Thief (Official)
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Thief (Official)

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | INDIE

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Alternative Pop

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"THIEF: ‘YOU CAN CATCH PEOPLE OFF GUARD’"

The colourful, shape-filled explosions that tend to run alongside Sydney producer PJ Wolf wouldn’t pick him out as a guy magnetically attracted to darkness, but it’s the truth. Before Thief, he was going by his actual name, responsible for dark, brooding pop that leaves zero breathing. On the surface Thief is the opposite. It’s sky-reaching bleeps, hairs-on-end gleeful pop. Everything’s shamelessly fun on the outside. Lurk within and there’s the blackened heart. Sounds pretty morbid, but it’s a clever juxtaposition that makes Thief’s music so exciting.

He admits writing terrifying lyrics alongside happy-go-lucky instrumentation isn’t something “I set out to do,” but there’s a use to it, he says. “You can catch people off guard. [Although] I tend to be more drawn to lyrically dark stuff which can be a problem when you’re trying to write sing-alongable pop music.”



On 2013 EP ‘Closer’, PJ set the stall. He rinsed out any aching trauma from his other projects and started afresh. Thief officially began over a year ago, whereas before it was “a break from the much darker stuff” he was working on. Since the he’s seen the project “solidify.” He cites “a particular flavour” that’s seeped through all the production between himself and Matt Redlich to date. ‘Closer’’s since gained a re-release in the winter months, all the more affirming its complex balancing act between toe-tapping pop and lyrics like “I’m too tired of watching you fuck me over.” The guy’s got stories to tell, but he’s expressing frustrations by wrapping each and everyone one up in glitzy surroundings.

If there’s a certain “flavour” to all his recordings so far, it’s a nostalgia-nodding form of synth pop helping to tie up loose ends. PJ mentions the movies he watched as a kid when explaining the process. “The way you’re absorbing stuff in this really intense way seems to get lodged forever in your subconscious somehow,” the Sydney musician says. A couple of years back he was studying filmmaking at university, so “cinema has always been something I’ve drawn a lot of inspiration from.”

Nostalgia, then, isn’t something he’s latching onto for the sake of it. If anything, his music gives in to an “an emotional connection to a younger version of yourself when everything was a little more magical.” Fair enough. If that’s the basis behind Thief’s motivations, it’s served him well up to now. Instead of living up to his name and stealing sounds of old, he re-interprets the joys of his early years and matches them up with grim realities of the present day. It’s a melting pot that could be the finger pointing forwards for excitable synth pop.

Taken from the new, free DIY Weekly, available to read online or to download on iPad now. - DIY Mag


"Watch: Thief – “Closer” [Premiere]"

Sydney electronic-pop artist Thief has revealed the new video for “Closer”, taken from his debut EP released last November.

-The lyrical delivery of the chorus in “Closer” is damn-near perfect: “I’m too tired of watching you. Fuck me. Over.” Those pauses – subtle yet abrasive – provide a revelatory double meaning to the line itself; a line written and sung many different ways in many different songs (and spoken many different ways in many different loves).

But this is all lifted to unique heights by PJ Wolf (aka Thief), based solely on the use of strategic breaks of silence. Without those pauses, the song would fall flat – not failing outright, but surely fading into the never-ending sea of self-examining breakup songs.

The video, fittingly, provides the same brand of oscillation between literal, figurative, and nonsensical. Opening with an image of carefully assembled stones and closing with a shot of what appears to be smeared whipped cream, the visual accompaniment proves just as sneakily direct as the song itself.

Thief’s Closer EP is out in the UK on 12 May. Listen to the EP now here. He plays this year’s SXSW festival in Austin, Texas. - The Line Of Best Fit


"Thief: Closer"

Coming off of the release of his four track Closer EP last fall, Thief shares the official video for the lead single today. The video takes visual stimulation into overdrive, oscillating between the literal, figurative, and nonsensical. For the EP (out now via Rabble Records), Thief teamed up with renowned Brisbane-based producer Matt Redlich to create four tracks that twinkle with glittering synths and anthemic melodies. Keep your eyes on Thief as one to watch as he embarks on an Australian tour supporting The Aston Shuffle and makes his stateside debut at SXSW. - Kick Kick Snare


"Thief - Closer EP"

Confidence is prized currency when releasing an EP. Crafting a short, often emblematic set of tracks to put out into the world of discerning music palates and harsh internet critiques is tough. However, Thief has come out swinging with nothing but confidence with the new, Closer EP. We covered “Broken Boy” featured on the EP a while back and were quite impressed, but the full release is solid all the way around.

Tropical synths, powerful vocals, and some cold lyrics thrown in for good measure, Closer comes through as a polished and fully-developed sound. Overall, the effort is exactly what we look for in synthpop — fun, danceable, catchy, and just the slightest tug on the heartstrings. The four track EP will be out tomorrow, but you can give all the tracks a listen on his Soundcloud now. - Hilly Dilly


"I WAS ALREADY DEAD."

Thief (formerly known as Thief Urban) is a new Australian producer slash songwriter you’re about to get real familiar with. After arriving on the scene with a lights-out debut offering in “Closer” earlier this year, he returns today with an updated name and his debut single proper, “Broken Boy”. Soul-stuffed with sinister hooks and dark, ominous synths, “Broken” channels the most addictive parts of Clock Opera and Metronomy like their long lost brother from Down Under. “Broken Boy” is out worldwide September 6th, enjoy the exclusive premiere below. - Neon Gold


"Sydney synth-funker specialising in soulful vocals and quirky pop tunes"

Hometown: Sydney, Australia.

