Fame is a fickle food upon a shifting plate. The spotlight is a double edged sword, and those who are placed within are often both rewarded by it’s benefits and thwarted by it’s scrutiny. Struggling for the center stage is in many ways unsettling, as band after band rises up to test their name against the judgement of society often to only be cast away among the masses. Every year there are a handful of artists that manage to tread faster than others, emerging from the darkness of the underground and bursting forth into the light of recognition. It is these chosen few that we as music fanatics obsess with, marveling at their rise to fame and salivating over their good fortune. Yet as we scramble to jump aboard the bandwagon, we often overlook the next big thing only to find it in hindsight. What is vogue right now might not be what’s optimum, and it takes a disciplined ear to discount the decoys and find the true babe in the woods.
EARMILK takes pride in our history of staying on the cutting edge with new artists, and along with our new specs we’re moving in a bigger, better direction with our articles as well. Our objective is to continue bringing the best new music around while providing a more in-depth look at the content, producing honest editorials that stray away from the daily gossip and expose each artist in a genuine, personal manner. Our focus today lies on Oliver Tank, an Australian native with a particular knack at turning off the adrenaline and delivering excitement through ambience.
When initially hearing Oliver Tank’s music it’s easy to picture him as a suave, posh gentleman who spends his days strolling the beaches of Sydney in a white tuxedo, flocks of ladies fighting to stand in his shadow. On the contrary, what you’ll discover is a young college student who divides his time partying, hanging with mates and making records in his bedroom. His lifestyle is unbelievably laid back, and both his lackadaisical attitude and style of living are paralleled in his music.
While the first major musicians he was exposed to were Simon & Garfunkel and Michael Jackson, if you asked him what he listens to now he’d read off a list comprised mostly of Mainstream Hip-Hop and an eclectic array of beat-driven club tunes — a stark contrast to the music he produces. His music, as he calls it, is comprised of “fairly accessible tracks in terms of listening to them, but disguised with more unusual instrumentation.” His ultimate goal is to make something original, yet not so far off that people can’t relate to it while also maintaining a personal interest in the product. His EP Dreams garners an almost overwhelming sense of introspective seclusion, achieving Oliver’s goal of originality while striking to the core of each listener’s either subconscious or as in most cases — uncomfortably vivid emotions.
Oliver grew up on a diet of tapes his parents had collected, and the first record he purchased was Chocolate Starfish and the Hotdog Flavoured Water by Limp Biscuit. It’s odd, considering his early musical influences, how strikingly different his music is to anything he listened to as a child. Dreams sounds like a side project concocted from the minds of James Blake and Jose Gonzalez. There is a feeling of calm that loiters in the shadows of the album, meandering in and out of each track with a subtle ambivalence. Built around chimerical harmonies, gentle beats and a shockingly refreshing use of auto tune, the EP manages to shout complexity while delivering itself with a marvelous simplicity. The Debut EP was featured as our Number 1 Indie album of 2011, and Oliver has a set of works that he plans on releasing throughout the year, beginning with an exclusive premiere of the single “Help You Breath” that he’s releasing through EARMILK today.:http://files2.earmilk.com/upload/mp3/2012-02/HelpDownload:
Oliver described “Help You Breath” as “One of the best tracks I’ve ever done.” The premise behind the track is relatively facile, as it is quite simply about breathing. But if you move past the literal take and focus on the track as a physical work, you begin to appreciate it’s beauty. While “Help You Breath” may sound similar to everything off of Dreams, the trained ear will notice a grand improvement in production and layering. The bass and instrumentation are better controlled than before, which ends up bolstering Oliver’s voice — an improvement that is exhibited brilliantly in the opening minute of the song. Oliver has plans for two albums this year, one being a cover album of an array of Hip-Hop tracks, and the other a new EP that will be released later this year.
EARMILK INTERVIEW: OLIVER TANK
“There’s a fine line between originality and accessibility. The key is too get as close to that line as possible, but never cross it.”
