Thief is the new electronic pop project of PJ Wolf. A previous winner of the Triple J Unearthed Top Song competition and recipient of the Foundation for Young Australians Buzz Grant, PJ was recently shortlisted for the prestigious Vanda and Young songwriting competition for his track Closer.
Thief was born when PJ traded in his guitars for synthesizers, crafting a fresh minimalist sound that would embrace the aesthetic of contemporaries such as Metronomy, Frank Ocean and N.E.R.D.
Tapping the talent of producer Matt Redlich (Emma Louise, Hungry Kids Of Hungary, Yes You) to help out with production and mixing he is now ready to share with the world his debut single Broken Boy on September 6th, 2013.
His EP Closer is Out Now : https://itun.es/i6Fw5t6
Thanks to PJ Wolf / Thief
Nancy and Belinda
I’m great thanks! I’m in my studio in Sydney, Australia.
Do you have a way to describe your aesthetic, what you think of when you’re making music? Is it retro-80s? Indie-dance-pop? Nu Disco-influenced pop?
I try not to think too much of style or aesthetic when I’m writing and more just focus on trying to write a good song. But I think broadly speaking it’s electro-pop.
There’s a lot of musicians who are trying to put out music that will make it to the Top 40′s. From what I’ve heard from you, that doesn’t seem to be the exact thing you’re going for, is it?
I’d love to have a song in the top 40 but I could never write with solely that intention. I think I’d just end up writing something I didn’t like, which would defeat the whole purpose for me which is to have fun making music!
Do you pay attention to mainstream pop? Justin Bieber has a new song out…
I think I absorb it in the way most people who have radios and television absorb it, but I don’t spend time actively seeking it out. I’m fascinated with the general dumbing down and infantilisation of musical ideas in a lot of mainstream pop. I’m not familiar with the latest Bieber offering. Is it good?
Is there any mainstream pop songs that you do like?
There’s loads! I loved what the Neptunes did to mainstream pop for a while there and the Mike Snow guys are able to pack so many cool ideas into one tune. I love that Gotye had a number 1 around the world as well. I think what I love about a good mainstream pop track is when you have this simple lyrical and musical idea that is really inherently strong and then you surround it with awesome hooks and textures that just make it completely addictive.
Has music always played a role in your life?
Very much so. My grandparents on my mothers side were both working jazz musicians so I think at some level it was always seen as a legitimate career path in our family (if a risky one), my mother also wrote songs and performed with my dad. I started having drum lessons when I was about 7 or 8 and played in bands. I taught myself the guitar and started writing songs when I was about 14.
Tell me about Thief.
Thief began as a side project called Thief Urban. It was really just an opportunity to try something completely different to the music i’d been making at the time, and an excuse to play around with synthesizers. I guess I wanted to make some poppy pop music whilst maintaining some of the soul and vulnerability I try and bring to my songwriting generally.
You just got done doing a tour with The Aston Shuffle. How did you guys meet, and will there be any collaborations, if there haven’t been already?
The tour actually starts in February. I’d love to do some collaborating with those guys, they’re incredibly talented! I’ll let you know how it all goes once the tours done.
If you could go back and open up for any musician, (dead or alive) who would it be?
Geez that’s a hard one. Prince maybe… or Queen. Something royal clearly!
Do you have any bands you consider your colleagues, contemporaries, or maybe competition?
The scene in Australia is so great at the moment. Some of the bands and artists making great music down here would be Emma Louise, SAFIA, Elizabeth Rose, Ainslie Wills, Jagwar Ma, The Preatures and many many more!
How has the online world affected what you do?
The way you can share music online now is pretty incredible. I doubt Thief would be a thing if it weren’t for the internet. The whole reason I’ve had the opportunities I’ve had is because of exposure my music has gotten through the net.
For your own songs, do you sort of know it when you get it, does it come pretty quickly, or do you work pretty hard to arrive at something?
It’s a mixture of both. Some tracks just sort of appear fully formed, others are a bit of a grind. But you can get great (or terrible) songs both ways.
Where do you see yourself in a few years from now? Anything coming up you’d like to throw out there that’s coming up?
I guess I’d like to be playing shows and just writing lots of great music. As long as i’m still having fun the details don’t matter too much.
There’s the Australian tour in February with The Aston Shuffle coming up which i’m very excited about. There’s also a film clip for Closer that should be dropping before then that looks fantastic. Also, I’ll be heading into the studio in a few weeks to start work on a full length album so lots of cool things on the horizon!
What can we find in your pocket/bag right now?
Old train tickets, my notebook, a pair of apple headphones with one earpiece broken and my Nintendo DS
To finish, a song that may be on your mind right now.
Queen – Don’t Stop Me Now