Interview with Company of Thieves

Company of Thieves released the their debut album “Ordinary Riches” in 2009 and it landed at #5 on Billboard’s Heatseekers chart. Two weeks ago the band dropped their sophomore offering “Running from a Gamble” and is now touring in support of the album. Their tour lands them in Philly on June 4th where they’ll play a show at the Piazza at Schmidt’s. Independent Philly will be there to cover the show but we had a few questions we needed answered first, so we had the latest edition to our staff, writer Ed Wons, chat with lead singer Genevieve Schatz and bassist Marcin Sulewski.

Independent Philly: How is your new album, Running from a Gamble, different from your first?

Genevieve Schatz: It is new! And focused, darker, confrontational, uncensored…it captures our live energy!

IP: What’s your favorite (or least favorite) part about being on tour?

GS: My favorite part is meeting folks from all over and hearing their stories. Another favorite is being reminded of Mother Nature through the giant van windows while in constant motion. The mountains arrest me. My least favorite part is lack of sleep and adequate nutrition which ultimately leads me to question my sanity and the validity of my reality. That’s a trip, though, so I guess in a way it is also a favorite. ‘leasts’ from me. Damn.

Marcin Sulewski: The best part is playing every night. But other than that, I love seeing similarities in people. Sometimes I’ll meet someone on the road who is exactly like a friend from home. The whole interaction just makes me think about how we are all humans, were all born from this earth, we really are just one. And sometimes, you just meet a real character, a real nut, and that can be insightful. My least favorite part is, lack of sleep, physical activity, and fresh food. I don’t know how truckers do it.

IP: You guys are from Chicago, which like Philly is a big food city. What’s your favorite Chicago food? Philadelphia food?

GS: Chicago pizza all the way. Philly vegan cheese steak, ha!

MS: In Chicago, Sultans Market is some super fresh Middle Eastern. I’ve never been to Philly, but I’ve dreamed of the taste of a Philly Cheesesteak.

IP: What was it like hearing yourselves on the radio for the first time?

GS: Out of body experience. I said, “Who is that? Is that us? Weird!”

MS: Bizarre and exciting all in a moment of questioning reality.

IP: What are some of the bands on your iPod now? What did you listen to growing up?

GS: For both: The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Queen, David Bowie, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Radiohead, Arcade Fire…I sill listen to them all now, as I am always growing up.

MS: Haaa, I wish I could afford an iPod, but I like a lot of hip hop, dub, and “riddim” music. Im listening to Madlib, J Rocc, J Dilla, Flying Lotus, King Tubby, and Fela Kuti. Eitan and Chris have got me going on Klezmer music, Arabic music, and quarter tones!

IP: What can fans expect from your live show?

GS: Our fans can expect to hang with us. We like to make discoveries in our music with our fans during the show, we like to share the show, not just be the spectacle.

MS: We are so appreciative for every chance we get to play a show, so they can expect that we will be there with them 100 percent. Hopefully we all feel each other and have a wonderful evening.

IP: Outside of the United States, what’s your favorite place you’ve played? How are those fans different from their American counterparts?

GS: Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, and London! The people we met in those cities were just as cultured and open minded and curious as our American fans, but with cooler accents. We love our fans. They provide a sense of community, as in ‘we are all in this together.’

IP: Who would be your dream artist to go on tour with?

GS: Probably Queen. Or David Bowie. or Bjork. Ahh!

IP:  You guys spend a lot of time together, do you ever bug each other on the road?

GS: When we are hungry we can get buggy. But all is good through and through.

MS: Oh yeah, its good fun bugging each other, it keeps your wits about you.

IP: What’s the craziest thing you’ve experienced while on tour? Don’t worry, we can handle it. 

GS: Total self-awareness.

MS:  The state was Oklahoma, the venue will remain un-named. The only bathroom we had to use had throw up all over it, shit in the sinks, smeered on the walls, piss everywhere…and all of it was from the night before!

IP: Is there a message in the new album? What do you want fans to take away from it?

GS: I hope the fans can find something new each time they listen to the album. I also hope they feel when they listen. There are tons of messages, one is that there are no real guarantees in life, ever, and that there is nothing to lose except yourself if you don’t express yourself in life. 

IP: Who wins the following battles and why?
Hall or Oats? 

GS: Hall. Haven’t met Oats.

Chicago Hot Dog or Philly Cheesesteak? 

GS: Tie…if they are both veggie.

Oscar Wilde or Oscar Meyer? 

GS: Wilde of course! His wiener made history.

Dove or Ordinary Soap? 

GS: Dove I suppose. Smells real good.

Cubs or Whitesox? 

GS: This is a set-up. I’m going with baseball in general. I’d rather play than watch.

MS: Forget baseball, it’s all about hockey and the Blackhawks are everybody’s favorite team.

IP: Tell us something that would surprise or even shock our readers… 

GS: This moment in time only happened if you wanted it to.

Thieves or not, we’re looking forward to being in the company of these  mid-western indie-rockers on Saturday when they play the Radio 104.5 Summer Block Party show at the Piazza (She Wants Revenge and Find Vienna are also performing). The show kicks off at 4pm and the best new is, it’s FREE! Hope to see you there Philly!

If you want to check out Company of Thieves ahead of time, you can download their track “Modern Waste” right HERE for free!


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