An Interview With The Irish-London-Based Group, OFFICER!
On February 28th, the Irish London-based, dark indie soundscape group, OFFICER, will be releasing their newest album called “Night Tennis.” The first track out from this collection is the heart-breaker single, “Heavening (Watch Out Bottles).”
The album and its singles explore deeply personal experiences from the life of central songwriter and figure, DC Logan. It is awake with emotional intelligence and spans Irish folk, singer-songwriter, alt-country, soundscape and electro influences to create a signature indie sound. This song is a marker of an album where Logan has managed to create something very unique that can actually be called his own sound, which is a rare enough experience these days that it’s a little shocking to come across.
WATCH “HEAVENING (WATCH OUR BOTTLES)”
Learn more about The Officer in the following All Access interview-
Happy New Year! When it comes to your music, what are you most excited about for 2020?
Releasing my new album, Night Tennis, on 28th February!
Can you recall the moment when you thought you could be in this group together? Do you find that your band name still represents you and your music today?
It’s been gradual. In actual fact it’s just me really but working with lots of different friends here and there according to who is available… but recently a core group has formed and I do remember kind of having an out-of-body experience with those guys a while back where I realised I was really happy with them and relaxed, that I could be myself, that we all value each other, like there’s this natural and unforced sense of equality and seeing who each other is. We were playing the song Heavening from the new album and it takes some openness and love and vulnerability to play that song well and it was just happening, we were there with each other and for each other in the middle of this heartbreaker tune and I just thought yeah, this is safe and good and has compassion in it. In addition, I have always felt only good on stage with these guys and that is an incredible thing – to be proud of and in love with who you’re standing up there with in front of the world is something deeply special for sure.
How do you think your hometown has influenced the sound and how you all carry yourselves in this group? If not, why is that?
Well, we’re all wanderers from across Europe who find ourselves in London and so all bring that wandering with us in all its paradoxical mixed up-ness and yet that itself births an openness and togetherness. I think we are all thinkers, globally minded, environmentally minded, caring and open towards others who are different to us, other cultures and so forth, fiercely loving little creatures… I think London is in that somehow as the global city it is. Also I think we all share a love of our heritage of seriously amazing music over the years… the edge, rock, punk, inclusiveness, intimacy and diversity of it. My own hometown is laced through this album quite a bit I’d say, there is something very origin-tethered about this album for me and holding a rope between there and here, then and now and the future.
Let’s talk about your forthcoming album, “Night Tennis.” How excited are you all to be releasing this collection later this month? Did anything about the process of putting it together surprise any of you?
I’m so excited for it to be going out into the world now. It’s taken a long time to get where I wanted to with this one and yeah, myself and all of us are happy this moment is here. It surprised me to be so clear about what I wanted from this album and to therefore be so persevering towards one focused thing. And I guess it surprises me how uplifting, encouraging and life-affirming an album it is with how dark and war-like a place internally it came from.
What was it like going into the studio to record the songs on this album? Can you pick out a couple favorite memories during this process?
It was a joy, almost the whole way, just a joy, even when re-recording songs to get closer to what was in my heart and head for the sound of them. It was a beautiful embattled and cathartic pursuit of something quite crystalised inside me, like a crisp open night sky or something that I could see internally. We started using the word ‘Heavening’ a lot, which obviously isn’t a word but it was my word for the soundscape or feeling I was trying to reach so we’d be like ‘I’m heavening right now!’ I remember we had a big night out at a Triumph event where I got a little happy and fell off a wall and down a set of stairs on the way home to the studio. When I woke up the next day I bailed and started walking home and then something in me was like ‘Nah. Go back’ … Eventually I listened to that little voice and returned along the river and in the worst of states had a breakthrough with one of the songs I was struggling with and recorded it super quick and just completely nailed it’s delicate beauty there and then… that was a good moment that brought a lot of affirmation and encouragement in what could have been a descent into madness otherwise. Oh, and I didn’t die from my fall, that was cool.
Can you talk about the inspiration behind some of the songs on this collection? How did you pick ‘Heaving (Watch Out Bottles)’ to be the first single? How did it come together?
The album is borne out of long drags of experiencing insomnia… waking up and being kept awake every night for ages with anxious thoughts and soothing myself by repetitively watching the Robert Rauschenberg performance art piece, Open Score. I was having something of a breakdown and turning it into a breakthrough haha… facing traumas and the modern age of global anxiety and using their power against themselves to overcome and be joyful. Heavening was a really key song early on, it holds something within it that is really core to the whole album. It has beauty and brokenness living through its journey together as one organism and yeah, that just seemed right and good and representative. It was the second single after Tilt The Clox and before Pylon Moon.
