Oli Bayston has worked as engineer and assistant to producer Dan Carey (Franz Ferdinand, Hot Chip, Bat For Lashes, Toy) and played keyboards on Willy Mason's and Steve Mason's most recent LPs. However now he brings this wide array of talents to bear on his own solo project Boxed In.
As his list of credits suggests, he can draw on a wide breadth of musical knowledge. Oli grew up in Berkshire and then Essex in a musical family, the son of a piano teacher and an opera singer. He was surrounded by classical music from a young age, and while he’s now grown to love and draw inspiration from the repetition of composers like Steve Reich at first he rebelled against classical composition.
Boxed In is that project, and it brings together Oli’s two greatest musical loves: Krautrock and house music. “The album has a bit of both of those two things combined,” he says, “But the principle focus is always the songs. I’m a slave to the songs and I try to incorporate my love of specific genres of music into that.”
Inspired by the motorik rhythms of Can, Cluster and Neu! as well as house producers, like Pépé Bradock and Theo Parrish, Oli nevertheless emphasises that the art of pop song writing is right at the heart of Boxed In. “Often within electronic music the vocals are an afterthought,” he points out. "I wanted to maintain an equal focus on each aspect of the songs, particularly the lyrics.”
There are themes of love, longing and loss that run all the way through his debut album, although he’s quick to point out that it’s “not a concept record.” He describes it instead as an “outer monologue, a small document of someone’s life over the last few years.”
The record features a guest appearance from Anita Blay, also known as CocknBullKid, who duets with Oli on a track called ‘Lo Life’. “We wrote that together when we were working on her album two years ago,” he says. "It’s a song that resonates with me and by coincidence the lyrics had an element of prophecy in them."
Since the album was released in January 2015 it’s enjoyed unanimous critical praise and ended up in many 'album of the year' lists.
Having made a name for himself as a producer and songwriter, Oli has now also proven himself as a live performer after a sold-out UK tour and eight shows at Austin’s SXSW festival. We are extremely happy to welcome Oli and his band to AYL for what will be a special performance.
"a textural pick ’n’ mix of Technicolor piano powered by an ear for quirky pop and sticky sweet earworms."
The Line Of Best Fit