Spotlight // Naive Thieves

Naive Thieves by Carlos Quinteros Jr

If you close your eyes and pick a song at random, it doesn’t matter where you land in the Naive Thieves musical arsenal, it’ll sound like a good time. It’ll make you want to move your shoulders up and down, and that quirky beat you can’t exactly describe? That’ll put a smile on your face.

Turns out, lead singer Cameron Thorne has just as hard a time putting into words the sound of the band he formed with Levi Audette in 2009.

“This question is always incredibly difficult to answer because the way that we think our music sounds is sometimes much different than how it is received,” he says, laughing. “But, I usually say something along the lines of tropical-inspired garage rock with a slight throwback 50’s vibe arranged into singable pop songs with the slightest jazz influence. That complicated enough?”

Whatever it is, it works, and along with bassist Kyle Garcia, the Riverside, California-based group is creating some seriously infectious music.

Naive Thieves by Carlos Quinteros Jr.
Naive Thieves by Carlos Quinteros Jr.

What would you say inspires and influences you guys?

Maybe this is a canned or cheesy answer, but I really believe our greatest influence is each other. I know that I couldn’t be making the music that Naive Thieves writes on my own—we all are dependent upon each other to establish the right balance that makes up who we are as a band. We have a really great musical as well as personal chemistry, which I think helps motivate us all to bring our best to the table.

Talk to me about the story of your latest album.

I don’t know if “Vámonos” is necessarily us telling a story as much as it is us creating a vibe. We were really careful with what songs we chose to put on the album to create a really pleasant listening experience, hopefully something that people would want to listen to as a collective body of work, and not just a few songs that they skip to.

The themes that we talk about on the record are universal though, stuff that our generation thinks and cares about. Love and love lost—that’s a no brainer—but also other things like insecurity and frustration with being marginalized, getting hung up, being stagnant. It’s all very personal at the same time, and I think it pretty perfectly sums up what we were all going through at the time we were writing these songs.

Where would you like to see Naive Thieves in, let’s say, five years from now?

I’ve given up on trying to predict the future of this band. No sob stories, but we’ve had a lot of missed opportunities and things that we pulled for that didn’t come to fruition. But we’re all optimistic guys. We believe in the music that we’re making, and I know that our fans are some of the best—we owe all that we’ve achieved so far to them.

So, honestly, five years from now, I say that Naive Thieves will still be working hard, trying to put our music in more and more people’s hands. That’s all we can ask for. Don’t get me wrong, it’s our dream to be much more successful than we currently are—let’s say, being able to make a living off music alone—but I know first hand how difficult it is to make it in the music industry. We’ll be okay if we’re only marginally bigger—we’re here for the music.

Thus far, what band accomplishment are you most proud of?

A few things come to mind. First of all, “Vámonos” was the first full-length effort that any of us have released in our collective 30-plus years of playing music live—previous bands we were in never lasted long enough to write a body of work. So to hold the vinyl version of our album in my hands was a pretty incredible feeling!

Also, on our first national tour opening for the Dear Hunter we had some pretty amazing shows. One in particular was at the Gramercy Theatre in Manhattan. It was all of our first time visiting New York, and the show ended up selling out. It was such a crazy feeling standing on stage with my best friends in front of a packed house, and having everyone be so kind and receptive to us, sounds lame, but it was seriously electric.

Photography byCarlos Quinteros Jr.

Words byBarbara Sueko McGuire