I had been listening to Oliver’s EP for about an hour before the interview started, reviewing everything to make sure I had all the information I needed. About five minutes before the interview, I realized that despite Oliver being one of the least famous artists I’ve had a chance to interview — for some reason I was incredibly anxious. I couldn’t quite put my finger on the reason, whether it was the lack of information I had been able to scrounge up on him or the fact that we had just ranked his EP as the top Indie album of the year — but my frantic nerves needed sedation before I began, so I stepped outside for a cig. About halfway through I just said “fuck it” and hit the call button. What followed ended up being of the more laid back, fruitful discussions I’ve had in a long time.
EM: Who’s that — who’s that dude in the background?
OT: That’s my friend Dave. We were just drinking last night night so he stayed over.
I laughed. Before the interview I was expecting some suave, posh musical snob to appear on my monitor, but instead Oliver looked like he had just rolled out of bed, hair a mess and a hungover friend half asleep in recovery mode resting against the wall in the background. I knew exactly what they were feeling. I’d been there, done that – and it made me comfortable to see this. My nerves eased up a bit but it was freezing outside, so I sat in front of the vent from my dryer, let the heat warm me up for a second and jumped into the interview full throttle.
EM: As you can see, it’s winter here. You guys are in summer right now correct?
OT: Yeah but it’s been a pretty shit summer (laughs). I dunno, it’s been raining throughout the whole of December — it’s pretty nice at the moment — pretty hot today, but yeah.
EM: So there’s really not a whole lot of information on you out there at the moment. To kick things off, give a brief round up of your musical history, where you started and the journey that’s gotten you to the here and now.
OT: I think the first instrument I played was the trombone in the primary school band. Which was sort of interesting, but I never really got much into that. Then as I got into high school I began playing guitar, and played in a lot of rock bands I guess. Then after high school finished I wasn’t enjoying guitar as much as I used to — I wanted to do more acoustic stuff you know? But then I got into Uni and started learning to use production software, like Ableton, Protools etc. and started learning how to use that. At that time, I was just recording my own acoustic music, but I started to really take an interest in Electronic music — A friend of mine really got me into it and I dunno, there were just a lot of things happening in that genre that I’d never really heard before. So I decided to have a crack at it at the start of last year and, yeah. I guess it went really well. I sort of found my style of production then, and have discovered a type of music that I really enjoyed making and has a lot of potential to be original. So last year I really just started making music. I did a Snoop Dog cover that got played on the radio around here, and from there I released “Last Night I Heard Everything In Slow Motion” and from there it got played more on the radio, and people started blogging about it and everything sort of happened at once. At the start of last year nothing was really happening for me, and now heaps of stuff is happening which is awesome.
EM: Well absolutely, and speaking about the industry and the Electronic aspect, the industry right now — particularly over here in the states and our top 40 charts — It’s cluttered with a bunch of musicians trying to desperately hop on this Electronic bus, if you will. While your music is definitely more electronic, it falls more along the lines of Apparat or Porcelain Raft rather than Avicii per say, where it has more of a downtempo-esk chillwave feel. This laid back style your music has — where does the inspiration for that draw from, and why did you choose to go that path rather than something more club-esk when you started making your most recent music?
OT: Yeah, um — I don’t know — I don’t really listen to that much chilled out music myself, I listen to a lot of Hip-Hop and a lot of harder Electronic music. Dave over here (motioning to his now conscious friend behind him) gets me into a lot of Hip-Hop as well (laughs). But yeah I dunno, it sort of like a bit of escapism I guess, sort of just something I do that’s pretty personal because it’s just me working on music. What you’re getting from it is just everything I’ve been working on. And I think a lot of people associate Electronic music — when they hear that term they think it’s gonna be club bangers and stuff like that, but it has the potential to be chilled out as well which is something I think people only recently started to realize. The way I write music is to make fairly accessible tracks in terms of listening to them, but disguised with more unusual instrumentation. I think that’s the best songwriting for me — Is something that people have never heard before but that they can really relate to. There’s a fine line between originality and accessibility. The key is to get as close to that line as possible and not cross it. If you try to sound too original it can just sound weird and people won’t to listen to it.
