With their debut EP, Contours, due to be released on 16th September, Oxford based indie pop/Americana band Toliesel have a lot to be excited about. Consisting of Jack Oichawski (vocals), Nick Seagrave (drums), Tom Jowett (guitar), Adam James (guitar) and Gabriele Catalano (bassist & producer), Toliesel have taken their mutual love for rustic alt-country music and created a sound that’s unpredictably experimental one moment and beautifully refined the next. Singer Jack told us about the upcoming EP, why America is the place to be and what he’s currently listening to.
Firstly, tell us about Contours…
Jack: Contours is our debut EP, and is essentially the product of years as a band together. ‘Brothers’, the closing track of the EP, is our oldest track that we still play, and our new single, ‘Whispered Half Asleep’ is one of the most recent, so it very much feels like a documentation of everything we’ve been up to during our time together. We were also very keen for it to represent the full scope of our sound, so some of it is delicate, and reflective, and some of it is huge and distorted. We’re very proud of it.
Describe your music in one sentence.
Jack: I’ve always liked to think of us inhabiting a middle ground between indie-pop, Americana and shoegaze. Nobody likes to pin down their sound, but I think that gives people a good idea.
Who are your musical influences?
Jack: There are three main artists that we forever find ourselves coming back to, and referencing to each other: Death Cab For Cutie, Neil Young and Deerhunter. We proudly wear our influences on our sleeve, and I think there are elements of those artists in everything that we do.
What do you think is the best album ever written?
Jack: Such a mighty question! One that I don’t think I’m qualified to answer, but something like The Beatles’ Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band should always be held up as a significant milestone in pop music culture, and British culture in general.
What’s been your best gig so far?
Jack: Headlining in our home city last Christmas was just amazing. We had our friends’ bands supporting us, with pretty much everyone decked out in Christmas jumpers, with crackers and mince pies everywhere. It also felt like a real statement, that we were a band doing cool things musically, that we could hold our own against the other emerging bands from Oxford.
If you could duet with anyone, who would it be?
Jack: For me personally, I’d love to sing alongside someone like Nick Lowe, or Dolly Parton; some real country legend. As a band though, it would be really cool to take someone like First Aid Kit, or The Staves, and hear their incredible, tight-knit harmonies over our music.
What TV show would you like to hear your music featured on?
Jack: I suppose Game Of Thrones is never going to work is it? Aside from that, it would be an honour to soundtrack one of John Luther’s infamous meltdowns.
Where in the world do you most want to perform?
Jack: America without a doubt. America’s music, not least of all it’s homegrown genre of Americana has been such an influence over our sound. There’s so much wonderful stuff that comes out of that country, whether it’s the uber-cool indie bands from Baltimore, or dirty country rock from Texas, we love it all.
What’s your fondest musical memory?
Jack: Outside of the band, would probably be hearing Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit coming from my Dad’s cassette player. It was like someone turning on a switch. I’m sure it was for a lot of people. In Toliesel, I’ll always hold our cover of The Beatles’ Dear Prudence in fond regard. We recorded it on a day, after just a couple of rehearsals, on a super tight deadline, and we’re all so pleased with how it came out.
Lastly, what are you listening to right now?
Jack: I was recently introduced to the album BFI, by a band called The Dragons. The full album wasn’t released for decades, until DJ Food found a single track on a surf compilation album and wished to use it in a DJ mix. When seeking permission to use the track, he spoke to the original artist who revealed he had the original album buried away somewhere, which eventually got released on Ninja Tune , It has since become a cult hit, but nearly never saw the light of day at all. It’s a really cool, summery record, and all the better for having an awesome history.
Contours is available from the 16th September, through One Note Forever Records. Pre-order it now and get single Whispered Half Asleep instantly.