Thursday, 13 October 2016

When Thieves Are About

So I'm sat in my local coffee shop with the strongest of dark lava after a pretty weird night soaking up all the boozy blues and I reach for my headphones. Nothing like some teenage angst Pop Punk anthems to put nautical stars in my eyes huh?!

I came across these guys in the same way as when you hook up with a hot girl and don't bag up ad then 9 months later you're being called daddy! and what a beautiful accident this was. A band that even though have a super following online were so humbled that I'd asked to cover them for my opener for this re branding. These guys deliver a new age tone to the 'Pop Punk scene' that would even keep the OG's at the back reminiscing about the 'good ol' days before arthritis kicked in.

Welcome to 'When Thieves Are About' 

Who are they? If you don't know then you soon will

When Thieves Are About are a quartet straight out of New Jersey and signed to label Manic Kat Records, they are; 

Alfredo Diaz (vocals/silky Rhythm master)
Ryan Struck (vocals/stringslapper)
Mike Green (fret fiddler)
Josh Smith (Skin destroyer)


It's time to see what 'When Thieves Are About' are actually about. Starting with the 2014 E.P called Senescence which was recorded at Guerrilla Recording, Highland Lakes NJ. It sounds like a summer BBQ vacation location with kegs and bikinis and you know what? It doesn't disappoint!

It's got all the elements of a beautiful record with the opening track of Wasting All Our Time which has a Death Dab For Cutie vocal to get the party started that kicks in to a full vocal performance with harmonies all over the place that blend together like a perfectly formed banana smoothie. A bass line that is so dirty ripping over the top of the sharp distortion and I'm already pulling out my diary to write the latest entry. The balance of youth and maturity on this track is beautifully captured and the growl in the vocal smacks you around the chops like a dominatrix with no safe word.

Do You Belong To The Physics Club? is an absolute power horse of a track lasting as long as I do in the sack. It's 1:12 (don't be intimidated ladies) of a 'this is what we can do' musical timeline from straight up Punk to Emo to Pop Punk power. The perfect blend of musicianship.

30 Stones is is an absolute beauty of a track and Celtic New Year shows some maturity in both musicianship and lyrics. The fast upbeat tempo filling the air with fist pumps and banging heads, Mohawks waving back and forth and the smell of dreadlocks lightly grazing on your nostrils before the perfectly timed breakdown that brings you back to earth again.

I for one love how this band make me feel, they are honest, grafting and clearly talented musicians and that for me shows on each and every track on this EP! Passion for me wins every time but when that passion can pull you out of a hangover and carries you onto the next party you've genuinely found your sound.

Chicks will be getting 'WTAA' tattooed on their ass very soon, right next to my name

EP Rating 4/5

Track Listing;
Wasting All Our Time
Do You Belong to Physics Club?
30 Stones
Hangin' With Michael Keaton
Welcome To November
Celtic New Year.

Get this on Bandcamp (Name your price)


Since releasing the EP  they have released the track Youth Decay and placed it into the ever growing world of digital download and let's not fuck about here it's beautiful. Imagine looking out o the window on an autumnal morning, Golden leaves on the ground, naked trees, a dampness that smells so sweet and a heartbreak that only YOU will understand.

The harmonies remind me of every NOFX track ever placed into our ears with a 'Taking Back Sunday' roar that rears its head on special occasions and a warmth of the Ataries and I won't lie I'm genuinely on my 20+ listen and I could keep going.

You'll find this on iTunes, Spotify and all over social media.

Rating 4/5


So before I introduced 'When Thieves are About' to my Mum I figured I should do a little bit of character referencing so I hit them with a Q&A session (Josh is now not allowed to meet my Mum) and this is what came back..........

Do you remember the first time you fell in love with music? 

Alfredo- Yes, I was about 6 years old and sitting in the car with my father. He pulled a tape out and said "do you want to hear the best band ever?" Popped in the tape and it was the Beatles- Come together. Moment I fell in love with my favorite band and music. 

Mike - "I've always hated music and continue to, to this day..."

Ryan – I remember really loving all kinds of music as a young kid, but when I heard Evil Empire by Rage Against the Machine, I knew I wanted to play bass.  When I heard Dookie by Green Day, I knew I wanted to play punk.

What do you think is the best song ever written and why?

Alfredo- God only Knows by The Beach Boys. Why? Because It just is  DAMNIT! lmao

Mike - "Music is subjective; it's dependent upon the experience and interpretation of it's listener. But, if I had to pick one, it would be Beethoven's fifth symphony. Does that count as a song?"

