Dubbed the UK’s answer to the Blackeyed Peas the Lightbulb Thieves already have a lot to live up too and they are not even signed yet. Their debut single Work It Out features on the StreetDance 3D soundtrack giving the group mass exposure. Flavour hooked up with Leonn, Joanna, One and Terry top hear how things are going on their journey to musical fame and fortune.
Hi Lightbulb Thieves how are you?
We are extremely well, and yourself?
I am very well thanks. So how did you all form as a group?
Terry: Si (Producer and silent fifth member) asked me about 2 and a half years ago to co-write some songs with him for another project.
Within a short space of time we started to write some really cool songs, that we were unwilling to give away. So I contacted Leonn, then a friend introduced Joanna and it looked like we were having ourselves a band.
I had known One (Andrew) since I was 14yrs old and asked him to co-write on the project also. It soon became apparent that he was meant to be part of the band also. That’s exactly what happened and here we are.
It’s all grown very organically and at each stage we’ve just done what feels right.
What do you each bring to the group?
Terry: We’ve all grown up in London and have all come from similar backgrounds in this melting pot of a city. London is very much part of our feel, style and sound. The soul if you like
Yet at the same time we each command strong individual identities from the four corners of multicultural London.
Me the Cheeky, Chappy, ‘sweet boy’ with the distinctive East End Swagga.
One – A quirky and eccentric Dread, stewed in Afro-Caribbean flavours. His distinct vocal style bares testament to this.
Joanna – A confident girl next door who is easily able to hold her own amongst three guys, and easily at home with chilling with her pets and remote in hand chilling after a bout of serious retail therapy.
And finally Leonn. He is very much from the alternative scene. Heavily influenced by rock, his tattoos speak volumes about where he’s coming from. He is a mix of where Street meets Indie and his role as the Drummer gives us that distinctive edgy sound.
How did you each individually start out making music?
Leonn: My Parents run the London gospel community Choir so you can imagine what things were like at home. I started playing with the choir from an early age and still do so.
One: I started writing songs from the age of 5 and I guess from that early age I always knew what my path was.
Terry: I’m the same as ‘One’. I started writing at an early age also.
Joanna: I got my first break when I was 8 playing the lead in Les Miserable. From that point I knew what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.
You’ve been described as the UK Blackeyed Peas. How do you feel about that?
One: It’s an absolute honor to be likened to the Black Eyed Peas. We laughed when we heard this being said. They are very successful at what they do and we really respect and hope to achieve half of what they have.
Terry: There’s a lot of pressure on us now so early in our career to live up to such comparisons. When people hear our debut album they’ll understand what and who the Light Bulb Thieves are about.
Tell me about your single Work It Out?
Terry: The song came about as were having our daily dose of the Sun newspaper. We were quite shocked by an article about ‘Broken Britain’. In particular the youths being killed or attacked just for living in particular postcodes or for the way they dress.
We sort to address this issue in our way by suggesting within the lyrics of the Song (work it out), that they choose to ‘work out’ their Beef on the dance floor instead.
One: We love to experiment with old and new styles of music and love to work with samples. With work it out, we sampled the Sugar plum fairy Classical piece and worked it into a heavy hip hop influenced beat. We then sprinkled it with a dose of ‘light bulb thieves’ magic dust. The blend of cool London street rap fused with the distinct ragga vocals.
How did your track manage to get onto the Streetdance soundtrack?
Leonn: Terry knew one of the directors of the movie and was given a sneak preview of the synopsis of the story line. The scene where the ballet students meet the hip-hop dance for the first time and have a battle jumped out straight away.
Joanna: This matched our song ‘work it out’ perfectly and by pure coincidence they had shot a test scene in 3D for that scene. However, they had no music for it. Our track fitted perfectly and the rest is history.
Have you seen the movie? What did you think of it?
Terry: Yes we have, and we love it! It’s going to be the movie of the summer!
What process do you go through in creating a track?
Terry: The best tracks we do, is from ‘The Vibe’ we jam with Si in the studio and within a matter of minutes the music, song and vocals just come together. It’s that simple!
Which artists influence your work?
Leonn: The specials, and the Gorillaz have really played a influential part in what we do. At the same time other forms of music such as reggae, ska,and Dub play their part.
What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
One: Open your ears, open your mind, and get ready to smile.
What are your ambitions for your latest album, and for the future?
Joanna: We’re dying to get out, and bring our music and album to the people. A world tour would be an amazing icing on our cake.
Which track means the most to you and why?
Joanna: Rude Boy, because it’s the last song we recorded for the album and it was one of the most fun days ever! We knew we had something special during the writing and recording process. It was so amazing! And still puts the biggest smile on my face when I listen to it. I think it always will.
What do you think you are personally bringing to the music game that no one else is at the moment?
Leonn: Big hair, big smiles, and big beats. LOL………….
Since you began your music career, what has been your most memorable moment?
Terry: Seeing our song ‘Work it Out’ on the trailers at the cinema.
What is the one thing about you that your fans would be most shocked to know?
Leonn: We actually do steal light bulbs (black-out……black-out!)
In 20 years time, what would you like people to say about you and why?
One: That they had the best time of their lives listening to, or coming to one of our live shows and being a part of the Light Bulb Thieves movement.
So you guys are currently unsigned but I’m sure that, that will change soon. Can you give Flavour Magazine an exclusive about who you will sign with?
Terry: Our lips are very sealed at the moment but it’s all very exciting…
Questions about you as individuals
Who is the most annoying in the group and why?
Probably, SI! We have the feeling he’s very sexually frustrated at the moment. We’ll leave the rest to your imagination.
Who is the best dancer in the group? And why?
We’d have to say ONE. He’s hair makes him more aerodynamic.
Who is always guaranteed to make you laugh?
Joanna- because she’s the only girl, and girls do some of the most stupidest things. LOL……
Which one of you is the grumpiest in the morning?
Has to be Leonn, until he’s fed and watered..
Who’s the leader of the group and keeps you all in line?
We don’t really have a leader but we manage to keep each other in check somehow. We’re not like star man….
Who is the charmer of the group?
That has to be Terry. You just can’t beat an East End Boy can you….?
‘Work It Out is on the Streetdance 3D Soundtrack out 24th May’.
Interview by Annika Allen