Hello. I’m Thomas Oliver from The Thomas Oliver Band (also known by our fans as The T.O.B.). We live in Wellington, New Zealand, and we play something between Blues and Roots and Rock. I play the lap-slide guitar because I fucking love it. We love Dave Matthews Band and Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals and The Roots, as well as thousands more. We’ve toured New Zealand many times and can’t wait to get over to Oz for the first time, real soon! Last year, our debut album, “Baby, I’ll Play” was awarded the ‘iTunes Best Blues & Roots Album of 2012’. We are known for our hugely dynamic and exciting live shows. We plan on making music together for the rest of our lives.
What’s your earliest memory of performing and who inspired you to start?
There was always music in the house when I was growing up, because my parents are music lovers; my Dad plays guitar and sings and writes songs, so he is my earliest inspiration to want to make music. I started playing guitar when I was 10, and I did my first performance when I was 12. I had a 3-piece band and we played Blur’s ‘Song 2’ in a final assembly at my intermediate school. It was probably fucking terrible but it was fun at the time!
You must answer this question honestly or we steal your rider. What and where was the first gig you went to?
I actually have a cool answer for this one, so I don’t need to pretend and I also don’t need to drink water before we play. The first gig I went to was Ray Charles at the Mission Estate in Napier, New Zealand. I was really young so I don’t remember much, but I remember being completely wowed by it. Most people I know haven’t been lucky enough to see Ray Charles so I’m grateful for that!
‘Fess up. What records have you stolen from your parent’s record collection and why?
When I left home, it was around about the time when everyone starting getting iPods, so I didn’t need to steal my parents’ records; I just chucked them on my iPod! I guess you could say that’s still stealing, so I ‘stole’ everything they had! Lots of Bob Dylan, Neil Young, B.B. King, Jackson Browne, Greg Brown, Bonnie Raitt, Ben Harper, Dave Matthews Band and stuff like that.
What’s on heavy rotation on your iPod right now?
Ash Grunwald, who comes from Byron Bay, is one of my new favourite artists! His music has everything my heart wants right now!
How do you find new music?
I’ve got a couple of friends who scour the internet daily for new music and videos, so I often count on them to point me to new artists. I like to come across a new artist I’m totally digging, and rinse the hell out of their music before moving on to find more.
Do you have any particular ritual before you go on stage, or even a lucky charm you take with you?
We have a thing we do backstage called “T.O.B. on 3”. It’s basically a basketball-style, hands-in-the-middle kinda thing that helps us to unite just before we go on, so we can already be in tune with each other before we start playing. It’s a recent development, and it totally makes us play better!
If you could curate your own festival, where would it be, who would be on the bill, how many people would you let in and what features would it have?
It would be right on the beach in the Corromandel, NZ. It would have 3 stages: a Blues & Roots stage, a Punk Rock stage, and a Drum & Bass stage. The Blues & Roots stage would have Dave Matthews Band, Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals, The Roots (I’ve snuck them onto this stage by arguing that it would be ludicrous not to let The Roots play on a Roots stage!), and Ash Grunwald. The Punk Rock stage would have NOFX, No Use For A Name, Mad Caddies and Less Than Jake. The Drum & Bass stage would have Zinc & Dynamite MC, Netsky, Matrix & Futurebound and Calibre. The festival would also have a skatepark, including a ridiculously wide miniramp. Man, writing this is making me excited! If only this were a business plan and not an interview!
When you’re Rolling Stones Big, what are you going to request on your rider: don’t be shy. We want specifics!
We’re pretty unassuming dudes, so I can’t really see us ever requesting things that would piss off the promoter’s minion who has to source outrageous requests, but I would love to have a brand new skateboard in every green room we go to. I’m not very good with vocal warm-ups, so popping a few tre flips and nollieflips is my favourite way to warm up my vocal cords! Not sure what the other boys would like, but as long as there’s plenty of whiskey and beer, and a few illicit bonuses, we’re happy campers!
Because it’s more fun to do things together, which living Australian artist would you most like to collaborate with? Tell us why?
I do a lot of collaborations with Drum & Bass producers around the world, but I am yet to work with an Australian artist, so I would love to work with ShockOne or Phetsta. I love that fat-as-fuck style those dudes have, and I love to cater my voice to it in collab. I would also kill to do a bluesy tune with Ash Grunwald, because I consider him to be the cutting edge of Blues right now! He’s a huge inspiration on me and to make music with him would be an honour.
What is your band’s music the best soundtrack for? Judging by the number of texts I get from people right after, or even right in the middle of the fact, I would say it’s a good soundtrack to sex!
Where we can see you play next, what releases do you have available and where can we get them? We’re heading over to Oz to play at The Annandale in Sydney on the 31st of May, and The Evelyn in Melbourne on the 1st of June. We’re hugely excited about our first ever shows in Australia!
…and keep up to date with all that’s T.O.B. on our website, here: www.thethomasoliverband.com