ICON: Talk to me about your upbringing. What drew you to music?
Oliver Tree: “I grew up travelling. Both my parents worked in the circus so we travelled around until I was 12 years old when we landed in Santa Cruz, California and that’s where I went to high school. I grew up playing music with my parents, they had instruments that covered the wall of our motor home when we were travelling with the circus.”
What is the secret to your perfectly groomed bowl cut?
OT: “Patience… during the cutting process. All you have to do is be willing for someone to get every hair trimmed perfectly and the rest is history. The best part of the bowl cut is that it takes zero maintenance if cut correctly. I don’t even own a comb or any hairbrush, let alone use products. My hair literally has a reset position where it sits in perfect bowl form.”
You’re also a professional scooter rider. How does one get into that field of sport?
OT: “I grew [up] doing all types of action sports but scootering was just something I always naturally progressed at. In high school I started competing professionally but a bad crash resulted in many broken bones and surgeries so I decided I needed to find a career path that I could get longevity in. Scootering professionally is extremely dangerous.
Had you ever thought of leaving music to pursue that profession further?
OT: “After that crash, I wrote a song about it called ‘Hurt’ and that song changed my life and completely changed my focus.”
You recently appeared at Laneway Festival in Australia. How does the Australia crowd differ from that of overseas?
“I’ll just say it, American audiences suck!”
OT: “Pretty much everywhere else in the world, you can expect bigger mosh pits and Australia is a great example of that. These kids go harder than your basic American fan. I think people in America take themselves too serious and are too scared to fully let loose. Americans worry about what other people think too much.”
You’ve come off the back of some major international tours. What was the transition like to being confined at home in lockdown?
OT: “Honestly, I needed it. I had been touring non stop for four years and it takes a toll on an artist. Ironically I was in the middle of my final tour which was actually called “Good bye, Farewell Tour.” I was bummed I didn’t get to come back to Australia again for Splendour in the Grass. I didn’t really care about any of the US festivals as much as I wanted to come back to Australia and hit Bali on my way out of town.
What is the pressure like to release your debut album?
OT: “It’s been hellish and caused more stress than anyone could imagine. It’s silly cause it’s just some music but the amount of pressure put on myself and my team during this period has been soul draining to say the least.
What do you hope people take from your music?
OT: “My messages. This album focuses on learning how to be lonely, falling on your face and pushing forward your whole life, learning how to love yourself and not take yourself so seriously. Those are all the things I want people to take away from my debut album ‘Ugly is Beautiful.’
The question everyone asks: is it true that you’ve finished with touring? Or can we expect more of Oliver Tree?
OT: “At this point it’s safe to say I will never tour again, although if Splendour in the Grass brings back this year’s line up, I can promise I will come back to Aus for one last final show…”
Oliver Tree’s debut album ‘Ugly is Beautiful’ will release on July 17. For more from the artist, visit his website here.