An interview I just did for Perfect Sound fanzine:
Perfect Sound: first, how did you start getting into music?
Olly the Octopus: well when I was about 15 I decided that far from being the corny instrument that my dad played Eagles songs on, the guitar was in fact über cool and that I simply must be good at it... Although I was loathe to admit it at the time I think I thought it was going to get me girls
Magazine: Most of your songs are very political. How did you start getting into politics?
Olly the Octopus: Politics just creep up on you, you think they dont matter but they sort of do. It can be a major bore because it's all about pragmatics and keeping most of the people happy most of the time, but I've always liked to write music about the experience of being a human being on planet earth and politics is one dimension of that... Olly the Octopus started out as a side project for my ranty vaguely political stuff ( I save the love songs for my bands) and it just sort of ran away on its own trajectory, the octopus that is...
Perfect Sound: How did you come up with the name olly the octopus?
Olly the Octopus: Alliteration, pure and simple, and I have the same hair-style.
Perfect Sound: Are there any musicians you admire, not just because of their music, but for what they believe in?
Olly the Octopus:Yes, I admire people who have strong beliefs in general, it's a curious mixture of pity and admiration actually, mainly because I generally find it very difficult to hold strong beliefs and convictions myself and I sort of look down on it as naive but also secretly wish I could be as righteous as Martin Luther king or as strident as Billy Bragg... trouble is I'm too much of a piss ant, but I think that makes me good at seeing the bigger picture and calling things as they are from a twisted morbidly detatched view point that people seem to find amusing
Perfect Sound: You released a single last Christmas in aid of the Palestinians. How does not just your music, but music in general, help support causes like these?
Olly the Octopus: Well look at all the Free Tibet benefits, Live 8, Kosovo compilations, some great things have been achieved raising the profile of some tough humanitarian struggles. Have they changed the world? well we still have nuclear weapons, war and famine so perhaps not. But I think it's important to try, if you make clothes you send a dress, if your a musician, you do a charity single... Bono pisses me off though
Perfect Sound: With the general election coming up, do you think music can play some part in the upcoming election?
Olly the Octopus: I'm planning a mass hypnosis song on channel 4 for election day, i'll brainwash the nation into voting green
Perfect Sound: Can you please tell me about the Boris Johnson moment? What made you decide to sing right in the middle of one of his speeches?
Olly the Octopus: Well he decided to cut loads of public transport spending that day... and I always thought he was a poor candidate. I love him, I'd love to have him over for dinner, he's funny, but Ken was the hero of the town, and Boris just sort of rode a wave of charming Bush-esque gaffs into power. I wouldn't have Ken for dinner though, he'd bore the hell out of me and Boris as we played drinking games
Perfect Sound:Finally, what’s the future for Olly the Octopus?
Olly the Octopus:well, that would be telling... I rely on the element of surprise!