INTERVIEW: Company of Thieves chats new music and acoustic tour!
Recently, I sat down with Genevieve Schatz and Marc Walloch from Company of Thieves in Boston just a few hours prior to the second show of their acoustic tour over a cup of coffee to talk the new EP, the stripped back tour and how the band came back together after the hiatus.
Company of Thieves developed a cult following pretty quickly when they put out their first record in 2009 and were sorely missed when they went on hiatus. The band is now a few tours in post hiatus and don’t show any signs of slowing down. Find my chat below and pick up the new EP stat, you won’t be disappointed!
It’s the first acoustic tour that you guys have done in several years, since 2013. Is this something that you’ve always wanted to do when the band did come back to playing shows, post hiatus?
Genevieve Schatz: Yeah! I mean we started this way because in the beginning, we didn’t have a band. We would just meet up in our apartments and write songs and go play them at local coffee shops for the open mics and stuff. So it’s a really special place in our hearts where you can be really open and vulnerable but still sharing your music. It’s less about the whole scene and more about the songs. So we love doing this and it’s something that if we could do it, we would do it probably once a year but we might have to do it once every couple years.
Marc Walloch: Yeah and what we did in 2013 was so much fun. We may have not discussed doing this when we first got back together but I think it was just something that I at least felt like oh it would be fun to just keep that up because that was such a great experience last time.
GS: And it’s fun to play new songs that nobody has heard yet in a really intimate setting. Then you build them up over time.
And you’ve only just done the first show, how was that show? How have you been planning these sets? You have this new EP, you have this new music that you’ve been working on but are you playing some of the older songs?
MW: We’re still kind of figuring it out. I mean we had a set that we did the other night then as the set was going on, we were whispering to each other, ‘Let’s cut that right now’. We’re not feeling it but I think as we get a few shows into it, we’ll start knowing what’s working and what’s not but also have the freedom to keep it spontaneous night to night and add a song and like swap a song out.
GS: And we have fun covers. We have songs from the EP, songs from both albums, new songs that haven’t been recorded. It’s a hodge podge of feelings and ideas, it’s really cool. It’s groovy and free feeling.
MW: We’ve been doing meet and greets before the shows and that’s a good time to ask for requests because we don’t usually play a lot of songs from our first record or maybe we’re only playing one.
I’m sure you’ve been having lots of original fans come out, but also like some from the Walk the Moon tour. Friends are fans that I wouldn’t think would be, like they play in comedic bands and then tell me that they love you guys.
GS: So cool. That’s the thing about our fans. They are so dimensional and so deep and beautiful. Some people will come and they’re like ‘I pretty much exclusively listen to metal music but then I heard you guys and I’m like this is pretty rad’. I’m like ‘Really??’
MW: Yeah it’s so weird.
GS: But I love hearing that. There’s always somebody like that in the audience that really surprises me and it keeps me on my toes.
MW: It’s funny when people ask us like who do you think you should tour with, I’m like it doesn’t matter really.
GS: I’d like anybody that people who love music like to listen to.
MW: I think people forget that just because you’re going to see a band of a certain genre or sound, those people aren’t one dimensional. They do like other kinds of music, it’s fun to have a multi-dimensional show.
GS: We’re pretty goofy in general and on stage in-between songs. Then our songs can be serious or heartfelt but the whole thing is a fun, goofy experience. To be on a stage and have people let you be on stage and be supportive. It’s like thank you for playing this goofy game with me.
I can’t imagine how you do it. I had to go on the stage last night at my work so our sound engineer could try something and I felt so awkward being on the stage with no one even in the room.
It kind of put me into that position. I was like I don’t even know how these bands do it every night. It’s so vulnerable to go up there.
GS: It is, it’s like being on blast! You’re either elevated or you’re in the spotlight. You have to accept the fact that you’re willing to go out on a limb and have people pay attention to you for god knows what. Hopefully something is worth it.
Then to kind of go into it, ‘Better Together’, the new EP it only came out in February.
GS: That’s true! Wow.
Only about two months ago.
GS: Oh my god, that’s like nothing.
