Original interview

SUGARTHIEF : a multiple influences band

Tell me EMIE, who’s Sugarthief ? 

Sugarthief is an indie band based in Birmingham. We had the opportunity to talk with Jack about their origin of the band, their inspirations. Also the release of their new EP, new collaborations and their tour with JAWS. 

E : First, can you introduce yourself ?

S : We’re Sugarthief. We started out as two brothers writing tunes in our bedroom and eventually got our mates involved and started playing shows in Birmingham, which helped us begin to build our fan base. Over the years that fan base did grow until we were able to do tours and festivals across the UK and release some music to the world whilst doing it ! 

Sugarthief by @l.jonesphoto
E : Where did the name « Sugarthief » come from ?

S : To be honest, we’re not quite sure. We’ve made up multiple stories and people have sent us their own theories about the origin of the name. But the truth is, Jordi and I (Jack) had been arguing about the name of the band for a long time and we couldn’t settle on anything. I think eventually Jordi googled popular words on a certain day and those two words were there and they looked good in type which is more important to someone like Jordi, so we went with it.

E : How can you describe your music for those who don’t know you ?

S : We always find it pretty difficult to describe our music because it’s influenced by quite a wide range of artists and it changes constantly. We’re all pretty chilled out and I think that’s reflected in our more recent music in particular. We also enjoy a lot of classic psych and rock so we don’t forget to give our music interesting dynamics and the odd bit people can get a bit mental to at gigs. 

E : What artists are you the most inspired by ?

S : Originally it was a lot of rock/psych from the 60s/70s like The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Santana and The Doors. But other elements have come along since such as funk (Shuggie Otis, Gil Scott-Heron), Jazz (Bill Evans, Stan Getz). Then more experimental current artists like Connan Mockisin, Babe Rainbow and BADBADNOTGOOD. We all listen to different stuff and all show that stuff to each other, so the list of inspiration is sort of endless. 

E : What message are you trying to transmit through your music ? 

S : A lot of it is just Jordi’s take on life, which is mostly negative. We just disguise that with happy sounding choruses. 

E : You’ve released your first EP a year ago, can you tell us more about it ?

S : I Before E(P) was our first proper project as a band. We were really keen to create a collection of songs that connected and flowed instead of just writing a single where you’re limited to just that 2/3 minutes. It’s our proudest thing to date and we were just really glad we got a chance to show the world that our writing can be more diverse than maybe previously thought. 

E : For you next EP/album are you gonna bring some changes (with more rock vibes) compares to the first one ?

S : We’ve almost finished our second EP now, after spending a lot of January recording it. It’s essentially part 2 of I Before E(P), but explores more funk and jazz. In addition to songs we’ve worked into our live set towards the end of 2019. Then in January we also finally recorded some jam sessions that have been a regular occurrence in the band for years and have been a big part of how we’ve written our new songs. When you’re jamming, it’s inevitable you end up going pretty fuckin heavy when you’re all going for it, so those recordings will probably throw people off a bit ! 

E : You’ve collaborated with few artists, are you planning on doing more collaborations ?

S : 100%! We’re really lucky to have loads of mates who create amazing music and we naturally end up writing and recording together. We had a bunch of talented friends around whilst recording this second EP so they can be heard in a lot of the songs ! 

Sugarthief by @l.jonesphoto
E : You’ve been touring with great bands such as Jaws, Mini Mansions, The Night Café, what have you learned from this experience ?

S : Being asked to tour with a big band is the dream for most artists starting out so those experiences have been really special. Back in 2018, The Twang took us on their UK tour. We went from playing 100 cap rooms in Birmingham to 2000/3000 cap rooms all across the country, it was wild. Furthermore we learnt a lot about working a crowd that isn’t there to see you and only having 20-odd minutes to impress them means you get really fuckin tight.

We’ve never really got too nervous before playing but over time you get more and more comfortable behind your instrument. So going into our most recent tour supporting JAWS towards the end of 2019, we were super relaxed. The JAWS guys are as equally relaxed, so the whole tour went smoother than we could’ve imagined. I think that helped us reflect on how far we’ve come since our first tour. 

E : What do you think of the indie music scene in Birmingham ? Is it hard to find your place with all these new bands ?

S : The indie scene in Birmingham is amazing. Weirdly when we first started playing in Birmingham there wasn’t so much going on. We sort of caught a wave with a bunch of other bands we got to know and eventually built up a bit of a scene. There’s never an issue finding your place because the whole scene is really welcoming and only ever supports each other! We’ve never understood the competitiveness some scenes have, like if one band does well. If you’re hanging out with them and playing shows with them, you’re going to benefit from that. That’s aside from the fact that it’s so much more fun when you can be mates with all the other bands that are just trying to achieve the same goals as you.  

E : During this hard period, what are the 3 songs you like the most ?

S : We actually have a playlist on Spotify: ‘isolation inspiration‘ which covers a lot of them if you’d like to hear more..
1. Inspiration Information – Shuggie Otis
2. Charlotte’s Thong – Connan Mockisin 
3. Supermarket Blues – Eugene McDaniels 

E : We hope you will be back on tour soon ! Are you planning on coming to Paris ?

S : The second we’re allowed to, we’ll be playing live! We’d love to play a show in Paris, hopefully we get an opportunity to visit soon.

Thanks to Jack from Sugarthief for taking the time to answer these questions !

You can follow Sugarthief on Spotify and Instagram.

You can also read the french version of the interview here