EM: Right, and as you said there’s so much more to Electronic music than what people typically think of when referring to that genre. Unfortunately the vast majority of people only associate Electronic music with face melting club banger shit which is not really something you can listen to any place, any time, whereas your music can pretty much serve as a backdrop for any occasion. What was the turning point when you decided to go the route of music rather than something else as a career?
OT: I dunno I was never really that good at anything else (laughs) so I was like you know, I may as well give this music thing a shot. But I think for a long time I was never really taking it that seriously, and then when I started to really enjoy the music I was making and I noticed that other people were as well – I suppose it was really a year ago when I started to find my feet in terms of what I was doing. I was always trying to do something original and I think I’m pretty close to doing that now. I’d say that’s about then, but the most rewarding thing was that my friends and other people enjoyed it, and then people all around Australia were enjoying it and now all around the world. That’s probably the most rewarding thing.
EM: I’d imagine so. Now moving into your EP [Dreams] — it sort of took me all over the place emotionally, which is a good thing because I enjoy albums that really strike at the core of my emotions. The majority of the songs seem to hint at a relationship or someone in your life. What’s the story behind the entire thing and more particularly the lyrics and the romantic undertone, in a sense, with the EP?
OT: I guess the whole thing is sort of about the idea of being consumed by something. It’s not really about any specific experiences that I’ve had, just more about in general that feeling of when something weighs on you so heavy that you can’t really so or think about anything else. It just sort of consumes your life? I always wanted to have intertextuality between the tracks, and that’s why I mention lyrics from one song in other songs. I feel like if you appreciate it together a one body of work you get more out of it than if your just listen to individual tracks.
“Last Night I Heard Everything In Slow Motion” That track, the title is about when I was with a couple of mates and we were just getting really blazed and I was listening to Ratatat — their 9 Beats disc — and I was listening to “One” and I was just so ripped. I swear I could hear it in slow motion because I was that fucked up, so I wrote down in my phone Hearing things in slow motion but then I thought you know, I’m not going to know what this is about tomorrow, so then I wrote Last night I heard everything in slow motion. So from there I sort of felt like that was appropriate title for a track. I guess I smoke a little bit (laughs).:http://files2.earmilk.com/upload/mp3/2012-02/03Download:
With my tracks I’m not writing them from a really heavy personal experience, like my life is not that hard. Nothing really that bad has ever happened to me. It’s more that I can appreciate those feelings even though I may not have experienced all of them myself. I think everybody can relate to that.
EM: Absolutely, and you know as you just mentioned, that track [“Last Night I Heard Everything In Slow Motion”] was inspired by the night of Ratatat and glorious herbal festivities, if you will (laughs). Inspiration from substance is a practice that certainly isn’t a stranger to musicians throughout history. As for yourself, is that a common occurrence — not necessarily that you sit down and smoke to inspire yourself — but in terms of your music, do you draw a lot of inspiration for songs while basking in the glorious world that weed can bring to the table?
OT: I think I have a lot of good Ideas when I’m a bit ripped but I don’t usually, I mean I’ll write stuff down — You know how you have all these good ideas?
EM: (Laughing) Yes, I definitely know what you’re talking about.
OT: (Laughs) Yeah, I always try write them down in my phone or whatever, and the next day I’ll look back at them and if anything’s worth investigating further I’ll approach it when I’m sober. I think I’ve written a few lyrics when I’m in that state of mind, but I think if you listen to my music when you’re smoking I think it sounds a lot better. That’s probably the main reason I do it the way I do, it’s just really slow and chilled out and not intense, and I think you can really appreciate it in that state of mind.
“I’m going to do some Justin Timberlake tracks, N.E.R.D., ‘Hey Ma’ by Cam’ron, ‘Let Me Blow Ya Mind’ by Eve, etc. Yeah I dunno it might sound strange.”