Generally, how does this group go about writing your music? Do you write together or separately? What is the first step in your music-making process?
We’ve not yet really written together. I write the songs myself from poems, jottings of lyrics, images and photos I take, notes and text messages I send myself, melodies I record on my phone as I walk along, sounds and beats I make up on my little bedroom studio system. I always seem to have a lyric and a melody running through my head at any given moment and then it’s just about the chase of the right sounds and creations of the right journeys for the story and as loads of songwriters say, the songs often tell you what they need… in fact I feel like this whole album told me what it needed before I’d even played note.
I always like to ask bands if you all hang out socially apart from the music? When you aren’t working on music, do you guys hang out for fun?
No, not really. We have very separate lives and come together for the music. But actually, that has a lot more to do with the fact we’re still pretty new to each other and have met at a time in life when we each have a lot going on in our own personal lives with certain paths in motion. We are all extremely busy on our own things as well as the band you see. When we do get together to just have dinner or a drink it’s really great craic though, we’ve grown to love each other a lot, and music has a lot to answer for there and the intimacy and trust it can bring into a friendship, especially a group of individuals and how they mould to each other.
How do you feel that this band has grown through the years? What has remained the same?
Well, it’s been me the whole way but with many different combinations of friends live or in the studio recording… so yeah, I guess something that’s changed is we’ve had a core dedicated line up live now for a year, which has been wonderful and freeing and more fun. I think I’ve grown and changed a lot as a writer to desire to write different things about different aspects of life and relationships and the world we share.
Where do you think you are all happiest- in the studio recording new music, on stage performing or elsewhere?
We love performing live, mainly at a gig but also when we do live sessions, anything that involves smashing out the tunes.
What do you think makes for an ideal show for this band? What have been some of your favorite shows and venues lately?
We loved playing Camden Assembly, Notting Hill Arts Club, Pin Ups… they were just great shows with a particular intensity and sense of love in the air. Every show is different and ideal in it’s own way but maybe that answers the question well in that we are good at overcoming any issues, connecting with who is there with us. Connecting and being together with others and us all taking each other to a higher more loving and connected place is the point. We’ve had some amazing feedback about the feeling in the air at our shows, that it is a really loving atmosphere regardless of how high octane or slow and intimate a thing we have to offer on any given night, and I really couldn’t be happier than to have that be the word to describe what happens when we play, pretty cool really.
Where are you excited to head to this year? Do you have any 2020 dates scheduled yet?
We’re putting it together right now. We’ll go wherever anyone will have us! The dream would be to get around UK, Europe and over to the states again in the coming period of live action, but we’ll really need some strong partnership to pull that off again.
With all the different social media platforms out there, how do you balance it all? How do you think that social media has impacted this band? How often are you all on your different sites interacting with fans? How have you been able to utilize it through the years?
Yeah, its a very tough aspect of it, I am the only one who does this and I just do my best with it. I go great for long periods of time when somethings coming out or whatever but I run out of steam and often wish I had a team to work with m on it, but that’s not an option I have right now. It’s not a natural thing for me ot be online all the time… I love being in the real and physical world around me, being with people face to face, getting out and about, being screenless… but yeah, I work on it.
We are currently living through a very trying and politically charged time right now so I am curious to know how you all think being musicians and in this band still gives you the most joy in life today?
It’s really important. In times like these music is needed more and becomes potentially actually and practically creative, unifying, transcendent. We express how we feel and think about that stuff through the music, which alleviates the relentless madness, divisiveness and disconnection of it all. It redistributes the power and changes the dynamic. Music just simply lifts your spirits too and gives a spiritual focus to gather around that can be so positive, overcoming and hopeful.
What musicians have really been inspiring you all since you first started making music? Who would you still love to work with?
Loads, it can be hard to narrow that down. To begin with it was people like Bob Marley, Radiohead, Springsteen, Fleetwood Mac, Emmylou Harris, Queen, U2, and then as time went on it’s been people like Sharon van Etten, Big Thief, The War On Drugs, Angel Olsen, Local Natives, Cat Power, Julien Baker, Bon Iver, The National, Michael Kiwanuka, but it’s way broader than that, just trying to think of a few I’ve been spinning a lot recently…
What do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people continue to take away from your songs?
Boldness, intimacy, honesty, love, unity, discovery, grace, mercy. Come together right now over OFFICER, basically haha.