40 of those. Our mate sold merch for us with these shitty t-shirts. It was very "homegrown", but we did sell it out! So maybe we could call that a success? The quality of the gig may be questionable, I don't actually remember that...

  • JOE: That's the first "official gig". There was also some stuff we did in bars and whatever else in Essex.

  • DOM: There was a London promoter, I don't remember his name, but we would get emails from him being like, "We've got this venue that's available for you guys to play". We'd be like, "Yeah, yeah sure, we'll come down". So we got there, and he says, "Oh, you're playing this really posh nightclub right before the nightclub closes". And we would be responsible for bringing everyone down, and you would just feel guilty! It was the shittiest, shittiest gig in the weirdest venue.

  • JOE: He came to the gig with a PA in a backpack on his back. And we sat around and were like, "Oh, we're done for!".

  • DOM: They wouldn't let you use the PA in the nightclub. So we'd have this PA on sticks, and we were responsible for getting all of the punters in. It was a nightmare.

  • JOE: I haven't thought about that for a while!

  • DOM: Yeah, his name was John something. It doesn't really matter. But I do want to slander his name (laughs)



TIANA: Before I let you guys go today, Dom back when Moral Panic II was about to release we chatted, and at the time you mentioned that a backstage essential for Nothing But Thieves was Mario Kart. Is this still a pillar for Nothing But Thieves in the green room?

 

  • DOM: We've moved on from Mario Kart probably a little bit. Joe's doing a lot more Tekken, and we've also moved on to Halo. We've also gone right back to TimeSplitters too! There's a lot of throwback games that we're playing.

  • JOE: We've also built our own bar.

  • DOM: Yeah, that was the big change!


TIANA: Does it move around, can you bring it with you?

 

  • JOE: Yeah! It's in a flight case, it's called Bar 668, because it's the Neighbour of the Beast. And it's sort of kitted out in beer mats that we collected all through the European tour, it's got a cocktail shaker...

  • DOM: We were in the Netherlands recently, we were playing in Amsterdam. And a bunch of our friends and family came out, so we wheeled the bar out! It's quite big actually. But we had these two mixologists, these cocktail makers came down and they made loads of cocktails for everyone before and after the gig. And our family and friends said it was the best gig we've ever played! But they also couldn't really talk coherently at the end of it, so we don't know if they actually knew what was going on or not.


TIANA: And what is the cocktail of choice for Nothing But Thieves?

 

  • JOE: Mojitos at the moment, I think? Or Paper Planes?

  • DOM: There's a lot, isn't there? This is where you've got five individuals, and everyone likes something different.

  • JOE: Yeah, we started doing Nothing But Thieves ones, like a "Dom Craik", a "BoilerCraiker".

  • DOM: Yeah, which I actually have never had. But we should try to get a menu that is bespoke to Nothing But Thieves, song puns. Honey Whiskey is an obvious one. But fuck knows. We'll get back to you on that when we know!


TIANA: I'll hold you to that. And I want the recipe. Thanks guys!

 

  • JOE & DOM: Thanks Tiana!


 

NOTHING BUT THIEVES

Welcome To The DCC Australian Tour 2024

With Special Guests The Moving Stills For more info, head here.



 

BY TIANA SPETER


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