Fresh off playing sets at Meredith, Falls and Southbound festivals, singer/producer Oliver Tank is currently playing dates on his own headlining Slow Motion Music tour. The tour spans five capital cities, and features Bree Tranter (formerly of The Middle East) and Oscar Key Sung (of Oscar + Martin) on support.
‘I’ll be playing some of the favourite tracks from Dreams and from Slow Motion Music. Bree (Tranter) will be joining me for a couple of songs. I’ll also be playing a new remix that isn’t out yet. I’m really looking forward to the tour! It’s been awhile since I’ve done my own shows so it will be interesting.’
Released last November, Slow Motion Music is a stunning sophomore EP that ushers the listener through a set of delicate dreamscapes. It features vocalists Hayden Calnin and Fawn Myers, as well as producers Ta-ku and Stumbleine (UK).
On one of the tracks, Tank’s lush vocals punctuate the ambient soundscape as he sings: ‘Time slows down when you walk into the room… I’ve been thinking of you.’ Many of his songs seem to be based around love and relationships, with his lyrics penning the emotions felt when sharing your life with someone else.
‘There are things described in my music that I think most people have felt at one point in their life or another. It’s more about soundtracking the experience for me, and not about a specific person or event. My music is kind of sad sometimes, but I always try to make it inspirational, too. I think it’s more on the inspirational side if you listen to it the right way.’
‘I sometimes struggle because I don’t really have a process I follow or anything like that. When I’m making music I just do it my own way, even if it’s just not very efficient or a bit convoluted. I always try to put a lot of emotion into what I’m doing. I try to make loops – If I can find a melody that I like listening to for a while, then I build on that. But every track is different, every one has a different inspiration, so it’s tough for me to say ‘this is what I do every time’.’
‘I’m always trying to work on my song writing and production, and to make it all sound more lush in general… But I still don’t know if I’ve found my sound just yet.’
Tank’s introduction to creating music came at a young age. He started playing guitar when he was ten, and kept with it throughout high school. After enrolling into a Bachelor of Music, his interests soon shifted to producing.
‘I found that there were so many more possibilities when making music on a computer, because you can really do anything. Learning guitar kind of took a backseat to production for a while. Around that time I was also getting into a lot of electronic music like James Blake and Mount Kimbie. So I tried to make a different style of music than I’d normally make, and that’s when Dreams (EP) was created.’
Besides making his own tunes, Tank is also known for his remixes and covers of artists ranging from Julia Stone to Simon and Garfunkel. One of his best efforts is a Snoop Dogg mash-up called Drop it Like it’s Beautiful. This blended track shows off his ability to breathe new electronic life into two Snoop classics, all the while respecting the songs’ hip hop roots.
Now the demure producer has others remixing his songs. A recent InTheMix competition asked music fans and aspiring producers to put their own spin on Tank’s EP track You Never Know (ft. Hayden Calnin).
On the entries:
‘I was really impressed with what everyone put in. It’s really interesting to hear people have their own take on your music. I think that’s how a lot of people get their start in music – they hear what someone else is doing and try and see what they can do with their sounds. There’s always a lot of sampling and stuff going on in electronic music, so it’s interesting to see how different people approach the track.’
Production talents aside, Tank should be commended for his efforts in creating a genuine live show for his audience.
‘I don’t play with a laptop. I mix the bed of my tracks into a SP-404SX Roland sampler, then I kind of build on top of that with a drum pad, singing and guitar. I’ve also got a Kaoss pad to run some effects through. I want to make my show as live as possible, and you kind of have to overcomplicate things to do that.’
Electronic music is sometimes scorned for its inability to engage with a live audience, but an Oliver Tank show is far from impersonal. Although his lofty refrains are wont to send you to another sphere, his heartfelt vocals are enough to gently bring you back to earth. Switching seamlessly from guitar to drum pad to sampler, his hands never stop moving, and it is entirely captivating. His audience may not be dancing, save for some swaying, but that’s because Oliver Tank has the undivided attention of every person in the room.
Oliver Tank’s Slow Motion Music Tour:
Saturday, February 8 | The Zoo, Brisbane
Tickets: www.oztix.com.au, 1300 762 545 or Oztix Outlets
Saturday, February 15 | The Metro Theatre, Sydney
Tickets: www.metrotheatre.com.au, 02 9550 3666, or from the venue box office
Thursday, February 20, The Corner Hotel, Melbourne
Tickets: www.cornerhotel.com, 03 9427 9198 or from the venue box office
Friday, February 28 | The Bakery, Perth
Saturday, March 1 | Arcade Lane, Adelaide