Ryan – I don’t know if it’s the “best song ever written,” but I firmly stand by Stone Temple Pilots’ “Interstate Love Song” as my favorite song ever.  Written in the best key for guitar (E Major, you can do so many fun things with open strings), the verses run down a chromatic scale from the minor key (one of my favorite things NOFX does in a lot of their songs as well), and it brings back such thick memories of being a happy kid in the town I grew up in.

If you could 'make love/fuck' any song what would it be and why?

Alfredo- The I love Lucy theme song on repeat because it's funny to me lol

Mike - "The Beltsville Crucible, by Thrice. It's just very self-aware. There is a lyric near the end, 'you've got to play it again,' which usually comes, right before, I play the song again. 

Ryan - It would most certainly be “Shimmy Shimmy Ya” by Ol’ Dirty Bastard.  Because I, too, like it raw.

What's your fondest childhood memory?

Alfredo- Winning tickets to see Blink 182/Alkaline Trio/Sum 41 off 92.3 k rock and while at the show I was all the way at the front and they had to pull me over the rail before the last song of blink because I was feeling sick. They pull me over the rail of the gate and started to puke. They took me to the back area to see how I'm doing and give me water. While waiting to be checked on, I met Tom Delong because he walked right up to me to see how I was feeling because he saw me puke Lololol. That rocked.

Mike - "I build a swing set myself, hung it from a tree in our front yard. Then my older sister cut it down. Too dangerous she said, seeming perturbed. She cared to ensure that I did not break my neck on the driveway! That was, so sweet, and unexpected."

Ryan– There are far too many.  I really enjoyed spending time with my grandparents.  My grandfather used to love listening to Sinatra and I just loved being with him listening to the music and being silly.  My grandmother used to let me stay up with her really really late, eating candy root beer barrels, as long as we watched stuff she liked, which was usually a medley of M*A*S*H, Murphy Brown, Cheers, and Golden Girls.

What would be your ultimate line up for a one night only gig Dead or Alive?

Alfredo- Wow... my dream would be to play with so many bands... would love to play with the Beatles of course also nirvana. Would love to play with Greenday, blink 182, NOFX, sum 41.

Mike - "There was a real show recently that came pretty close - The Descendants with Such Gold and Modern Baseball... Too bad it was one night only, and 3,000 miles away in San Francisco. I'd really like to bring back some dead metal musicians. I never got to see Pantera or Death, so both on the same show would be my pick." (Editor Jonny nods in approval). 

Ryan – I don’t care about any other band as long as Minor Threat is playing.  Or 1997 Wu-Tang.

Who gave you the best live experience?

Alfredo- To be honest, I've seen some great shows. It's Paul McCartney. His amazing at emotional level to me so that would be it, but Greenday is great, Leftover Crack is great too. Watching The Blood Brothers was an amazing time too. A Wilhelm Scream rules. Set your goals, Daggermouth, and Such Gold all great shows.

Mike - "Saturday night live."

Ryan – My first warped tour when I saw NOFX and they played “Reeko” amongst every other great song.

Who's your favourite Disney villain?

Alfredo- Captain Hook 


Ryan– I love Gaston from Beauty and the Beast.

Musical dream?

Alfredo-To make a living off of music.

Mike - "If one person's day is improved by hearing our music then that's good enough for me."

Ryan – It would be a dream to be able to make a living playing music every night without having to be away from my family for long periods of time.

Musical nightmare?

Alfredo- Losing the ability to play.

Mike - "My life."

Ryan – Being booked for a show with Leftover Crack on New Years Eve and showing up the jalopy they’re calling a “club,” only to find out that there, in fact, is no Leftover Crack playing.  Instead, you’ll be playing with a Hitler-youth band…and they bring 5 friends, the only 5 other people in the club….and they’re in the military, home on-leave….and when it’s finally your turn to play, you break a string.  The only other bassist in the building plays lefty, so he has to actually take his string off and lend it to you for the set.

What made you start a band, what was the driving force being it?

Alfredo- listening to the Beatles, Greenday, Blink182, nirvana were the driving forces that made me want to start this band. Also my family are really into music and that was a huge inspiration.

Mike - "I like playing music (which may be surprising given the last nine questions). My dad drives me, though. He wants to me to get "further" than he did musically -- whatever that means. It's not a dynamic I enjoy, but it does exist."

Ryan – I wanted to make the kinds of songs I liked listening to and spend time with my friends.  I also was 15 and really felt the need to wear all black and scream at the top of my lungs in front of people, as I was no longer a “happy kid in the town I grew up in.”

These guys have made a lasting impression on the Behind the Beat Team. Check them out....

Article by Jimmy Tinsley

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