The lineup: PJ Wolf

The background: There are two outfits called Thief doing the rounds at the moment. One is a band starring the son of Spandau Ballet's Gary Kemp and Sadie Frost, who we have it on good authority are "rather good", and the other is an Australian electro-funker with a soulful voice called PJ Wolf. Fin Kemp's lot better be damn good, because this other Thief really knows his pop onions. His electro-pop-funk onions: file next to Hot Chip and Metronomy, those exponents of quirky dance music whose songs would probably be somewhat effective played on acoustic instruments but why bother when "electronic" is the best delivery system?

These Australians are becoming increasingly hard to ignore. Apparently, Thief could have been a conventional rock band, but at the 11th-hour Wolf swapped his guitars for synthesizers. We're saying 11th-hour for dramatic effect - it could have been weeks before. Anyway, his early songs - and we're hardly talking ancient history because he only started a couple of years ago - won various Aussie awards, and now the cocky kid is citing the likes of Frank Ocean and the Neptunes as contemporaries. You can see how he'd get ideas above his station, and we're not just referring to the fact that his press people in this country are the ones who look after Adele and Beyoncé, Lana Del Rey and Prince. No, his songs appear to have gone to his head, and we don't blame him. They've got a heady, intoxicating quality, sophisticated, superbly structured and expertly arranged as they are, with a lightness of touch that is very Pharrell. Closer, his first release over here, is blue-eyed electro-funk with a lyric that will test daytime radio programmers, although post-the Vamps' debut single ("I talk a lot of shit when I'm drinking") his declaration that he's "too tired of watching you fuck me over" could, with a bit of judicious editing, make the cut, as it were. Shame it's a bit late for Valentine's Day. "I can't be what you want me to - just look closer," he warns over nifty synth arpeggios. "This is over." Cold keeps things nice and nasty ("Why are you so cold?") and recalls those wannabe electro-pop boys from 2008-9 like Frankmusik, Erik Hassle and Tommy Sparks, with shades of Sam Sparro. It doesn't sound dated, though, more timeless now that early-'80s "boogie" is a proper, "authentic", relevantly retro genre. Don't Believe You is slow, dubby electro with a lyric so pertinent to Wolf and his aesthetic he lifted his name from it ("So take a lesson from a liar, take a lesson from a thief"). We moaned recently about the failure of today's generation to pick up where the latterday Britfunkers left off, but Broken Boy sounds like something ice-cool that the mighty Manc 52nd Street might have delivered in 1983, with vocals that veer between Hall & Oates harmonic and Bowie at his most mannered-fatigued. If he's a thief, he robs from all the right sources.

The buzz: "Soul-stuffed with sinister hooks and dark, ominous synths" - Neon Gold.

The truth: He'll steal your attention and keep it.

Most likely to: Captivate.



Least likely to: Go to jail.

What to buy: Debut UK single Closer is released on March 25.

File next to: Metronomy, Hot Chip, Tommy Sparks, Frankmusik.

Links: facebook.com/thiefmusic. - The Guardian


Discography

Thief - Closer EP

1. Closer
2. Broken Boy
3. Don't Believe You
4. Cold

(p) & (c) Rabble Records





Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Thief is the electronic pop brainchild of PJ Wolf, who traded in his guitars for synthesizers, crafting a fresh minimalist sound that would embrace the aesthetic of contemporaries such as Metronomy, Miike Snow, Frank Ocean and N.E.R.D.

Thief has garnered significant support for his debut single ‘Broken Boy’ and ‘Closer’ EP from Triple J and key blog tastemakers such as Neon Gold, ATG, Kick Kick Snare, Earmilk and Indieshuffle. He has also has some great early spot play on Radio 1 and XFM in April, Top 20 at KEXP & KCRW, as well as a No.1 Hype Machine most popular in May.

There has been significant UK press support - from the likes of The Guardians Paul Lester, The Line Of Best Fit, This is Fake DIY and Musicweek Playlist.

Thief recently completed a national tour supporting The Aston Shuffle in Feb 2014, followed by 7 dates in the US for SXSW in March, which garnered huge praise from all who saw him play. Thief recently completed his first national headline tour in Australia, and launched his Closer EP release in the UK with dates at The Great Escape and a standalone EP Launch at Sebright Arms in London on May 14th.

HIGHLIGHTS

•   WORLD - Hype Machine No.1 - 'Cry Me A River'

•   AUS - High rotation on Triple J for singles - ‘Broken Boy' & 'Closer'

•   UK - Early Spot plays on Radio 1 and XFM

•   NZ - No. 9 most Shazamed song in New Zealand w/c 7th April

•   UK - No. 3 - Spotify Viral Chart - May 2014

•   UK - Top 40 - iTunes Electronic - May 2014

•   US – Mar 2014 - SXSW – 7 Shows

•   UK – May 2014 - The Great Escape – 7 UK Shows

•   US – Oct 2014 - Heading to The Great Escape – 5 US Shows including Neon Gold Showcase

QUOTES: 

“a heady, intoxicating quality, sophisticated, superbly structured and expertly arranged as they are, with a lightness of touch that is very Pharrell …” -Paul Lester – The Guardian 

"Soul-stuffed with sinister hooks and dark, ominous synths, ‘Broken Boy’ channels the most addictive parts of Clock Opera and Metronomy like their long lost brother from Down Under." - Neon Gold 

"A blend of John Legend’s soul and Justin Timberlake’s falsetto." - Indie Shuffle

"The effort is exactly what we look for in synthpop — fun, danceable, catchy, and just the slightest tug on the heartstrings." – Hillydilly

"[Thief] accesses a completely novel sound that stands on the shoulders of its predecessors but high-fived them all the way to the top." - All Things Go 

‘Stupendous electro-pop with a heartfelt message’ - Tom Ballard, Triple J


Band Members