Summer dresses, helium balloons and vanilla ice-cream are just some of the lively images that pop into mind when listening to the catchy, happy music of new indie pop-rock band Thieve. The band hails from Bellville, Cape Town, and consists of Andrew Davenport (vocals and bass guitar), Fred Den Hartog (lead guitar and backing vocals) and Philip Erasmus (drums). They released their debut album Gold in October 2009. Perdeby chats to Davenport about rowdy tours and the Bellville band phenomenon.
You’re all previously from other bands. How did you guys end up forming Thieve?[Myself] and a previous member Jaco started toying with the idea of starting a band together when [we] met Phil. Snake Venter [of Fokofpolisiekar fame] told us about Fred who had also recently put his skills on the market and the rest just sort of fell into place. A few months later we had Thieve.
The name of your band refers to your motto “Nothing is original. Take what you want.” What do you mean by that?
It’s our manifesto. We refuse to hide our influences because they form the largest part of our sound. Our personal tastes are what make us original so we take and use what we like. If you aren’t stealing, you’re shooting yourself in the foot.
Your music has been described as chilled, harmonious and mellow. How would you describe it?
We [try] to stick to the essence of pop music. Catchy, feel good, but with enough integrity to keep you unembarrassed [for] liking it. Think less Shakira pop and more Billy Joel or Michael Jackson.
In 2008, when you were just starting out as a band, your song “Last Day December” appeared on the Bellville Rock City compilation alongside some very well-known bands. What was that like?
We are only starting to realise now what a boost Bellville Rock City was for us. When touring your debut album you don’t expect many sing-along crowds but no matter how small the town, the peeps will always be chanting “Last Day December”. We are very grateful.
Any interesting theory about why so many great bands hail from Bellville? Radioactive spiders, perhaps? Maybe something in the water?
For some reason the kids in Bellville are always following some sort of American subculture. Pop punk and skateboarding are what formed our generation. God knows what they’re into now, but regardless, music will always be the cornerstone of what’s cool.
With so many high schools spaced so closely together it was inevitable that some sort of youth community would form. It just seems like there were always more of us playing music.
How is your touring going? Any interesting anecdotes you would like to share with Perdeby?
Touring consists of extreme highs and lows with very little middle ground but when it’s good it’s great. Let’s see … well, we could talk about Fred’s love for older women or Phil’s jail time thanks to his love for not so older women or maybe divulge a little something about [my] friend the crack fox but it wouldn’t be very fair because we all know that what goes [on] on tour stays on tour.
When not busy touring and being rock stars, what do you do to relax?
We pretty much drink and play guitar with our friends. When we’re away from home it’s called touring; when at home we call it relaxing.
Thieve will be launching a nationwide tour in February so check out the necessary info and updates on their Facebook page: www.facebook.com/thieve.