ENCINITAS — Pushing back against a pandemic suffocating the music and entertainment industries, Encinitas-based rock band The Thieves About announced its latest EP, “A Joyful Terrorizing Ride,” is scheduled for Aug. 14 release.
The Thieves About band members Brian Ulery and J. Scott Gavin spoke with the Coast News, sharing more about the EP as well as the daunting challenges facing artists and musicians trying to outlast COVID.
Recording the first portion of the new album before state-mandated closures this spring, the two band members discussed the challenges of creating music during the pandemic.
“We’d record our parts and rhythm tracks and email them over to [each other] from separate studios, then we would have to keep sharing back and forth,” said Gavin, the band’s lead singer and guitarist.
Both musicians acknowledged that a certain part of the magic that accompanied by playing and recording together, feeding off each other’s music and intuitions, was missing while the band was forced apart. Eventually, after stay-at-home orders eased, the group was able to return to the studio and finalize recordings.
However, it didn’t stop the group from pulling together a “simple, fun, high energy” EP, Gavin said. “It’s an EP of songs that tell good stories with an all-around feel-good vibe.”
With tracks titled, “Hurt Me Sometimes,” “Take Me On,” “We Go Down,” and “Torn Down,” The Thieves About’s sound can be best described as 90’s alt-rock, a cross between the Gin Blossoms and Goo Goo Dolls.
Unfortunately, unlike a usual record release, “A Joyful Terrorizing Ride” won’t be accompanied by a flush of in-person events and concert gigs due to statewide restrictions on large public gatherings.
In fact, the band’s entire strategy for reaching new audiences and interacting with long-time fans has drastically changed, as artists and musicians nationwide struggle in the face of health orders.
“Playing music Live is why you join a band,” Gavin said, “It’s why you want to create, to inspire, and give people an opportunity to go, forget about everything, and engage in your music. To not have that Live experience is crushing.”
The Thieves About have hosted online concerts on Facebook and Youtube, as well as playing acoustic, front yard sessions for curious locals, however, it does not amount to the same publicity or income for the band.
“Touring and playing in front of crowds is a huge source of income,” Gavin said. “People who buy your merch and attend your show in-person are inspired to support bands. If you’re just a face behind an online screen, you lose that personal connection and inspiration.”
“We love to be engaged with our fans. We love shaking hands, giving hugs, and saying thank you,” Gavin said. “We love that personal, human connection and [ability] to say ‘thanks for being here, let me tell you about this song and let’s experience it together.’
Drummer and manager Brian Ulery confirmed the band’s future October 19 concert at The Belly Up is still on the schedule and remained optimistic about the upcoming months.
“Right now, we’re really excited about this release in four weeks,” Ulery said. “We’re hoping we can build enough traction locally and regionally so by the time we can start playing live again, we’ll be able to book bigger shows.”
Eventually, restrictions and unknowns facing not only The Thieves About but all musicians and artists during COVID will lift. Until then, audiences looking to support their favorite bands will have to look to modern, socially distanced solutions.
For more information on The Thieves About, visit their webpage or find them on streaming websites, such as Spotify, Instagram, and Facebook. “A Joyful Terrorizing Ride” will be available for purchase on August 14th on all major streaming platforms as well as Lou’s Records in Encinitas and Spin Records in Carlsbad.