Oliver Tank Chats About His Latest EP, Touring Perth in February
Ahead of his national tour promoting his latest EP, Slow Motion Music, Sydney-based producer Oliver Tank spoke to Sarah Marshman about working with Ta-Ku, Iceland and all things musical. If you are at all into chilled and beautiful electronic music then check out his soundcloud!
How long have you been producing and what inspired you to start?
I've been producing music for about 2 and a half years now. I was learning production software in my course at Uni and around that time I was getting into a lot of electronic music and exploring the world of software production. I was really excited by the endless possibilities of software, it allowed me to do things that I normally couldn't and I found myself really enjoying it. Also around this time electronic music was becoming really popular with artists like James Blake, Flying Lotus, Seekae and Mount Kimbie sort of breaking into more mainstream spheres and I wanted to have a go at making some similar music.
What are your biggest fears/inspirations when creating music? Are there any recurring themes in your music that you'd like to share with us?
I like to have a theme around each release. For "Dreams" it was very night time/dream focused. A bit about escaping reality and and being consumed by certain things in your life. For "Slow Motion Music" it was more about slowing down, taking a step back and getting some perspective on things. My biggest fear is that I'll never show people my full potential. I feel like I haven't made my best music yet, but I'm working towards it, shouldn't be long now. Inspiration wise, I like that my music helps people. Its always nice hearing how your music has gotten someone through a rough time and its that sorta thing that inspires me to keep making music and becoming a better songwriter.
The song 'Different Speed' is a little different to your more mellow stuff. Did you expect the song to be a success, and was that to target a more energetic live show?
It seems like anything Ta-Ku touches turns to gold. He's got a really solid fan base and I was very interested and nervous about how it would be received. It seems to be doing well, I really like the track. Its a bit more upbeat than my normal stuff but I'm trying to get out of my comfort zone a little more. Plus it gives me a chance to have some more upbeat stuff to play at shows and at festivals. An energetic live show was definitely something I wanted to work on and this track has helped a lot.
What was it like working with Ta-Ku? Do you think the experience of working with a Perth based producer helped gain some extra attention over here?
It was really great. He got at me on twitter and said he really liked my music we started emailing back and forth from there. He sent me a few things I sent him back some things and we eventually finished the track. Ta-ku is one of my favourite producers so it was a real honour to work with him and I hope we can work together again in the future. I've been to Perth a couple of times now. Its really beautiful over there. I'd love to make it over more often. Hopefully my Ta-ku connection makes that possible now.
You won a competition that allowed you to play in Iceland! Its become a cultural hub, with heaps of festivals popping up in the country side. What do you think of the country as a place to perform?
Iceland is incredible and the sort of place I probably would never of been if I didn't win the comp. I think festivals are always nice when the setting and scenery is really embraced. Falls Festival in Tasmania reminded me a bit of that. So did "Secret Garden". I haven't really done many festival shows in the past. I'm hoping to do a few this year and its always nice to head out to the country side and get away from the world for a bit.
You recently held a remix competition over facebook, what was the reception to that like? Did that experience of listening to how people interpret your music change anything about your desired sound or inspire you to explore these interpretations?
Social media has definitely played a large role in my success. I'd be nowhere without Soundcloud in particular, but Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are all important as well. Its just the easiest and most accessible way of connecting with your fans. The reception to the remix comp have been great. I was really excited to see what other music people were going to do with my music. There are a lot of young talented producers out there and I had some great entries. Its interesting to see what people do with your sounds, I like it when people sort of build a track around what you've done and just take the sounds they like the most. its definitely inspired me to make some more experimental music in the future.
Slow Motion Music was made available on vinyl, a platform which is making a surprising comeback at the moment, what is the most embarrassing record you own? And why did you choose to release on this format?
On my 21st birthday a good friend of mine got me a record which had all the songs I wrote alone and with a band I used to be in when I was in high school. That is by far my most embarrassing record because the music is terrible. I wrote the stupidest songs and the band stuff was also awful. But it was a very sweet gift. Hopefully nobody ever hears it 'cause I think people would lose all respect for me and my music. Vinyl seems really popular now and Its something I'll want for every release. I just enjoy the aesthetic and the sound, plus I think its special for an artist to get a release pressed on wax. I'm not so big on cd's anymore I think its a bit of a dying format but its nice to have something tangible. Plus vinyl is more than music its like a piece of art.
You are playing at The Bakery next month in Perth, what can people expect when experiencing Oliver Tank live?
I'll be playing a bunch of new tracks plus some old favourites. The live show has come a long way since I last played in Perth and I'm just excited to get in front of everyone again. Plus the Bakery is a really cool venue and it'd be good to chill there again and have some drinks
What are the best cities you've played in? Best crowds?
Playing in Sydney is always nice 'cause its home, Melbourne is cool too and I've had some great shows in Adelaide. Haven't been to Perth as much as I'd like but I've always had a good time over there. The best crowds are the ones that get into it and are patient with slower tracks
Tell us a bit about your setup- Do you prefer lo-fi home recording or studio environments?
Usually just do everything at home in my bedroom, but going forward I'm going to start using studio's for vocals and a few other things now that I got a bit more money to put into my music. Up until this point I've just done everything in my bedroom using my laptop, guitar and a few other bits and pieces of hardware I got floating around
Do you use any analog gear- and if so what?
Not really. I got an analog delay pedal the other day which I'll definitely be using for recording. Other than that mostly just use software stuff and plug-ins
What’s your DAW of choice and why?
I used to use Cubase, but now I use Ableton. I just found it easier to get started with ideas on Ableton so I just started using it more and more. I wouldn't say I'm particularly good at Ableton but I'm still learning.
Where do you think electronic music is heading for 2014?
Honestly I don't know but I'm very excited about it. I think we'll see a lot of talented producers come out this year. Anyone can make music now, its great
Do you have any advice for upcoming musicians in Australia?
Get your music up on Soundcloud, share it with your friends, be prepared for opportunities, have fun and enjoy the music you make.
He plays The Bakery on the 28th of February, and you can get your tickets here.