This is my interview with Genevieve Schatz, singer of Company of Thieves, at the band’s October 13th show in Cleveland, OH in support of Ok Go.
How has this tour been so far?
It’s been awesome. When we found out we got picked for it, we were jumping up and down because we’ve been fans of them for awhile. So to be able to play music to their crowd, who seem to be genuine music lovers, every night we feel very welcome on stage.
Where did this band begin?
We began in Chicago. Basically, Marc, the guitarist, and I have a mutual friend named Bob, who is actually upstairs; he is on tour with us. But they were going to school together and we got introduced at a train station in Chicago. We took the same train and we became really great friends and decided to start hanging out and playing music together. We started in the open mic-scene at local coffee shops in Chicago and then we met our other band mates down the road from other bands.
How did you get the name of Company of Thieves?
Company of Thieves is part of an expression, “in the company of great thieves.” It kind of means, people that have solidarity amongst each other but who are not necessarily into the way that our society operates so we kind of have solidarity and feel threatened by our society as a whole.
When you are on tour, what do you do to stay busy?
I don’t have to try to stay busy (laughs). There are tons, during the day a lot of times we are in the van for several hours getting from one city to the next and I’ll be dealing with phone calls, e-mails, responding to fans, and eating every once in a while. It’s about finding down time that is the really hard part.
Do you have any advice for aspiring musicians?
I think it is really important to play music for you and to be honest about it. Take every opportunity you can to share it with other people. Even if it is a show that you don’t think will go over well or if it’s in somebody’s basement, those are the night’s that will often surprise you and will be magical.
If you were giving yourself advice 5 years ago, what would you say?
I would say don’t worry so much about everything and just be yourself and people will take it or leave it.
How do you go about writing your songs?
Each one is its own special thing. Sometimes Marc will come up to me and he’ll be playing something on the guitar and I’ll sing a melody over it or he will have a melody already and I’ll put words to it. Sometimes I’ll play around on the piano and bring that to the band to make it into a full song. Other times we will all be jamming and come up with a song as a group.
If you could co-write an album with anyone, who would it be and why?
Maybe…David Bowie or someone like that just because he is someone that seems extremely open minded to always be progressing and evolving. He’s just got so much guts and it would be fun.
What bands have influenced you most?
The Beatles, Radiohead, The Kinks, Wilco, and The Zombies.
What’s the craziest experience you have had with a fan?
Someone attacked me once at a show and started licking my neck. It was terrifying, that was a really crazy moment; that actually also happened in Ohio, Columbus, at a festival.
Do you have a favorite song or place to perform live?
I do not have a favorite song. Favorite place would be…honestly, it would be just in front of anyone, as long as someone was there.
Who is your favorite band that you’ve toured with?
So far, I think Ok Go.
Is there a song that you do not perform live that you wish you did?
I think it would be really fun to play “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” by U2, though I don’t see myself ever actually being able to pull that off.
What’s your greatest memory as a band so far?
I think just being able to travel all over the country and a couple of other countries. I’ve realized that good, honest, pure people are everywhere and they just want to connect. Just being able to meet all of them and hear their stories is incredible.
What are your plans for the future?
I try not to think about it too much, just to stay strong and keep it real.