Meet: Boxed In’s Oli Bayston

Boxed In is the vehicle respected producer Oli Bayston has chosen to fuse his vision of indie, funk and electronica.

He’s put together a crack band who are getting on the road for some UK dates before jetting to the States for a short tour. He also knocks out tunes for other artists, and rumour has it he has written some songs for mega selling pop singer Lily Allen.

“It’s not true and I don’t how it came about,” laughs Oli. “I do know the source as when I was 22 I was in a band called Keith, from Manchester, and Lily had heard our record which she liked.

“She wondered if Keith were willing to play as a house band on a couple of tracks, as she liked the sound of the band, which we did. We played on two tracks, one of which made it onto the album, and the other was a B-side I think.

“By association, and Chinese whispers through the press, it managed to translate onto Boxed In as I writing and producing for lots of other people, so somehow her name got put in the pot. That’s the joy of the Internet!”

If Bayston had written a couple of tunes for Ms Allen he could probably afford to put his feet up, but instead Boxed In are embarking on an intense series of live dates, including 10 gigs in 13 days in the US.

“We’re doing the majority of our self-titled debut album, which we released at the beginning of the year, so that is fairly well rehearsed as we’ve done one European tour playing it. We’re definitely playing two or three tracks from an album I’m currently building together in my mind to be recorded at the end of the year and released in 2016.

“The band is a joy to play with and the whole idea of trying to translate electronic music into something played by humans, but keeping the repetitive electronic format of some it, but with that human feel is something we have spent of time working on. They’ve really got it down and we are a real unit onstage.”

As a producer and engineer with a growing reputation Bayston has worked with artists like The Voyuers, Rosie Lowe and The Bohicas, but does he prefer studios or life on the road?

“It’s probably like asking me to choose between my kids. Playing live is my first child and the production is what I’ve been working on a lot over the last few years. I feel fortunate to be in the position to do the two which really inform each other.

“On the subject of producing other people l’m definitely inspired by the people I work with. I like to think some of my musical influences are passed onto them, but one of the great things about being a producer is you get to see lot of different musicians’ creative processes.”

Bayston is still friends with his Keith band mates, who were tipped for big things, but never quite managed it, and that was a steep learning curve.

“I learnt a whole about the business like we complicated things for ourselves as we were very much a democracy, which was the right thing to do at that time because we formed a group. As a result our ideas sometimes got compromised and diluted.

“My experience of producing other bands that have a specific leader is it does tend to mean it is more concise creatively having one person running the show, and then joining forces. Keith made a few wrong decisions, but we had a really good run, and did two albums we are proud of.”

So based on those experiences is Boxed In more of a benevolent dictatorship?

“By no means do I want to close off any creative outlets from other people, particularly when we play live which is a combined situation, but I just feel like because I have spent lot of time working out with it is to be a producer, and to give a project its personality and character, so means I feel I have finally found my voice in Boxed In.

“It will take a different form on the next album, but it is definitely coming from one specific place which is my own creative source, which then gets filtered through others, whether it be a producer or the guys I work with in the band.”

Boxed In play  Hebden Bridge Trades Club (Sat 1 August), Kendal calling (Sunday 2 August), Fieldview Festival (Friday 7 August), Greenman Festival (Sunday 23 August) and Bestival (Fri 11 September)




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