They deliver beautiful harmonies, exquisite lyrics and soothing melodies that you honestly just can’t ignore. For years now Turin Brakes have been my band who transport me to a place of serenity, and allow me to forget about any of my bothers. Their music is an absolute treat. When their vocalist Olly Knights generously took the time to tell us what he was up to, we were thrilled!
AMBY: The Optimist was and still is a great album, what made you decide to revisit it and record it as a live album?
OK: It was ten years old last year and still seems to have real resonance with people, it’s a timeless record in some ways I think, it doesn’t seem to get stale and a live version was a nice way to give people a new angle on it…
AMBY: You recently recorded Ascension Day for the Spirit of Talk Talk compilation. How did you get involved with the project?
OK: We were asked if we’d be interested by some folks behind it and we jumped at the chance because Talk Talk been such an influence not just on us but so many, we wanted to do something imaginative and play with space so our version is pretty extreme, a demix! We just played a live show in London with some of the original band members that was mind blowing.
AMBY: One of my all-time favourite lyrics is from your song Self Help. “You’re up, you’re down. You’re in the ground in the end.” What’s one of your favourites?
OK: “We are each so deep and superficial, between the forceps and the stone” Joni Mitchell, Hejira. This one line kinda sums up the entire human condition, she’s a genius.
AMBY: Great choice, and also a fellow Canadian! Well, tell me about your solo project and how will it differ from Turin Brakes?
OK: It’s called If not now When, I made it at home on a reel to reel 8 track, Its extremely personal and could only really have been made by me alone. It’s one smooth slice of atmosphere where you know what your gonna get when you put it on, Turin Brakes always has about a million ideas going on where as this is just one idea that takes eleven tracks to unfold! It’s still a member of the TB family as it’s coming out on our label The Complete Atomic hopefully in late October as a lovely 12″ vinyl with CD and documentary made by Philip Bloom.
AMBY: We’re all looking forward to checking it out! How do you feel about the state of modern music?
OK: Same as it ever was, great, good and awful in about the same ratios as ever, I’m enjoying the digital age myself, being able to communicate with fans of the music directly is very special, it allows an introvert like myself to not have to be a genius music biz networker just to get stuff done, I think if you wanna sell music you need to give more and be more imaginative than ever and embrace the now.
AMBY: That’s a fantastic answer. If you could be any character in fiction, whom would you be?
OK: I think I’d be Woody Allen’s character in his film Zelig, essentially a human chameleon, I’d see some interesting things I bet.
AMBY: Since it took you “frickin’ hours” to put your Twitter space suit on, is there intelligent life in outer space and have you seen it?!
OK: I have one piece of advice for the humans, forget outer space and focus your telescopes on inner space, it’s far more rewarding ;)
AMBY: Well put! Which three songs that you’ve written are you most proud of?
OK: Dark On Fire, Rain City and Feeling Oblivion.… This could change tomorrow.
AMBY: Who have you been listening to recently?
OK: I love Laura Marling, such good taste! I’m really looking forward to The Staves debut coz when voices are right they are SO RIGHT! I also like proggy Psychedelic stuff like Tame Impala, any music with soul and adventure can catch my attention.
AMBY: What are some of your hobbies outside of music?
OK: I like film cameras, I like making films and I’m slowly turning into a nutritional science geek much to the bands amusement, it seems to me if your gonna eat for the rest of your life you might as well do it the best way possible.
AMBY: Turin Brakes have delivered a ton of great music over the years, so what’s next?
OK: We plan on something new for 2013… We are slowly writing bits and bobs for it, we are like an oil tanker these days, it takes us a while to get going but when we do it’s got momentum. We still absolutely Buzz when we play together so perhaps something catching our ever developing group energy?
AMBY: Tell me something about you that nobody knows, yet…
OK: I once skied down the women’s Olympic downhill slope in Austria so fast that my goggles failed!
Their music has always been an amazing thing for me, and that will never change. I’m extremely looking forward to seeing what’s to come in the future for the band, and from what I heard today in this interview, Olly’s new album has to be checked out! If you’ve yet to give Turin Brakes a listen, lend your ears to Ascension Day to wrap yourself into a glorious sound. And of course, a massive thanks to you Olly, for giving me your answers!
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