OJ: Hi - You alright?
BW: I am alright!
OJ: You ready?
BW: I am ready!
OJ: Great. How do I put the camera on? Do you need the camera?
BW: I would love the camera – `cause is nicer…. There are these buttons.
OJ: Oh there you go! Do you see me?
OJ: Hi ya!
BW: Ha! Much nicer when you can see someone you talk to.
OJ: Yes definitely, I agree! So how have you been since we last met? You have been alright?
BW: Yeah, very busy.
OJ: It looks like I am in like a hospital or something – I'm not! It is just the light coming to my window right now. It looks a bit light in here… I like light.
BW: No problem. I am not recording it, I just record the sound without the camera, so don't worry.
OJ: It‘s amazing how this thing works, like I can speak to you all the way out there and you can hear me here, so… it‘s great! (laughs)
BW: You have been busy today?
OJ: I have been busy today, that's why I had to postpone this interview until now, because I got caught up in a lot… I had to record. I have just come out of the studio, actually.
BW: Have I understood that right: When we met, you had just launched your first single a few weeks before?
OJ: Yeah! Yeah that's right, yeah I just launched „Forget Last Night“, which is the name of the new single.
BW: That‘s exciting!
OJ: It is, yeah! Can‘t you see it on my face? I am well excited. Yeah, it's done really well actually, I mean … like we put it out on youtube, itunes, spotify, so all like the online retail market.
BW: Will you go to amazon aswell – because I am not on itunes or spotify?
OJ: Oh you are not?
BW: No, no because I am not really into these mp3 things. I like to have a vinyl recording.
OJ: Oh, vinyl!
BW: Yeah yeah. So will there be a vinyl version? Will there be an album soon?
OJ: I mean there is going to be an album coming up, that is why I have been in the studio, 'cause we are actually recording, well we are building towards making an album. So that is kind of what we are doing at the moment: Is getting demos down. And then we are going to make those demos into an album. So that's the plan anyway.
BW: Great. So I will be looking forward to it. Are you prepared to tell me a few secrets of how you work?
OJ: Okay, I'll give it my best shot, yeah. (laughs)
BW: I am not a musician myself, I am more of a … what can I say? I sing along. That's what I do.
OJ: (laughs) That's fun. I do the same.
BW: (laughs) How do you compose a song? Do you first have the lyrics, like you are a poet and then there comes the melody? Or do you just play your guitar and then something comes out of it? What is the start of a new song?
OJ: What is the essence?
OJ: (laughs) Well first of all it varies very much. I will find myself playing on my guitar, and all of a sudden a melody will just come out of it. And then normally the lyrics follow after unless I am writing about something that needs to be written about at that certain time, if you understand? I mean, it all varies, I mean sometimes inspiration comes and sometimes it doesn't. That's what I think that‘s why it‘s so special really. I mean you got to take it while you can. But mostly, the main thing is to actually be interested. I don't believe in writer's block really.
OJ: No, I mean, writers's block is just something that people say when they can't find inspiration. I think if you are always interested in what you do, you will always find a way to write a song or paint a piece or whatever sort of art you are doing. That's how I do it anyway. I mean it all varies though, I got to be honest.
BW: So when you say there is a certain theme you are working on: Will you be thinking about it all throughout the day or is it like some kind of epiphany and you wake up and you know the song … what it‘s like? How do you create that?
OJ: It is quite difficult to explain, I mean I have been asked this question a lot at all times, as you can imagine. And it is quite difficult to explain. And I think that is why it is so interesting really, because there is not a real a definition you can give it. Creating a song: There is no real formula. I think if there was, then I would probably be searching for the rest of my life. Just like everyone else. I think it just comes from the passion, the love and the interest for the music. That's what I think anyway. But if there is something that I need to write about, then you know, I make damn sure that I write about it because it is just a good story to tell. And it gets everything that I'm thinking and feeling off my chest. It is quite as simple as that really.
BW: So is it about things you see in the news or is it about relationships or ...? What…?
OJ: It isn't really political. I am not trying to send a political message, I am not trying to take something out the newspaper and make it my own. By any means, it is all personal to me. I mean, that might seem quite selfish to some people, but (laughs) it is all what I am thinking and feeling and what personal experiences that I have been through. That is kind of what my music represents.
