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How long have you been in the music industry?
I taught myself to play piano and started singing at the age of 14, so that’s over 20 years of writing, recording and gigging now.
How long have you been performing under your present name?
I created Observer Effect about 2 years ago. Even though I write all the songs and could have produced them solo, that’s not the path I wanted to head down. There’s an energy that a band can produce that’s impossible to reproduce solo. It’s something to do with the synergy of people creating together in the same moment. Hard to achieve, but impossible to substitute.
Where did you grow up?
The Cotswolds in the UK, near Oxford.
What in that era shaped your musical development?
I was a teenager in the 90’s which meant indie and Britrock was everywhere. This made me take an interest in folk rock from the 1960’s, since the UK bands in the ‘90s were drawing from those sounds. I listened to a lot of The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Simon & Garfunkel etc and then got very heavily into John Lennon post The Beatles. All the while I was playing Radiohead, Stereophonics, Chili Peppers and Oasis with my school band, as well as original stuff.
Who are your major influences?
My major influences for songwriting and sound are the artists I mentioned above plus lyricists such as Leonard Cohen (though I don’t claim to be anywhere near his league) and Nick Cave. More recent artists that influence our sound are Mumford & Sons and Coldplay.
How old were you when you started following a musician’s path?
As mentioned, I was 14 when I taught myself to play piano. I was mowing the lawn back in England (I live in Brisbane, Australia now), listening to Candle In The Wind by Elton John and something just clicked. All I knew was that I had to be able to play the piano that Elton was playing. So I learned the song note by note, discovered it was made up of chords and then started rearranging the chords and writing songs. Later I taught myself acoustic guitar too.
Who are the members of your band and what are their musical backgrounds? (Please fill this out completely)
A couple of years back I formed the original Observer Effect band and we recorded the two songs that we’ve released. After that the band members moved on to other projects. I will be reforming the band in the new year, probably with new band members. The songs will remain the same, a whole album is already written, right down to the harmonies.
Tell me a funny story that has happened to you as you.
I once performed at a Dusty Springfield memorial event at the Grosvenor Hotel in London. While I was doing my sound check, solo on my keyboard, I noticed that I was having a little difficulty hitting all the notes. I just thought I was a bit nervous (it’s an imposing venue for a 17 year old) and kept on.
Then came the high note. I missed it entirely. The organiser of the event literally winced! He must have been dreading my actual performance in front of a packed house. Turned out my keyboard was set three tones higher than normal. Fortunately, I rectified this for the actual performance and nailed it but I’ll never forget seeing that poor man virtually jump in shock when I butchered that high note in practice.
Where would you like to be in five years?
I’d love for my music to be passing from person to person, rolling on its own accord. I’m not interested in making money from music. I was actually signed to a small record label when I was 18 but pulled out because I felt like I was forcing myself down a path that was becoming less and less authentic musically and I knew that it wasn’t the direction I wanted to go in. It was only a few years ago, in the writing of this album, that I finally settle on a genre of music that I felt was my own – folk rock and indie.
So, 5 years time? Hopefully, gigging with my ‘new’ band and watching my music being passed around.
What inspires you to write?
The challenge of making people either happy, in love, or philosophical. Personally, I think it’s too easy to write songs about being sad, angry or vengeful. Stick it in a minor key and those things flood out before you know what’s happening. Writing songs that uplift people without sounding naive is a much more difficult challenge in my book.
What is your philosophy on life and how does it affect your music?
Massive question there. Attempting to answer that is actually what my music’s all about. One of the singles we’ve released is called The Philosopher and the album, when it’s fully recorded, will be called The Philosopher & The Fool. I guess I think I’m both.
Please add the names of the places you have played and the city they are in.
We haven’t gigged. That’s first port of call for the rebuild of the band.
Do you have any causes that tug at your heart strings, or that you support? Abused pets, world peace organization, save the whales, etc…
Too many to list. We do actively support Avaaz though. They’re an online petition organization (the original I think) and they run very strong campaigns targeting specific things that have the potential to make big differences across many issues.
Please tell me about your performance schedule and new releases.
Next job is the reforming of the band. Everything else is ‘to be advised’. FACEBOOK