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Interview: Thieves and Villains

Thieves and Villains are from New York-based four-piece who are signed to Victory Records. They formed in early 2007 and by the end of the year, they had played Warped Tour and got a record deal. They would go on to release their debut album 'Movement' in July 2008, which was produced by Paul Leavitt.

Sean talked to Thieves and Villains' guitarist and singer Sergio Otaegui about the bands history, being on Victory and the affects of having their music featured on major US TV shows.

ATP: Thieves and Villains started in early 2007. How did you all come together?
TaV: We were all mutual friends from the local music scene in our part of New York and came together with the plan of making some music that we all really cared about and making a career out of music.

ATP: Had you played in other bands before?
TaV: Yeah, we were all in various local bands from NY and that’s how we met.

ATP: Why the name Thieves and Villains? Is there a meaning or story behind it?
TaV: To get ahead in life you many times have to step over other people and engage in sketchy behaviour to get where you’re going, but this band was formed around the principal of always staying true to who we are and running our band very morally. Thus, we named the "band" Thieves and Villains so that we as "people" don’t have to be.

ATP: You released your debut album on Victory Records last year. How did you and Victory get together?
TaV: The owner of Victory, Tony Brummel sent us an email in September 2007, about 6 months after we put our first songs online, and stated interest in the band and liked our work ethic. We showcased live for him and the staff in Chicago the next month and it went over well. After that we continued talking to them and various other labels over the winter and ended up siding with Victory in February 2008.

ATP: You must be pretty happy being on a label that has a strong history of bands?
TaV: For sure, we get along great with everyone at Victory and have a lot of respect for the bands that came before us.

ATP: Tell us about your album ‘Movement’. What influenced the record?
TaV: It's a record that’s focused around personal growth with a huge awareness of everything that is going on around you. I'd say it really came out of our own experiences of getting out and touring the country for about a year straight before it was recorded. Instead of going away to a four year college after high school I got my education via travelling basically and a lot of our experiences and things I learned about myself are the basis of that record. It's meant to be our first musical statement as a band, kicking off our career and "movement." We hope that the people who listen to it gain some form of inspiration or clarity from it and engage in a "movement" of their own, no matter how small.

ATP: Before you signed to Victory, you played 3 weeks on Warped Tour. What was that like? Is it different to other tours?
TaV: It was a great experience as far as just getting to reach a TON of people everyday and was awesome for networking. Aside from that, its absolutely different than a normal club tour, there’s nothing like it really. We'd get to the grounds anywhere from 7am-9am in the morning, hustle all day, play a set, continue hustling, load our stuff out and drive ALL night to the next city. There was little sleep and tons of work to do but it was a great experience and we look forward to doing more Warped Tours in the future.

ATP: Can people expect when they come to see you play live?
TaV: Hopefully they vibe with us and really get in the same zone as the music. We love when people really connect and are on the same page with us.

ATP: Your music has been used for various TV shows like The Hills and Gossip Girl. Has that helped you in anyway and how does it feel to have your music used in that way?
TaV: Its really helped a lot actually. All of those shows have millions and millions of viewers per episode so when your music plays and your band's name scrolls across the bottom, its amazing promotion. We get hit up by new people every single day who discovered us via television. I don't really watch TV so I've never personally caught us but all my friends and family have so that’s good enough.

ATP: What’s next for Thieves and Villains? More touring? New album?
TaV: Well, we just got home from tour for the first time in over 2 months a couple days ago. So we're currently enjoying seeing all out friends/family for the first time in 2009 and handling a lot of business on the homefront. We'd been writing like crazy on tour and will be fleshing those songs out at home in March and hopefully doing some recording. It won't be for a new record just yet but we're hoping to release some new stuff in the form of an EP or digital release between albums. We might be doing SxSw in Austin Texas in late March and then back to touring in April, so we're always staying busy.

ATP: Is there anywhere specific you’d like to play?
TaV: Anywhere overseas and I really want to play at Chain Reaction in Anaheim California.

ATP: Do you have any plans to come over to the UK?
TaV: We've been talking about heading over there in late summer/early fall so hopefully!

ATP: Have you got anything else to say?
TaV: Check out our album "Movement" in stores now (you can get it in the UK at places like HMV) or on iTunes and take care of yourself! Have fun with your life.

For more details about Thieves and Villains visit the bands myspace.

Sean Reid

Alter The Press!