Like A Thief
So I’ve just gotten off the phone with lead singer, guitarist, keyboardist and manager of the trio Like A Thief, Aaron Crosby. In short, succinct, and hardly-doing-them-justice terms, Like A Thief are what can be described as a reverent, feel-good - though occasionally melancholic - dance rock band. Another review on them by Ben Mckernan describes their live performance poetically as thus: "...a whirring fusion of experimental synth; ambient sampling, funk-rock, dance-pop and electronica that makes the air resonate as it has never resonated before. Eddy currents of musical energy, twisting and bouncing and turning in on themselves that flirt with your ears in a way that makes your eardrums blush." These are three guys who have crafted their adept musicianship into the sound of a sharp force penetrating the gummy fug of your lethargy. If you’re struggling with the metaphor, please do yourself a favour and listen to "Escape" then explore their other songs currently online
While speaking with Aaron we brushed on many topics regarding his local music community (south-west Western Australia) and on the band itself. Whilst I’d love to delve into it all I want to turn particular attention towards the problems related to distance which we face as a larger music circle. Please allow me to divulge a little.
From oceans, to deserts, to ranges, to rivers, to escarpments - every great feature of landscape known to man separates sparse conglomerations of people all over our country. Over seven and a half million square kilometres of land with about twenty-three million people, of which two thirds live in the country’s eight capital cities. It could be said that this is what makes the Australian music scene unique, and that functional distance really is a distant woe. I’ll be inclined to agree, but not on behalf of the other third of Australians (regionals), nor on the recently suffering cities which could do with the support and solidarity from other communities (the recent demise of Sydney’s live music venues, a legacy of controversial lockout laws, has come to mind).
While it’s true that technology has reduced the effect of which distance impacts artists, it is regional artists whom are still worse off for being remote to major music scenes and communities. Even non regionals - Darwin as a classic example - are crying out to join the big noise of “down south”. There are also plenty of artists on the west coast who are talking of heading “over east”. Like A Thief, as it turns out, is no exception. Aaron has explained to me that for as long as they are making progress, they will remain home. However, if moving to the eastern states became a necessary step to push the band to higher grounds, that is precisely what they’re prepared to do. For three young families that’s not an idle whim, but a staunch dedication that reflects their marvellous professionalism and unassailable dedication. Not to mention some very supportive wives!
My excitement in Like A Thief’s emerging success is multi-faceted. Most prominently though comes from the rarity of an Albany band smashing the music scene like they have. A great deal of Great Southern prodigies either disband or move to Perth; Valdaway being the most prominent and current Perth band to have hailed from Albany. Meanwhile, it is commonly recognised that The Waifs have been the most successful Albany-origined band to date; though they, too, had relocated to Melbourne where they released their first album and pushed their music further afield.
Sending Out Your Waves
Now while we recognise that it is difficult to reach out to music communities outside your regular haunts, we also recognise a means to a possible solution. One aspect of this solution involves our App, while the other fundamental one is up to the artists. I’ve mentioned Like A Thief for they are an ideal example of a band willing to make everything work for them in the most effective way possible. By this I mean that they have spent considerable money on a few professionally recorded tracks*, have gone to the trouble producing a handful of quality photos, have an active and engaging Facebook page, a Onepage for their promo material and a can-do attitude that never turns down a gig. In fact, when I mentioned to Aaron the measurable success of their band**, I was stunned to hear Aaron say that “it’s actually kind of easy.” After my initial astonishment subsided I thought about this and I realised what he was getting at: it was the law of attraction. What you put out tends to come back at you. With the band’s impressive work ethic, Like A Thief have set many cogs in place for themselves, and now the rest is appearing to come to them over time.
*I stress “few” for the reason of economising. Great sounding productions are not cheap, but they grab attention. If you wish to be found and followed, a couple of mint tracks will most often trump a mediocre sounding full-length album. Of course there are exceptions, but they usually relate to a niche market of listeners who just happen to absolutely dig your genre. You need to be realistic and weigh out the impact per dollar.
**By “measurable success” I am alluding to their multiple supporting acts to some big-named Australian bands such as British India and Karnivool, as well as American alt-rockers Switchfoot. On top of this, the band have been aired on various local radio stations around the country.
How Streamhear Will Help
While bands are utilising current online tools to promote their band, we have yet to witness an App or Website utilise location services to connect listeners to independent bands. By putting your band on Streamhear you are allowing streamers who are passionate about independent music the opportunity to discover your band through a location filter. User’s will be fed music streams dictated by Streamhear’s advanced algorithms, meaning your music is heard more frequently by listeners engaged in your style and/or your specific location.
Users will also be searching for gigs in the cities they visit with the App, helping to connect punters and artists alike in a mere “tap”.
So Get Online And Get Yourself Out There
No matter where in Australia you are, you’re subject to location bias. For some of us (pick Melbourne) it works well in our favour, for others (pick Albany) it is a hurdle which we seem to accept like it were fate. It doesn’t have to be like this.
Online networks are smashing boundaries and reprogramming the norm, which means music does not need to be a slave to distance anymore. Obviously, until the advent of some quantum-leaping teleportation, technology can’t physically hop us to and fro the continent like we were rooks on a chess board. However, by applying some nuance, there is no reason you can not utilise your online tools to better your prestige. And of all the online tools available, soon you will have Streamhear to help turn vast distances into great opportunities.
A Last Word On Like A Thief
Like A Thief road trip the south west of WA on a frequent basis and include places like Margaret River, Mandurah, Rockingham, Perth and Fremantle. Interestingly enough they are still encountering audience members and other bands from the metro areas who don’t even know where Albany is (whilst it is a lot smaller than Perth, Albany still supports a population of about 40 000). More surprising still is that they know of bands north and south of the Swan River who are reluctant to travel the apposing side for a gig, as it is “too far.” This screams out to me that there are still plenty of bands out there who are not willing to help themselves. Not only do we have musicians who aren't educated on the geography and demography of their own wider region, but we have great bands that aren’t even willing to travel within their own city! This brings me back to the point I am making that musical artists need to take the bulls by the horns if they so wish gain traction.
Like A Thief haven’t received radio play and performed large support gigs from twiddling thumbs or picking and choosing gigs. They’ve worked hard, taken their music seriously and exercised considerable nuance.
P.S. As I'm about to publish this article I've just noticed Like A Thief's film clip "Escape" has hit 8.6K views on their Facebook page. They've now been played on radio in Holland, their latest EP, Play Loud, has just been spun on 2BOB, their song "Escape" has attracted a high rated review by Alex Dyson from Matt and Alex, and since I started writing this review, they've already attracted two Featured Gigs on Tripple J Unearthed.