Isle of Thieves
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Isle of Thieves

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Band Alternative Rock


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Welcome to the Isle of Thieves – by Mel in Toronto"

Catchy tunes with recognizable hooks as well as an incredible amount of energy filled the auditorium of G L Roberts High School in Oshawa during this year's War Child benefit. Isle of Thieves totally rocked the crowd and didn't fail to congratulate the students for supporting such a great cause. "It's hard to find young people to go to those things," lead singer Japeth says. "I just wanted to tell those kids that it's not cool to be ignorant and it's cool to care."

The band members of this Canadian band are Japeth (vocals/guitar), Mike Marsh (lead guitar), Justin Kwan (synths/vocals), Charles Canovas (bass), and Matt Coatsworth (drums). Two months ago, Isle of Thieves celebrated their two-year anniversary and earlier this year, they released their 10-song debut album 'Only Human.'

"When we write music, we make sure that it tells a story, it takes people somewhere. What we are never trying to do, is make something too literal. We have enough respect for the listener and the audience, that we want them to find out for themselves," Justin says while sitting next to Japeth, having a coffee.

Japeth is Isle of Thieves' songwriter. His inspiration "comes from pretty much living," he says. "I think songs are written in public bathrooms, in subway stations, places of life." And those places of life also include clubs, where he wrote their current single HOLLYWOOD. "I wrote that song in my head over 50 Cent," Japeth says with a smile. "When I came home, I took my guitar and started writing the other parts, besides from the hook, and the chorus." The song takes a critical look at the fact that "we correlate physical beauty with something noble, heroic, and valiant. The movie industry, for example, says it's always the good looking man who is the hero and gets the girl." But in reality "ultimate sacrifice is not in a good looking man or girl, it lies in the hearts of people who suffer. It could be anybody."

Isle of Thieves' songs tackle a wide range of issues. SIX GOOD FRIENDS is "an anti-war song, but the chorus brings it back to judgment," Japeth says. And ROCKSTAR "is a teen angst anthem full of clichés," Japeth says with a smile. "I wanted it to sound like it was sung by a grown man but still thinking like a teenager."

During his musical career, Japeth had to overcome challenges. "I had no heroes that looked like me in rock music," Japeth says. What he wants to achieve with his music is "really something personal to me. As I grew up, I had nobody listen to me. I felt like I was screaming on the top of my lungs and speak my deepest thoughts and everyone just brushed me off. What I discovered was that music makes people listen. I just want to make people listen and tell them something, tell a story, and make a statement."

Isle of Thieves excels at bringing their stories to life during their live performances. For Justin the most important thing is "when the crowd lets you in." And Japeth likes best to entertain the crowd. "It really shows when the crowd loves music generally. I hate pity claps. I like it when the crowd is really into it. The War Child concert, that felt great. The more I gave, the more they gave back. The more they gave back, the more I wanted to give. It was just this symbiotic relationship between the audience and the performer," Japeth says. "I love that connection. I think that's the most important thing to me."

Isle of Thieves is playing at the Reverb in Toronto on July 4, 2008. Check out the gig section for more concert updates.

"In your own words" – ONE on ONE with Mel, Japeth and Justin

Mel: How did you come up with the name and with the cover art for your album 'Only Human'?

Japeth: We actually had a tough time finding a name for the album. We wanted to find a name that would relate to all the songs. … The second problem was visually, the conceptual development of what it should look like. How we could represent the entire album and all its songs through an image, through some sort of branding. Finally, I was thinking there is a song on the album called ONLY HUMAN. … We found this mannequin photo that we got from William Chrysler, who is a local fashion photographer here in Toronto. I just fell in love with his work, I think his work is phenomenal, it was weary, yet striking, it was beautiful, yet disturbing, I said ok, let's have a mannequin, something that isn't human and let's call the album 'Only Human.'

Mel: What does it mean to you to be an indie artist?

Japeth: I think what it means to be an indie artist is that it's a struggle to make music for the love of music and not be selfish enough to just make anything you want. You want to make something that you enjoy as well as listeners will enjoy. We look at music a lot more closely related to food rather than art. I think in art, there are so many tiers of what fine art is and what low art is. A comic book is low art, and you take a Matisse, and you say that's high art, that's respectable. I don't really think music is like that as much. Like classical music is your Matisse and comic book art is some really crappy street genre. I think it's more like food. Being an indie artist, it's like making your own food, not for just commercial use, like McDonald's. It's not making pop music that is heavily, heavily advertised and shoved into everyone's face. Eventually you can get there, but it always comes down to that compromise between how you feel and what you have to do to please your audience. It's more like grandma cooking Thanksgiving or Sunday dinner. She might have her favourite recipes, but she has to feed twelve people and make sure that they are happy. ... I think being an independent artist, you have to find that balance between where you really stand between struggling to make music because you love it and at the same time struggling to share something with the world that the world can appreciate, whether it's five people or five million people.

