What can we expect to see from The Thomas Oliver Band over the next year?
The big one for us is the release of our debut full-length album, which is long overdue for us! We are really proud of the way it has come out and are very much looking forward to releasing it and touring it around the country. We'll be at La De Da for NYE, and doing a bunch of wicked gigs over the Summer season. Hopefully we'll be getting back into the studio before next year is out to start work on a second full-length! For now, though, our forthcoming album is due out in Spring.
What advice would you like to give to other aspiring musicians?
Never think that the opinion of a non-musician is less important to you than that of a musician.
Who are your favourite NZ musicians/bands, and why?
The Kiwi artists for whom I have the most respect are still Shapeshifter, as I think they have created a sound and an approach to music that is unparalled on a global scale. They have successfully blended Drum & Bass with Pop music, without compromising the integrity of the DnB genre, and they have provided a gateway for people to appreciate dance genres when they may not have before. I'm also a big Fat Freddys Drop fan, and we've very much enjoyed sharing the stage with them a couple of times in the last year. It's wicked to see some good country music coming through with the likes of The Eastern, and I've always been a fan of 'Naki punkers, Kitsch! I also think Andrew Moore is one of the best songwriters in this country.
How do you come up with your lyrics?
It's become more and more of an intuitive process, but usually one or two phrases fall into place just by singing whatever comes to mind, and I build the rest of them around those. One thing I usually do, though, after writing a line, is ask myself "do you actually mean that?", and if I decide I don't, I take it out!
Who would you most like to support live?
Dave Matthews Band!
How do you believe The Thomas Oliver Band fits into the NZ music industry?
I think we have a unique approach to making music which fits nicely into the NZ music scene because some of its elements are aligned perfectly with the "kiwi music" mentality, and some elements are completely outside of it, thus creating something which feels like home, but is fresh and different at the same time. We tend to use all real instruments (such as lap-slide guitar, double bass, baritone sax, guitars, drums, etc) but we try to create fresh sounds from them, and use them in contexts in which they may not have been used before. Although the electronic aspect of NZ music is really prevalent right now, I think the use of real instruments does well to reflect that we do live on a couple of tiny but beautiful islands at the bottom of the world.
What can you never leave home without?
My love for music!
How do you describe The Thomas Oliver Band's music?
It's somewhere between Blues, Rock, Alt-Country and Roots, with lots of dynamic variation, honest and sharp lyrics, and lots of musical energy.
What is your favourite NZ venue?
We have some pretty awesome Opera Houses around the country…
What is the best part of being a musician?
It's nice to feel a sense of purpose in the world, to have a reason to get out of bed, and to have a goal that you can never actually conquer. But I think the best part is making people feel something beyond what words can describe.
What NZ musicians or bands would you like to see more of, and why?
I'd like to see Andrew Moore play more, but he's probably too busy playing guitar in my band! Haha.
What is in your CD collection at home?
To name a few of the most featured artists would be: NOFX, No Use For A Name, Dave Matthews Band, Ben Harper, Ryan Adams, The Roots, Dilated Peoples, Bob Dylan, Logistics, B.B. King, Klute, Stevie Ray Vaughan…
What is your most embarrassing on tour/gig moment?
Telling Eric Clapton I was looking forward to his shig. (An unintentional hybrid of "show" and "gig").
What is your favourite place in NZ to be?
The Coromandel is hard to beat! On the edge of Lake Taupo ain't bad either!
What inspired you to become a start The Thomas Oliver Band?
I had been writing songs for a while and had a bunch of tunes that I had been playing solo, and then I met Tom Scrase (drums) and started jamming with him. We then recruited Steve Moodie (bass) and started gigging around Wellington. Two years later we welcomed Andrew Moore (guitar) and Matt Benton (baritone and alto sax), and here we are today!
How did you come up with the name The Thomas Oliver Band?
I had been performing solo for some time, and I wanted to keep my name on my music because it is close to me, but I also wanted it to be a recognized band whose lineup remained the same. I was obsessed with Dave Matthews Band at the time (still am!) and so The Thomas Oliver Band was the solution.
What is the best gig you have ever performed at, and why?
We supported Fat Freddy's Drop last NYE at Riwaka, and that was pretty awesome because the crowd was hugely perceptive to the sound we were bringing, and then we all partied side of stage with our girls, crankin' to what was a mean Freddies set! We also headlined last year's Toga party in Dunedin, and that was madness to say the least!
How do you keep in contact with your fans?
All the usual online means etc, but we also always like to mingle after our gigs and get to know as many supporters as we can. It's always nice to make friends with those who appreciate your music.
Wellington 5-piece The Thomas Oliver Band's combination of blues/rock/roots and Thomas Oliver's compelling writing style creates a refreshing New Zealand sound. They have spent the past few years touring and playing live throughout New Zealand with the likes of Fat Freddy's Drop, Gin Wigmore and Britain's Oli Brown. Within this time the band have also written and recorded their debut full-length album Baby, I'll Play to be released in March 2011 and will be proudly distributed in New Zealand by Rhythmethod.
The band's recent international acclaim for their video, 'Goin' Home' suggests the upcoming album is only the very beginning for the Wellington 5-piece. The video released in February 2010, saw the band named alongside Gorillaz, The Fray and Franz Ferdinand as one of the top thirty music videos of 2010 at the Rushes Soho Shorts in London. ('Goin' Home' music video). The band's success attracted attention from both national and international media.
The Thomas Oliver Band released their second single and music video 'Baby I'll Play' at the end of October 2010. The band once again worked with director Jennifer Quinlin (Weta Productions) and the team at Park Road Post on the video.