1. Thanks for your time, could you give us a quick introduction to Mark of a Thief?
We are a new 4-piece rock band from Kirkstall in Leeds, just starting out on our next musical adventure. We’re all established musicians who have played in bands before and we just came together at the right time through an advert Sam put out last September. The other guys all worked together brewing beer and I (Tom) picked up on the ad for a singer, joined up, chucked another guitar in the mix, shared my vision and the rest is history!
2. You’re playing #360RAW9 in a few weeks; what can we expect from your set?
We’ve got a couple of new songs to blast out which have only been gigged once, at our last show at Manchester Night and Day cafe, so we’re really looking forward to playing those to our Leeds fans. We’ve got a bit heavier (I got a new pedal) and we’ve been really working on crafting our sound and getting the most out of the heavy guitars mixed with the melodic vocals and driving bass lines. We’re toying with the idea of a cover but we’ll see.
3. Could you tell us a bit about your sound and who influences you?
We all have a shared love of Placebo but then we branch out in different directions. That helps us craft our sound into a more unique style when we bring all those ideas together. It’s hard to describe the sound but I would put it like this: heavy rhythm guitar mixed with soaring reverb drenched lead lines, driving bass lines, heartfelt lyrics and melodic vocals. I take a lot of influence from bands like Silversun Pickups, Thrice and Deftones in the way I write my lyrics and melodies. We play to our strengths and develop the sound around that.
4. You share a common love of certain bands; is there a particular album that had the biggest impact on you all?
For me, it would be Thrice – Vheissu. I just love the raw emotion on that album mixed with the crushing guitars and beautiful lead lines. Songs like Music Box are incredible and I take a lot of my rhythm playing influences from that album. As a band, we would have to say Placebo – Without You I’m Nothing. For me it was the first rock concert I ever went to and the first rock CD I ever bought. It shaped a lot of our musical styles across the band and is the one album we fully agree is shit hot in so many ways.
5. You’ve put out your Edge of The Dark EP; what can you tell us about it?
Yeah, it was our first go at recording songs as a band and we’re really proud of how it came out. A couple of the songs on there are the first we ever wrote and we felt it was important to get our music out there for people to listen to, to get exposure and show what we are about. It’s quite a dark EP, the title track Edge of the Dark, is written from the perspective of the afterlife and being horrified to find we’ve been lied to all along and there’s actually nothing beyond. Follow You is about blindly following religion or indeed anything that people aren’t fully clued about, but it’s written from the perspective of someone infatuated with a person who represents what we blindly follow. Palisades actually isn’t in our set anymore but we still bring it out occasionally, that’s more of a love song about someone who is hard to understand. Queen of Spades is our only real slow one at the moment and that’s about being homesick when travelling; the lyric Queen of Spades is actually a tongue in cheek reference to the many card games I have ended up playing in airports or on buses along the way. We’re proud of it and we hope you’ll give it a listen.
6. How did you get involved in #360RAW9 and how helpful are shows like that for bands at your stage?
I’ve been involved with Richard Watson and the 360 Club for quite a long time. I’ve played on the stage a few times in my old band and a couple of times solo as well. The 360 Club is amazing for bands like us as it gives us a platform to get noticed and to share our music with likeminded people from Leeds. It’s always an amazing stage, incredible sound and a pleasure to play at a 360 Club night. We’re extra excited about the #360RAW aspect of this night and we feel privileged to be chosen to play it.
7. Going forward, what are your hopes and ambitions for the band?
We’re all a little older and wiser now so our hopes and ambition really are to just write music that other people love and that we are proud of. We have a great time together whether it’s rehearsing or gigging or writing and we just want to continue that and enjoy it. We have high aspirations for what we are doing and want to keep up our current momentum. Festivals are our big goal at the moment, beer, sun (or rain) and playing some tunes to people having a great time would be awesome.
8. What’s the alternative music scene like in West Yorkshire? Bands, venues, promoters?
Leeds is great place to be a musician. There are so many opportunities for a band like us to play at decent venues around the city. You have to know a few people and dig the promoters out but once you do it really is good. We’re enjoying playing further afield now as well and we had a great gig in Manchester last month. When you play the good venues like the 360 Club then you are always guaranteed an epic night.
9. Curveball question: for a million pounds, would you rather be locked in a room in the dark not knowing what is in there before you go in, or be told what is in there before you go in?
Owen says he’d like to know so he can prepare. Personally, as long as it isn’t Owen in there, I’m good to go. Chuck me in!
10. Apart from #360RAW9 – what does the rest of the year hold in store for the band?
After the gig, we are having a brief break (for a well-deserved holiday) before cracking on with the writing and we hope to be back in the studio by November with something bigger and bolder than ever. After that we need to keep pushing these gigs and hopefully get ourselves out into the bigger circuits. Watch this space!