Justin: I think, there is a big difference, between are you independent or are you indie? I feel we are independent, we don't belong to any scenes, any genres, it's not about that. We are about writing good music and whoever likes it can like it. Being an independent act, you have freedoms. You have a lot of your creativity. I think it's your chance to prove what you actually have, with nobody backing you up and with no money. Being an independent act is just part of the struggle. It builds a story of your career or your life as a musician. I think that without the struggle you don't have a backbone. This is a period where a band really plants its roots, whether it's in the community or in the fan base. It's a time where you build your identity.

Mel: Which opportunities do to you see with indieSolo?

Justin: In terms of indieSolo, it's a lot of exposure. It's about not how many people you reach, but who you reach is most important. With indieSolo, you are really targeting people who understand that part of the industry. And you are networking and being exposed to people who give it a second look longer than just an average person. There is a lot of the questions and information that we do give on indieSolo that we don't give on other sites. It does dig deeper than something like MySpace.

Japeth: Where you give the shortest little biography where it is almost impersonal. You want to have this many people to show that you have this many contacts on the Internet. But indieSolo is like: Ok, we have a story now. In the feature, we are able to actually tell a story rather than just give a brief synopsis. When I was first introduced to indieSolo by Justin, my first thought was 'How much is it going to cost?' There are so many establishments and organizations out there that want to help independent artists and want to give them more exposure, but there is a catch. It's always like that, all you have to do is pay $500 and we'll put you on this magazine, on these publications, etc. And indieSolo just gave us an opportunity to showcase our band, the complete package with the music and the image, and all this for free. So, it is really great. It does offer exposure and it does offer an avenue to share more than just the very basic.

- Indiesolo

"Isle of Thieves - Blog"

The momentum is picking up for Canadian rock band Isle of Thieves. About a year ago, the band released their first full length album ‘Only Human’ which contains ten great songs of radio friendly rock. This month, the band will introduce new songs on an upcoming radio show “Live @ The Verge” on XM Satellite Radio.

Isle of Thieves consists of (from left to right) Mike Marsh (lead guitar), Justin Kwan (synths/vocals), Charles Canovas (bass), Matt Coatsworth (drums), and Japeth (vocals/guitar).

At the radio show Live @ the Verge, listeners will hear an insightful interview and live performances of ‘Hollywood,’ ‘Clinger,’ and ‘Rockstar,’ which are songs on the current album as well as new songs ‘Surrogate Lover’ and ‘Boys will be Boys.’

“We are working on new songs right now. We are trying to write about 20 songs and only 10 will be used on the new album,” Japeth says. The band plans to start recording in the summer of 2009.

Air time for the Isle of Thieves Live @ the Verge show will be on Wednesday, March 4, 2009, at 6am and on Sunday, March 8, 2009, at 9am and 9pm EST.

Isle of Thieves will also perform during Canadian Music Week at Tattoo Rock Parlour on Wednesday, February 11, 2009, at 9:30pm.

For more details, check out: or

You can find the article on:
- Area-Magazine

"Isle of Thieves - Only Human - Blog"

I was last in Canada nearly twenty years ago (visit number six), just outside Toronto in fact, easily one of the most multi-cultural cities i`ve been lucky to visit. But this time I remember being slightly uninspired with the choice of musical styles and band identities. Classic Rock still seemed the staple diet for your average headphone junkie, borrowed vinyl with the sounds that today radiate some kind of retro coolness and affection (Then again, half the UK was listening to Kylie or Madonna at this time). If you are a Canadian reading this, you know how fresh and vibrant your music scene has become, effectively producing some of the most dazzling new music worldwide, i`m no longer amazed that one out of five bands that hits our shortlist is from Canada.