BW: Well you couldn't talk about anything else, could you? That is what I always think: When someone wites a book, and from the protagonist's point of view. I am just like: That must be the writer, that can't be someone else. How can they produce something like that?
OJ: Definitely. I think it needs to be personal. If you are writing about something that you do not know about: How can you actually give a proper description? And how can you actually give your true feelings if you don't know exactly what you are talking about? So I always tend to go with things that I know about and I am confident speaking about and then I put them into a song.
BW: Just to get it right: It will come out at the moment that the guitar is in your hand?
OJ: Yeah. Well yeah, to be fair, it is kind of: Maybe I'll be fiddling on the guitar and some times it just happens by accident and sometimes it is just a story that is just too good not to tell, I mean it needs to be told, so sometimes you need to got to the darkest places to get them, of course you do, which is quite painful sometimes – but I was thinking to myself the other day, because I really go to all these horrible places to get these songs.
OJ: Yeah, in my head and just in, you know, general life. And then I go to these lovely places to play them, and it is just so ironic really‚ cause I don‘t know anyone can appreciate where you have to go to get these songs. Do you know what I mean? It is like you are coming from the worst place possible and then playing it to these people who maybe are in the best place possible in their life. So it‘s quite ironic. I don‘t know. Does that make sense?
BW: Yeah it does, because what I see is that you have to go all the way to get to something, and „getting to the essence“, that was the term I took with me after our first talk. And I liked that: Getting to the essence, and that is exactly why I wanted to talk to you. To know what that means to you. And obviously it means: You have to go to places.
OJ: That you don‘t necessarily want to go to.
OJ: But sometimes it is against your own will. I mean all of the time, actually, I have never perviously put myself in an bad situation. But it just tends to happen in life, I am sure you have been there, I am sure everyone‘s been there. But sometimes people can write about it, but some people can‘t. And I am lucky enough to be able to write about it and then share it with the people who can‘t, so they can understand it a little bit better. Well I hope that‘s what my songs do anyway.
BW: You have been performing quite a lot at the moment. What do people tell you? What feedback do you get?
OJ: I get some good … I get the feedback that I‘ve always wanted, really. You know people have come up to me and said, you know: I like your lyrics. They listen to lyrics and they relate to them. And that‘s the best thing, really, because I do try hard to put good lyrics … like meaningful lyrics in a song. So that describes exactly how I am feeling at that point and it describes what they might be feeling at that point, so I think, I couldn‘t ask for a better reception than coming up to me and say: I can actually relate to what you are saying. That to me is probably the best feeling, you know?
BW: Thank you. Of course I googled you.
OJ: You googled me? Am I on google?
BW: No... When I came back from Cardiff, the last thing you „yelled“ when you went away was: The band‘s name is Vince James! I put that search into my smartphone but I did not have any wifi. So that day when I contacted you was the first day I ever tried, because I had my phone in my hand with an internet connection and I just pressed the button „Vince James“. And I found – what was it called: Youmuso?
BW: You have some sort of biography there and it said there that you have been playing … since you were sixteen? Is that right?
OJ: Well, I had my first guitar when I was about six. It was about six or seven, I was really young. And it was a Fender Strat, it was an amazing guitar.
OJ: Sadly it is not here anymore. I was a bit reckless and I lost it, but I started playing other people‘s songs and then all of a sudden I found myself writing my own. So I think that‘s what really triggered something inside of me, to say: I have got to do this now, because I am actually quite good at it. And I like it,you know I actually really enjoy it. I try not to take it for granted at all, because it is a gift. Gift from God.
BW: What took you so long, if you are this experienced, to get out in the open?
OJ: It was just opportunities: Opportunities came and I just took them, really. You know, I have always had the dream of playing to like thousands of people … in Glastonbury … of course I have. And I still have that dream now.
BW: I visualize you there!
OJ: Yeah (laughs) exactly! It was just: When I wrote these songs I had the opportunity to play some gigs, and I did. And when I did play those gigs I realized that people actually liked my songs. So why not carry on? Yeah and I just have been doing that ever since, really.
BW: So you really went for it a hundred percent.
