The bedroom recording artist is no longer an uncommon proposition. The image of a person, cutting their songwriting and recording teeth whilst hunched up the solitude of their childhood bedroom is no longer to be frowned upon as the actions of a recluse, but is now seen as the first logical step of a musically talented, creative mind. Having the time to experiment with styles and sound with such easy access to the tools of recording has meant that the idea of a rough and ready demo, recorded straight from some scruffy live session in your uncle’s garage, is almost obsolete.
Breaking out of the bedroom however, that is quite a leap. Dream-pop electronic artist Oliver Wilde crossed that particular gap, via old-fashioned 8-track demos, and has since been picking up plenty of interest, finishing the final few dates of a UK tour this weekend and his debut album – A Brief Introduction to Unnatural Lightyears – was released this week via Howling Owl Records. We interviewed Oliver and spoke about his influences, his new album and future plans.
What initially inspired you to create music?
In the very beginning Andy and I (lapsteel and lead guitar) were in a band with my brother, we used to rehearse in Andy’s shed and play punk songs inspired by the boredom of living in a tiny village in the middle of nowhere countryside. It was important to us because we created ourselves another option to becoming junkies or alcoholics like a lot of people we knew did.
What turned you onto electronica?
I could write a book (and there probably are many already) about the analogue/digital battle. I do prefer analogue but I find experimenting with both and manipulating one with the other, exciting and useful making music, so I can’t say I prefer either more. Electronica offers textures and sounds that I enjoy applying to acoustic music. If you choose the right sounds, you can marry the two with really wonderful results. Similarly to the analogue/digital marriage, the same can be said for acoustic instruments and electronic, they can both do some very interesting things to each other.
Where does the LP look to take the listener?
To be honest, I don’t really know, hopefully somewhere nice. I don’t listen to the record anymore, I listened to it about 100 times making, mixing and mastering it so I have had my fill, I am now listening to the next one.
How does your music translate into a live setting?
As I never intended for the tracks to be played live, it has been an exciting process re-interpreting the songs into four musicians and a selection of instruments. People should just take it as it comes. I have put together a band of three other gents, Hugo who plays ambience and samplers, Andy who plays lapsteel and lead and Connor who plays bass. It’s plenty to cover all the sounds happening in the tracks.
We do use visuals, my brother Lucas is a filmmaker and he has a series of films made on celluloid super 8 which have a complementary natural grain quality to it, which in ways mimic the lo-fi “grain” of the music. Some of the symbolism in the imagery indirectly lines up with elements of the lyrics so.
What can the uninitiated expect from your album?
The record is indeed an eclectic affair, there is a common thread that goes throughout the whole thing but each song has it’s own character as they were all recorded and mixed separately. The album is like a collection of real life characters and personal episodes necessary for me to part ways with, they are very personal and sometimes embarrassing, I guess what I’m trying to say is my influences are irrelevant, it’s the way the listener is affected, what kind of nostalgia and personal identification they get.
If you could collaborate with any living artist, who would it be and why?
Simple Kid. Why? Elliott Smith is dead. I really enjoy collaborating with other people, Joe Hatt from Spectres, Nicholas Stevenson and Eddie Halliday from Wayter all feature on the record. It was more about bringing friends in to come and be with me while I made the record.
Looking beyond the release of the LP and the UK tour, what are your future plans?
We will hopefully be playing loads of festivals and shows all over the place in due course. I am currently working on the next record so will be getting that out as soon as possible. We are booking a tour for September/ October time so should have some dates to announce soon.
What would make this year a success in your eyes?
Every day something new seems to happen, another magazine want’s to do an interview, another promoter wants to do a show, another person has paid money for a copy of the record, the year has already been a success for me, everything from now on is a bonus. I guess I probably measure success in a different way, I suppose all artists measure it differently.
Recommend our readers three upcoming artists who you reckon they should go check out immediately.
Oliver Wilde completes his current UK tour in Cardiff (Spillers) on Saturday 27 July and Bristol (Harbourside Festival) on Sunday 28 July. A Brief Introduction To Unnatural Light Years was released on 22 July 2013 via Howling Owl Records.