Isle Of Thieves effortlessly achieve that great combination of Alt-Rock and Brit-Pop, the raw element of surprise and originality seems the main focus for their debut release `Only Human`. The lead track `Hollywood` lyrically questions the genuine falseness and hangups of their American neighbours, more ironic than a case of harbouring any ill feelings.
"Heroes are not always handsome"
The sky bound mix of buzzing synth and angst driven guitar gently shape this release, Mixed/Produced by Michael Langford and Mastered by Joao Carvalho, Isle Of Thieves have managed to produce a intriguingly fresh album, totally classless in parts and only occasionally drawing subtle ideas from more mainstream outfits. With their ability to harness a respected following with powerful performances, 2009 will be an exciting year for Isle Of Thieves.

The article can be found on: - Mojophenia U.K.

"Isle of Thievs are Only Human"

• Isle of Thieves are only human

April 2nd, 2009KimberleeIndie, Rock, pop

The guys from Toronto band Isle of Thieves describe themselves as “a fusion of energetic rhythm, textual riffs, driving power chords, catchy synth leads and memorable vocal melodies.” What was memorable for iheartthemusic, though, was their passion and drive. These are musicians who have set a goal and are going after it with full force. Japeth (vocals/guitar), Mike (guitar), Justin (synths/vocals), Charles (bass) and Matt (drums) came together to form Isle of Thieves in 2006 and self-released their debut album, Only Human, last year. Did we mention that it is a debut ALBUM as in no previous EP? That’s right; these guys skipped the opening step and decided to give fans what they think they deserve: a well orchestrated, catchy disk that emanates with their determination to succeed in a tough industry to break.

iheartthemusic: CMW showcase opening night is pretty impressive. Have you guys ever played CMW before?

Japeth: Never, this is our first time. We tried to get into it last year but it didn’t happen.

iheartthemusic: How did you come together as a band?

Japeth: Justin, Charles and I have known each other since we were in high school, we didn’t have a band though. I was working downtown at a hardware store and Matt came in and wanted to get something for his drums. My thinking was, “wow, you are really cheap and so am I, let’s start something.” So we started jamming and Justin went and got some super old Casio from the ’80s. We did open mics for a while, as cheesy as that sounds. Finally I met Mike at another job, and Charles I knew from high school, and that’s how we just formed. The interesting thing about this band is that all of us got together as friends first before we were musicians. It was more about the fact that we got along with each other and we could grow together as opposed to let’s have an all star year.

iheartthemusic: It probably helps move things along when you have known each other for such a long time.

Justin: We actually started recording only six weeks into being a band; it was really something that was very spontaneous. We wanted to go in and we wanted to record something off the floor, and our producer thought that we had something even though we were rough around the edges.
iheartthemusic: That’s amazing that you have already released an album in such a short time!
Japeth: It was around maybe January of last year that we released the album, it was not an official release; it’s not under any label. We just basically decided to make an entire album because there are so many other bands that are giving out these EPs or demos and we wanted to give our fans a real product. When a band charges $10 for six songs I feel kind of ripped off. I mean if you look at HMV, they sell CDs that cheap for big name artists. So we thought, why not make an album, which is a lot more impressive. I mean we’re independent but we’re not going to give you this half-ass product to show you how real we are - fuck that shit! We wanted to give them something that was tangible and respectable and we went with that. It destroyed our wallets, but it was worth it.

iheartthemusic: Have you received a good response since?
Justin: Pretty good. I mean, we are here playing the opening night of CMW, so that says something.

iheartthemusic: Any musical influences for you guys?
Matt: The Jimmy Swift Band I think is the most influential band for us. They are from Halifax.

Justin: Billy Talent for sure.
iheartthemusic: How would you define your sound?

Justin: I would define our sound as a mix between The Killers, Foo Fighters and Jimmy Eat World.
Japeth: We’ve started to refine our sound to be a bit more edgy. We originally wanted to be a garage band, but that didn’t end up very well. It just became more polished and poppy and it was just the direction that everyone was going. It’s strappy, but at the same time it’s clean enough that mainstream won’t think it’s stupid. I think there is that balance.

iheartthemusic: What can we expect from your live performance?
Japeth: Pandemonium! There is this drop-kick that is going to happen at some point [laughs].

Justin: We try to give it our all up there; we’re sweaty so stand back!

Japeth: We are energetic and I think it’s just part of our presence and persona. When we first started we were really boring and just stood there and regurgitated the album, so we decided to practice and play like we were playing for 10,000 people. We loved it and it changed our whole performance style. At the end of the show, whoever we play for really feeds off of our energy and they also see that we care even if we are playing in front of 10 people.

iheartthemusic: Any crazy fan moments?

