Before the band play one last show together this Friday at the exchange, I thought it would be a good opportunity to catch up with the front man, Barry Dolan, ahead of it.
Tell us a little bit about Oxygen Thief. Who’s in the band, how long have you been playing together and how did you all meet?
Oxygen Thief started as a solo acoustic thing where I’d play loud riffs, sing louder, and be unable to resist rocking out whilst doing so. I met Neil (bass) and Ben (drums) when on tour with a previous band of theirs. They suggested we have a go at a full band version of my stuff; I said no, but a couple of months later they sent me a few versions of my songs that they’d reworked and recorded in a full band style…it sounded pretty cool, so I gave it a go. 7 years later we’re about to play our last gig as a 3 piece
If someone told you what was going to happen a year ago, what would your reaction have been?
Probably similar to how it was when they told me they were leaving the band; sad, a bit disappointed, but totally understanding and keen to make an occasion of it rather than fizzling out
How many albums have you written together?
We’ve recorded two full length albums and a mini-album of older songs that we re-worked into band versions from their acoustic beginnings. I write all the main parts and lyrics, then played the songs at the others while they made notes and learned the riffs/rhythms. Then we’d jam out each section as a band until we were happy with how it sounded together. At first that took a little while, but with the last record (2018’s “Confusion Species”) it happened super-fast as the guys knew how my brain worked.
What tracks have stood out to you as particular favourites, both to you and the audience?
Lost In The Post- and Graffiti; Irony; Lists from our latest album, and Self Righting Mechanism from 2014’s “The Half-Life Of Facts” have always been super fun to play and bounce off audiences…then some of my oldest songs, like Modesty Is Dead or There Can Be Only One, were amazing to see how people’s reactions have grown over the years.
What have been some of the most memorable shows that the band has played?
Any time we’ve played 2000 Trees Festival; opening for Mongol Horde on tour in 2014; and playing my 10th anniversary show in 2016 (dubbed “OxyTen Thief”) we’re all incredible.
What producers have you worked with over the years?
Our bassist Neil Elliott has produced everything we recorded at the studio our drummer Ben runs in Portsmouth – The Old Blacksmiths. They’ve recently had an amazing refurb (and installed a dart board) so my one regret is that I didn’t get to record with them in the newest version of their studio…maybe someday!
What lies in store for Oxygen Thief now? Will you continue to make music under the same name, or will something else happen?
Absolutely – I played solo for 7 years, played with these guys for 7 years, so am looking forward to seeing what happens during the next 7. I’ve also got a mellow acoustic side-project called Non Canon which I’ll be doing more stuff with soon.
Where do you think you will be, this time in 2021?
That’ll be the 10th anniversary of my debut album “Destroy It Yourself”, so presumably I’ll be out playing shows to celebrate that!
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I’d like to thank Barry for taking the time to answer my questions and can’t wait for them to raise the roof of the exchange on Friday!