Monday, October 05, 2020

Oli Barton & The Movement Interview

London-based Alt-Indie band Oli Barton & The Movement have been creating a swirl of excitement since they first entered onto the scene with their brilliant debut single ‘Photographs’—released in late 2016 on Coke & Dagger Records. 

A much-envied combination of personality and talent, the band soon began to relentlessly rise, pushing boundaries both through their music and the progressive messages proclaimed within much of their music. Their sound is ever evolving, while Barton’s outlook on the music scene in general grows increasingly more mature and reflective with each new release.

With their latest release comes their most intensely reflective, witty and progressive offering to date. ‘Get Out’ brings to the conversation the ever-present yet often- neglected issue of sexual harassment within the live music scene. 

Having grown up regularly attending live music alone, the song reflects on the privilege of those who have the ability to enjoy it in such a way and an ode to those who have been forced into a relentless battle against the misogyny and physical abuse against women in music. 

In anticipation of the release of ‘Get Out’ later this week, we caught up with Oli to find out more...

Q: These are some strange times. Live music, and almost every other area of our lives, has come to a stand-still (although we are beginning to see some glimmers of light). How has your Corona-experience been? Has it led you to reflect, and if so on what?

A: You’re right, times are strange! It definitely has led me to reflect quite a lot on a fair few things. The isolation can bring out the best and worst in you. It’s definitely made me grow up a fair bit. I feel like I’ve moved away from the loud and aggressive person I was to being a bit more refined I guess!

Q: You’ve discussed the ever-present issue of sexual harassment in the live music scene and industry. Can you tell us a little more about your views on this?

A: During this release I’ve been caught repeating this adage of me going to gigs a lot when I was a teenager. It was the one place I felt really at home, in my own skin and surrounded by likeminded people. A real heaven. Now imagining that place being the complete opposite for young women who need that heaven in their lives. That’s terrible.

Q: In your opinion, what steps can the industry take to improve this?

A: We need to move away from victim blaming or turning a blind eye. There seems to be a general industry outlook of “Well, what can you do?”. We need to push to say that that is simply not good enough. Alongside this, male bands need to use their positions to call it out. There are so many platforms now dedicated to this cause and it’s no excuse for bands to ignore these issues. Nearly every other woman who goes to gigs on the regular seems to have been a victim of an incident and that’s just wrong.

Q: How can the break from live music that Covid has provided be used to springboard us into a somewhat brighter future in regard to these ever- present issues?

A: I believe that this virus won’t go until we reach a certain point. Until we fix society to the point at which we find balance. It may sound silly, but I really feel like this is an unprecedented time to re-educate ourselves and be better. The gig scene as it was, was broken. It’s time to fix it before it comes back.

Q: And what can artists and bands such as yourself do to improve this on a smaller scale? What steps can be taken by artists to implement values in their performance space—albeit a mosh pit or a dance floor—that the audience can take with them into society as a whole?

A: We can use our platforms to raise awareness of these issues. Turning a blind eye like so many doesn’t make the issue go away. Not only off the stage but also on it. We need to push more to make line-ups inclusive so that women know that if they want to make concert halls or gigs their safe space, they can.

Q: We are very excited to hear your upcoming release ‘Get Out’ next month. Where did the inspiration come from for this song?

A: Thank you. Sadly, it comes from a similar place. The track is all about victim blaming and shaming. Hence the lyrics, “Probably was the clothes she wore, perhaps the way she always swore.” These are not excuses to assault somebody. Every single person deserves to live without the fear of persecution.

Q: Your witty, topical lyrics play a big part in your music. Can you tell us a little about the narrative of the song?

A: Well I try to be witty but I normally just end up as droll! The song itself is told from the point of view of the persecutor. I felt this approach really drove home how ridiculous victim shaming is. “You should accept the blame, (you) presented a fair game.” It sounds crazy but that is the argument presented by these people.

Q: What can we expect from ‘Pipe Dreams’?

A: Despite what I’ve said, the album is a pretty good time. A neat document of youth and growing up. I’ve learnt so much and the album takes you right through all that with me. I’m very lucky to have such a talented team behind it.

Q: And finally, what can we expect from Oli Barton and the Movements in the future?

A: I’m just going to keep being me, it’s what I’m best at.

We for one can’t wait to see what Oli Barton & The Movements have in store. ‘Get Out’ will be released on 2 nd October.

- Louise Goodger



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