Japeth: We got $100 worth of sex toys once and the cock ring vibrated my balls.

iheartthemusic: [laughs] So you are admitting to actually using the toys?

Japeth: I used it with a partner because you just flip it around and it’s a clitoral stimulator as well! She said she was my number one fan and the worst part was I was feeling around the bag and I pulled it out and I was like, ohmygawd, it’s a cock ring!

iheartthemusic: [laughs] On that note, what’s up next for you guys?

Japeth: Right now this is our life and I never thought it would happen like this. I mean, I always thought I would have a steady income and do it on the side and some guy with a big fat cheque would discover us. That’s not the way the industry is unfortunately. Those days are gone and at the same time that’s kind of an urban legend. We decided we love it enough that we are willing to rough it out and have our parents hate us for quitting school.

"Only Human - Album Review"

Canadian rock band Isle of Thieves formed in 2006 and released their debut album "Only human" in 2008, this is a really great band that bring thoughts to bands like City Sleeps, Idle Sons and Big City Rock.
Their singer Japeth has a nice whispering voice reminiscent of Trust Company's Kevin Palmer, "Hollywood" is the first single and it's a perfect album opener if you ask me.
I highly recommend this album and it's always nice to hear something from Canada that doesn't sound like Nickelback.

written by: Kaj Roth

"ISLE OF THIEVES - Album Review"

Pied de nez aux standards de beauté
Caroline Ethier
24-08-2008 | 04h00

La planète emo compte une nouvelle créature, Isle of Thieves, un quintette de Toronto qui sortait timidement en janvier dernier sa toute première galette, Only Human.

En concert à Montréal ce samedi 23 août, nous nous sommes entretenus avec Japeth, le chanteur et guitariste de la formation, qui nous parle du mythe de la beauté et de ce premier album arrivé plus tôt que prévu.

Planchant d’abord sur une démo de trois pièces qui devait présenter les titres Six Good Friends, Love Artificial et Selfish Young Girl, le quintette s’est fait convaincre par son réalisateur Mike Langford (Evans Blue, Vaeda, Rains) d’étirer son exercice en studio.

« Il tellement aimé les trois pièces de la démo qu’il nous en a commandé trois autres, puis encore trois autres pour finalement produire un album complet », raconte Japeth qui avoue avoir beaucoup appris de cette expérience.

Beauté imparfaite

Chantées dans des envolées lyriques asthmatiques rappelant celles de Mathew Bellamy du groupe Muse, les sérénades punk-rock de IOT s’attaquent à la dictature du paraître imposée par les sociétés occidentales.

« La société et les médias exigent que nous soyons beaux et bons, non seulement au point de vue physique, mais aussi moral afin d’être acceptés et aimés. Mais nous ne sommes que des humains imparfaits », explique le chanteur.

Cette idée du mythe de la beauté est illustrée sur la pochette qui représente un mannequin de plastique dépourvu de bras.

« L’album s’intitule Only Human et je trouvais ironique de l’illustrer avec un morceau de plastique anthropomorphe. Le mannequin répond aux standards de beauté, mais il est difforme car il lui manque ses bras ».

À l’endos de la pochette, un empilage de bras est illustré traduisant cette fois l’idée que ce dont nous avons besoin se trouve de l’autre côté, celui dont nous n’avons pas accès.

Everybody wants to be a rockstar

Des odeurs de reconnaissance sociale, d’appartenance et de désir de célébrité se font sentir dans la pièce Hollywood (Cleft Lip) qui traite du quotidien vécu par une personne née avec une difformité.

« Ces gens ont simplement besoin d’appartenir à quelque chose, de ressentir de la dignité. À l’inverse, les gens beaux et riches ressentent le besoin d’être en compétition avec les autres. Au fond, qu’on soit beau ou laid, nous ressentons tous ce besoin d’être accepté, voire, de se sentir supérieur aux autres ».

Dans le titre Rockstar on chante « Wanna be a rock star / Wanna drive a fast car / This can’t be all I’m suppose to be / ‘Cause I’d rather die than be a nobody ». Un exercice autobiographique?

« Oui, dans un sens, ça l’est. Je voulais aussi rappeler aux gens ce que c’est que d’être jeune et rebelle alors qu’on a la tête remplie de rêves stupides et irréalisables. J’ai utilisé plusieurs clichés de l’adolescence tels que l’angoisse, l’attrait pour la vitesse et le rêve d’être une star. J’ai voulu me moquer de tout ça mais en même temps, c’est très honnête ».

