Thief Club is the alternative music project of pop punk vocalist Nick Thompson. Sound familiar? While Nick is better known as the current vocalist of popular 2000s pop punk outfit Hit the Lights, his latest endeavour has allowed him to diversify his musical style and explore sounds away from the sound he’s nailed with Hit the Lights over the years.
He’s just released the latest track under Thief Club, ‘Holy City’ which acts as a homely sentiment to the southeastern US where Nick currently resides. The song gives off quite the impact given it comes in at 5 minutes for what is the alternative/rock genre. ‘Holy City’ represents the perfect contrast of two vastly different US cities and what they represent, and in my catch up with Nick, his explanation definitely had me listening to the song in a whole new light.
Read on to unpack the song fully below as well as what may be coming from Hit the Lights if you’ve been a fan from way back…
Hey Nick! How have you been doing?
I’ve been doing well, thank you! It’s been a weird couple years, but in the grand scheme of things I absolutely cannot and will not complain! Looking forward to things getting back to a more “normal” at some point, if that ever happens again.
I feel ya on that. What even is normal now? Anyway, congrats on the newest Thief Club single ‘Holy City’. What’s inspired this new track?
Thanks! ‘Holy City’ is kind of a love letter to a couple of the older South Eastern Cities that exist where I live now. Namely Charleston, SC and Savannah, GA. I am absolutely in love with the history we have down in the south and the architecture and vibe that exists in these places. ‘Holy City’ is a name gifted to Charleston because of the sheer number of churches that exist here and I always thought it was so ironic to have a name like “Holy City” when the past is so bloodied with the slave trade and civil war among many other things.
Savannah is another city that has become one of my favourite places on Earth, and anyone that has been there probably knows the dark history the city has. It has a well accepted and embraced reputation for being a hotspot for paranormal activity and ghost history. I’ve always been interested in the paranormal and “ghosts” for as long as I can remember, and walking around these places you can really feel this energy in the air. There’s a sad, beautiful darkness that these cities have, and I wanted to write a song that reflects the beauty they contain, while also acknowledging this dark, bloody history, and how it seems that the past kind of “bubbles up” through the cracks of modern society in these metaphysical ways. That’s why the song contains sad, ethereal verses while also meeting up with a part like the bridge, which is a much more heavy and foreboding vibe. It’s a weird song, and I think it reflects my feelings and love for these cities as well as I could put it.
You’ve been working on Thief Club for a few years now and it’s definitely progressed from your early pop punk days with Hit the Lights. What’s your goal with Thief Club?
The goal has always been that Thief Club would be an artistic outlet for me. It’s a way for me to progress personally as a songwriter without having to worry about losing a fanbase over style changes or direction. There is no goal or aspiration aside from just trying to keep my inspiration alive. It’s a pure, distilled form of expression for me. I can be as weird as I want, or as pop as I want, or as heavy as I want and it will still unequivocally be Thief Club.
Love that, and I can hear the combination of styles in your collaborations with Will Pugh (Cartel) and Shane Henderson from Valencia! Is there anyone else you’d love to bring on for a collaboration with Thief Club?
That’s a great question and yes! I’ve been thinking about that recently, and who I’d like to bring in for a track. Really, it just depends on what the vibe of the song is and which of my friends I feel I could bring in to make it that much more special. I don’t have any particular names yet, but feel free to suggest some – I love collaborations!
I feel like The Maine would make for an interesting concept with you! Nick, you’re quite the busy man with Thief Club, but you’re also producing other upcoming bands, including Australian pop punkers Kids in Control. What’s the biggest thing you’ve learnt about yourself when you’re in the producer hot seat with those bands?
I think the biggest thing I’ve learned is that even when it’s not “my” music, I’m still completely and totally connected to it. I have a great time talking and getting into the heads of other writers. Really talking out concepts and ideas and expanding on them to tell a story or evoke a feeling. One of my first production jobs was with Forever Came Calling on their release, Retro Future — an album I’m so incredibly proud of. The singer Joe and I would write together and sit for hours discussing concepts, thoughts, beliefs and philosophy. The songs that came out of that are songs that I’m deeply connected with because I got to come at it through Joe’s perspective and it’s just a really beautiful experience to create something with others like that. I love it!
You’ve had significant success with Hit the Lights during the 2000s and have toured with bands like New Found Glory, Simple Plan and All Time Low. Over your musical career so far, what was the defining moment for you?
I think there have been almost too many to count at this point. We started HTL with the goal to get out of Ohio to play shows and once we surpassed that, everything just seemed too wild to be true! Things that stick out in my mind are Bamboozle 2008 where it was our first big show back with “Skip School” and we had this massive, amazing crowd to support us. Others would certainly be touring with New Found Glory around the world, as they were a huge inspiration on myself and the band. Getting to tour places like Japan and Australia was just mind blowing, I have so much to be thankful for — it’s a wonderful problem to have!
Fuck yeah. I remember that New Found Glory tour like it was yesterday! With nostalgic pop punk making its resurgence in 2021, where are you at with Hit the Lights? Are you and the other guys thinking of making a comeback?
Pretend you can see my face and I’m giving you a wink.
Given your last release was five years ago, I think it’s definitely time to come back around! Following ‘Holy City’, what else is on the horizon for you? What else can we expect from you musically?
I’ll be releasing more Thief Club music in the future, working on a couple new songs now as well as a pretty wild video concept. I’ve also got a bunch of music I’ve produced coming out in the near future, as well as a collaboration song with some friends who haven’t released music in awhile, so I’m excited to show what we’ve been working on!
Excited to see what else comes to fruition for ya mate! Hopefully we’ll see you on this side of the world soon!
Interview by Tamara May @citylightstam
Stream ‘Holy City’ here