Indie rock band The Theme are set to release their brand new single Hold Me on February 15th, and their debut EP soon afterwards. We caught an interview with songwriter Paul Bassom to find out more about the music and his hopes for the future. Here’s how it went.
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Hi Paul, thanks for the interview – congrats on the new single! You guys are bringing together a few different styles on this song – indie-rock, classic rock, pop, a touch of Americana, to name a few. Who or what would you say have been your main influences as a band when building your sound?
I think the freedom we give each other to play and bring our own individual influences to each song creates our sound. I have written 90% of the songs over the years, but I always want each band member to bring their style to the song. While writing and recording demos I draw on influences from my favourite bands (Small Faces, Spencer Davis Group) and with Hold Me It was very influenced by Australian band ‘DMAS’.
What came first with the songwriting – the hook, the chord progression, a particular lyric? What’s the writing process generally like for you as a band?
For me, it is normally always the chord progressions that come first, and I’m very lucky that the melodies come very easily after that. I find that if a song feels good from the start you can normally finish it within an hour. I’ve got so many great chord progressions and melodies, but because it was forced the song never gets finished.
The writing process consists of me writing a song and either sending the demo through to Chris or he will send me the demos he has made and we will try and pick the best to show the rest of the band at a rehearsal, and we choose which ones sound good live.
What does the song mean for you, and how does it feel to share something so personal with the world?
Most of the songs I’ve written have never been about my personal life. With Hold Me’that chorus is about my daughter who is autistic and one of her fears is being on her own at night. The rest of the song is about a couple that have broken up and a few months after their separation realise that the grass isn’t greener, and reconnect.
What can audiences expect from the upcoming EP Distance?
Distance is a song written by our front-man Chris Daley. It’s such a great song and deserves to be the lead track on the EP,
I think it will surprise a few people! The EP was Recorded by Phil Sorrell at Caretaker Studios and he definitely got the best out of the songs. Musically we’re evolving all the time. Brian Jonestown Massacre are being being played all the time, so expect some of those influences on future releases.
How long have you guys been playing together, and do you ever disagree creatively – if so, how do you overcome that?
The band’s been going since 2011, I’m the only original band member left!! But Peter Sim joined on bass guitar full time during 2012 after making a few guest appearances on Harmonica at The 100 Club and Festivals. After that Chris joined about 3 years ago, over the last year or so we’ve had a few changes here and there which were filled first by Ben on Bass Guitar and then recently Bill joined and completed the line up on drums. I’ve got to be honest – we’ve never sounded better, and we’ve all got a buzz for it.
Bands always disagree but one thing we don’t disagree on is creativity. Like I’ve touched on previously, we let each other be as creative as we can and as long as you are playing for the song and not for yourself it works for us. Peter is fantastic musician and he could play solos all over the songs but knows when to come in and when to drop out for the good of the song. When we do disagree it’s normally over something that has nothing to do with playing and recording.
How important is live performance for you as a band, and what’s the live scene like right now where you are?
The Theme are a live band no two ways about it, the energy and passion we have for playing live is immense. That’s how you build your bond with each other, and we have had the best two months of gigs we have ever had and that has come from doing the miles on the road and playing to new crowds up and down the country. Our fan base is strong and follow us up and down the country, we couldn’t do the gigs if it wasn’t for them.
In London the live scene is very hard. Pay to play gigs are thrown at you all day every day, I have promoters dangling a carrot of having your favourite artist playing a DJ set at the end of the night. We’ve fallen for that! It’s great to meet your idols but it’s not worth the effort and stress of getting abused because you’ve not sold X amount of tickets and paid the money into the promoters bank in advance.
Having said all that, we’ve just played for spoonful and Brian Lindsay is a genuine guy and looks after the bands. Same with Gaz Heckman. We’ve met plenty of these people on the road and they have a passion for music and the scene and deserve credit for the work they do.
What have been some of your most memorable achievements or moments so far as a band?
Playing big festivals, selling out the 100 Club for our album launch, Going into the BBC London Studios for a live Acoustic set and ‘Liquid’ our Album is a bit special.
If you could perform at any venue or event, past or present, which would you choose – and why?
I’d have loved to have been part of Woodstock 1969 weekend. Jimi Hendrix was on fire and The Who playing on the Sunday morning as the sun was rising must have been magical.
What are your plans throughout 2019?
We’ve got a few things in the pipeline. Meetings with potential management and labels for our releases. Also a year of gigs already in the Calendar.
What’s the best thing that could happen for you as a band this year?
We’ve achieved so much for a band that’s been unsigned and self funded, but a few festival slots and positive meetings, which are upcoming, will see us push on.
What do you hope people take away from your music?
All we can hope for is that people give it a listen and see the hard work that goes into the recordings and live gigs. We put a lot into it all and love hearing that a song or gig has made someone buy our music and return to see us again.
What are your thoughts on the future of rock?
The internet is definitely allowing people to be connected to a wider variety of music in a very quick space of time. Rock music will never be what it once was, but Music genres will continue to evolve and Live performances will always exist for as long as we can keep small music venues open. Many in London have closed due to redevelopment, and if that continues young bands who are just starting out won’t have anywhere to play.
What’s the best way people can support you right now?
Come to a show, drag a friend along and share our music. We love socialising before and after gigs. many of our fans have become friends and part of The Theme Family.
Is there anything else we should know?
Hold me the single is released on all digital platforms 15th February, you can check the video out to that on social media. Filmed by Mani and Demi, and edited by Phil, they really done a great job. So check them out – ‘Caretaker Studios’.
Not forgetting Distance EP which will be out in a few months. Work has already started on new songs, so expect more music later in the year.
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New Single 'Hold Me' Released on all Digital Platforms 15th February.Written by Paul BassomRecorded and Filmed at Caretaker Studios HighgateChris Daley – VocalsPaul Bassom – GuitarPeter Sim – Lead GuitarBen Rutherford – BassBill Snowden – DrumsIzzy Sorrell – Backing Vocals
Posted by The Theme Live on Friday, January 25, 2019