On the day of the release of his debut album OT, Oliver Tank spoke to Grok from his Sydney home about his growth as an artist.
You’ve got 8 million streams under your belt already, and you’re only releasing your debut album today. How does that feel?
It feels great, man. It was a weird feeling waking up this morning. I couldn’t really sleep last night; I woke up super early and I was super nervous. People might not like it at all, but I think at the end of the day I’m very proud of it. I had a listen to it for a while and I was listening to it the other day, and I started getting into some of the songs and I was like, this is actually alright! Sometimes I get over my releases because I listen to them non-stop. It felt really good to have it out—I can move on; I can stop worrying about this album hanging over my head, and not feeling good enough.
Your new album OT is awesome.
You must be so happy with it.
It’s been a long time coming. I finished it six months ago and the process of getting it out took a couple of years to finish, so it’s kind of weird that the time is finally here and that it’s out. It’s a huge relief and I’m really proud of what I’ve done, and hopefully people like it.
We love it. How does it feel to have us fans watch you grow and mature as an artist?
It feels good. I think I have come a long way production-wise and song writing-wise. I’ve learnt so much in the past 5 years but the way OT sounds still kind of has that sound that was, like, sort of synonymous with my name for my first EP Dreams and stuff. I’ve tried to find a balance between making something sort of fresh and new, but also having that classic OT sound. It’s always nice when people are committed from the first EP and all the way up. I didn’t put music out for a long time and it feels good that people are still engaged and they still like it because it is a bit of a progression, but I think you can still hear older elements of my older work in there for sure.
Where was OT recorded and what was the creative process behind it?
I worked with a producer in Melbourne called Jono Steer. I was struggling to finish the album – it never felt good enough, it never felt finished. It was starting to be more of a burden than something that I loved doing – and I always loved making music, so when it became something that wasn’t fun it was troubling for me personally, because I just don’t want to do anything else in life other than music. I don’t have any other big passion I want to make a career out of. That was tough for me, I don’t see myself doing anything else.
I cycled through like fifty songs—a lot of them just ideas, little loops and stuff—and one day I was going through my drafts and I picked ten and said, you know what, I’m going to go out of the way and get out of Sydney, and find someone who can help me get it over the line—some of them are almost finished. I needed help from someone with song writing, production, and someone to bounce ideas off—it can be lonely sometimes, just working by yourself a lot just in my room locked away. That’s part of the reason it’s such a relief as well because it’s been such a long time coming and just felt good to have finally have finished it and move on to the next part of my life.
The album held my attention from beginning to end – the way it starts sets off a really good tone for the album. There are a couple of sad songs, but the way it ends is great.
Yeah, I wanted the album to have a positive ending, I didn’t want it to be sad and stuff even though there were some very sad times over the years. The album is kind of symbolic of me feeling better, and getting better, and moving on, and ready to take on whatever comes next—and it can’t just be like ‘when is this album going to be done’, which has been the question for years and years.
How does it feel, knowing you’re about to go on tour next month again?
It feels good, it’s been a while since I’ve played some shows—I look forward to getting back on the road. I’m trying to switch it up—I want it to be more engaging. I feel like I have more songs to play now, whereas earlier I didn’t have a lot of songs, so I kind of had to stretch things out. Now I’ve got to cut songs I like. I guess I’ll see how people respond to the songs. I’ll see which one’s people like the most and go with that.
I’ve got a bunch of music to finish on. I’ve almost finished enough songs to release a new EP. I’m really liking the new music I’m making. Once the tour is over—maybe early June—I’ll spend some time finishing up these songs and get more music out.