Melbourne indie rocker Oakley Boyd on his new record and why he works better alone

Melbourne indie rocker Oakley Boyd on his new record and why he works better alone

Words by Benjamin Lamb

We caught up with the one-of-a-kind musician ahead of the release of his new album, A Slice Of Oak.

Sole multi-instrumentalism, production and writing is slowly becoming the norm nowadays, with acts like Mac Demarco and Kevin Parker really killing it in the indie rock scene. Melbourne’s very own Oakley Boyd isn’t far behind, putting his own unique spin on the genre.

His musical journey started way back in primary school, then flourished after that.

“I started percussion around year five, I really got into it around year nine, that’s when I got into a band with one of my friends,” says Boyd.

“Music was just one of those things I fell into, it kinda just happened out of nowhere.”

The journey veered into multi-instrumentalism with lessons in all instruments.

“I started learning bass and piano from a teacher and started teaching myself guitar,” he explains.

Boyd mentions that he does love playing in bands, but there is a great “sense of achievement” from working alone, detailing some of his biggest influences who happen to be solo acts.

“I’m a big fan of Mac Demarco, Elliot Smith and Homeshake,” he says.

The way Boyd writes, records and produces his work is thoroughly impacted by his adoration for these acts.

“Music is really enjoyable when the artist is truthful, when it’s all legit.”.

“If someone can be that honest with their medium, and put something out there that’s so true of themselves, I think that’s really inspiring.”

A Slice Of Oak
assuredly provides listeners with a different side of Boyd, incorporating genuine and earnest messages that bleed through the record’s 13-tracks.

“I wanted to this album to be more sincere, and for the listener to be able to take something away from it.”

Boyd points out that he’d love listeners to get something from the album, but isn’t concerned if they don’t.

“If someone can take away a nice, heartfelt message from it, that’d be great. But if people want to listen to it just because they like the songs, that’s just as good!”

Penned across the 2020 pandemic, a lot of the album came naturally to Boyd after a “big burst of motivation.”

“I’d just start with a chord idea and whatever feeling the chords invoke it kind of just falls into place, something in my brain will just trigger. Having the ease of my own little DIY studio is great too, I can be like, ‘I’ve got an idea, let’s record it now.”

All of Boyd’s work is self-produced, mixed and mastered in his own home, something he prefers to do.

“It’s kind of like baking a cake in a way, it’s nice to have the store-bought kind, or get someone else to do it, but it’s the experience behind making it yourself. It was a conscious decision to produce it myself.”

“Plus I probably couldn’t be bothered to pay someone else to do it all, and then if I’m not happy with it, it’d be awkward,” he adds with a laugh.

But it’s not all on his own, the production/mixing and mastering being a point where Boyd likes to run it past those more experienced minds in the music industry.

“I like to go to people who know music well – some of my teachers who are very well adapted in the area, who have a good understanding of what makes a song. But I like doing what I want on the song, but if they say the mix is bad, I’ll fix it.”

“I’m pretty happy with producing it, it’s nice to sit with the song that bit longer because there’s more you get out of it.”

A Taste Of Oak drops Saturday December 5 via Oakley Boyd’s label Oak Man Records. Pre-save a copy here

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