Interview with Company of Thieves

Indie rock group Company of Thieves reunited recently, having disbanded in 2013.  They set out this month on a reunion tour, debuting “Treasure”, their first new song in 6 years, with more new music to come!  Emily May caught up with the band on the second show of their tour to talk about their decision to reunite, what they missed most about playing together and how they’ve grown as people and musicians in their years apart.

Your tour started last night in Indianapolis. How does it feel to be performing together again? What was the crowd’s reception like?

Genevieve- Oh my gosh! First of all, it was beautiful and overwhelming and a roller coaster ride of very heightened emotions. Our fans just showed up, they showed up, and they sang with us! I got really…I don’t know how to explain it. I was just really in my body…really there with everyone. I went through it again-all the songs, where they came from, what was happening and why they were written.

So it was a good sized crowd? The Hi-Fi is a great venue!

Genevieve- Yes! It was packed!

Marc- Yeah, I don’t think it existed when we were still touring before. But yeah, it sounded great and just having everyone in the crowd singing every word after all these years was really overwhelming!

Genevieve- It was so cool being at a venue because we started out playing in basements in Indianapolis when we were younger. Being able to play on a real stage was nice!

How does it feel to have a new song after six years? What was the recording process like? What led you to record it in Marc’s garage?

Marc- I think having new music is vital. It’s been so nostalgic and emotional for us to be playing all of these old songs. But it’s important, too, for us to be in the present time and still be creating something new. It’s been fun to share a new song with our fans.

Chris- We didn’t get back together with the idea of playing just the old songs and going on a reunion tour. We were like “let’s play new music”.

Genevieve- We’ve grown so much. Our main conversation was that we had so much to write about and that we needed to do this together. And so with this new chapter, we’ve just turned the first page with this one new song, you know? We have a lot more on the way so that’s been really exciting! And recording it was really cool because…

Marc- It was free! (laughs)

Free is always good!

Genevieve- Yeah! So we got to record it at Marc’s house, in his garage. It’s funny because, when we went to go record the song, we kept getting all of this feedback from a radio station. The guy was talking about the political climate and culture and how the people were so split and enraged about what was happening with the election, and it just felt so necessary to capture and so we hit record. We kept getting frustrated because it kept cutting in, but then we realized it was meant to be.

What led to your decision to reunite? What did you miss the most about playing together? Was there anything in particular you were looking forward to with your reunion?

Genevieve- To be honest, I had basically completely backed away from the use of a guitar since working with Marc. I love people who play guitar, I love them all, but Marc is my favorite guitar player to sing with so no one could compare! I didn’t even want to try. It just hurts my body, you know? I couldn’t do it. So I’m really looking forward to coming back together and bringing my voice and his guitar together, because it feels like singing with another friend, with my voice and his guitar. His guitar sings.

Marc- Thank you! (laughs)

Genevieve- When we were younger-I’m going to embarrass his right now (laughs)-we were teenagers playing in Chicago and a lot of our older musician friends that we looked up to were pulling me aside and saying “who is that young kid playing that way? Nobody does that. Nobody goes for it like that anymore. You can’t play like that anymore. You have to be more reserved.” I was like “he’s having fun! That’s why he’s so great.” It was just a reminder that life can be what you let it be. You don’t have to follow any rules. You can just continue to truthfully rock on if you want to! So yeah, Marc does that.

Do you think your time apart was necessary for your growth, both professionally and personally, in ways you might not have otherwise experienced? Were there experiences from your time apart that you were able to bring to the band as far as breathing new life into it?

Genevieve– Yeah. Something I noticed was that Marc has been letting himself actually explore lots of different sounds and tones and ways of approaching writing a song. I mean, we used to do the way that we did. So we’ve learned so much about that since then!

Marc– Yeah, totally. It’s been fun to be more present and current in what feels good right now. I think that’s going to make it fun for me to get up on the stage and play every night versus “ok, this is the song and it goes like this. Now let’s bring it to the band. Now let’s bring it to the studio.” (Talking to Genevieve and Chris) It’s more about like…when you guys came over a few times, it was like “how are you feeling today? What do you want to do?”

