[Interview] Company of Thieves Remind us to Appreciate Little Nothings
Chicago natives Company of Thieves are less of a band and more of an attitude about life and music. In the words of frontwoman Genevieve Schatz, “Thieves give you a feelin’,” and after a three-year hiatus, the feeling is back. In July, Company of Thieves released their comeback single, “Treasure,” and tours began shortly after. With a new EP, Better Together, releasing on February 23, the thieves stopped at the Coca-Cola Roxy in Atlanta on Walk the Moon’s “Press Restart Tour” (read our review of Walk the Moon’s set).
After interviewing Genevieve Schatz and guitarist Marc Walloch before the show, I was amazed at the genuine love of expression that permeates everything the band does. Schatz likened a live show to somebody asking for your name and life story, saying, “You could go on autopilot, or you could use each time, in present time, access your life and share your feelings and the wisdom you’ve gained from being yourself.” Each show is a unique expression of who the band is at that moment, and it shows.
The members of Company of Thieves have been around music long enough to know that the role of the opener is, in Walloch’s words, “to get the crowd up and amped for Walk the Moon,” and they’ve structured their setlist to reflect that. Rolling through a set of upbeat hits, Schatz stopped from time to time to appreciate the moment and urge the crowd to as well.
In the introduction to “Nothing’s in the Flowers,” she explained that the song was their attempt to demonstrate, to something not from earth, that it is the little “nothings” that are the most beautiful part of our planet. Schatz places significance on the idea of appreciating the little things, or, as she would likely call them, “ordinary riches,” in reference to the Oscar Wilde quote that spawned the title of their debut album: “Ordinary riches can be stolen; real riches cannot. In your soul are infinitely precious things that cannot be taken from you.”
Literature is a core component of Company of Thieves songwriting. From song and album titles to lyrics to the freely expressive candor both in conversation and on stage, poetry and prose from all cultures, time periods and ideologies seep into the band’s psyche. As a result, Company of Thieves are acutely aware of the way that their progression as people will affect their progression as musicians, especially when there is such a long break. When talking about getting back in the rehearsal space for the first time, March Walloch recalled, “We kind of picked up where we left up, but it was also the feeling of kind covering a song … there’s so much growth and evolution that takes place. And playing the songs from our present self didn’t feel the exact same as when it was actually present back in the day.” He continued, “But when we played our first show, that’s where it all felt like nothing happened and it all just fell right into place.”
When a band is making a comeback there are so many things that their fans, their label and the media will claim are the most important things for the comeback to be successful. For some bands it’s having all of the original members, for others it’s a signature sound, but according to Company of Thieves, it’s simply sincerity. “When you see a band, as an audience member, you want to feel some kind of sincerity, and that’s what hits an audience. We want it to feel that way for us or else it’s never going to happen [for the audience].”
If you have the chance to see this show, you won’t want to miss it. Between Walk the Moon and Company of Thieves, it’s going to be Oscar “Wild.”