EM: You mentioned that you record the vast majority of your music in your bedroom or at Uni. When you’re doing that what equipment do you use when you’re doing that. Is it just simply you and your computer or do you have a set of instruments you draw from as well?
Oliver proceeded to give me a walkthrough of his place. Contrary to polar belief, there aren’t nasty critters all over Australia. His place looked a lot like my own — slightly messy, organized chaos with half finished projects everywhere. On his bed were all of his instruments for his live shows, which were a small array of beat pads, analogue boards, midis and synthesizers. He showed me his Kaossilator (which I drooled over for a second), his Voice Live vocal processor and an SP404 which he ran all through a mixer. Certainly not a professional studio, but he’s managed to make it work.
OT: Basically I run the Kaoss pad and the reverb pedal as sends in the mixer, so I can send any effect that the Kaoss pad does, or any reverb to either the drum pad, the 404, the vocals or the guitar. It’s just a really convenient setup. In terms of actually recording, I had a friend that played violin who helped with “Last Night I Heard Everything In Slow Motion,” so I had to sync it up and side chain it, etc. A few tracks on the EP had guitar which was me. A lot of it is Midi and Synths and stuff like that that I’ve sourced from programs like Ableton. Everything else is really just samples that I’ve found online through creative commons websites.
EM: Moving back to the Dreams, the flagship track “Up All Night” struck harder than any other track for me personally. In the lyrics it sort of expresses the despair of someone seemingly waiting for someone else to arrive, whether it’s simply a date or a return home. As you mentioned before you said that your stuff sort of deals with things overwhelming one as a person but nothing really specific. It seems — in the song — that basically you are waiting from someone to arrive and then they teach you how to dance, real slow (laughing). What’s going on with that?:http://files2.earmilk.com/upload/mp3/2012-02/01Download:
OT: “Up All Night” was one of the tracks I wrote last. I had finished most of the EP and then I decided to put an extra track on which ended up being “Up All Night” — which I’m really glad I did because it’s one of my favorite tracks as well. I wanted to port some unusual instrumentation that hasn’t been really used in electronic music, with that sort of reverb based instrumental with the really sparse bass and echoing drum beat. I also wanted to tie in “Last Night I Heard Everything In Slow Motion” which is why the line They said it would be alright, but I just don’t know is also in that track. I just feel like it ties the work together, and it was one of the songs that was released before the EP, so it presented the album well with what people already knew. As far as the story, the up all night part was really because I don’t ever go to bed really early, I go to bed usually around 4am and wake up midday. There’s not much of a story to the song. People are so invested in my songs, and I sort of feel a bit bad (Laughing) that it’s not about a really heavy personal experience or something. It’s just me working on music, and I like the fact that there’s sort of a mystery about it. I think the fact that it’s not really about anything particular leaves it open to interpretation more than if it was.
EM: Well I don’t think good music necessarily always has to have a story behind it and this is certainly a great example of that. The following track “Embrace (feat. Fawn Myers),” Fawn has an incredible voice and I don’t really know anything about her. Talk a bit about why you chose to work with her.:http://files2.earmilk.com/upload/mp3/2012-02/02Download:
OT: I met Fawn at Uni actually, and I think the first time I met her we got really drunk at the bar at the University (Laughing) — She drinks SO MUCH, and that’s how we met. Anyway I got really drunk with her and we did a vocal studies class together and learned how to use our voice together. She’s always down to help with a track and I sort of discovered whilst we were at Uni together that our voices compliment each other’s well, so I started to use her for the EP. Not only because she has an amazing voice but also because I think she needs to be recognized. She’s not cdoing much (musically) for herself and I’m happy to help her. I think in the future I’m going to produce some tracks for her to sing over in her own name. I think there’s huge potential with her. So I just worked with her and it ended up working out so well — her harmonies are, I dunno a better singer so it’s always nice to have that on board.
EM: With the recording and production of the album, was that a solo ordeal that you did all yourself or did you work with someone with mastering it at the end?