Genevieve- And I remember you said “I’m really excited that you made your EP, because you were able to find a part of you that was brave enough to speak clearly with your lyrics”. I grew up a lot lyrically. I can sing straightforward now about what I’m feeling instead of dancing around the thing all of the time. It’s going to fun to see how that kind-of plays out in our new songs.

I read that you feel like every show feels like your first one. What inspires that feeling?

Genevieve- Nerves!

Marc- Lack of sleep. It’s very important!

Chris- We’re running on very little sleep right now!

Genevieve- Nerves and excitement. You know, when your inspired…everything’s new when you’re inspired.

And feeding off of the energy from the crowd?

Genevieve- That too. I mean, yeah, it’s like plugging into an outlet of surging life force!

So you two formed Company Of Thieves as teenagers. How do you feel that you have grown as people and musicians over the years and how do you feel that the industry has changed? Do you have a different perspective and outlook on things now that you’re older?

Marc- I hope so! (laughs)

Genevieve- I used to take everything so seriously and I wasn’t having enough fun. I felt like there was a way to do it instead of just going with the flow and figuring it out one step at a time. I felt like there was some kind of rule book when I was younger that I didn’t have access to and I was freaking out all of the time. I realized when I grew up that there is no book. You are your own book and you just write it as you go!

Did you experience a period of adjustment when you reunited or did it feel natural, like you never stopped at all? Were you able to pick up where you left off?

Marc- Yeah. You guys (Genevieve and Chris) moved to LA before I did and then I moved out a little bit later. I think we just slowly started like, just talking…we weren’t like “alright, let’s make music right now”…

Chris- We just showed up at your house and your roommates were recording music. And I was recording something with Brad.

Genevieve- So that’s the beautiful thing about music, right, is that really it’s just such a small world. If you play music, everywhere you go you’ll find the people who play music and you’ll just end up knowing each other.

Chris- It’s safe to say that after the band’s break-up, they went strongly in their own directions. But then we came back together after some time after they delved deeply into their own projects.

Marc- We were just hanging out and reconnecting. We just missed hanging out together. We were inseparable as friends since we were 18 and into our 20’s and young adulthood, so it was really fun to just meet other friends and connect with other people and make different music with other people. But then it was like, “I miss that other thing too but this is great.” I was just trying to balance it all and figure out how to keep it all going. It’s all very vital.

Do you think you will continue doing your solo stuff on the side or just focus on Company of Thieves?

Marc- I hope so.

Genevieve- Yeah, I think that’s the fun part. When we were younger we felt like we could only do one thing or something. I don’t know what we were going through, but it was something like that. Now we realize, you can just make more room in your life to play all kinds of different music and collaborate with people. It’s good to do different stuff.

Marc- When you’re really young it’s like “I wanna be in a band” and that’s it. And then you realize “oh shit, there are so many other needs to nurture” and it’s so important to realize that.

You grow and realize that you can kind-of make room for everything you want to do?

Marc- Totally, yeah! It makes everything else better.

Genevieve- Yeah, sometimes it’s like people end up being like the person they met in junior high. And then they never know who else is out there. And some people are supposed to be that way but I think we just needed to figure out what was going on.

What’s next for the band? Do you have an album in the works?

Genevieve- We definitely have a lot of songs in the works. I don’t know which ones will be paired together or in what order, but we’re definitely working on a collection of songs and we’re just going to do one song at a time.

Marc- I think right now it’s just really fun to keep exploring our potential and just keep doing the best that we can. We just wanna keep writing good songs, the best songs that we can possibly write.

Do you think you all will explore different sounds? I know with a lot of bands, what they sounded like in the past isn’t necessarily what they will sound like going forward.

Chris- Rap! (laughs)

Marc- Yeah! Rap rock! (laughs)

Chris- I think we’ll find out, I guess. That’s the fun thing about it.

Genevieve- It’s not about what we wanna do, it’s about what wants to be done. You know what I mean? It’s not what I wanna write about, it’s what wants to be written about that’s flowing through. Sometimes I’m like “I don’t know what this means” and then later on I’m like “wow, ok”.

Thanks for taking the time to answer some questions!

Everyone– Thank you so much!

Interview by Emily May

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