2018 Summary: Stylophones, selling out and Instagram

Oliver Richard - Hungry Single 2018

It’s the end of 2018 and the end of my disappearance.
This year I joined Instagram and am killing it with 70 followers…
This year I beat the world and wrote a song that won me a gold stylophone.
This year I debuted on local radio and insulted Lulu.
This year I made it through to the 2019 semi-finals of a battle of the bands.

I cannot be stopped. 

At the start of this year, I hadn’t released a record since March 2016, hadn’t uploaded a video since February 2016  and hadn’t played a show since July 2016. What happened to me two years ago!? Simply, a major case of burnout after self-releasing an E.P. and cataplexy after totally overhauling my recording set-up. Re-learning how to capture music with an entirely new system was difficult; many man hours were lost to the terrors of channel routing, side chaining and gain staging…

After perhaps a year of farting about with the new rig, I came to my senses and realised I needed to start releasing music again… And then I left for India for a couple of months so any good intentions were lost in the haze of incense, the stench of rotting street meat, the hum of Western dreadlocks and the alluring aroma of morning puri…

Following my return late 2017, I began to heave into action. I dug out the files to Hungry, an ill-fated 2014 single that had been buried by various record-label messes, and scheduled its release for late 2018.

This single, recorded four years ago, marked a musical turning point for me as I began to explore loops, drum machines, and synthesisers.

I see this record as important; it is a stepping stone between the previous stripped down minimalism of my initial Youtube covers, the spartan garage thrash of my debut single Triggerfish and the fully fleshed out wall of sound now created on stage.

Hungry is digitally available everywhere. Click the button below and select your preferred digital retailer (SpotifyAmazon, Apple Music, iTunes etc).

Stream / Download

Wanting something more tangible? Hungry is also available on 7″ black vinyl: Bandcamp

For the first time I decided to accompany a release with a proper music video, which was a baptism of fire. Shooting by myself for months, the final edit saw me cut just three and a half minutes of footage from the many hours I had captured. Watch Hungry below.

As I worked on the campaign for Hungry, Dubreq, makers of the Stylophone, announced a competition to celebrate the instrument’s 50th anniversary. People were challenged to compose a two minute piece of music with a Stylophone product the primary feature. Although artistically uneasy with the idea of entering a music contest, I decided that the challenge was worth it. I had been absent for too long and this seemed like a good way to return to the light. On top of that, I wanted to move somewhere creatively uncomfortable in the hope of inspiring a new musical direction, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. A few weeks later, and Approach Me Like A Lion was born. I knew this song was too good to throw onto the internet with no record to keep it safe, so I shot a second video, all the while grinding through the edit for Hungry. Watch Approach Me Like A Lion Below.

The song was such a joy to record and unleash that I almost forgot it was an entry into the competition. Nevertheless, a few months later, not one week after the release of Hungry, I was informed that I had won. Considering the judging panel included Tony Visconti, longtime producer and friend of David Bowie, my success took on even greater significance. Although I viewed the song as my true prize, I was delighted to be sent a box from Dubreq containing every instrument they make including a much coveted Stylophone S2; a rare synthesiser I had always desired but had never been able to justify buying. Surely the support and positivity this song garnered influenced the judging and helped me victory, and so I decided to shoot a video sharing the spoils with my audience.  Below, watch me reveal my prizes including a gold plated Stylophone S1.

Not only have I been busy writing, recording and filming this year, but I have also plunged headlong into the world of social media proper. Normally reticent in this arena, I have slowly realised that nowadays social media is a musician’s currency. If you want a gig/deal/press, you need likes, shares, followers etc etc etc. That gets you attention. And so I signed my soul away and joined Instagram. Find me there and enjoy pictures such as this:

Finally, I entered a Battle of the Bands, having missed live shows sorely. With genuinely no expectation, I have made it to the semi-finals next January 19th which is exciting as the winner walks away with £2000. That will go a long way towards a future musical plan I have. However, if there is anything I have learned in this game, it is never tell anyone anything you plan on doing until you have done it. So I shall not say where that £2000 is going to go should I beat the competition. And yes, the money is the main reason I entered.
Remember, I’m not a sell out if I don’t win.

Thank you all for the support this year,
Onwards to even more power and glory in 2019.
Much Love,