Floating some ideas

Weissenborn guitarist Thomas Oliver is touring New Zealand this month. Photo: Terry Longley and...
Weissenborn guitarist Thomas Oliver is touring New Zealand this month. Photo: Terry Longley and Michelle Davies.
Silver Scroll-winning singer-songwriter and Weissenborn guitarist Thomas Oliver is touring Aotearoa this month in support of his sophomore album Floating In The Darkness.

The album, released in April, is Oliver’s first lyrical full-length work and follows his 2016 Apra Scroll-winning single If I Move to Mars. It continues to move Oliver away from the sound of his 2013 all-Weissenborn debut album  Beneath the Weissenborn.

Largely self-produced, written and mixed by Oliver, Floating In The Darkness is a set of ultra-earnest Ben Harper-ish songs that Oliver feels more accurately represent what he’s about.

"It’s funny. I’ve been a singer-songwriter since I started playing guitar," Oliver says.

"As soon as I started playing guitar at age 10, I started singing because that’s what my dad did, and that’s just what you did. I’ve always been a singer-songwriter.

"So it was a little bit unexpected that my first album was an instrumental Weissenborn album because I never expected I would do that. I would have never in a million years thought that I would release an instrumental slide guitar album as my first album, but that was what inspired me at the time and I just went deep into that place. I’m really glad I did. That album really internationalised my audience and gave me something unique and that hadn’t been done before.

"After that I really came out thinking that I needed to make an album of songs. This album really represents me, and it’s nice to feel that I’m wholly represented in a recorded music sense now. It’s a bit of a relief actually."

Floating in the Darkness’ tracks are approachable, reflective pieces of roots guitar, not unlike Trinity Roots or the aforementioned Harper but, of course, the thousands of viewers of his slide-playing on YouTube and fans of his debut album probably just wish he’d stick to doing instrumentals.

"It’s like if a drum and bass producer makes a techno tune," Oliver quips, half jokingly.

"All the drum and bass-heads get up in arms."

Thomas Oliver plays a solo set tomorrow at Pequeno Lounge Bar.


There can only one winner at tonight’s OUSA Battle of the Bands at Re:Fuel.

The annual music month showdown wraps this weekend with finalists Certainty, The Swampy Summits, Black Boy Peaches, The Vortz, Neverender, Mamazita, and one other act yet to be confirmed at the time of print, battling it out for a cash prize, Radio One studio recording time and an advertising package. Entry is $2 from 8.30pm.


With members departing these fine shores, Dunedin sonic noise outfit BABES is saying goodbye with a final show at YYY.

Christchurch’s Dog Power will be joining in the  festivities.

Expect analogue destruction, uneasy physical sensations and howling feedback.


The gigs

• Thomas Oliver Floating in the Darkness album release tour, tomorrow at Pequeno Lounge Bar, 8pm doors. Tickets from dashtickets.co.nz

• Radio One 91FM and NZ On Air present the 2017 OUSA Battle of the Bands final, tonight at Re:Fuel, Dunedin.  Entry $2 from 8.30.

BABES farewell show with Dog Power (Christchurch), tonight at YYY, upstairs at Purple Rain, Princes St, from 10pm, $5.

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