Ever have a song walk right up and slap you across the face to get your attention? That is exactly what “Photograph,” the debut single from Oli Barton and The Movement does. It is harsh, abrupt, schizophrenic and lush, and it captures your attention from start to finish.
It’s a moody piece, at once clamoring for your attention while wanting to wring your neck. The heavy, heavy bass line threatens to trample your toes but just dances around them instead.
The London-based band is composed of singer Oli Barton, drummer Guy Monk, lead guitarist Ryan Wilson and bassist Marco Paone. This is a tight, talented quartet. If “Photograph” is just a taste of what they have in store, I am very excited to hear the entire album, due out next year.
I was able to have a chat recently with Oli about the band, the debut album and what we can expect from them in the future.
Let’s start with your background … How long have you been singing/playing/performing?
Well, I personally have been performing for about 6 or 7 years old with a whole load of groups. Started out when I was about 15 playing local pubs and hangouts. Some serious stories to tell regarding some of those venues as I am sure you can imagine!
Oooo, give me the good stuff — did you meet anyone influential?
Well, beyond the local clientele of drinkers and sinkers, no one to really write home about. I did grow up near where Frank Turner used to live, so I guess that’s a plus. I did get a kind email from him regarding the new single, so really goes to show that it’s a small world!
How were you able to play there so young?
Well I was lucky/unlucky enough to be the kitchen porter at a local pub and the landlord/landlady were both very good to me and allowed me to showcase some of the material that me and my mates were knocking about back in the day. It was me, a couple of mates from school and my younger brother.
Was your style then the same as now? How has it changed?
The style used to be very ramshackle, raw and bluesy. When I really started writing, that’s when the first group fell apart and we realised that what we all wanted was very different. Back then, I was very keen on experimenting, trying new things and just generally messing around with musical convention. Luckily for everyone (and their ears!) I’ve reigned such practices in! I’m very lucky in that respect to be with the musicians I have now who all have faith in what we do and who we are.
Tell me who all is in the band, what they play and what they bring to the group …
Well, I should probably start with Guy (Monk), who’s our drummer and the longest-serving member of The Movement. He loves a bit of Jack White hard rock edge, and that power really comes across in his drumming. I am really lucky to have met him in the first place, and him joining the project really set it in motion.
Next up, there’s Ryan (Wilson) who’s the lead guitarist. He’s been playing with us for a fair while too and his skill is unparalleled. I don’t want to brag too much but he is one of the finest and most intuitive guitar players that I’ve come across (and the least pretentious!). A proper virtuoso!
And last but not least, is Marco (Paone) who’s our Italian Stallion on the bass. Again a very virtuosic player and a top guy to boot. Him and Guy really create a very sturdy and fine rhythm section to keep us surefooted.
It sounds like you have a dream team line up. How does songwriting go?
I certainly think so. Well, currently in terms of recording material, I do write on my own even though I have collaborated with the members individually. All the songs on the upcoming album are written by myself even though we play a couple of great songs written by Guy in our live show.
Tell me about the album … How many songs? Give me a bit of a feel for it …
Well without giving too much away, it’s been described by the only person who’s gotten an advanced copy as “kaleidoscopic,” but I just like to think that it just covers all aspects of my personality. It has fun, anger, quirkiness and most of all some top tunes. “Photograph” is just the tip of the iceberg. When the album rocks, it rocks hard and when it’s all over you won’t be able to get it out of your head for days.
Oh, now I really want to hear it! It sounds fantastic. “Photograph” is a great tune…. Very wicked! Very dark …
Glad you enjoyed it! I’m really glad that it came across well, a lot of work went into it, along with the video. The next single picks up right where the mood of “Photograph” left off, but with a serious tempo change!
Yes, the video …. Very DIY … It was friends that helped out? Shoestring budget?
We like to think that it’s more about the effect than the budget! An old mate of mine, James Polley, directed it and helped map it out. He’s just launched himself a production company, so I would think that his shoestring is probably worth something now!
That’s great. A lot of bands I know are doing fantastic videos on a dime. It shouldn’t cost thousands to do right. Who are your musical influences?
I like to think that I take influences from a lot of places. I’ve always been drawn to those eccentric characters, like Bowie or Julian Cope and it is clear to me that a lot of that comes across in my music. What a lot of people don’t know about me is that I’m a massive hip-hop fan. I do believe that it is the most daring, current and important force in the industry today and hence why there is a substantial hip-hop influence on the album itself. I like to think that as much Bowie as there is on the album, there is the same amount of Dr. Dre or even Kanye.
Interesting! I think a good mix of influences is important — it keeps an artist from stagnating. What’s your big goal in music?
To be at the top. I think that anyone who comes into this game without that goal will never be driven enough.
I think you have the drive to be there …. Have you played many shows as a band, or have many lined up?
Why thanks! We’ve played a load since official formation about six months ago and we constantly have one coming up. For instance, Friday is our next one. We’ll be down at the Workshop with our old friends Dead or Alive Promotions so hopefully we’ll see a few people turn out!
Did you do any festivals this summer, or are you looking to get into some next summer?
We were a little late to the party sadly this summer due to forming so close to the season, but we are close to confirming some slots for next year soon.
That’s great. When will the album drop?
It’s all very hush-hush for the moment so all I can really tell you is that the next single will be out in time for Christmas. A little present from us all at The Movement, I suppose.
Sounds great … Well … That’s all the questions I have … Anything I missed you want to add?
Thank you very much for having me, it’s been a pleasure.
You can find Oli Barton and The Movement on the web at http://www.cokendagger.co.uk/, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/OliBartonMusic/, on Twitter at @OliBMovement and on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVqK4XawAl-Ba_MEXPPVbgw.