Following the release of their brilliant EP Watching So So Gay caught up with Oli Rose, one half of rock/rap duo iAm1 to talk to him about his inspirations and his plans for the future.
So So Gay: What made you decide to get into the music industry?
Oli Rose: I had always been fascinated by the guitar since it was always such a cool instrument for me, then, when I was about 14 I started to learn how to play it. I then got taken to go and see James Taylor live at Cardiff International Arena. It gave me so much inspiration to see this one man with so much power in his voice and in his whole act.
So how did this partnership start?[pullquote_left]Jamie and I come from two totally different backgrounds but we connect with each other on a personal level[/pullquote_left]Well, I went to university and I got put into a band with six people for one of our modules. It was a bit like a bonding exercise but it also encouraged us to learn how to work with different people. Me and Jamie, who is the rapper, connected and we made a couple of tunes almost accidentally, and people started going mad for it around us. We decided to keep writing stuff together, and not long after that a few hip-hop artists came to me and asked us about our music and our style and this really got me in the flow. Jamie and I come from two totally different backgrounds but we connect with each other on a personal level; we like to express ourselves in a certain way and we were able to relate to each other. I think this helped us to bring things out in each other and put it into our music.
Do you think that coming from such different backgrounds helps you both to make your music?
I think the background difference comes across as quite random. But essentially it is just a connection through expression, we both like to relate our feelings and experiences in a certain way. We both get sparks off the same sorts of vibes and the same sorts of music, and together we just seem to massively progress. We both got huge personal satisfaction from putting out our songs, so we just decided to keep going and we both grew.
What have been the major influences on your music?
The first person who inspired me personally was James Taylor, like I said earlier. But in actual reality, nowadays, my producer Cameron brings out a lot in me. Me and him are very close and he has helped me out in the writing process, and he is able to bring things out in me that I never even knew were there sometimes.
How do you manage to get both your styles to balance out as brilliantly as they do?
As I said before, regardless of background we connect on a whole different level. Through university Jamie listened to a lot of rap music and hip hop, and I listened to a lot of rock music. But we are both very emotive people, and both quite sensitive people so we like to express and so we make it balance that way. Sometimes I will write something and he will really relate to it, then he might elaborate on it in his verses and make it into a story. I think its interesting that we come from different places, but that’s almost irrelevant since at the same time we are working together to make our music.
Do you both see yourselves working together in the future.[pullquote_right]When you sit down and write songs like this, and then start taking it out to gigs and further, you become so close[/pullquote_right]To be honest, James and I are very close, and I see him as a brother. When you sit down and write songs like this, and then start taking it out to gigs and further, you become so close. To be able to come together in a musical way, I think you have to be able to understand to each other and relate to each other. On a personal level we are very close and are always there for each other. We have both started to look at different things, but we do definitely want to pursue this and open it up further.
Do you both have big plans for the future?
Yeah. The whole project right now is at the forefront of our careers. We are really pushing and spending a lot of our time recording our music. We are both taking it very seriously, and we want to create an album that will show people where we have come from in the last four years and how we have developed as artists.
You have generated a big following so is there anything you want to say to your fans right now?
All I can say to our fans right now is thank you for the support, and we look forward to making good music for you that you can appreciate and relate to. I think James would say the same, that he is very appreciative of the support and like me he wants to give the people as much as he can.