Today we catch up with Conor Mason, the frontman of British alternative rock band Nothing But Thieves. We talk tours, influences and the best burgers in Southend. Take a look below and see what he had to say.
It’s Monday morning and we’re sat in a meeting room trying to get through to Conor. After many dialled attempts and voicemails being left, we’re finally through to be greeted by a tired and confused “hello?”. After explaining who we are the penny drops. “Oh hello mate, sorry I’m in bed!” How jealous we all are that’s it 11am, we’re at work, and the singer of a great rock band tells us he’s in bed. Let’s get down to the interview.
Hi Conor, thanks for talking to us today!
That’s ok thank you very much for having me.
How did you and the Nothing But Thieves guys meet?
A bunch of us went to school together and the rest of us just met on the touring scene in Southend just playing in bands. You kind of know everyone in music in Southend and it just came together! A few of us formed the band to start which was Joe, myself and Dom. Joe and I went to school together and Dom went to school opposite us but he used to come to our school for music lessons. Eventually we came together and then found James and Phillip through being in bands and we’ve all known each other for years anyway.
How do you think growing up in Southend influenced the sound that you create as a band?
Yeah I mean you are influenced in a way because there’s always been a big band scene in Southend. We used to go and watch bands all the time when we were kids and there was a particular place called Chinnerys which had bands every Friday night and it was only £4! It was kind of the only thing to do when you were under 18 which made it our local go to. We used to go and see our bassists old band who were quite famous in the area, so it’s quite a small world really! Seeing all these bands made us want to be in the music scene and get out of Southend eventually (laughs)!
How happy with the reception of your single "Amsterdam" are you?
We had a good four or five months away from any radio our touring and then when we released Amsterdam it was absolutely crazy! It had a million plays on Spotify in four or five days which we couldn’t believe. I was nervous when we released the single but we got a really positive reaction.
The video for “Amsterdam” is coming out today, are you excited for the fans to see it?
Yeah definitely, we only got back from shooting it in the Ukraine a few weeks ago. It looks fairly simple but the way we shot it was just really cool. I don’t want to give too much away (laughs).
What was the creative process behind the track and then the video?
When we were creating Amsterdam, we wanted a really guttural, almost in your face, chorus. It’s something that we’ve loved listening to as a band. We wanted this song to sound angry, frustrated and we wanted to show that emotion through the song. The video reflects all of that in a way. It’s shot in a dark, dank place where everything looks tough and hard and we tried to make the music video look angry. I think we've got that and we got that. It marries the song to the video really well.
The song is called Amsterdam because that’s a city where we have that release. It’s a place where we can just chill out. We just get to have a break away from everything and be ourselves. I’m going back there in a couple weeks actually (laughs).
Have you got any other big plans for 2017?
Yeah, we’ve got a bunch of festivals over June, July and August including the Isle of White Festival! I’m really excited for the festival season, we’ve got some amazing ones coming up including one in Shanghai. I’ve never been there so very excited for that. The band have got a few more dates which I can’t mention (laughs). We’ve also got the album coming out on September 8th which is a really big date for us and a whole bunch of things coming up!
Wow that’s amazing, I bet you never thought you’d make it this far when you were in Southend!
(laughs) I love that but yeah it is true! We’re a good example, you know? We started out going around and watching all these bands to and wanting to do the same as them. Coming from a place where there’s nothing to do, to now flying all over the world and playing these places is amazing. Hopefully, we’re inspiring some kids along the way to do the same.
How would you describe your style?
I would say it’s somewhat mod like at the core. I like dressing smart. I’m always in suit trousers, Dr Martens and either a shirt or T-Shirt. I got given this amazing coat by a designer through Layers of London which everyone can see in the Amsterdam video. It’s hand-knitted and I love it. I think it’s probably the most expensive thing I’ve ever been given (laughs)! I love fashion though man.
I’m originally from Rayleigh and I saw few of my mates the other week. They all turned up in the same brown loafers and white shirt and I took the piss out of them. What makes it better is now they’re all conscious they’re in the same thing whenever we go out!
What’s your favourite place to eat in Southend?
Now that is a hard one but I would have to say Henry Burger’s. It’s so good it’s ridiculous! They also sell my favourite beer there called Kona Waves which is really hard to find.
Finally, who is a 2017 band or artists you think we need to watch out for?
I am a huge fan of this band called Highly Suspect, the singer Johnny Steven’s is a cool dude. They’re a really good band in a nostalgic rock way but they’ve modernised the sound as well. I’m playing them a lot at the minute!
Thank you very much for your time Connor!
No worries, thank you.