OJ: Yeah well, at first I was a little bit nervous, of course. I didn‘t want to give too much away of myself, you know at the end of the day you are sensitive … sensitive stuff that I am singing about. It is all about how I feel and what I was going through at a particular time, but as soon as I got over that and realized that there‘s a million other people in the world that were probably feeling the same way I was back then, it was all fine from there.
BW: Because you noticed that people could relate to it.
OJ: Yeah exactly, yeah.
BW: But that‘s a point that I‘ve heard in quite a lot of interviews now. The vulnerability. You have to just…
OJ: Be open with it.
BW: ...be open with it – when you are on stage, as a musician. That seems to be quite a big part of being a musician.
OJ: Definitely. If it is not honest, then no one is going to pay attention. It needs to be something that you really believe in, otherwise I don‘t think there is any point in doing it. Unless it is to make money of course.
BW: So my next question will have to be: Do you need protection? Have you just come out saying: I see it is that way and I live with it – you sounded like that – or are there moments when you say: I need a safe space! And I need to do something to get to that safe space.
OJ: What, away from the audience?
BW: Yeah, probably. You shouldn‘t do that on stage, I guess.
OJ: (laughs) Yeah, don‘t run off stage! And then go in the back and just cry in the corner! I mean, we are our own protectors at the end of the day, I know we have family and friends to support, but at the end of the day it is down to you to make sure that you are okay. And that you feel okay in front of whoever it is. I am vulnerable, of course I am. But so is everyone else. And I think if we can all come to some sort of an understanding, then I think, you know, we are in a good place. If that makes sense.
BW: Okay. What I hear is that you don‘t feel you need that kind of protection I am talking about.
OJ: No, I don‘t think so. Yeah.
BW: So, question asked, thanks!
OJ: (laughs) It took a long time to get there, but yeah, no, I don‘t think so.
BW: But really: Everybody talks about that. It really is this connection to the audience you need to get into. Can you describe that?
OJ: What, the connection with the audience?
BW: What happens when you are on stage? What is the difference between a rehearsal and a performance?
OJ: Waah, I don‘t think you can relate the both at all! I mean: A rehearsal to myself is my time, and it‘s just me, it‘s a really selfish act ... at the end of the day. But then I go to an audience and you have to make them feel like you did at that time. So it‘s completely different: You‘re not being selfish, you‘re giving. You are being the opposite of selfish, you are being quite grateful. Generous. And I think the main thing is to make them feel a part of it in the biggest way possible. If you can‘t do that, I don‘t think people are going to embrace you and come and pay an interest. Because I think the main thing that I try to do when I am playing at a show is to make them feel like I am there on stage with me. I believe that is why people go to Football matches and Rugby matches or whatever sport, you know, you go to a big stadium to watch... those people are there to watch that game and try to feel a part of it. Like those players on the pitch. And that is what I want the audience to feel everytime they come and see me play. Yeah (laughs) and I try to do it as best as I can, I don‘t know if I do a good job, but it seems like maybe people recently have started to do that, which is good, I think they are making progress on that.
BW: So you mean socially? Or that it is just a point in time and history that this happens, or how do I interpret this?
OJ: Say that again, sorry, I don‘t know.
BW: (laughs) It sounded very big, what you just said.
OJ: Yeah, sorry.
BW: No no. As if it was a certain time in time and history that things like that were possible now and they weren‘t before.
OJ: Yeah maybe. Yeah maybe. I think that I have learnt, ‘cause obviously I spend a lot of time on my own, you know, writing music and just generally being on my own anyway. Because I think that‘s where most inspiration comes from. For some people – I mean everyone is different - but for me inspiration generally comes when I am on my own and locked away from everything. That‘s just the way I work. But I think … what was the main point of this question?
BW: Ha! (laughs) I gathered that you are on to something special. And that you found it is a special time to do what you do. I think I just wanted to make sure that I got you right.
OJ: Yeah yeah, definitely: Recently it‘s become a lot more clear to me. It‘s always what I wanted to do but I‘ve never really had the same reception. I think really now it‘s just starting to come into it‘s own a little bit.
BW: You‘re out now.
OJ: I‘m out now. I‘m out. For the world to see.
BW: You just said: What you need to be inspired is to be alone. Are there other things that are existencially necessary for you to do or have or be to write a song?
