Words + interview by Kate Lockyer – Kate Lockyer Music
Oly Sherman’s new single Homeboy is a super groovy song with intimate songwriting and refreshing indie influences. Sherman has drawn on the best elements of his music – soulful tones and smooth lyrics – to create a track dripping with funk. I’ve been listening to this new release to give you my take, but keep reading to see Sherman answer some questions about Homeboy, his Japan tour, and what he’s been up to in social isolation.
The Sydney-based songwriter kicked of the year with his January release of Madness, which drew on the same earnest lyricism and effortless musicianship as the rest of his work. Before the coronavirus pandemic put a halt to travel, Sherman was also on track for his 40+ date Australian tour. However, the pandemic didn’t put a stop to everything, with Sherman working alongside Ally McMahon on bass and Dan Natoli at A-Sharp Studios to release Homeboy just recently, on May 29th.
My first impression of Homeboy begins with the moody synth and infectious rhythm of the percussion and guitar. This impression promises a laidback indie tune, which it is, but there is more depth to the song than that. The lyrics delve into a wealth of emotion, with Sherman translating feelings to words. The lines of the first verse reveal his pensiveness.“Imagine we got a hold of the night / Would have been a hell of a fight /Take me in the palm of the day / Promise me you’ll send it away”. Sherman himself says that the song is based on a mixture of situations, and I think this works great in the song. The lyrics are a trail of forked paths, for the listener to interpret for themselves.
The themes of the song deal with pressure and self-awareness, and in the chorus Sherman’s lyrics comealmost as a response to a challenger. He asserts his authenticity, singing “You can break in my soul / You can bet that I’m a homeboy / Take a swim in the ocean, take a sip of your potion / I’m homeboy”. The supremely catchy chorus is taken up a notch further by the end of the song, with vocal improv laid over the repeated chorus and a reintroduction of the guitar riff building on the atmosphere.
Throughout the song, he manages to keep an intimate song suave with a strong beat and unique synth tones. I asked Oly Sherman a few questions so we could get to know him and his music even better…
Homeboy, your latest single, has just been released! I love the almost retro-sounding synth and the laidback vibes. What was your inspiration for the song?
Thankyou so much! The Inspo is a bit of a tricky one, as it’s not directly related to one certain thing. Rather a mixture of feelings/situations I’ve found myself in regarding relationships. It’s cool though, as every time I listen to the song now, it gives me different memories.
Give us a little bit of behind-the-scenes info on your tour of Japan earlier this year. What were the shows like?
Japan was and is amazing. Definitely a country I recommend everyone visiting (once all this iso stuff is done of course). Playing there was really cool as well, I got to play in some pretty cool places, meet some nice people, see some snow and get some boarding in. A proper winter adventure.
In fact, what’s the best show you’ve ever played? Why?
Tricky question to answer as there have been a few. I’d say the best ones I can remember would have to be the Newtown festival as well as some big support shows. Those were the shows where I first saw people mouthing my own lyrics to me. Insane.
It’s been a mad world this year – what have you been up to in isolation?
The beginning of iso was a bit up and down for me. My tour was obviously cancelled mid-way through, and I found it hard to adjust to the setback. The latter stages though have been a lot more positive. I’ve been writing a crazy amount, hanging out with as many friends as possible, cooking and exercising.
What are some of the musical influences on your work? I can hear echoes of Matt Corby or Tash Sultana, would you agree? Which artists are you digging at the moment?
Matt Corby is a big one for me and I can kind of see why a lot of people say it. At the moment however I’ve been really grooving tracks with a beat first and foremost. Been vibing a lot of Jordan Rakei and Tom Misch.
What can we look forward to from you?
Luckily within all this iso mess, I’ve been in the process of writing a lot more songs, and have just begun writing the first parts of my next project 🤫
Luckily for all of us indie-pop lovers, it’s sounding like there is plenty more to come from Sherman, so I for one will be staying tuned for what’s next!
Listen to Homeboy HERE!
With thanks to Beehive PR