Une main fracturée

Pour son passage à Montréal, Isle of Thieves verra sa performance scénique légèrement modifiée puisque son chanteur et guitariste se présentera sur scène la main gauche dans le plâtre.

« Je me suis fracturé la main gauche vendredi dernier en fermant la porte coulissante de notre minivan. Nous avons failli annuler nos spectacles d’Ottawa, Québec et Montréal », raconte le musicien qui passera sous le bistouri à son retour à Toronto.

« Nous avons pensé engager un guitariste pour me remplacer, mais je tenais à jouer. Quand l’accident est arrivé, j’ai tout de suite pris ma guitare et je n’ai cessé de pratiquer. Les médecins m’ont dit que je pouvais jouer, tant que mon bras est maintenu dans un plâtre. C’est ce que je ferai! »


"Isle of Thieves on the LPM Voice"

go to:

Page 14/15 - LPM Voice - Monica Brzak

"Survival of the Fittest"

Survival of the Fittest

by: Fernando Fernandez

If there is a band that has the instinct to survive in this industry, the Isle of Thieves should come to mind. The band which consists of Japeth (vox), Mike Marsh (lead guitar), Justin Kwan (synth), Charles Canovas (bass), and Matt Coatsworth (drums) know that they have to stay grounded and perhaps even isolated from other bands to remain intact. Only a couple of years old, each member of the Isle of Thieves understand why they have been brought together to make music. It is all the
small little things which includes the band's principles and values that mean a lot to this band and to its listeners.

The Isle of Thieves definitely respect their listener's time and intelligence. "We''ll let them read between the lines and avoid any pretentious or half-ass garbage that just kills time on the record," is what Japeth replied when asked what sets the Isle of Thieves from the rest. You can tell that they waste no time in getting their point across in their music. "I think that there's something special about capturing a person's attention and establishing a connection, whether it is to communicate a message or just simply to entertain," is what according to Japeth is what these cleptos are really after. With this being their primary goal, it is really hard to see the Isle of Thieves getting arrested for what they are doing.

Letting the Isle of Thieves run within the laws of music and producing melodic tracks like "Clinger", "Hollywood" and
"Wallflower" from their debut album entitled "Only Human" would be profound indications of how they understand this industry and prevent themselves of becoming a notoriety within it. No they don't claim to be pirates, ninjas or robots but The Isle of Thieves have their ideal of becoming a "Rockstar" which is one of their songs that shows their down to earth perspective of becoming one.
"Being a rockstar means that you've have taken a ridiculous, unrealistic and childish dream and made it into a reality. I don't think it's so much about money or fame or all the other cliche characteristics of rock and roll stardom. Those things are the side effects. I think it's more about winning against favourable odds and eventually living off what you love to do," as Japeth's speaks on behalf of the band's perspective on musical success. Even if excessive fortune becomes part of their future, the Isle of Thieves will never forget where they come
from because they all know what it is like to wash dishes during the day and play gigs at night.

To imprison the Isle of Thieves into a consumerist ideal of making music for the masses will take away some of the fine elements that characterizes this band. Working without a manager and making and keeping decisions within the band has kept the Isle of Thieves' music original and fresh. As a result, you listen to music that is non-tampered and an unpirated representation of who they really are. When asked how they felt about a consumerist society Japeth replied, "It would be arrogant and self-righteous for us to claim that we're beyond or above it." The Isle of Thieves are well content with letting people decide for themselves in choosing what they listen to and prefer that what they produce will make their fans happy.

How true are they to what they believe in? Just ask them what one thing they would love to have if they were stranded on an island. Their instruments of course. - Uncharted Sounds - Fernando Fernandez


Only Human (2008)

Only Human - Remixed/Remastered (2010 Re-release)



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Band Bio:

Isle of Thieves is a fusion of energetic rhythm, textural riffs, driving power chords, catchy synth leads, and memorable vocal melodies. The band formed in the spring of 2006, and consists of Japeth (singer/songwriter/guitarist), Matt Coatsworth (drums), Justin Kwan (synthesizers/vocals), Mike Marsh (lead guitar), and Kevin Krouglow (bass guitar). Together, they produce a harmonious blend of punky alt-rock, brit-pop, and new wave, that is reminiscent of bands such as that is reminiscent of bands such as The Killers, Jimmy Eat World, Suede, and Against Me!