OJ: It‘s just general situations that you find yourself to be in that could be bizarre. It could be funny. It could be all sorts of things. But normally those things happen and then I go away and think about them - and that‘s generally when I am on my own. So these things will happen but I won‘t think about it at the time and then I‘ll go away and then find myself on my own and then I‘ll think more in depth about it. And that‘s probably where it all comes from really. It might be a day after it happened, a month or a year. But it always seems to come out in the wash, you know? So to speak, it will always come out, because we are humans at the end of the day, even if we push it down as far as possible, it will always come out.
BW: You have a set of photographs on your Facebook fanpage. I loved that one where you are laying in that bathtub?
OJ: Oh the bath! The bath, yeah.
BW: That was really special.
OJ: Did you like that one? (laughs) We did a bunch that day. We did a load of photos. I got some local photographer to come in and what I did was – it was really quite cool actually, because I got to create the album cover – so what I did, was: I took my bedroom in my old house, which is my mum‘s house.
BW: I guessed.
OJ: Yes, and basically I tipped it upside down, so I took everything, I spread beercans over … I just created something to represent a night of chaos and then it‘s supposed to be the morning after. All of that. I think I did it quite well, actually. But it was quite lucky because we were having plumbing done in the bathroom, which is next door.
BW: Oh no!
OJ: Yeah no, but it was great because they took the bathtub in my bedroom for storage and that‘s where the idea came from.
OJ: When I saw that I was like: That‘s so unique! And you don‘t normally see that. So what I thought was: Why don‘t I turn my bedroom into a sort of a party scene – which goes with the song because that‘s what it is about at the end of the day. It is about being a bit reckless the night before and then waking up the next morning, thinking: Oh damn, what‘s just happened? So that‘s kind of where it all came from.
BW: So where did you get the idea? Because it‘s the cover of your first album and you transport something … meaningful – defining you, maybe for the rest of your career. So what were your thoughts?
OJ: My thoughts were: This looks great, this is probably the perfect environment to do something like this, because it just represents what I was trying to say in that song so well. Because all I was trying to do was: Put into perspective that we can all get into those kind of reckless states – and then wake up the next morning and think: Oah! You know: That could have gone a lot better. But there is always next time. If you listen to the lyrics, it says: Even though this has just happened and it might be bad, it can always be rectified next time. So that is kind of what my thinking process was anyway.
BW: Yeah. They are a good set of photos. I liked them.
OJ: Yeah. Good. I had to pick, because I think there were seven overall. And I had to pick one of those seven, so I hope I chose the right one anyway. (laughs)
BW: And I saw the LPs of course, what was it? Tina Turner? You had a few of them next to you.
OJ: Oh yeah! Oh you noticed them!
BW: Of course. I have a bit of a fetish I think … with…
OJ: Oh that is brilliant. I am so glad you noticed that because there‘s lots of little details in that photo. I mean you got the typewriter – did you notice the typewriter?
BW: Yes I did!
OJ: You got a typewriter, I think ...yeah the LPs were Tina Turner, Elvis Presley, Tom Jones of course, which is a Welsh legend, Elvis Costello.
BW: (laughs) Of course! I forgot he was Welsh!
OJ: Yeah, yeah. So I had all the ones that were necessary, I think.
BW: Are they sort of idols for you or was it just a bit … a plaything?
OJ: Yeah, and if you noticed, they are all kind of independent sort of artists. And I have always had a certain thing for independent artists, just because they are so – well, independent. And they do everything on their own and they vary, you know. They don‘t have to rely on anybody. They just do their thing and they seem to really enjoy it – and I just want that, really.
BW: So you want to gain some kind of freedom? By performing on your own? Or what is it?
OJ: It is complete freedom. It is.
BW: So it will be you and your guitar?
OJ: Well maybe, I don‘t know, what the future holds, like for now I am happy doing that. That is how I started and that‘s how I‘m happy to finish – if need be. I‘m always willing to work with other people, because they‘re just fun. It‘s just fun to do that. Also it‘s just enlightening. They might think of something that you might not.
BW: What I have heard until now is: "Independence" is important. And you talked about being "reckless".
OJ: (laughs) Sure!