OT: I did most of it myself, at the end I got it mastered by this guy in Sydney, but I also helped out with the mastering a bit. Mastering isn’t really my strong point. I think it’s something that you have to really spend a lot of time doing if you want to get good at it. I only recently learned how to use production software, I think about a year and a half ago really. I’m much better at it now than I was before but like I said it’s not really my strong point. Everything up until the mastering was me, in my bedroom.
EM: I talked with your manager a bit and he said that you had an EP coming out again this year. Can you harp on that for a bit?
OT: There will definitely be an EP this year for sure, the next thing I’ll be working on this year is going to be a mix tape of a bunch of covers similar to my “Beautiful” cover. Basically I did that Snoop Dogg cover and I want to do a bunch of others, mostly Hip-Hop stuff just because I really enjoy it. I’m going to do some Justin Timberlake tracks, N.E.R.D., “Hey Ma” by Cam’ron, “Let Me Blow Ya Mind” by Eve, etc. Yeah I dunno it might sound strange. I think if people have heard the Snoop Dogg cover they might be able to better appreciate what I’m going for.
I wanted to have a break after the EP just so I could have some time to breath, and I’m just keen to do some more covers because I think people will be able for relate to it because they understand the original song and will appreciate my take on it. After the covers album there will be another EP. I’ve got some original tracks, like the one I sent you [“Help You Breath”]. I’m actually really looking forward to releasing some new music because I think people are gonna be interested to see what I do next. It’s not going to be too much similar to what I’ve been doing at the moment, but you’ll definitely be able to tell that it’s Oliver Tank.
EM: So in these Hip-Hop covers that are coming up, do you plan on rapping in any of them?
OT: Oh no, no (laughs). Basically, with the Snoop Dogg one I slowed it down, took a few nice little lines from the song and then sampled part of the song and played some distorted guitar underneath. It’s probably one of my favorite tracks that I’ve done, I really enjoy it.
EM: Moving away from the music and to you personally, what do you enjoy doing on your down time?
OT: Oh man, my whole life is down time (laughs). I don’t work at the moment, but I haven’t really worked in a long time. I worked a lot in high school so I saved up a bit of money that I’ve been living off for a while. I dunno though, my downtime I really just hang with my mates. During the day I just make music or sometimes at night. Play basketball with my friends, smoke, drink, go to the beach — my live’s pretty crazy (laughing), I dunno. I actually love my life. It’s my ideal [life] — Just making music and getting to hang out with mates and stuff. The fact that people actually enjoy my music and that I’m sewn to get all of these great opportunities with it is just like, a dream come true.
EM: I can imagine, I’m a bit envious of you right now. You mentioned earlier that you listen to a whole lot of music, so who would your ‘go to’ artist be right now?
OT: Good question. I’m not sure, I don’t really have a ‘go to’ person at the moment. It’s all really about playlists for me. Let’s see what my computer says.
Oliver clicked on his computer and opened his iTunes, and proceeded to read off his most recently played tracks.
Lil’ Wayne, Curren$y, Javelin, Jurrasic 5, Eminem, Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar, Hudson Mohawk, Moby, Flying Lotus, Dr. Dre, Apparat, Ratatat, Wu Tang, Missy Elliot, Metronomy, M.I.A. …At this point we both started laughing. Here I was expecting once again she sort of suave playlist, but almost opposite of my expectations Oliver listened to an eclectic mix of beat-driven music, the majority of which falls under the category of “Pop Rap” which I personally can’t stand. This was extremely unexpected and hilarious, and we both knew it…. Lil’ Kim, Kid Cudi, Jay-Z, Fatboy Slim, Drake, Four Tet, NWA, N.E.R.D., some of my own tunes, and some Busta Rhymes as well.
EM: It’s so funny, because as I’d imagine pretty much anyone when they think of Oliver Tank and what you listen is not going to list down Missy Elliot and Busta Rhymes (Laughs).
OT: Busta Rhymes man, he’s making a comeback (laughs).
“The fact that people actually enjoy my music and that I’m sewn to get all of these great opportunities with it is just like, a dream come true.”
