EMURG Rock on the Range Special Interview Edition: Thomas Flowers of Oleander
You thought EMURG was done with hitting you with exclusive interviews with bands who are scheduled to play this year’s Rock on the Range in Columbus, Ohio, didn’t you? Well, prepare because EMURG has another interview with a band that will appeal to old fans and newcomers to the band’s already established presence in the rock community. Oleander is no stranger to the world of rock after releasing countless albums, memorable singles, and selling out venues worldwide. Hot off the heels of their latest release, “Something Beautiful”, the band’s lead singer, Thomas Flowers, gave EMURG an exclusive interview concerning the new album, returning to the world of rock, playing Rock on the Range, and what his band has in store for the future.
EMURG: After a few years on hiatus, Oleander decided to make a comeback. Why now? What drove the band to dust off their guitars and drum set and return with such a diverse album?
Flowers: We had taken time to get away from the music industry to get back to what really mattered such as our lives, our families, and having a sense of normality. Over time, we felt a desire to get back in a room, strap the instruments on and create something beautiful once more. It’s funny because within fifteen minutes of that first band practice we knew we had something special and I believe that time off really did us well. There is something really special with what we got going on with the band right now and the gloves are off. We are ready to get back out there and start punching people in the mouth with our music!
EMURG: The last time we spoke back in 2012, we briefly touched on the subject of your new album, “Something Beautiful”. Do you mind elaborating a little more detail concerning the main concept of the album, what went into making the album, and what you hope fans will take away from this new record?
Flowers: We had taken a step back a few years to catch our breath. In that time, we were able to discard some of the clutter and baggage we accumulated over the years with constantly recording and touring. I think coming back at this point in time with writing and being able to get into a room, write great music, and have fun in the process of doing so. If there is a theme to this album, it was the fact that we had the opportunity for us to narrate and give an honest reflection of what our live’s have been like and what it’s like today.
EMURG: What made you decide to name your new album, “Something Beautiful”?
Flowers: It was the standout track first and foremost and it was an easy decisions from the get go. In essence, we’re all trying to catch those moments among the chaos to call our own and to give our life meaning. This meaning especially rings true for me and in my life, but most importantly the body of work in our new album basically sums up the idea of finding those little moments that are beautiful while experiencing the chaotic nature of life.
EMURG: Your current single, “Something Beautiful”, is receiving a lot of attention since reemerging in the music scene, but are there plans for a second single? If so, what will the new single be?
Thomas: We haven’t really started talking about second single as of yet, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it is the song, “Never Too Late” or “Bulletproof”.
EMURG: We’ve heard the track “Never Too Late” and it is by far one the strongest tracks on the album.
Flowers: Indeed it is! It’s definitely a rocker for sure! It’s funny because we are in a good situation because we have a solid album which allows us to have a number options to choose from concerning as to what the next single might be.
EMURG: What is your favorite track from the new album?
Flowers: That’s a tough one because it tends to change from week to week for me! I’d have to say my favorite track is, “Something Beautiful”, because it really speaks to me on a personal level. I’m also particularly fond of the song, “Daylight”, because it’s a song that was written about a very good friend of mine.
EMURG: Daylight is a spectacular song and probably one of our favorites here among the EMURG staff!
Flowers: Thank you! It was written from real and serious perspective that is very applicable to any listener.
EMURG: Will Oleander fans ever hear a live, unplugged album from the band?
Flowers: Absolutely! We are going to be recording live acoustic sessions of the songs in which we’ll be providing that to fans within the year.
EMURG: It seems that the music landscape has changed and grown since the last time Oleander dropped a new album. What are your present views on the music industry and how does a band like Oleander make a comeback and take the rock industry by storm?
Flowers: The musical landscape may have changed but our approach to it hasn’t really changed at all. As far as for writing, we basically lock into our strengths and weaknesses and try to create the best body of work possible for the fans and ourselves. As for the business side of it, it has changed quite a bit but we feel very optimistic about some of the advances in how it conducted such as social media networking which helps us connect with a much broader audience. Back in the day, social media basically encompassed touring and meeting with as many connections as possible. Today, we feel like that the social media aspect of it all work to our advantage for us now. Even though we are living in a digital/singles age, we are very optimistic about the year ahead and the future for this band.
EMURG: Oleander is scheduled to play Rock on the Range this year with bands like Sevendust, Big Wreck, and Alice In Chains. How does the band feel about being apart of such a monumental event?
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Flowers: We thrive on the big stage and those are the venues you want to play. For example, when we hit the stage at Woodstock in 1999 I learned a lot about this band. I realized with the first song we played that we are capable of rising to the occasion at any show or stage. We’re excited to be playing Rock on the Range and we feel that we deserve a spot on that bill.
EMURG: What bands are you most excited to see this year at Rock on the Range?
Flowers: We’re looking forward to seeing all the bands play this year, but it’s really an opportunity for all of us to run into our friends that we have toured with throughout the years.
EMURG: What can fans expect to see from Oleander’s live performance at this years Rock on the Range?
Flowers: Well I can tell you that the gloves are off and we are going to be punching people in the mouth at this performance. Fans can expect to see a very energetic, high level performance that is filled with familiar songs and a couple of new songs that they are going to remember. We definitely want to bring back sweaty-nakedness to the concert stage so you just might see that too! Sweaty-nakedness, that’s our motto!
EMURG: Rock on the Range is just the tip of the iceberg for Oleander’s tour schedule. What does your tour schedule look like? What bands will be touring with you and which ones will you be headlining?
Flowers: We’re going to be very busy this year in relation to touring. We have a few tours lined up and that are currently being pulled together by our management that will surprise our fans. As of right now, you can check out all of our tour dates at www.oleander.net and we’ll be adding more high profile shows as they are confirmed.
EMURG: Oleander is a very generous band who is dedicated to its fan base. How has the fans contributed to Oleander’s existence as a band and what is the most thought provoking statement a fan has ever said to you?
Flowers: Our fans mean the world to us and for us coming back from being absent for so long has been fantastic because we’ve been able to reach back out to old and new fans through social media networking. We’ve always prided ourselves with be accessible to our fans and that is still the same for today.
As to the most thought provoking statement made to me by a fan that has stuck with me over the years was when we played a show and a very young lady approached me with bandages on her wrists. She conveyed to me that she tried to attempt suicide but out of that darkness our song, “I Walk Alone”, helped her recover. It’s moments like that make you realize that there is something far greater than just being in a band and writing songs. We have a responsibility and an impact on our listeners and we take that very seriously.
EMURG: At the end of the day, how do you reflect on your experiences and efforts that you have contributed to the music industry as a musician?
Flowers: I look back at it fondly and feel very grateful and honored to have done this over the course of my life as a living and a career. I believe we’ve played a small part in people’s lives and I think we’ve contributed to the musical landscape with every album we have released.
EMURG: “Something Beautiful”, is just the beginning for the newly revamped version of Oleander. Is this album a premonition of things to come?
Flowers: Most certainly! This is not the last album we will record and release. We have rolled up our sleeves and we are just about to get busy again!
Once again, it was a great pleasure to speak with Thomas Flowers concerning his recent efforts with his band, Oleander. To find out more about the band and what they are up to, you can visit their social media networks at the following links.
Please be sure to check out EMURG for all of our coverage for this year’s Rock on the Range! Until next time, keep you ears and eyes plugged to EMURG for new and great music!