BW: "Getting to the essence" – I knew that before, of course. You talked about the artists on your photos, but are there any who inspired you with your music? Are there any idols? Or: Are you a fan of any other bands?
OJ: Yeah sure, I am a fan of a lot of bands. That goes without saying, I mean there is so many bands out there.
BW: But is there one special that you can say: That‘s the band that made me turn into a musician, or made me wish to be one.
OJ: I don‘t know if it is to do with music as such. Simply because I am inspired by most things that happened in my life, including my family, friends and just experiences in life. Obviously music that I have listened to has helped, of course it has, but the things that I write about, you know the message, that I put in my songs, doesn‘t come from other bands. It normally comes from experiences that I‘ve had to endure. When I was growing up, I was listening to all sorts, I was listening to Eminem. The Rapper. Have you heard of him?
BW: Oh yes, of course. I can‘t stand his voice, it is just such…
OJ: It‘s angry.
BW: Yeah, I do not really like it – but it has a certain drive I can appreciate.
OJ: Yeah but that all changed. That‘s what I grew up listening to. You know, I listened to like Robbie Williams.
BW: Very emotional.
OJ: Yeah I know. But I couldn‘t relate to them now, because you know: Things change. But maybe music did have an influence on my writing, but I can say primarily it is to do with experiences and just things I needed to get off my chest at that time.
BW: So what you are saying is that you got a step beyond that. That is quite fascinating for me, because when I look through my records, I find that the ones I was in love with, being eleven years old, are still my favourites.
BW: I don‘t think I‘ve developped much of a taste (laughs) in the 33 years in between. It is still Joan Armatrading for me and I am still in love with Freddie Mercury‘s voice.
OJ: Well of course, yeah who isn‘t? (laughs)
BW: But whenever I come back – and of course I don‘t listen to them all day long, not even every year, but I always come back to the old music I was introduced to as a kid and it still defines me. In a way. Joan Armatrading, she‘s … the best.
OJ: Of course.
BW: She will always be. For me. And you say you don‘t relate anymore to that old stuff you were hearing?
OJ: I don‘t think so. There‘s never been a band that I‘ve been truly obsessed with. So I‘ve never been to all their gigs, I‘ve never bought their records or … like I think, I went through phases, of course. I mean: Like there was a band that I loved one week and then next week another. It is like Offspring one week, Green Day the next.
BW: Wow yeah.
OJ: Exactly, you know, but it was always music in general, it was no particular band that I wanted.
BW: I can‘t really hear any influence of them in your music.
BW: No, not really.
OJ: I don‘t suppose you can. It‘s weird because I think the music that I play comes from within, it‘s not just from listening to other people‘s music. I think if you listen to my music it just doesn‘t have any reference to any artist that I‘ve listended to. Maybe it does a little bit, maybe it does to some people but I think the course it truly became, it came from within myself and not from any other bands or artists. But maybe you can‘t pidgeonhole that. I don‘t know. Maybe that‘s for you to say, not for me! (laughs)
BW: No you‘re right. I couldn‘t say who I am reminded of when I listen to your music. I am not, it‘s yours.
OJ: Yeah well, that‘s great, I mean. Honestly people have a tendency to relate me to … because that‘s what we do, humans: We see a face and then we kind of relate it to something we‘ve seen before. So that‘s always what happens.
BW: So have you heard someone referring to bands or a musician?
OJ: Plenty. But it‘s all different ones. If it was one band in particular, I‘d be like maybe: Hang on, I‘m not doing something right here, but because everyone says different things, so someone will say: You sound like this band! And another person will say: You sound like this one! So I think that‘s quite good in a way, because you are not really being pigeonholed like I said before. It‘s all varied. I think it‘s really important these days to have a variation.
BW: Yeah. I was just trying to get that question right: You are always talking about the places you have to go and that it comes from within yourself. Could you name from where inside yourself your music comes? Or is it a crazy question? I don‘t know.
OJ: (giggles) Well are you talking scientifically or…?
BW: No no no, oh no no no! I know I am supposed to do scientific research here, but I tend to just go and just chat along with my interview partners.
OJ: (laughs) Oh yeah, it‘s fine. I mean how would you mean: From where would it come from?