EM: Americans have this sort of fantastic image in our heads that every Australian knows how to wrestle crocodiles and wears snakeskin boots. While this is certainly an overblown exaggeration, there is some truth to it in the fact that Australia certainly has some more vicious creatures than we do over her. Now Sydney certainly isn’t the outback, but do you have any outrageous or hilarious stories from encounters with wildlife?
OT: There are these things in Australia called hornets — New Orleans Hornets (laughs) — Yeah they’re like giant wasps. One of my mates got attacked by a swarm of those the other day, which I dunno, might not really be that impressive. There’s not like shark attacks or anything that have happened to me. I don’t really ever go camping or anything like that, I sort of just stay around Sydney and there’s nothing really that hectic here. People have this idea that Australia is just like, there’s Kangaroos hopping around everywhere, and it’s just not true. I mean, it is true in the middle of Australia, but not in places like Sydney.
EM: I know you mentioned you listened Simon & Garfunkel and Michael Jackson as a kid. Was there anyone, perhaps your parents or a friend that really helped pave the way for you in music?
OT: I think my parents, when I was young, encouraged me to get involved in the school band. They’ve always been supportive of whatever sort of avenue I’ve decided to take with music. I suppose this one has really been the most successful, everything before was just sort of me playing in like shitty rock bands and stuff. I remember when I was in year 6 I had a family friend named Hendrick come over from Germany. He had just started playing guitar so he brought a guitar over here. I was about 11 and always hassling him to see if I could play it and he was always like “Yeah man, play it whenever you’d like.” That really got me into guitar, I guess I have him to thank because I’ve stuck with guitar the whole way. Even the music I’m making now I still try and use guitar in just because it’s an instrument that I grew up with and that I know how to play.
I know how to use production software, Midis and whatever, but I think you always need sort of a real instrument in there, not only to maintain interest but to make it something that people can relate to. You don’t want it to be too far off, and people aren’t going to always understand these weird sounds you can get from a computer. I think you always need a real instrument, whether it be piano or guitar or vocals. What I’m doing is mixing real instrument sounds with electronic sounds. You can hear it in a lot of my tracks, there’s always this element of synths or bass, but I try and contrast that with some clean vocals or guitar or some violins. Something that’s real that people can relate to.:http://files2.earmilk.com/upload/mp3/2012-02/04Download:
EM: We all know you as a musician, and that sounds like the majority of what you do. When you’re hanging out with your friends I’d imagine there’s something more to it than “Oh let’s go hang out with Oliver, he’s really good at music.” What do you friends know about you that are sort of your hidden talents that people would be interested in knowing about?
OT: When I hang out with my friends I’m usually just drinking or smoking or having a good time. My friends don’t call me Oliver as well–
EM: Yeah I was going to ask — Is that your real name or just an alias you came up with?
OT: No, no that’s my real name. Although it is some stupid ass name that some musician would think to name their band as (laughs). My friends just call me Tank, as do most people. Originally when I started making music, as I do now, I was just calling myself Tank but then I changed it to Oliver Tank because I think it’s a bit more memorable, I suppose.
Yeah I dunno I don’t have any secret talents or anything, when I’m with my friends we really just hang out. I do play a bit of my music when I’m around my friends because I really enjoy it and hope they do as well… But sometimes I just force it upon them (laughs) like, “I have to show you this new track!” and then I just slam it at them. I do always like to get their opinion before I put the music out, just because I value it. Like my buddy Dave over here, I showed him all of the tracks from the EP months before it came out and he was telling me what he thought of them. If he didn’t like something or thought something should b changed he’d let me know, and then if I agreed I’d change it.
EM: You mentioned earlier that you play basketball with people?
OT: Yeah, not that often. I just got back into actually, but I’ve been going like twice a week. My buddy Dave over here likes the Lakers, but I don’t really follow it as much as I enjoy shooting around with my mates.
EM: Go Bulls! Yes, but moving back to your music, talk to me a bit about this single we’re premiering.