How long was it kind of in the making? Were they all songs fresh for this EP, were some of them older songs? How did you approach the writing for this EP?
MW: Well ‘Window’ and ‘Younger’, we started writing right before we went on a hiatus and just never really finished. So when we got back together, those were in the forefront of our minds in just wanting to reach the potential that we thought those songs had. Then ‘Treasure’ was one of the first songs we started writing when we first got back together to start working on songs. It kind of naturally just came out but it still feels very fresh. For us at least.
You revisited them and I’m sure you brought something else to the table from the time spent apart and kind of rejuvenated in being back.
GS: Yeah definitely! It helped us actually finish them. Because we had been able to live the experience that we needed to in order to finish writing them.
MW: Your perspective changes a lot in five years, three years.
And you talked about how you’re playing new music that isn’t recorded yet. So is that something on the horizon, like in your current writing, do you feel the writing process has changed? Maybe something new you’ve tried recently, considering you have been creative partners for so long?
GS: Well, one of the most fun changes is that Marc has worked really hard to acquire some recording gear. So that when I go over to his house in LA, we can actually record our ideas. What did we used to record them on when we were younger?
MW: Well, we’d like write them on acoustic guitars then we would record a live band demo like in our basement. I love the art of record making so when you have a song that’s written, I’m very antsy to start seeing it come to life and start playing around with options and seeing what feels right for everyone. So we’re kind of in the process of always trying to keep writing and recording. It’s not like we have a record that’s coming out right now but we’re independent and starting over. We want to just keep trying to write the best songs of our career right now and just keep acquiring a good batch of songs to play on the road.
GS: Yeah! So it’s fun, we’re really open on this tour to having a bunch of new ideas come in. For example, last night in the hotel we just started writing a new song. And now it’s cool, we can marinate on that for a couple of days and see if a new part will come in and who knows what’s going to happen?
MW: Yeah maybe by the end of the tour it’s a new song that we’ll start playing.
Maybe how has it been now that you’re going back to DIY? Is it just the two of you on this tour like doing everything yourselves? Maybe how has it been?
GS: It’s been hilarious. Well it’s freeing. It’s a lot of work. We kind of feel like cartoons. Like the other day when we loaded into the first show, I looked all the way across the venue with just me and him in the room. He was setting up the stage and then I was setting up the area with like our t-shirts and everything and there were just like a gazillion boxes and I was thinking how are we going to do all of this?
MW: We barely sound checked anything and then we were starving. Then we had to do our meet and greet then the doors opened. It’s pretty crazy.
GS: It’s fun though because it’s like at the end of the day, you feel good. You really earned everything, you’ve worked hard, you’re tired. It’s kind of fun to see it from the ground up, everything that it takes to put on a show. A successful show.
MW: I wish someone could film us, like a day in the life, because people think it’s like they’re in this band and whatever their idea of it is.
People don’t get it.
MW: Which is fine.
I still probably don’t get it, I’ve never done it. I’ve interviewed bands for a long time and I’m always like I don’t know how you do it. I don’t know how you tour or people don’t realize the expenses that go into it. Of hotels or the fact that like tour busses cost like a thousand dollars a day.
GS: Isn’t that wild?
You have to live, you have to eat, you have to feed yourself, you have to house yourself at night.
MW: Totally, and hopefully have enough money for yourself and your personal life. And also money for the band to record and make more merch. It’s crazy.
GS: I wish we could camp every night but then we have musical instruments to watch over.
Yeah that would be rough.
GS: But it would be really cool though. Be like we don’t need a hotel, we have a tent!
Then to kind of end it off, this tour just started. This is only the second date. I know it pretty much is a whole month, it goes to the 27th?
GS: Then we’re going to do a West Coast run.
Just keep it going! So it’s still so early and it’s only May, the EP is still so new, maybe focuses or goals or hopes for Company of Thieves for the rest of the year or these next few months?
MW: I hope that what we’ve done so far for now keeps spreading to perk people’s ears up for us while we grow and explore what we want to do musically. And keep writing and keep putting out music. Just feeling like wheels are in motion to the next chapter.
GS: That classic keep on, keeping on.