By modern standards Cicero would be a complex and polarizing man without a doubt, although I don't think that having someone like him around today would be incredibly farfetch'd. Thus, a singer invoking Cicero and the transitory period of Rome as the backdrop for a song would not be lost on observers of the current state of affairs in the USA. Oliver Burdo is just the man for such an undertaking! Enjoy this offering from Oliver on music and some other interesting things...
Of course here's some music to groove to while you read...
The Building Of A Nest
Q: Oliver Burdo is kind of a funny name, how did you come up with that?
A: The answer to that is beyond me. I believe my first name was given to me in the hopes that I would be a peaceful creative person. The actuality of that is debatable at best.
Q: How did you come to be interested in music?
A: That’s a question I never really came to a conclusion on. I think music has always been something that fulfilled a part of me. One of those weird voids yah know? I have always sung songs in my head or out loud at weird inappropriate times. Made up lyrics and grooved on whatever melody was in my head. I’ve played an instrument the majority of my life and I’ve actively written songs since my early teens. It just became an accidental expression. I didn’t seek it out and I will admit I am not engulfed in the technicality of the expression as some. I know chords and basic theory, but what always stood out to me was the ability to play with words and stories. Then I found out what it felt like to play an electric guitar… It’s a funny stereotype. The power of that instrument. But when I write, it’s always on the acoustic guitar my father gave me when I first started learning. I always end up back to the basics of it; Chords and the melody in my head.
Q: What are some of the first artists that interested you?
A: Honestly a lot of 60’s and 70’s stuff. I went through an indie rock phase, a metal phase, jam band phase (Still in that one by trade…), a folk phase, a punk phase… You name at some point in time I listened to it for one reason or another. The Grateful dead were a big influence on my learning of music and writing style in a lot of ways… But I think I’ve gained the most from singer/songwriters. Conor Oberst, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Jeff Tweedy, the late great John Prine and the list goes on. Though in recent days I’ve come to a great appreciation for early hip hop artists and their wordplay.
Q: What made you want to pick up the guitar?
A: My father… camping… family and friends I admired… and I think It just became something I did. Something I associated myself with. Something I was proud to do regardless of how efficient I was at playing. I no longer had a blank stare when someone asked who I was, or what I did. “I play guitar and write songs”. Simple answer… far from simple outcome.
A look into gear:
Q: Can you think of reasons why you would choose Cicero as a subject manner or as a title?
A: Like many things in life… or my life… it was accidental. Cicero the great orator. I found the irony in his death comparable to the state of the world today. Misjudged companionship, trust in enemies, and a strong will to keep playing the game regardless of fear and frustration. In one sense he played the social game to his demise… in another, he himself balanced, translated and displayed the rhetoric of a revolutionary. He personified other’s ideas, whether that be in a stoic manner or not, he fulfilled an idea’s goal. To be shared. Regardless of his own thoughts.
I did not choose him as a subject matter in writing. I think I only chose the emotional backing and the subject matter chose itself. I’m not really one for choosing specific subject matter, or titles… But I digress.
Q: What influenced you to want to make folk music in addition to being in a rock band?
A: I think I sort of already answered this… in not so many words. It’s the stories and the wordplay. Uncut, raw… and honestly very mournful. Folk music is an outlet for opinions of the world. Political statements, social constructs and so on. They are the songs that are remembered, not for being this insane technical, proficient masterpiece, but for being honest. I think that’s the right way to describe that. Folk music is just… Honest.
Q: What are your future plans for solo releases?
A: Well! I have many if I get around to ‘em all. Working on multitudes of projects and the Bubble itself has got me running in circles. But I’ll never complain about that. Playing out with St. Vith… Studio sessions with Black Glasses… It’s a riot to say the least. I have been working through a backlog of tunes I’ve written over the past few years to bring some back to life. I’ve also been in one of those writing fits lately. There will be another solo album out by the end of the year I’m sure. I’ve also been working with some close friends on a fuller sound type deal… Working with my tunes with many instruments and found sounds on my own accord kinda thing. That should be out next year I’m hoping.
Check out St. Vith's new single 'Cautious' here
Black Glasses new single 'Dionysus Assist' here
Q: What does Evil Bubble mean to you?
A: The bubble to me means local. I don’t mean local as in 25 miles of here, but the mentality of it. It’s about collaboration, about providing to artists a leg to stand on. About providing insight into the human part of small businesses. It’s about civility and humanity toward those around us. It’s about the curiosity of what we can create as a team… Camaraderie.
Q: What are some of your early live music experiences?
A: Well, my father played a big hand in taking me to shows… I’m gonna divert this question a bit and just say watching live music gave me an insight that I could never not want to do that. Live music and studio recordings are two different animals. Some of the greatest bands I’ve ever listened to have been great because of the experience and the energy of watching them live. Wilco being a prime example of that. Live performance has widened what I listen to tremendously. I have more of an appreciation for studio recordings when I know the energy of the band behind them
Why do you always wear that hat? What’s under there?
A: I Was waiting for that one. My mother asks me that a lot. It’s kind of like the guitar answer… It’s something I identify with. It helps me through a great deal of social anxiety and in all honesty it helps me feel protected. I bring with me the history of the hat and the experiences that it and myself have shared. Helps me not forget old friends and the life I have lived. It withers and will wither with me with age. It always returns no matter where it is left. The answer really is constantly changing. Why I wear it today is different than why I wear it tomorrow.
Q: How important is it for new bands and musicians to do in-person networking and promoting?
A: It is the single biggest, most overlooked side of the business. It really is about who you know. Your fans are your livelihood, the energy behind your music and some of the best people you’ll ever meet.
Q: What are some of your favorite places to gig?
A: Lake Drum Brewing and it’s community. No matter what we do, they are always there hyping us up. Small, tiny little place. Difficult to get good sound, cramped, we spend more time stumbling over equipment to get into position than we do playing. But I’d go back there and play regardless of anything else. The local brewing and winery scene for shows around the Finger Lakes is great. Noble Shepherd Brewing and Two Goats Brewing just to name a couple, have vibes similar to Lake Drum in terms of their community. But to be fair, bigger shows are fun in their own way. Though not as intimate.
Q: If you could play a show for all of your friends in one US city, where would the show take place and why would you choose this location?
A: Red Rocks I think… Just because of the way the wind runs down to the stage. It’s on my bucket list.
Q: What are some mistakes that you have made as a musician that you would urge newer musicians to avoid?
A: Confidence in what you are doing. Always be confident and don’t doubt yourself. There will always be someone better than you. Always someone more loved. But you are you. Be confident and proud of you. There’s this arrogance that comes with the territory. It is unavoidable. But in a lot of ways it’s like nature designing it’s own protection on your emotional state. Let the discouragement progress you into being better. For you, not them.
Also… PR... PR is a big one… Be kind to the people who hire you, just don’t let them walk all over you. Because many will. Met some of the most distasteful people in this business… But also some of the most heartfelt.
Oliver Burdo is a singer/songwriter, singer for St. Vith and a 'Creative' for Black Glasses
He is also a dastardly member of the Evil Bubble!!!
Thanks for tuning in.