Hailing from London, The Theme have been building an impressive reputation since their formation in 2011. Sell out gigs at the 100 Club and Clapham Grand, as well as support slots with Ocean Colour Scene and Steve Craddock, have seen The Theme become a popular fixture on the scene. Their debut album “Time for a Change” is available on iTunes, along with their critically acclaimed EP from 2014 “Hits the Sky”. The band has new material is set for a November release.
- How long have you been doing what you’re doing and how did you get started in the first place?
I have been in and out of bands since the early 90’s, most were covers with a few of my own thrown in. The Theme started in a pub in Forest Hill. We spoke about doing a small covers gig but after the first rehearsal we gave up on that idea, and decided to do original songs. I went away and started writing some songs and before we knew it we had 12 songs, which became our live set and first album ‘Time For Change’
- Who were your first musical influences that you can remember?
The Doors and Pink Floyd were my early influences, but the biggest influence since writing songs has been The Who.
- Who are you listening to at the moment?
At the moment I’m listening to the DMA’S and The Beatles, they (The Beatles) are a band that you can listen to over and over again. I’m really into vinyl and love listening to the B-Side tracks, especially OCS and Oasis.
- Do you remember the first piece of musical equipment that you actually purchased? And which is the one piece of hardware or software you’re still looking to add to your collection now?
My first Guitar Purchased was a Squire Fender in 1993, and I still own that. A Gibson SG Standard is next on my list.
- Where does the band do most of its recording and production work?
Lately it has been at Earvision studios in Bromley with Rich. We have recorded with Ollie Thomas at the Nest and we’ll be back there again soon hopefully.
- Studio work and music creation, or performing and interacting with a live audience, which do you prefer?
I love recording, and spend hours and hours recording demos at home, but it’s not the same as the buzz you get when you’re on stage, so I have to prefer that.
- Which one of your original songs gets your emotion and Adrenalin pumping the most, when performing it?
‘Hits The Sky’ I loved writing and recording the song and playing it live is great, everyone really gets into that song
- On which one of your songs do you feel you delivered your personal best performance so far, from a technical and emotional point of view?
‘Here She Comes’ from previous releases and ‘Liquid’ which is on our next Album is Perfection. I don’t think I could choose between them, I love them both!!
- How essential do you think video is in relation to your songs? Do you consider visuals strictly an extension of the song or a whole new and separate creative process to present to the public?
A Video is essential to a Single Release. Unsigned bands have to be 100% perfect in everything they do, even more so than signed bands. I see loads of bands that are established with a large following just putting out videos of the Album Artwork and they can get away with it, for unsigned bands that’s seen as Lazy and not showing enough Passion or Pride but for unsigned bands it’s all down to budget.
- Which one of your videos would you recommend watching to news fans of the band?
‘You Don’t Talk To Me’ the video is really good, but also all the money from the sale of the song is going to Mind the Mental Health Charity.
- Illuminate us on your songwriting, recording and production processes. Who takes care of what in the band? And is it always a democratic choice?
I have written 99% of the songs so far and Chris will be having more songs he has written on future releases, along with Pete, who has shown me a few Demo Tracks. The Process on the album ‘Liquid’ which is being released 1St Nov 17 – has been me doing a home demo, sending the track to Chris (the bands Singer) and then he will record his vocals and send it back to me. If we are happy then we will show the band, we then rehearse the songs for a few weeks, allowing them to put their mark on the track before we go into the recording studio.
I think we are one of the most democratic bands you will ever see. Being unsigned and funded by all the band members, it would be silly to not let everyone have their own say in how they see a song going. We have very talented musicians in the band and I am lucky to have them working on songs I have written.
- If you could change one thing about how the music business works today, what would that be?
Manufactured music and shows like the X-factor have changed the music industry for good and seriously damaged it! I know you have always had Saturday night entertainment shows but this just seems to control what is selling and what people should be listening to and makes a fortune. Just not for the artist! The music scene in Britain is stronger than I have seen in years. Some will break through; others split up after giving everything for 3-5 Years and get no recognition. You see that daily on social Media.
I don’t think you should get a support slot or a gig just because you have 3k Followers on FB. When I started out you got a Tuesday slot, if you were good that got you a wed/Thurs gig. Eventually getting you in on the Saturday. So you knew if you went to the Bull and Gate on a Saturday evening the bands on the Bill were good and they were there on merit and hard work. When I watched bands I went to a venue not knowing who was on but you knew Saturday nights at a Camden Venue would provide you with decent bands. I don’t think you could say the same now across London.
- What is the band’s latest release and where can fans find it?
‘Liquid’ will be released 1st November. You can find previous releases on ITunes, Spotify. We have a few videos on YouTube too.
- Of all your achievements what do you think can be considered as being a high point for the band so far?
So many to choose from!! ‘Hits the sky’ Winning the Best EP at Galaxy Music Awards. Latest single ‘When The Lights Go out’ Winning on Mod Radio. Selling out the 100 club for the Debut Album Launch. Playing great venues and supporting some fantastic bands has to be right up there. Also the new Album is right up there as a High Point.
- As you work your way through your career, which more than any other fires-up your spirits – A Grammy award, Multi-Platinum music sales, or some other tangible milestone we don’t know about, besides fame and fortune?
Just hearing the comments from people after they have listened to a new release. Simple I know, but that’s a great feeling.
- Do you consider Internet and all the social media websites, as fundamental to your career, and indie music in general, or do you think it has only produced a mass of mediocre “copy-and-paste” artists, who flood the web, making it difficult for real talent to emerge?
Everyone is producing music to a fairly high standard, I have listened to home recoding’s that are great, I just feel it is oversaturated and the best artists or songs are not getting the credit they deserve. I have seen bands record previous releases once they have been signed to a major label and it just doesn’t work.
- What is the best piece of advice regarding the music business that you actually followed so far, and what is the advice you didn’t follow, but now know for sure that you should have?
I was told once to be ourselves, I think that is what “The Theme” try to be at all times. We don’t pretend to be anything other than who we are.
- How would you personally describe the music of The Theme, in the length of a Tweet, to someone who has never heard of the band before?
Vocally Superb and with the best musicians you will find. Not that I’m Biased!! Haha
- Of all the names in the world, why ‘The Theme’, and whose idea was it?
The short story is we were stuck for a name and I mentioned I was in a band called The Theme during the 90s’s and everyone said that’ll do and it stuck. We were The Dirty Cogs, so lucky we changed the name really.
- What is the ONE thing you are NOT ever willing, or prepared to do, in your continuing quest to sustain a successful musical career?
I think between us we all bring something special to the band, we have a unique sound and feel to the music, so I think one thing I would never be willing to compromise on, is our sound.