Podcasts & Books

Catching Up With Oliver Tank

By Ellie Schneider
10th Dec 2013

Two years have past since Oliver Tank released his debut EP Dreams, which was highly praised for its moody, ambient sounds and mesmerising vocals.

Since then, the Sydney-based singer-songwriter has received high-profile support slots for the likes of James Blake, Lorde and Active Child, and has just released his sophomore EP titled Slow Motion Music—which is teeming with his distinctive, left-of-field electronica we've come to expect and love.

We caught up with Oliver to discover a little more about this producer and just how his synthesised worlds evolve.

TUL: Firstly, congratulations on the release of your beautiful second EP Slow Motion Music. Can you tell us about the writing and recording process?
Oliver Tank: Thank you. The writing and recording process was probably not what you'd expect. I've never really felt like much of a musician or producer to be honest, so it's usually very messy and unromantic, but I think it gives my music a bit of charm. It's not perfect but I try and put a lot of heart into it.
TUL: What would you say differentiates the new EP from your first release Dreams?
Oliver: I feel like the production is a lot better and I had a chance to collaborate with a few different artists, which I hadn't done as much in the past. It still has some of that sound from 'Dreams' but it's a bit more developed. Plus, I sing a bit more than I usually do.
TUL: You've been killing it this year. Does it all still feel like a bit of a fantasy?
Oliver: Not as much, although every now and then I think about how ridiculous my life is and it does feel like a bit of a fantasy. I haven't worked a day in years, my job is to make music and I get to travel around Australia playing shows. It's a lot of fun!

TUL: Now, let's jump back a bit. When did you first start writing music?
Oliver: I've played guitar since I was a kid. I always knew I wanted to make music and I'd been in bands and done a few acoustic things but nothing really clicked. When I learnt how to use the software at uni it really changed the game for me. The course was over three semesters and I really enjoyed it, so I started to do it more outside of uni. That was just before 'Dreams' came out.

TUL: Who or what has most inspired you?
Oliver: I'm really inspired by my fans. It seems crazy to me that something that I've put together in my bedroom can have such a profound effect on someone's life in another city or country. It's always rewarding to hear that your music has helped someone, so if I can continue to help people going forward then I'll be happy.  

TUL: You've toured with some pretty big international acts—from Lana Del Ray to Youth Lagoon and James Blake. What have been the highlights?
Oliver: James Blake was really special because he was a big influence when I first started producing. I remember seeing him like three years ago and thinking how cool it would be to support him one day. So when it finally happened and the tour went well it was like a dream come true.

TUL: You're set to play Meredith and Falls festivals later this year. What are you most looking forward to at the shows?
Oliver: I haven't played many festivals before, so I'm looking forward to getting out there in front of a lot of people who haven't heard of me before and trying to win them over. I'll also be playing a bit of a different set than I do at my own shows.

TUL: And what's coming up for 2014?
Oliver: I'm working on my album now, which I'm really excited about and hopefully it gives me the opportunity to tour around the world with a band and perform it. I'm really keen to get over to America, I was there six months ago on a little family holiday and I really loved it, so to make it back there with my music would be really amazing.

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