The Thomas Oliver Band Interview

Much loved and long-time favourites in Wellington and across New Zealand, The Thomas Oliver Band have built a reputation of delivering their fans the goods with their soul-shaking, blues beating, modern rock sounds. Their big onstage presence has seen them tour with the likes of Joe Cocker, Cold Chisel, Fat Freddy’s Drop and Gin Wigmore. Thomas Oliver even graced us with his solo mastery at the inaugural One Percent Collective launch party. We talked to him about the world of generosity and creativity.


What was something you loved doing in your childhood?

When I was 12 I saw a dude do an ollie on a skateboard in the changing rooms at my intermediate school. It immediately fascinated me to the point that I just had to do it! So I bought a skateboard and I skated every day after school until the end of high school and I used to get up at 6am in the summer in Hawke's Bay just to head down to Te Mata School so I could skate it by myself for three hours until the security guards would come and kick me out. When I wasn't skating, I was writing punk rock and jamming with my mates but I reckon skateboarding taught me a lot about dedication, which I now channel almost solely to my music (especially now that my ankles are fucked!).


What place does generosity have in the world of music?

I think that generosity is one of the foundations on which musical collaboration is built. People work with others in the name of helping them, and creating art for other people. The thing I love the most about the Wellington (and New Zealand) music scene is the musicians' willingness to help each other with their projects, even when it means crossing genres and landing outside of one's comfort zone. Without this generosity, some of the musical diversity we know and love would not exist. I also think that generosity on the part of the public is important in keeping the world of music alive and exciting. The music industry is so flooded with artists and music that is so instantly accessible, that it makes it difficult for an artist to devote themself entirely to their craft, without having to find other ways to fund it. So the support of the fans is what will keep them creative. We as ‘consumers’ should go and see our favourite artists play every time they are in town and buy their albums every time they make them. That way we will be able to continue to do so! 


What’s rockin’ in the world of The Thomas Oliver Band at the moment?

We'll be back at La De Da for NYE 2012, which we're amped on. We played at RnV in 2011 but La De Da the year before that and had an epic time so we can't wait to do that again! Aside from a bunch of summer dates across the country and a couple of home/Welly shows (it's been a little while!), we'll be getting back into the studio in 2013 to record our next album. It's starting to shape up now and I reckon it will be an interesting direction as compared to the last one but definitely still with a rootsy and organic feel. 


Describe a perfect weekend.

I am at a festival in a remote part of the Coromandel, with all of my favourite people in the world. The stage is at the bottom of a natural amphitheatre looking out across the sea. There is a skate park near the stage with a perfect miniramp that's about 20m wide. You can buy amazing food from any culture around the outsides of the amphitheatre, and you can buy any beer ever made. The lineup for the festival is this: Dave Matthews Band, Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals, Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble, B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Jimi Hendrix, Bon Iver, Amos Lee, The Roots, Dilated Peoples, NOFX, No Use For A Name, Mad Caddies, Less Than Jake, London Elektricity, Noisia, Friction, Shapeshifter, and Fat Freddy's Drop. As well as a surprise performance from the ones I've forgotten and will regret. 

I hate these kind of questions because now I'm ludicrously excited about something that's never going to happen.


Who is someone we can all learn from and why?

We can all learn a lot from ourselves if we stop to listen every now and again! There are so many pressures around us about what we should do for a living, when we should buy a house, what kind of music we should like, what kind of clothes we should wear, how many people we should sleep with, how we should act after a certain age, and so on. I feel that, underneath all this pressure, we often forget to check in with ourselves and consider our OWN thoughts about all these things. I think that if we all did this more often, the world would be a far more honest and genuine place.


Tell us three things that inspire you.

Kindness, selflessness, and mastery of art.

Are you keen to join The Thomas Oliver Band in the giving evolution? Click here to get involved.