BW: Maybe you have an image in mind ... or a body part you feel is specially involved, like what I noticed when we talked the last time? You were always „coming from your heart“, you were always like this. Very expressive.
OJ: Okay, I think it‘s nothing physical about it. It‘s nothing to do with physicality. It‘s just what you feel, really. I don‘t know how you put it into words. I take a feeling and then I put it into a song. So it is pretty much as simple as that. It‘s just a feeling or a thought at that present time. And it just goes into a song. And then all off a sudden it‘s being played to these different sorts of people. And then they are coming up to you and saying: You know, that‘s what I‘ve been feeling. And that‘s probably the best gift to give someone, I think. And it‘s a gift for me at the end of the day, because if I can make someone a bit happier, even if it‘s just for an hour or a day, that‘s just great, you know?
BW: So that would be something you wish to do for your audience?
OJ: That‘s something I definitely wish to achieve. Yeah. I think that‘s what all artists strive for. I don‘t know. That makes sense to me anyway.
BW: (laughs) You will find there is a huge variety in what artists want.
OJ: That‘s true. We all want different things out of it. Some money, some fame, and some just complete enjoyment.
BW: Yeah exactly. I‘ve had them all. It‘s quite interesting. I didn‘t talk to many musicians, but the variety goes from „I only compose for myself. I would never expect anybody to listen to it. How do you know that I‘m a musician?“ - It‘s a bit exaggerated, but it‘s like: „I will never produce a single!“ or something like that. And on the other side of that range there is someone who says: „I want to disturb the audience!“
BW: „I want them to get into thinking: What am I doing with my life?“, things like that – exaggerated, of course, again. But there is a huge range in what musicians want in their audience. So it‘s an important question. I sometimes get the feedback: It‘s too simple. Things I am asking are too simple.
BW: But I think, that‘s what it gets to. If it‘s not simple then it‘s not good.
OJ: Oh I do agree, because I am not the most technically established musician. My technicality isn‘t amazing, my musicianship, that‘s not that great. I wouldn‘t even say I am a musician. I just write songs.
BW: Oh, okay.
OJ: And I sing.
BW: Singer/Songwriter. Would that be a reference to you?
OJ: I suppose you could. If you want to put a title on it, yeah, I suppose so, but I‘m not … I never really like … I took music in Comprehensive. I took the music course in school and I failed.
OJ: I failed, twice. I failed twice. I have no knowledge of music. I have no…
BW: Ha! (laughs) Listening to you doesn‘t transport that.
OJ: Yeah (laughs) I think and that‘s what I am trying to get at: That it has nothing to do with the music that I listen to. And that it‘s nothing to do with, you know, actually going for the process of learning music. That I write like this … I think in a way, when people say: „That‘s completely honest music you‘re doing“, they‘re right. I believe it is a gift. Okay, call me crazy if you like, but…
BW: Oh no! I think it‘s the third time you said that.
OJ: Yeah it is.
BW: So it must be something that you feel.
BW: It‘s a gift. And you are thankful for it.
BW: Not even to have developped it, but to have noticed you got it. You have to get to the point to notice what‘s your gift.
OJ: Yeah, which is really special in a way. I mean if I casted as something else, I probably would be taking it for granted. And it wouldn‘t be true. I honestly think like it is just something that was made inside of me.
BW: Oh my god, I just had this totally different thought. You remember what you called me…
BW: … when I told you… (laughs)
OJ: You put it in your first message to me.
BW: Because I really went with it. I bathed in it.
OJ: (laughs) Really?
BW: Yeah, it‘s a definition I really liked. And you‘re about the only person that could call me a „bitch mother“ without me being insulted in any way. Because I think that‘s what happened: It came from out of your heart and was so honestly meant. And I just didn‘t … from the word, of course, I should be terrified!
OJ: Offended! Yeah.
BW: But I wasn‘t. I took it as a label, a title, like a coronation… no, what‘s it called? A knight…
OJ: You got it! You can call it a knighthood.
BW: Bitchhood! Ha. When you say knighthood, I say bitchhood!
OJ: (laughs) That is great! I am going to keep that. I am going to keep „bitchhood“. That‘s amazing.
BW: It is something I could relate to. Because it came so spontaneously out of you, and it came from a place that was right.
