The Thrills of Mischievousness: An Interview with Little Thief

Photo courtesy of Ania Shrimpton

Rhii Williams took to smashing pots and pans at an early age. When the smashing escalated to objects besides cookware - including boys - her family invested in a drum kit.

When Charlie Fitzgerald wasn’t roaming the cobbled streets of his English hometown, Winchester, he was fixating on the sounds of Bob Dylan, Neil Young and The Beatles or writing and playing his own music.

Bristol is where their rock/trip-hop band B O M B S resided before Williams and Fitzgerald went ‘full Fleetwood’, began dating and created their latest project, Little Thief.

With a handful of singles and festival performances under their belts, they began working with independent record label Funnel Records to create their debut album.

“Being with Funnel was an absolute God-send for us,” Fitzgerald said. “They did so much; funded the recordings, introduced us to producers, made us videos and even gave us a bit of money to go away and do two months [of] writing. The record that we are putting out feels as much theirs as ours and without them it wouldn’t [have] happened.”

Unfortunately, Funnel Records was one of the many industry casualties of the global pandemic. Williams and Fitzgerald refused to let that stop them from releasing their album, so they turned to Crowdfunder. The newly-independent duo raised £5,000 and sold 150 advance vinyl copies.

“We were absolutely blown away by people’s generosity and support,” Fitzgerald said. “This record wouldn’t have happened without those wonderful people who helped us through that sticky patch. They really are a huge part of this record too.”

The album, Under The Patio, is a ‘greasy record’ according to Fitzgerald. The writing and recording process was mixed in with a variety of serial killer documentaries, music from PJ Harvey and comedic sets from Doug Stanhope. It has its dark moments and tells stories about drunken nights, court cases and even has a new take on their first-ever single.

“Freak” was the first track they ever played as Little Thief, and while an original version can be found on Spotify, they wanted to re-release it on Under The Patio.

“It’s an important song for us as it was our starting point musically,” Fitzgerald said. “We’ve grown a lot since then, but ‘Freak’ is our foundation which is why we want to release it again properly.”

Originally they were not planning on having the song on the album, and it was their manager at the time who convinced them not only to have it on the album but to play it the same way they had been. Looking back, they are pleased with the results.

Fitzgerald said many of the songs on the record have a ‘we’re all scumbags but that’s ok’ vibe, but hopes that “Freak” gives off the feeling of empowerment and to enjoy the thrills of mischievousness.

“‘Freak’ is the embodiment of embracing your inner trash-bitch Cinderella,” he said.

Other songs they are looking forward to fans hearing are “Goldrush”, inspired by a trip to the U.S. and a hospital visit, and the title track, written about a mother’s testimony regarding her son’s involvement in the murder of her husband.

As Little Thief prepares to release Under The Patio into the world, their time as both signed and independent artists has taught them a great deal about the work that goes into creating an album. Sharing the finished product cannot come quickly enough.