2016 Artist Survey: Oli Bayston of Boxed In

Bayston on Trump, David Bowie, Prince, Leonard Cohen, Scary Movies, and First Kisses

Feb 28, 2017 Issue # 59 - 15th Anniversary
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For Under the Radar's 14th annual Artist Survey we emailed some of our favorite artists a few questions relating to 2016. We asked them about their favorite albums of the year and their thoughts on various notable 2016 news stories involving either the music industry or world events, as well as some quirkier personal questions. Here are some answers from Oli Bayston of Boxed In. Boxed In's sophomore album, Melt, came out back in 2016 via Nettwerk. It's the follow-up to 2015's self-titled debut.

For our annual Artist Surveys we emailed the same set of questions to musicians about Trump and the election, 2016's deaths, self-driving cars, Stranger Things, first kisses, scary movies they shouldn't have seen as a child, which Friends character they are most like, and much more.

Pick up or download Under the Radar's Best of 2016 / 15th Anniversary Issue for Artist Survey interviews with Amber Arcades, Austra, Faris Badwan of Cat's Eyes and The Horrors, Boxed In, Caveman, The Charlatans, Cursive, Lucy Dacus, The Dears, C Duncan, Sadie Dupuis of Sad13 and Speedy Ortiz, Dutch Uncles, Ezra Furman, Robyn Hitchcock, The Invisible, Justin Lockey of Editors and Minor Victories, Lost Under Heaven (LUH), Lush, Midlake, Phantogram, The Range, Springtime Carnivore, Sunflower Bean, Surfer Blood, TEEN, The Thermals, Nick Valensi of CRX and The Strokes, Jenn Wasner of Flock of Dimes and Wye Oak, and Yuck.

A shorter version of Boxed In's survey appeared in the print version of Under the Radar's Best of 2016 / 15th Anniversary Issue, this is the full unedited version.

Top 10 Albums of 2016

1. Anderson .Paak: Malibu
2. Bon Iver: 22, A Million
3. Mark Pritchard: Under the Sun
4. Blood Orange: Freetown Sound
5. Crooked Man: Crooked Man
6. Factory Floor: 25 25
7. Leon Vynehall: Rojus
8. Trentemøller: Fixion
9. ANOHNI: Hopelessness
10. Kate Tempest: Let Them Eat Chaos

2016 was regarded by many as a fairly tough and negative year. Was it also a hard year for you personally? If so, how? And also what were the high points for you?

2016 has indeed been a very tough year for the psychological state of the world. Personally I've had an amazing year. I married the girl of my dreams, released another Boxed In record, produced some wonderful artists, and made peace with my eternal search for the perfect, even if the perfect may never exist. 

What are your thoughts on how the U.S. presidential election played out?

Nothing short of fear and disbelief. Of the two questionable presidential options, the most ominous came up...trumps. I feel genuinely concerned for the future of the world and particularly for the next eight years under his cynical reign. Hold on to your hats, it's going to be a bumpy ride.

Let's discuss Donald Trump. What does the rise of Trump tell you about America in 2016?  What concerns you most about a Trump presidency? How do you think his presidency might personally change your life? What message do you have for those who voted for Trump? What actions will you take over the course of the next four years to either protest a Trump presidency or support it?

My main concern is for his distinct lack of care for the consequences of his actions. I recently re-watched a documentary about his successful attempt to oust an entire community living on an area of protected land and wildlife on the coast of Scotland-to be replaced by a deluxe golf resort. Everything you need to know about him is in this film. He had absolutely no respect for the wellbeing of those whose lives he was disrupting or for the landscape he was destroying. If he operates his presidential term in the same way, we are all in big, big trouble.

What reality TV star would you have rather been elected president?

The fact that this is even a question scares the shit out of me. Did anyone ever think we'd get to this point?? I have no idea I'm afraid.

If you were president, what would you try to accomplish in your first 100 days in office?

Amend the right to bear arms, push towards a comprehensive government health care system. Increase funding in climate change research. Free hugs all round. 

We lost three highly influential music icons in 2016. What are your thoughts on the passing of David Bowie, Prince, and Leonard Cohen? And what are your favorite albums by each artist?

Leonard Cohen's show at Glastonbury on the Pyramid Stage in 2008 is in my top three gigs of all time. I feel extremely lucky to have seen him perform. He's influenced me far more than any lyricist. I got to see Prince perform one of his legendary four-hour shows in London. I lost count of the number of encores there were. So many that some people left and they let more people in through the door throughout the night. He did one of the best slap bass solos I've ever seen, on a bass guitar bigger than him. I never got to see David Bowie perform before he passed away, which is a great shame. This year has preyed on many a talented artist. That it had to take three of music's brightest stars has been a real thorn in the side of an extremely difficult year. But their legacy lives on in their music. That we can be grateful for. David Bowie: Low. Prince: Sign o' the Times. Leonard Cohen: Songs of Leonard Cohen.

What do you think Prince and Bowie's afterlife project sounds like?

It sounds like the sonic equivalent of Willy Wonka's Inventing Room.

Which Friends character are you most like?

Rachel.

What scary movie did you see way too young as a child, how'd you end up seeing it, and does it still scare you now?

It, age 9. My brother had to stay with me in the bathroom for four months following a sleep over party with friends the year above me where we all sat and watched It. Most of the kids left the room after half an hour but I wanted to look cool in front of the older boys and stayed 'till the end, despite being scared shitless. Wish I'd gone to bed. I watched it again the other day and it really didn't age well. Comes across as more of a comedy these days.

Are you ready for self-driving cars and a more automated future?

I reckon I could get used to it. Only so many hours in the day.

Tell us about your first kiss.

Jemima Cox, age 4, behind the oak tree in the school playground. 

Under the Radar has been around for 15 years now, since December 2001. How do you feel the music industry has most changed in that time, both for the better and the worst?

Congratulations! We need more publications like yours, so well done for sticking out in the biz. Only with hindsight will we be able to tell how this generation's music industry can be compared to former and latter years. The Internet has certainly shifted shapes in all worlds, and we're all still coming to terms with it. Whatever surrounds it, I feel like creativity is alive and well and some very important art has been made that will stand the test of time. That's what concerns me the most.

www.boxedinmusic.com

 

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