OJ: I am so glad you said that, because when you said it in the first message that you sent me online, I was like: I can‘t believe I have just called someone that! I am so glad you just reassured me that you were okay with it, ‘cause otherwise I‘d feel quite terrible about that.
OJ: Yeah, but I think it was just the conversation that we were having was so honest and so fun.
BW: It was such a great day. I was getting the train just a few minutes after you left and I was sitting in that train and I was so sad, I was really bathing in my sadness. To have to leave that wonderful place you live in - Oh, that‘s a good question. You are not from Cardiff originally? I read that.
OJ: Ooh Cardiff is – I have always been from Wales. I've lived in Wales all my life.
BW: Is that in your music aswell? Is there something that is Welsh or that is defined by your growing up in Wales?
OJ: I wouldn't say there is any patriotism.
BW: Oh no, that's not what I meant.
BW: Absolutely not, no no, that's not what I meant. Just ... like the energy of the place. It's a great place.
OJ: It is, yeah. I wouldn't say it's got anything to to with the place. I think that's focussing too much on the wrong thing. It doesn't matter where you are, I think it was just … it didn't matter where I was. Most of it was to do with what went on in that place. That's kind of the main thing to focus on. From my point of view.
BW: Yeah. So it's – again - you and your life experience.
OJ: Yeah I mean you can be in any sort of surroundings, but if you feel in a certain way or think in a certain way, I suppose the place, where you are, will have an influence on that. But mhm, I don't know. In a way I don't know where I am going with this because, yeah, I'm sure it might have had an influence. I'm not really sure what kind of influence it has had. But mostly it's just to do with thoughts and feelings. And not my surroundings necessarily.
BW: You've been on tour quite recently. Have you been able to compose something? Have you written songs while… ?
OJ: I'm always writing, yeah.
BW: So the place is not…
OJ: I suppose maybe I'll contradict myself here.
OJ: Yeah, and I'll go back on what I said. The place where you are: Of course it has an influence on how you think and feel, of course it does. The surroundings always does. So I'm going to contradict myself massively here.
BW: Okay, I think I get what you want to say: Because it's you! First it's you, and then there's the place.
OJ: And then there's the place. That's perfect, yeah, I could have just said that in the first instance. And maybe I wouldn't have had to contradict myself yet. Urrgh. (laughs)
BW: No problem. Contradiction makes people interesting.
OJ: Yeah? (laughs) Really?
BW: Because you have to think really hard: What is he up to? (laughs)
OJ: Yeah, I try to be as honest as possible.
BW: Yeah yeah, thank you.
BW: Can you still go on? We are chatting here for fifty minutes now? I am not sure if that's alright with you?
OJ: Yeah I'm good. I'm comfortable. I mean I've got half a cup of tea left, so...
BW: Yeah me too.
OJ: Let's see how long that lasts. Yeah?
BW: Do you want a refill?
OJ: I know, same here. What kind of tea do you get out there?
BW: Oh this is a Fortnum and Mason Smoky Earl Grey, originally brought from London.
OJ: Oh wow.
BW: Because you don't get it in Germany. Have you tried Smoky Earl Grey?
OJ: I've tried Earl Grey and I'm not a massive fan. It's not to my taste.
BW: It's really a revelation. If you like Earl Grey.
OJ: Yeah I imagined.
BW: You shouldn't try it.
OJ: No. (laughs) Maybe I'll acquire a taste as I mature.
BW: Mhm. I'm quite obsessed with tea.
OJ: Yeah of course. You need it. You need it.
BW: So it's the same in Wales. I thought it was an English thing. It's a Welsh thing aswell. Tea.
OJ: Tea, yeah well, we drink English Breakfast Tea.
BW: Oh you do?
OJ: But I'm sure Wales have their own tea. I mean I haven't been on a massive hunt for it. I mean I just like a good old English Breakfast Tea.
BW: Mhm, I like them aswell.
OJ: You got to experience it while you're over here. So you must have been having a very good time.
BW: Mhm, exactly.
OJ: Yeah? (laughs) Cool.
BW: I have one question that everybody „has to“ give an answer to. It's just the one. I told you why I am doing these interviews: Because I want to find my work ethics. I think that was what I said when we met.
OJ: Yeah, that's exactly what you said, yeah.
