Meet multi-facet charmer Thomas Oliver, an Aussie-born New Zealand dwelling talent on the verge of some serious critical acclaim. Today we bring you the very first listen to his brand new LP Floating In The Darkness – the perfect soundtrack to the backend of your week.
The man himself took some time out to expand on the creation Floating In The Darkness, painting a picture of what goes into such an eclectic and sonically diverse release:
Where was the new LP recorded and over what time period?
It was recorded in my home studios across three different Wellington houses, and in four different studios, including Wizard Tone Studios in Adelaide. Oh, and a cathedral in Thorndon.
Where did it begin when it came to writing music for the record?
The song that dates back the furthest is about seven years old, but it never had a home. Most of the songs are pretty new, though. As for where, the songs were written in a few different places, including Budapest, Sydney and Wellington.
What would you credit as being the major influences behind ‘Floating In The Darkness’?
In terms of musical influences, obviously there are many, but those which are most prevalent would be Ben Harper, Bon Iver, Aretha Franklin, James Blake and Amos Lee.
Do you have any unconventional, or perhaps unusual studio routines?
I’m very obsessive in the studio. I like to spend hours on a tiny detail. I’m obsessed by details. I love the freedom of my home studio; being able to go as deep as I want to and not have to worry about time or money. As for routines, I don’t really have any. Every day is different.
Are you more likely to have a structured ‘sit down’ approach to writing, or do you feel it’s more of a ‘spur of the moment’ type thing?
I often wish I could be more like the first option, but realistically I’m probably more of the second.
Was there anything in particular that felt different about entering the studio for this LP, that perhaps wasn’t there during the creation of ‘Beneath The Weissenborn? Everything.
Despite that I am a singer-songwriter, my first album (Beneath The Weissenborn) was an instrumental album comprised solely of Weissenborn (lap slide guitar). Floating In The Darkness is a journey of songs and sounds, so my mindset was completely different.
What’s one thing that gets easier as your recording experience goes on?
That’s a good question. It’s actually hard to answer. I have improved vastly as a producer and mix engineer over the last three years, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s easier, because I’m probably always pushing to be better than I am. Kinda like how a person can get richer, but it doesn’t mean they’ll be happier. Haha. Maybe that’s not a good analogy.
Aside from instruments etc., what are some of the studio essentials?
Definitely my LA-2A (compressor). I use it every time I track vocals, and bass too. I have a bunch of plugins that I couldn’t live without as well, but I’ll spare you the geeky details.
There are some mighty fine guitar licks throughout this LP; in your opinion, who is the best modern day guitarist?
Thanks. Hmmm. No one can play bottleneck slide quite like Derek Trucks. And it’s hard to deny the mastery of John Mayer.
Do you have a dream guitar?
I try not to get too caught up in things like that. I wholeheartedly believe in having the best equipment you can, but I try not to get distracted by desires for “things”. It’s the making of the music that matters to me the most.
If you had to dedicate ‘Floating In The Darkness’ to a decade, what would it be and why?
The seventies. I love the seventies drum sound and production style, especially in soul music. Some of my production on this album is, shall we say, a tip of the hat to the seventies sound, but some of it is very much today, and the rest I would say is not attributable to a particular era.
Thomas Oliver will be popping up all over the country throughout June to spruik Floating In The Darkness. Catch him at the below dates:
THOMAS OLIVER FLOATING IN THE DARKNESS ALBUM TOUR DATES
Wednesday 7 June – The Grace Emily, Adelaide SA
Friday 9 June – The Milk Factory, Brisbane QLD
Saturday 10 June – Wesley Anne, Melbourne VIC
Sunday 11 June – Leadbelly, Sydney NSW
Thursday 15 June – Babushka, Leederville WA
All tickets on sale now via www.thomasoliver.co.nz