OT: It’s called “Help You Breath.” It’s mostly about my love for music. It’s unlike anything else – it’s not really something that people need to know. I don’t know, maybe some people don’t know to do it.
EM: You’re talking about breathing?
OT: Yeah (laughs).
EM: Yeah I’d say it’s pretty vital.
“I don’t try and sound like anyone else, but I definitely draw influences from bands. It’s just original music which I think is really accessible.”
OT: Yeah it’s pretty much what the song’s about. It sort of refers to itself, as in the song acknowledges that it’s a song which is something that I hadn’t looked at before. It think it’s pretty original, and probably one of the best tracks I’ve done. You can tell my production’s gotten a lot better since I started working on Dreams. That’ll probably be the main difference between that EP and this new mixtape and the upcoming EP. You’ll be able to tell that the production’s gotten a lot better but I’m not too detached from what I’ve already done.
I think part of my sound and part of the reason people like me is that there’s sort of an amateur vibe to it. I think I have a long way to go in my production, but I think that sort of helps me as an artist. I think that it’s more relatable to people who are interested in making music. It’s liberating to know that you can do it in your bedroom and have people like it, and I think that I’m gonna try and keep it that way for as long as I can.
EM: That’s one of the things that really irks me right now about the music industry. There are so many artists out that that are just focused on the money, and granted you do need to focus on money because if you don’t have any you’re not going to be living very well, but you shouldn’t let that dictate how you operate as an artist. From what I’ve observed, what often happens these bands — even some of the bands that I’ve worked with since I started with EARMILK — you know they’ll sell out to a big record label and end up moving away from that sort of hometown vibe that we all fell in love with and then it’s just like it’s not even the same band. So let’s say Oliver Tank signs up with some big record label, but doesn’t make sure his contract provides artistic integrity. Well the next thing you know he’s got a new album that he brings to the people at his label and they take it and completely rework it so it will ‘sell better’ and Oliver has no choice but to go along with it. I hate that shit, and it’s really good to hear from artists like yourself who aim to always maintain their original vision.
OT: Yeah, like I’ll always maintain artistic integrity, I’m not really signed with anyone particularly. No one really tells me how to make my music, so I just do it how I like, which is nice.
EM: I would hesitate to even call your sound amateur, because while it certainly doesn’t sound like Paul McCartney produced it, it also doesn’t come across as a piece of work by someone who didn’t know what they were doing. You mentioned that you’ve drawn interest from artists like James Blake, Boards of Canada, etc. What is it about those artists that taps into your interest more than the rest?
OT: I think, particularly with Boards of Canada, it’s just such a unique sound and I really dug it. It was different than anything I’ve ever heard before. The Boards of Canada track “Dayvan Cowboy” is so original but so easy to listen to. James Blake’s first EP is also ridiculously good. I guess I started to hear stuff and I was just like, wow. I didn’t know music could be like this, and that’s sort of what inspired me. That’s what I try to do with my music, is make something original that people haven’t heard before. I don’t try and sound like anyone else, but I definitely draw influences from bands. It’s just original music which I think is really accessible.
There is no true requisite in this world for fame, because in the end it comes down mostly to luck. Yet if the world has any sense left in it, we’ll all break away from the bandwagon and pay attention to Oliver Tank and artists like him, who are here for the music and nothing else. Oliver is currently touring around Sydney, and mentioned to me that he has plans to eventually make it over to the states. His music is truly something unique, and can serve as an exceptionally effective solution for almost any occasion — whether that being interrupting an awkward silence or busting out james on your Nokia n9. Stay in tuned to EARMILK for the latest updates on Oliver, and to capitalize on a some free hipster cred, follow Oliver Tank on his social networks for “I knew him before he was big” perks.
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- Ben Khan – “Drive (Part 1)” - July 11, 2013
- Earmilk Presents: Music In The Middle [Festival Announcement] - June 26, 2013
- California Wives + My Gold Mask have remixed each other [Premiere] - June 19, 2013