BW: So what we are up to in our studies is to find out …or not to find out but to work as an artist does. And to try to make the coaching process … yeah, as open and free as possible, I guess, that's what it means.
BW: And could you – You must have thought something when I told you what I did – could you give me a first impression of your thoughts? Do you have any idea what I am talking about? What could that mean? To work in coaching as an artist does?
OJ: So you are trying to get at what you … correct me if I'm wrong, but … so you are trying to feel the same way as an artist does, is that a thing?
BW: Yeah, work the same way!
OJ: So you want to kind of figure out the way they're working and try and replicate it yourself? Is that right?
BW: Yeah replication, I think, is not what I am after.
BW: But to understand: How does an artist work? So that I can try to learn that.
OJ: … understand it?
BW: Yeah, understand it … and to grab that
OJ: I think that's amazing. I think that is really cool. I think from an outsider's perspective it's quite hard to understand that, because I'd find it really hard to go and say to something like medicine and try to understand what they do. So it's really hard to understand it. But I admire the interest and, sort of, the admiration, if you like. And trying to understand what they do, and that's quite cool. I think that's really cool. I don't know if I could do it myself. I just do what I do and that's it.
BW: Oh, because you just don't think about what you do.
OJ: That's right, yeah. Maybe that's why it's so hard to answer some questions. If someone is trying to understand what you are doing and you can't really explain it in the proper way, then it can be quite difficult.
BW: Would you say that singing and songwriting is kind of your language or kind of your means of expression?
OJ: I mean it's just a way of releasing whatever you don't want to release in a general conversation. Or maybe something you're embarrassed about, something that you really don't want to say out loud. It just helps to put it in a song. And then maybe make it not so obvious. You know, 'cause if you put it in words in a conversation, then it comes across as quite obvious and plain - but if you put it in a song, maybe it leaves it up to the listener to figure out what you're trying to say.
BW: Aha? So it's a bit enigmatic?
OJ: Mhm, sure, yeah. That's a good word for it. Actually! (laughs)
BW: I am still clinging to what you said … these places… I know I am going on and on about them.
OJ: No it‘s cool.
BW: You said your songs can be feelings or thoughts. That‘s exactly what you are about. But what combines it, is: They have to come from inside yourself and have to be true… some kind of true and honest.
OJ: I think so, yeah.
BW: Is that what you would say I should transfer?
OJ: You can transfer … you are your own person, you can transfer whatever you want to take away. I can‘t tell you what to take away from that. I mean if I did then there wouldn‘t be any point in doing it really. You know you need your own interpretation of what I am saying or what has been said in this conversation. I would never like to tell you what to think or feel about what I just said. That‘s completely up to you, yeah.
BW: Yeah, and that‘s what I get from the answer. I have to be my own person and live my own feelings.
OJ: Definitely, yeah. I can‘t feel for you. I can‘t think for you, so you take whatever you want out of this conversation, yeah. Hopefully it will be good.
BW: (laughs) So you are planning your album. Are they the songs I have heard in your Thirsty Thursday set or are there new songs aswell?
OJ: Oh you watched that, didn‘t you? Yeah. Yeah that seems like a lifetime ago now. Seems like so long.
BW: Ha, it‘s been three months or so?
OJ: I know! I know. But that‘s how fast things have come, that‘s how quickly things have changed. It just feels like a while ago, but I think the majority of those songs you heard will be on the album. But because I am lucky enough to be writing new songs all the time that there is going to be ones you don‘t recognize. It‘s kind of a work in progress. I mean we will probably have twelve songs that we want to put on there, but they could change within a week or a month, because if you are always creating, then you always want to try and better yourself. No not better yourself, but, you know: If you get attached to a certain song then you want it to be heard more than other songs. Who knows?
BW: You have to leave now?
OJ: I have to leave. Is that okay? I will leave now and can we just carry on this conversation another time?
BW: Exactly. Okay! Then – just leave now!
OJ: Yeah, brillant!
BW: Thanks, Olly, for taking the time!
OJ: Oh thank you. Thanks for asking such lovely questions. (laughs) Bye. I will speak to you soon anyway, I will message you, yeah?
OJ: Alright. By bye.
BW: Bye bye.