INTERVIEW: Oliver Brown AKA Browlin
Oliver Brown AKA Browlin is promoting his latest album, To The Border, which “sounds like its straight from a Tarantino movie soundtrack and could be featured on the next big gangster film or Mexican mafia television series.” Browlin has also worked as a sought-after DJ and music consultant on major films including “Love, Rosie” staring Lilly Collins and Sam Clafin in 2014. Browlin has won record of the week on BBC Radio 2 with Shudda voted for by the listeners. His YouTube channel has almost 2 million views thanks to his dubstep remix of the British Christmas song from the movie “The Snowman”. Browlin recently spoke to SoCalMusicToday.com to discuss his musical influences, favorite songwriters, DJ’s that have influenced his style, his new album and more.
What type of music inspired you growing up and what were you listening to as you got older?
Apparently the only thing I would fall asleep to as a baby was Captain Beefheart and now he is my favorite artist. I remember getting into a Chuck Berry thing when I was about 6 after seeing the Johnny Be Good scene in Back To The Future. Then it was 90’s Rave, Grunge, Hip Hop, but I have always listened to older stuff like 60’s Rock, Funk and Soul, etc.
Are you from a musical family and did they in any way influence your interest in music?
My Dad was in a band with Arthur “The God Of Hellfire” Brown in the 70s. Of course this made me not want to be a musician at first but then he taught me the Blues and I got hooked.
Who are some of your favorite songwriters and why?
I like some of the old Blues artists; they get the emotion across with the least amount of words. More obvious writers would be Bob Dylan, even Bob Marley and Jimi Hendrix, and of course Captain Beefheart!
Are there any DJs that influenced your style?
I worked for Fatboy Slim’s label Skint Records right through the height of his success. It was hard not to be influenced by him. I always liked DJs that could mix it up, old and new. Both classics and stuff you’ve never heard before, of all different genres. It keeps you on your toes as you never know what you are going to hear next, plus if you can whip it up in the right way you can get everyone on board and take them in a direction they never knew they could go. Like getting Techno fans to dance to Elvis, and vice versa!
What was it like making the transition from being a DJ and music consultant to a singer/ songwriter?
I had always written and have released an album in the past under a different name. I have sang a bit too but I was always holding back. So with the new Browlin album I really went for it and my voice opened up massively.
So it was great coming back to the stage with a new sound and new voice! It’s a much more real experience than before.
How did you become a DJ? What lead to that interest?
I had seen so many gigs and DJ sets whilst working at Skint Records. I studied the crowds’ reaction as much as the performers so after a while I got a decent understanding of what people liked. I was Djing on and off for years but when I moved to London a friend asked me to be resident DJ at his bar and it took off from there. I’ve played almost every weekend since, all different places from Milan to the Caribbean!
Did becoming a music consultant follow your interest in being a DJ?
Yes quite literally. A guy in TV heard me DJ and passed my details on to a movie director. The next thing I know I’m at a screening sitting between the director and the producer!
What influenced the lyrical content of your album To The Border?
The theme of the album is mostly about breaking away, setting loose and getting somewhere better. Could be anything from a place or a relationship but mainly a mental state.
Will you be touring in support of To The Border?
We’ve played quite a few shows around the UK, especially London. Hopefully hitting the US later this year!
What are the great spots to visit in the UK and why?
Anywhere Browlin is performing! 😉
Where do you enjoy going in the UK?
I grew up near the Lake District in North England. It’s nice to go back there, it’s all hills and lakes like a cross between Lord Of The Rings and Game Of Thrones!
For Everything Browlin check out the below links:
“All My Days” from To The Border www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ZrWuhi_Vbs
Browlin Live! www.youtube.com/watch?v=a82QpoIo1Cs
4 Min Preview Browlin, To The Border www.soundcloud.com/browlinuk/to-the-border-album-preview