– By Camille Banzon, Music Editor –
Have you ever opened a chest filled with vintage treasures and wished you were teleported straight into that era? Reality says you can’t, but your imagination didn’t stop you from carrying out the memories that were just brought to life. That’s exactly what happened to 40-year-old Olly Hite and 29-year-old Samhain Carter-Brazier from Portsmouth in Hampshire, England, when they decided to design the concept of their duo around Percival Elliott.
But who is Percival Elliott?
Percival Elliott, Olly Hite’s grandfather, was an inventor born in 1883 who created one of the first ice cream emporiums in Brighton. During one family gathering, Hite dived straight into Percival Elliott’s time capsule and was instantly fascinated with the life lived by his grandfather. While the middle of making music with Carter-Brazier, Hite sent photos of Percival Elliott, still obviously struck by the man’s past life, and the name of the folk duo was born.
As a duo, the vintage inspiration is undeniable, not only with the way they dress onstage, but with the sense of dramatic nostalgia embedded in the kind of music they make. A kind of blues-driven folk, the duo thrives heavily on emotion and the promise of creating nostalgic music that will move oceans and define feelings. The duo is set to release their debut album, “Save Your Soul,” on early 2018, and we are gearing ourselves for a calm ride and the possibility to time travel.
We got to interview the talented duo and they talked about this interesting history, working with Fatboy Slim, and their favorite songs.
TVW: Reading where your name came from and the band’s short history immediately jolted our interest. What prompted the decision to rummage through Percival Elliott’s things?
Olly: I was at my folks place for Sunday lunch a few years back and Dad waltzed in with a big box from the loft. it was crazy, was a right old time capsule!
Samhain: Olly sent over some snaps of Percival and his family. Percival was sporting a Handle bar moustache, top hat and tail coat! At the time we were looking for a band name and this was a sign.
O: Weston Road Brighton, check out this picture (shown below) haunting or what. He created all types of different flavoured ice creams, we discovered his old branded toffee hammers and many types of cooking utensils. Percival would go missing for days on end, only to return with fresh ideas and new inventions. He was also a very kind man. He collected old wind up music boxes and grandma would say that he was beloved in time travel. Fascinating man was old Percival.
Main influences individually, and as a duo?
O: Elton John, Neil Finn, Beatles.
S: Anathema, Nick Drake, father John Misty, Rufus Wainwright. I think it’s hard to nail down a few influences, Olly and are constantly sending tracks to one another.
O: We both worked for an Antique dealer, spent hours on the road, delivering fine Georgian furniture, long case clocks and old pianos. Sam would make mix tapes, etc.
S: We would spend hours stuck in traffic listening to music, talking politics and putting the world to rights. A few years later a friend and I recorded and produced an Album of Olly’s named after the beaten up studio piano Joanna. After a mix session Olly and I were sipping on tea, instruments in hand and then the magic happened. Not sure why we hadn’t jammed before.
We’re imagining that you guys go to concerts and shows together?
O: Yea we’ve been to a few. We are are fans of seeking out new music, more Sam than I but yeah, we hang out at many a sticky carpeted rock n roll public house.
S: Festivals are the place to go. We love watching bands on the smaller stages and meeting like minded musicians. There is so much talent out there.
What’s your favorite song in Save Your Soul? Why?
O: “Overboard” it’s a one for all the leap of faith lovers.
S: I’d say my favourite has to be “Captain” it’s a song about a killer pirate cat inspired by the Hammer House of Horror book ‘Cat from Hell’ by Lynn Truss.
What was it like collaborating with Fatboy Slim? What did you specifically work on together?
O: Amazing, he’s an absolute gent. Incredible producer and a good friend. He knows how to make people dance. We met when I was performing in Brighton, he invited me to join him and some friends to a rehearsal space in an abandoned warehouse on Brighton Port. It was the place to hang, make music, make friends and to party. We put a record out called “ I think we need a bigger boat” by the “Brighton Port Authority” through Southern Fried Records. Go check it out, some real dudes on that record.
How was it going on tour? Was it the first tour you went on?
S: Touring is great fun! Our first show as a band was a sold out Chesney Hawkes support in the midlands. We’ve had the pleasure of playing alongside Chesney Hawkes, Mark Read and Nik Kershaw whilst on the road. Some extremely fun backstage antics too! Stories to tell the grand children.
O: We had a ball, it’s great to play live. [There’s] nothing better.
Do you remember your first gig ever? Where was it, and what was it like? Any specific memory you’d like to share with us?
O: Crowded House, Neil Finn officially blew my mind that day!
S: Mine was Craig David supported by The Artful Dodger in Bournemouth. Cracking show.
One of the most memorable and best shows I have ever been to is Muse supported by Hundred Reasons. This was just before Origin of Symmetry was released. I still have the tour shirt.
Just a quirky one, do you guys remember the first record you bought? Question goes for both of you.
O: Captain Sensible, “I said captain he said what”
S: Will Smith “Big Willie style” what an album, I still have it. It lives in my car.