Local band targets police brutality

The Noble Thiefs inspired by cases in America for new song

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Reviving the soul-rock sound, the Noble Thiefs have released a new song, “16 Candles.”

The band consists of vocalist Myron Dean, bassist Johannes Lodewyks, guitarist Riley Hastings and drummer Joel Armstrong. The Noble Thiefs started out as a house party band in Winnipeg in 2009, but the band has since adjusted their sound from their original rock and roll to soul and R&B.

Together, the quartet hopes to bring a universally relatable experience to their listeners through their lyrics and sound.
“We try to write songs that are accessible and kind of hard-hitting in certain respects but can also be kind of brought into different facets of different people’s lives,” Lodewyks said.

“I think everyone has that certain cry out of ‘Where’s your love for me?’”

“It’s kind of just like a cry unto the world […] — you know, we could all use a little bit more love and we could all use a little more unity in those situations,” he said.

“It’s not me against you or us against them. It’s very much we kind of need to check ourselves in social situations and realize that we’re kind of all in this together.”

While “16 Candles” is about police brutality, the band drew heavily on the emotional experience of hearing about the Laquan McDonald shooting in Chicago.

McDonald was shot and killed by a police officer in October 2014, inciting protests against police brutality.
Lodewyks recounted the moment when footage of the McDonald shooting was released, where he and his bandmates joined a march through Lower Manhattan in protest of police brutality. He said that the 16 candles in the song represented the 16 bullets that pierced the young boy’s body.

“We were in St. Mark’s Place, which is in the East Village of lower Manhattan — we were there three years ago for a show we were playing for American Thanksgiving,” Lodewyks said. “It was the same night that there was footage of the Laquan McDonald shooting in Chicago.” The video of the shooting was released on Nov. 24, 2015, a year after McDonald’s death.
“It’s quite surreal to see, especially as Canadians, because we always see police brutality and racism kind of being south of the border,” said Lodewyks.

“You know, it really doesn’t affect you until it truly does, and that was kind of first-hand that threw us in the middle of that.”
Lodewyks added that the tragedy was a reminder of how important it is to look after one another, especially in painful times.