Organ Thieves: Just Like Starting Over

Although they are a new band in one sense of the word, there is a wealth of experience making up the Toronto-based band the Organ Thieves. Vocalist Chuck Coles had played with Cauterize while guitarist Dave Baksh had logged miles as a part of Sum 41. Prior to the formation of the Organ Thieves in 2008 however, Coles and Baksh had played together as a part of Baksh’s post-Sum 41 band Brown Brigade.

The Organ Thieves were born out of Coles desire to get back into songwriting and boast a sound that includes classic rock, punk and heavy metal. Coles had accumulated a respectable amount of half-written material in the time he was performing with other groups and began to flush out these ideas, calling in Baksh, bassist Mike Smith and drummer Theo McKibbon to lend a hand.

The debut record from the band, Somewhere Between Free Men and Slaves, was released on May 22 via MapleMusic in Canada and is also available on iTunes.

The MusicNerd Chronicles recently had the excellent opportunity to chat with the Organ Thieves’ Chuck Coles and Dave Baksh about how their past helped shape their future:

Both of you had worked with [producer] Greig Nori with your prior bands. How was working with him again after some time had passed? 

Baksh: Working with Greig this time was considerably more comfortable than it has been in the past. Not to say that my past experiences with him were bad but being in the studio with him to make the Organ Thieves record, it was great to see just how much more he knows and how his songwriting and production skills have grown.

Coles: I had the chance to work on four songs with Greig as a part of Cauterize and since then, I wanted to have the opportunity to work with him again. The great thing about working with Greig is seeing his passion for what he does. He is the kind of producer that wants to be sure that everything like guitar tones, for instance, is just right.  When we decided to put this project together and get into the studio, we really didn’t consider working with anyone else. 

How did Organ Thieves evolve from being, more or less, a side project for Chuck to becoming the full-band it is today? 

Coles: At the very outset of the band, I knew that I wanted to take the necessary time to hone in on my songwriting and what we could do. I wanted to be sure that I could write a song and wanted to figure out what I wanted to say with these songs. It took a long time to get the band together but it was time well invested.

Baksh: I have always held a huge respect for Chuck. I had heard some of the Organ Thieves demos and really dug them. Joining the band was a brand new challenge for me and one that ended up teaching me a lot about my place as a guitarist.

Not that you would have considered there to be any alternative but was it intimidating to either of you to be “starting over” with a new band? 

Coles: For me, it was completely invigorating to start over because I had never really considered myself to be a songwriter in the past. I tended to be someone that was there to help others do what they wanted to do. Prior to this band, I had never really done anything on my own and wanted to embrace the band. Once I did that, it was really the best feeling in the world. It totally opened me up; it was incredibly therapeutic and really helped drive my desire to make music again.

Baksh: In the context of ‘starting over’, I felt this band was a group of guys that I was happy to be a part of. The band feels genuine, that everyone is there to play music and create music together. It feels amazing to be a part of something that I find to be so fresh and so exciting.

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