" First of all, congratulations on winning Best Young Artist at the
British Blues Awards along with runner-up for Best Guitarist! A brilliant
achievement. You must be on top of the world right now.
Yes I am! It's a real compliment that people voted for me and wanted
me to receive that award. I can't thank all of the voters enough for
putting me forward. I'm really flattered by it.
" You are currently on tour in America and Canada. How is it
going? Had any stand out gigs so far?
The tour is going really well thanks. Well we just played Harvest Jazz
& Blues Festival in Fredericton Canada and that was an amazing gig
to go back to. We actually played there last year but they asked us
back and put us on the main stage doing a late night show. Huge packed
out tent with such a great atmosphere. It's a really special festival
to be part of. Just one of those festivals that really look after artists
and make you feel very welcome. We had a fun show for sure, then bar
crawled after the night with some folks we met after the show, people
in Fredericton have got the late night atmosphere right!
" When I went to America I visited a place called the International
House of Pancakes. Please, please tell me you went to one? You're missing
out if you didn't! I also see you found a place called 'The Dogs Bollocks'
wasn't a clue to what they served was it?
NO! I did not go there! Well now I feel like I've missed out on something...
I have a week in NY holidaying it so I may just have to go hunt me one
of those places down... But if I'm disappointed I'm coming straight
back to you. Haha! I'm not sure what they served.... We played pool
there but the night before someone stole some balls from their table,
so it made out to be an interesting game of pool haha. Just had to go
" When you first picked up a guitar in 2002 did you ever think
you'd be touring the world and visiting places like The Dogs Bollocks
or was it just something you enjoyed and wanted to improve at?
I just was sick of the school atmosphere which is why I picked up guitar.
I was an average student doing okay in classes... Never struggling but
just not exceptional at anything. I wanted to find my niche that I could
do and get some personal reward for it. I loved art and always wished
I was a good artist but honestly... I'm shocking at it. Stick figures
is as far as it goes for me now. Oh and this stupid dog I can draw.
I had my first tour with an American band "Blinddog Smokin'"
when I was 15 and I stayed out with them for a couple of weeks. The
next year I was with them for 2 months touring. I would never have been
a singer or a front man if it wasn't for the way they pushed me. But
I also would never have experienced the road like I did with them. From
that moment I knew what I wanted to do. Traveling was where it is at
with me. That was one of the best times in my life! Too young to care
about anything too serious but old enough to enjoy it and learn a lot
from it. But I never had any plans where touring would take me. I just
wanted to do it.
" I don't know about anybody else but I reckon I would be shattered
jetting from gig to gig. Do you have a secret ingredient that keeps
you going? Favourite food you have to take with you or a film you can't
stop watching? Or is the thrill of travel and performance enough?
You get used to it. I usually don't sleep before any flights I have
if they are an early leave. Not sure why but I get all the sleep on
the plane then too. I'm pretty good with long haul flights cause I'll
just read/sleep/read/sleep and so on. Just becomes a part of the work.
You spend more of your time travelling then playing music anyway haha.
Catch me after a long tour though and you'll see a different person.
I'm a zombie wreck, all that adrenaline just is gone from my body and
I have no energy. Post tour blues and all that haha. It's always a little
weird coming off a big tour because you have so many different adrenaline
rushes and excitements, but when you get home it just stops for a while.
That I'm not used to...
" Your next big tour is through the UK and Europe. Tell us
more about what we can expect - will you be playing much from your new
album? It must be nice coming back to the UK for a bit!
We will be playing some songs we haven't played from the new album yet!
And actually I've been running through a couple of covers that I've
been considering for the live show. It will be fun because the last
UK tour we did was just fresh off the back of the new album when we
were still figuring out the new songs. Now we have gotten past that
barrier and have a lot more freedom with the new tunes. So I am excited
to go back and re-perform our live show because I think a lot has changed.
Just in strength of songs and together as a band. We've learned a lot
from the recent tours
" I asked you earlier about stand out gigs on the America and
what about weird gigs? What is the oddest experience,
either fan or gig based, that you've had on tour?
Probably in the early days I've played some questionable venues. I'll
go right back to my first live show with this band. March 1st 2007 or
2008... Haha I should remember this. It was a venue called "The
Walnut Treeshades" and I remember walking in there as a kid years
before that live show being absolutely terrified by the bar. It had
a dark smokey vibe and loads of American nostalgia all around the walls,
it looked amazing but incredibly scary like someone was ready to pick
a fight any minute. Actually by the end of the night I LOVED the venue
so much. Which in turn is why I ended up wanting to start my first gig
there. It was really looked after and if anyone was any trouble Chris
Gudgen (who used to own the bar) would sort them out. It was always
such a fantastic show there. I mean we've played some odd places but
I've learned more to not judge a venue by it's initial vibe or atmosphere,
you tend to find that you have one of your best nights in them ha. Sometimes
the venues you think will be amazing turn out to be the most disappointing
ones too, it's such a weird game of pot luck sometimes.
" You were discovered very young. Has that been beneficial
or detrimental to your development? Do you think there is a cut-off
point, an age that is too young to start in the music business?
I think it was good motivation for me to take my career seriously and
push myself. I think it was part of the fuel for me to keep working
hard and keep writing. I guess I never really had a "Uni"
life so I missed some social environments. But I've also gained a lot
in traveling and experience. I don't know if there is an age too young.
I got thrown in the deep end with that American band when I was 16 touring
with them for 2 months. Every night they would drill me with tasks to
do for the next show and make me conscious of being a performer on stage
and I definitely wouldn't be where I am without that kind of education.
It just was a different kind of school. I just have a motivation and
a want to deliver, I could never pay that band for the time they spent
on me helping me, so the best way I could return that favour is working
my ass off, and I love to.
" Have you managed to watch gigs yourself of other artists
while on tour? Is there anybody you would really like to see or tour
Yeah, usually at festivals it's a good time to watch bands. I like to
do it, there is a lot to learn from watching the real guys do it! Gives
you a good push to consider what else you could be doing and just enjoying
a musical vibe that you're not making. It's nice to get lost in some
live music, the best escape. I would love to tour with Anders Osbourne,
I love his new music and I learned so much from his stage show from
the little we saw of it before we left. Really an amazing live performer.
" How do you keep all that amazing hair under control?!
Aussie shampoo and conditioner, some fancy leave-in conditioner I can't
remember the name of, Aussie curl oil (jojoba oil in it or something)
and then some Frizz Ease mousse. Haha.
That is a lot of hair product! Interesting stuff here, thank you
Oli Brown will be touring throughout the UK and Europe during October
and November. Gig dates are available on his website:
Oli has also released a new album this year entitled Here I Am which
is for sale on his website - you can even get it signed by the man himself!
Emily Baker for B Side Magazine