Ollie Twohill: These Boots Are Made For Walking

The last time we chatted with Northern Rivers singer-songwriter Ollie Twohill, he’d just unveiled his ‘Stone Cold Killer’ single and accompanying film clip to much local acclaim. Since then, the talented 22-year-old with the stomp boxing busker’s pedigree has been on a creative and productive spurt, which has culminated in the release of his latest single ‘Boots’, a rousing folk rock belter which we’ve reviewed as part of this month’s New Music column.

The unveiling of ‘Boots’ signifies the commencement of an exciting new career trajectory for Ollie and we recently chatted with him to discover where these boots shall be taking him.

Congratulations on your rollicking newest single, ‘Boots’. It’s a catchy and forthright number which you must be very proud of. Did it have a long gestation period or was it one of those tracks that you banged out pretty quickly?

Surprisingly, ‘Boots’ only took a couple of hours to write. It came together out of an online song-writing club I was part of. The program was to help songwriters who struggle with completing songs, the task was to write 10 songs over 10 weeks. Each week we were given a topic to write about, with some quotes and inspiration to help get the creative juices flowing. I have scores of half written songs, so this program was about closing out a song per week.

For ‘Boots’, the theme was about being consistent and turning up even when you don’t feel like it. I am sure most people can relate to that. I tweaked it a little after thinking about the times self-doubt has held me back on pursuing things that I really wanted to do. To me, it felt like the perfect song to help people who aren’t quite sure on what they want to do with their life, or for people who feel like they have expectations placed on them from their peers and want to try and “fill their boots”.

Who else did you collaborate with on it?

I generally write and arrange all my music in my bedroom, as I feel that it works best for the music I want to create, and provides an authentic edge to my music. It seems to work for me as I get inspiration at the most random of times! I come up with a guitar riff or progression and then frame the lyrics around that. I then generally perform my songs live for at least three months to see the audience response. I always have my songs 95% complete and road tested before I go into the studio.

For the recording, I used the same group of guys from my previous three single releases. Producer / Mix Engineer Dylan J Smith and siblings Lawson (Bass) and Blair Hamilton (Drums) who are all based on the Gold Coast. We have a special chemistry that works well, they are all insanely talented but more importantly decent human beings. They all contribute and help to polish my vision and convert them into an audible form. They help create a distinctly original flare to my music which I’m forever grateful for.

For the mastering side of things, I decided to switch things up a bit and seek out New York based Mike Kalajian who operates the iconic Rogue Planet Mastering company. Mike’s masters truly blew my expectations out of the water, making them crystal clear and very well-rounded.

How have the last eight months played out for you, both musically and personally?

Despite intermittent gig opportunities, the past eight months have been great creatively and development wise. I have focused on song writing, learning about the music business and making lots of great connections within Australia and overseas – particularly the US. I also spent a lot of time setting up my website, social media and the foundations so I can remain an independent operator. I even have a business plan with a strategy to release 4- 5 singles over the next 12 months.

I released my third single, ‘Mr Nightowl’, in July which has been well received, getting community radio support around the country and current airplay in the US and UK, as well as being interviewed and playing live locally on ABC Gold Coast, ABC North Coast and Byron Bay’s BayFM.

I’ve been writing and experimenting with various methods of song-writing and exploring different genres depending on what I feel like writing about at the time. I have a passion and love for many different genres of music. And I recorded a batch of three singles which include ‘Boots’ with my team and have been asked to play a number of functions throughout December, which is nice.

I understand that you’re about to embark on a very busy six-month window, with a few other singles in the pipeline following on from ‘Boots’. Can you put us in the picture with how the other new songs are shaping up? And do you have any plans to release an EP (or even a full album) following on from these upcoming new songs?

Yes, the next six months will be a very busy time for me indeed. I will be releasing the follow up singles of ‘Silk Dress’ and ‘Neverland’ in February and April 2022 respectively. These three singles, are all quite different from each other. Without giving too much away, as an artist I hate the thought of being “boxed in” to a certain kind of genre. I love to write music that I love listening to and I’m a strong believer in experimentation.

I’m hoping that listeners will have an open mind and be willing to give the next two singles a chance. They are quite different from my current discography, and I’m hoping to be moving into a new development of my signature sound.

I’m also looking to go back into the studio in the New Year to record another batch of three singles, for release in the second half of 2022.

At this stage, I haven’t really thought about releasing an EP or an album just yet. In my mind it’s more efficient in releasing singles, as you can create a vibe around each one rather than songs getting lost on an EP or album. Once I have a bigger audience I would love to record an album, I have the songs but want to build my fan base before then.

What’s been floating your boat, musically speaking, over the course of 2021 – are there any new artists that you’ve latched onto recently?

I have quite an eclectic taste in music, so I have been listening to loads of new music. I’ve discovered an array of new up and coming artists, as well as discovering some new releases from artists I love. I’ve been really digging the new Bruno Mars and Anderson Paak collab album they brought out called “An Evening with Silk Sonic” as well as a UK band by the name of Holding Absence, who released an album, ‘The Greatest Mistake of My Life’,  which blew me away from first listen. Melbourne band Between You and Me just released a new album called ‘Armageddon’ and for anyone who is into pop-punk/rock it’s a must.

From a Gold Coast perspective, it’s been great to see so many artists like Girl & Girl, Local Safari, Euca, Lily Grace and Damien start to pop off.

Last time we chatted you also mentioned you were looking to pull a rhythm section together to flesh out your sound in the live realm. How has this come along? And with things (hopefully) starting to open up again following the pandemic lockdowns and restrictions, have you got some upcoming live shows in the pipeline leading into 2022 and beyond?

With the way the world was this year, it made things very hard to rehearse and find time to get together with the lads and play music, since we have been following COVID protocol very seriously. Being a one-man band at this stage helps me get gigs so I can recover my recording costs.

I’m looking to play in SE Queensland and the Gold Coast in the first quarter of next year so I am open to offers if anyone wants to reach out. I’ve held back with the border closures to date with the uncertainty. The focus is on playing in the interim and having a rhythm section for (upcoming single) ‘Neverland’ for April next year.

Ollie Twohill’s banging new tune, ‘Boots’, is out now on streaming platforms. And be sure to check out Zac’s review, as part of this month’s New Music column.

Be first to comment