The Gloves Are Off. An interview with Thomas Flowers from Oleander
It’s hard to believe it has been 10 years since Oleander last released a full length album. That album was met with some success, but the band decided to go on a bit of a hiatus in 2004. Rumblings began and it finally became official that the band was getting back together. Taking their time and doing things right, the band has created their newest album, aptly titled Something Beautiful. I reviewed the album here on Unsung Melody, feel free to check that out here. The album is what brings us together today. Recently, vocalist Thomas Flowers took a few moment to discuss all things Oleander with me. Below is our conversation. Enjoy!
Listen to the entire Thomas Flowers interview below:
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Today I’m joined by Thomas Flowers. Thomas is the voice behind the band Oleander. First off, thanks for taking the time to join us today and welcome to the Unsung Melody family.
Thank you very much. I appreciate the opportunity to be a part of this.
We’ll talk about a few things. Let’s start by talking about the new album titled Something Beautiful. As you guys progressed after getting back together, when did you guys feel you had enough material to finally enter the studio?
Well, we had taken enough time away to build up some life experiences to draw upon. We’ve pretty much been sharing ideas since the day that we officially started on that break. We never really ended the writing process. We just really slowed everything down.
How many tracks did you record for the album? Are their any bonus tracks lying around that we could see surface at some point?
Absolutely. We recorded 12 and we put 11 on the record. Intentionally held one of them off for a bonus track, an exclusive. It was a tough call too, because we really love the song. That song is one of our favorites, but we felt that it would be beneficial to do so.
The album itself, who did you work with and where did you record that?
We’ve been working with Rich Mouser, he’s our producer and also our guitarist, but he’s been our producer for the last 15-20 years. We recorded the album at the Mousehouse in Altadena, California. It’s basically our home away from home.
Having your producer in the band, gave you plenty of time to pick and choose the songs for the album. How long was the process in the studio?
You’re touching on an interesting point. With this go around, we had all the time in the world and zero pressures from outside influences to record this album. So, we took full advantage. We recorded the album over the course of about a year and a half. We did it a few songs at a time. We spent whatever time that we felt necessary to give each song the attention that they deserved and I think that that is evident in the quality overall.
I agree 100% on that.
That’s a luxury that we hadn’t afforded ourselves for many, many years. So, it’s certainly setting the standard for how we want to operate in the future as well.
I guess I’ll ask the burning question that’s on my mind. What made now the right time to release another Oleander album after 10 years?
Listen, we had an opportunity to discard a lot of the baggage and clutter that we’ve accumulated over 10 years of ripping and running. Going at it hard. When we took a break, quite frankly, we were burned. We weren’t having a lot of fun. We were just tired of the grind and needed a break. That break did us well, it allowed us to get back to the roots, the basics of why we got together in the first place. Really a pure web of our songwriting and the chemistry just among friends and among the band.
I mentioned it in my review, but the maturity in the songwriting is a huge advancement.
Well, this whole thing, you’ve got your whole life to write your first record, but from that point forward it’s a treadmill. That was certainly the case for us. We felt like we had enough time to build on the life experiences to draw upon. They’re very reflective in the lyrics and the music on this album. They married well and it’s just an opportunity for us to describe what our life is like now and what it’s been like in our absence.
The title track is the newest single from the record. Give us a bit of a backstory on that track.
From my perspective, it’s about finding those moments throughout everyday life that make life more meaningful. It’s about finding those things that you hold onto that are yours. That no one can take away, that really just get you through to the next day.
One of the biggest differences in the way we react with everyone has been social media. How different is it for you guys, when back in the day you didn’t have to worry about all, as to now, where it’s one of the more important things for a band?
Let me put a little different spin on this for ya. Back in the old days, social networking was jumping in a van or a bus and touring extensively. It was meeting as many people at every venue that you possibly could, talking about your band. That was it back then. Now, we feel that there is a tremendous opportunity for us to meet a much larger audience and an immediate connection through social media. We wish we would have had that technology available to us back in the day. It would have made a tremendous impact on our ability to market ourselves beyond jumping on tours and criss-crossing the country. We actually feel like it’s a huge advantage for us coming back.
I was really intrigued when I saw the band is playing Rock On The Range this year. I’m really excited for you guys to get in front of a lot of new faces. A lot of musicians don’t really care for the chaos and the lack of intimacy with the crowd at such a big event. Do you enjoy the big festivals?
Ever since we hit the stage at Woodstock in ’99, we were in front of about 250,000 people. We rose to the occasion and we felt at that moment that we were capable of playing any size venue. In front of any size crowd and representing ourselves well. Those festivals are a great opportunity for us to present our product and this band to a very large group of potential fans. So, we’re really looking forward to Rock on the Range in particular.
So, how much touring are you guys doing through the Summer?
Well, we’re going to be busy. There’s no doubt about it. While we’re here in Texas, our management and the label are putting together some touring offers that are on the table. We’ll certainly be making announcements on our social media as things are confirmed. We fully intend to be very busy this year promoting the new record.
After all of this. Getting back together. Putting out the album. Getting out there on the road. You guys are in the position, where like you say, you can do as you please. Is Oleander back and ready to kick ass for a few more years or what’s the future of the band?
Listen, we’re doing this because we want to, not because we have to. The gloves are definitely off and we’re motivated to punch everyone in the mouth with this album and with our live show. So, you’re absolutely correct about that. We fully intend to continue to keep writing, recording, and releasing music well into the future. As long as we’re enjoying what we’re doing. As long as the quality of the music is there. I don’t see any reason why we would take another break. That’s just the way things are.
That’s music to my ears. I appreciate that.
Excellent. As long as it sounds good and people want to hear it, we’re going to put it out.
Alright, I always try to end on a random question. So, I have one for you today. Fight was featured on the WWE ’12 video game. I won’t put you in the ring, but what would your character’s name and schtick be in the game?
If I was a character in the WWE video game, I would be called the Unitard. Because that would be the outfit I would be wearing. With the old school ear muffs and I would be one badass fighter. That’s for sure. I would be called The Unitard.
Thomas, I truly appreciate your time. The site and myself wish you nothing but the best. Hopefully, we get caught up at a show soon.
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