Bestival Preview: Huw Olesker Interview

Bestival Preview: Huw Olesker Interview

We’ve seen and heard Huw Olesker in various guises over the years, but none will have been as good as watching him take to the main stage at Bestival, this Sunday, as part of DJ Yoda’s Breakfast of Champions. We had a chat with Huw on Monday to see how he’s doing in the run up to the show and find out what’s been going on with him in general.

What are you up to this week before heading off to Bestival?
In the week leading up to Bestival I’ll mostly be doing 12 hour shifts in a Craft Beer pub in South East London where I’m a cook. Then, on Wednesday, I’m at London’s finest radio station, Soho Radio, where i’m a producer.

How did you come to work with DJ Yoda and how has the experience been?
It’s been amazing. I came to work with DJ Yoda via a series of fortunate events. I played a gig with Beatboxer, Shlomo, in late 2013. At the time, he was on a tour and asking for local artists to collaborate with him at every town he went to. I applied to do his Southampton date and he agreed. On the night of the gig we had about 3 hours to write a tune together which, to cut a long story short, DJ Yoda heard and decided he wanted to produce a version of it. Shortly after we finished that, Yoda very kindly asked me to be involved in the Breakfast Of Champions project. Yoda has written a little summary of the whole thing and I think he sums it all up perfectly –

Sunday at Bestival will probably be the final Breakfast of Champions show! Almost exactly a year after we formed in Manchester as a project for Band On The Wall.

It’s been an incredible journey, from meeting as strangers to putting on a sold-out show 5 days later. In that time we recorded and released an album, filmed several videos, and did live shows from clubs to festivals, and finally to the Main Stage at Bestival!

I couldn’t have found a better bunch to have done it with. We all move on to new things now, but knowing that we will always call on each other in the future, both socially and for music needs.”

You’ve been to Bestival before, how does it feel to know you’re going back to play the main stage?
It’s one of those incomprehensible things that this year has been somewhat full of. Bestival was amazing last year. I expected to not be that into it as it’s arguably one of the more commercial festivals. However, it turned out to be really wonderful. The weather was beautiful last year and the line up was amazing. Chic was definitely the best main-stage feel good thing I have ever encountered.

Playing on that same stage is going to be mental. It’s so daunting. Honestly, I’m in a constant state of feeling like i’m going to faint. However, I know it’s going to happen, so I go from being petrified to almost dangerously calm about it. I kind of think “F**k it”: this isn’t something that is likely to present itself to me any time soon, if ever. So I think it’s for the best that I suck up my neurotic anxiety and enjoy it while it lasts as I know it will be gone in an instant.

Bestival isn’t your first festival appearance this summer, what else have you done and what’s been your favourite with Breakfast of Champions?
Breakfast Of Champions have done a healthy chunk of festivals this year. I’ve been lucky enough to be there for all of them. We have done Lemonfest, Glastonbury, Camp Bestival, Forgotten Fields, BoomTown and now Bestival.

I think just for the sheer status and grandeur of it Glastonbury has been the best. It’s a festival I could never see myself being able to afford to go to, so in every way this presented a great opportunity for me. The set went really well too and had a great energy to it. Glastonbury as a festival is mental and incredibly overwhelming. I saw some of the best and most interesting live music I have ever witnessed there. I was lucky to get to experience it for the first time from the perspective of an artist. Nice toilets, too.

You’ve played a couple of festivals as Rex Domino too. How’s that project going? Who’s involved and what’s next?
Yes. So alongside this whole Breakfast Of Champions I’ve been developing some new material with two amazing producers who go by: “The Polar Kid” and “Stanky”. We met over Twitter, kind of, and I found that the dark, glitched out electronica they were making perfectly complimented my brand of dark cynical word rhyming.

Together we are working on a release of something that may become an album and we’ve been working on a live show. We have previewed this set at a couple of festivals. We did the wonderful : “Forum Stage” at Secret Garden Party and more recently on the prestigious “Chai Wallas” Stage at Shambala. It’s great to see an audience reaction tp completely new material. None of it is online so this is the only opportunity we have to gauge feedback and reaction at the moment. Stanky and I will be showcasing this new stuff on the 18th of September at The Monarch in Camden along side local Portsmouth producer and Moosehead label-mate, STERT.

You mentioned that you’re producing at Soho Radio, which looks like a great environment to be in, what exactly are you getting up to there?
Soho radio is a fully independent online radio station in the heart of central London, just off Piccadilly Circus. I am one of many producers there. My role is to ensure the shows – which now include the likes of Norman Jay and Eddie Temple Morris – run smoothly from a technical stand point. We make sure levels are correct, we engineer the shows and we do the social media. It’s an amazing place to be and has a genuine sense of freedom to it. People are doing things because they have genuine faith in quality.

Shout out to all the amazing producers there and the founders of the station: Adrian Mehan and Dan Grey.

Lastly, you’ve been in London a year. How’s that been? Got any advice for someone planning on making the same move?
Yeah, it does appear to have been nearly a year since I rejected bettering myself with education and in a clichéd, Dick Whittingtonesque style gallivanted up to the capital. It’s been interesting. It’s the first time I’ve had to provide for myself. All in all it’s been hard. Working to live is kind of shit. However, the world moves a lot quicker up here and I’ve been lucky enough to be in places where I’ve been able to mingle with people I’ve looked up to and, on some occasions, go on to make music with them.

I would never advise taking my advice, as i’m not a good example of a functioning human, but if I had to give advice it would be this – I had a reason to move to London. Don’t blindly move up here with no actual plan. If you are in a scenario in which you can live somewhere for free and master your craft, do that. Before moving anywhere develop what you do as best you can so as to have something to present to the right people when you get the opportunity. I’m not saying I did that. If anything this is me giving advice to my past self. It’s only recently I think I’ve found myself in a position where I have genuine confidence in the music i’m collaboratively making. It’s very easy to get distracted and procrastinate especially when faced with the daunting reality of working. I suppose my main advice if you do come to London is don’t lose sight of the main thing that brought you here in the first place.

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