OLLY and Samuel form Percival Elliott….
and, before I got down to things, I had to ask the origin of that name! The guys talk about the track, Forever, and what we can expect from their album, Save Your Soul. I ask whether artists like Father John Misty are important to them – as their sound reminds me of him – and what acts they are inspired by; whether there is going to be any touring; what the scene is like on the South Coast – and some names we need to look out for.
The guys have supported Fatboy Slim so I ask what that was like; if they have plans formed for next year; how this week has played out for them – and how they will be spending this Christmas.
Hi, guys. How are you? How has your week been?
Olly: Yea, good...I sold a Chinese bronze antique censer at auction for a friend today. I made a good price - and made a good friend very happy.
It’s been great putting Forever out; let’s see how she flies…so, yes, been a good week. How do you do?
Samuel: It’s been an amazing week, thank you. I’ve had the great pleasure of working with some young bands with great promise in the studio.
For those new to your work; can you introduce yourself, please?
Olly: Good day to you. We are Percival Elliott - and we write songs that move the listener, tap into the heart; shake it about then put it back in. Musical surgeons; digital doctors, if you please.
That is our job - and we love it.
Samuel: We are a band who loves all genres of music and have stitched together the beautiful sounds of a string-quartet with the clashing chords of Grunge. Just wait until you hear the rest of the album.
Forever is just the beginning...
I am interested in the name, ‘Percival Elliott’. Olly. I believe its origin has something to do with your great-grandfather. Tell me more about him…
Olly: Well; my father informs me he was a right old English eccentric: loved his country and those around him. Apparently, very unpredictable. He would sometimes go missing for days; only to return with exciting ideas and new inventions...he was the heart of the family and a kind man. He would dress like a gentleman, whistle and hum to himself all the time. My grandma said he believed in time-travel.
I just love that!
Samuel: We have the most amazing pictures of Mr. Elliott and his family. He really does look like a time-traveller. It was a no-brainer to name the band after such a gent.
Forever is the new song from you guys. What is the background to the track?
Olly: Butterflies...blushing, love and hope.
Samuel: Love, life and everything in-between. Have you ever met someone who has enchanted your heart so much that you’d never want the feeling to fade?! Forever is the story of eternal love: the kind of love which is written about centuries after the initial spark.
It is the first single from the album, Save Your Soul. What sort of themes and ideas inspired the new record?
Olly: Sam and I are both music fans - so the album is an eclectic mixed bag. It’s Folk-meets-Pop-meets-Rock-meets-more-familiar-sounds. We jump from singing about stalkers, to love songs; to party people.
It’s a good record, so we believe.
Samuel: We even have a ditty about a cat entitled Captain - inspired by Cat from Hell by Lynn Truss. One of my favourite tracks has to be Betty: the story of a young lady who has lost her way - accompanied by the sounds of Supertramp and Queen.
I think Betty will have to be the next single.
Your new single has that reliable mix of vocal harmonies and hard-hitting piano sounds. Names like Father John Misty and Jeff Buckley come to mind. Are these artists who have inspired your work?
Olly: Well read. Mr. Misty is on the button right now - and Mr. Buckley has scared many a heart. Both, like many old and new artists, have been an influence on this record.
Samuel: Father John Misty’s work is thought-provoking, mystical and highly entertaining. Josh Tillman really knows how to create a mood and traps you in that moment like an Englishman in a queue at the Post Office.
Buckley is timeless: Grace is an album that never fails to inspire me. It’s my go-to album when I have writer's block.
Which artists did you grow up listening to? Which musicians have inspired your own music?
Olly: Elton John, The Beatles; Neil Finn, Tom Petty; The Doors, The Beach Boys; Queen, Mr. Misty.
Cor! Sound like a festival I’d die for...
Samuel: I was brought up in a musical family with varied taste; so I was exposed to the likes of Megadeath, Asia, Anathema; Gary Numan, Peter Gabriel; right over to Classical and Jazz. At a young age, my old man would allow me to go through his vinyl collection and put on whatever I liked.
Extremely trusting of him.
If you each had the chance to choose the one album that means the most to you – which would they be?
Olly: Elton John - Yellow Brick Road
Samuel: Cor; that’s unfair. Queen – Innuendo
It’s incredibly heartbreaking.
You guys have performed to sell-out audiences and supported Fatboy Slim! What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Olly: Hard to call. We have and are having such fun. My favourite thing is grabbing new ears, turning heads with our work…but I do love playing in a classic London venue: you can sometimes feel the Rock history seeping through the walls.
Samuel: The highlight of any show/tour, for me, is that moment right before you hit the stage. The moment of uncertainty...it’s like peering over the edge of the Grand Canyon.
Is there any advice you would give to fellow artists coming through right now?
Olly: Embrace technology: it’s never been so good for artists to get their works on tape...and never burn a bridge...unless you got a rowing boat, Sam (smiles).
Samuel: Write, record and release: the world needs to hear your music.
Can we see you perform anywhere soon? What gigs do you have coming up?
Olly: Icebreaker Festival in Portsmouth, England. It’s one of my favourite shows. It’s all going off musically in Pompey…look out for pirates!
Samuel: In February; we will be playing Icebreaker Festival. For me, this is a home-town show. I love the local festivals - as you get to hang out with the most amazing musicians and friends. There is a real community spirit to the day.
You are based on the South Coast. What is the music scene like there? Is it a great place to find inspiration?
Olly: The beach...Brighton is a melting pot of artists and musicians; Portsmouth is buzzing with the live music scene.
Samuel: Portsmouth is amazing for music. We have the likes of Jerry Williams, Marley Blandford; Kassisin Street and Coax - the list could go on and on.
Christmas is not too far away. Do you both have plans already - or will you be busy working?
Olly: I intend to watch Bedknobs and Broomsticks on-repeat with my 1860 glass goblet and some vintage port and cheese. I will probably sing a few carols around the Joanna. Just time out with friends and family.
Samuel: Christmas is all about spending time with the family…and Doctor Who!
What ambitions and aims do you have for 2018?
Olly: Make people smile, laugh and love...that’ll do nicely.
Samuel: Live, learn and to be excellent to each other.
Finally, and for being good sports; you can each name a song and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that).
Olly: Drive My Car - The Beatles
Samuel: I Went to the Store One Day – Father John Misty (Groundhog Day for lovers)
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