Behind the Music: Interview with Harry Osborne (Someone Anyone)

‘I hope to expand pop music and test its boundaries.’

Following the release of their eclectic new tune ‘Birds’, LTD writer Ella McLaren had a chat with Someone Anyone’s founding member Harry Osborne to talk about music collectives, feeling trapped and parrots…

Hey, Harry! How did you come to decide on the name ‘Someone Anyone’?
‘Someone Anyone’ was actually the name of the first song we wrote together and it just stuck. We liked the faceless image it gave and was born in the hope that people would put the music first and the people second.

Can you tell us how Someone Anyone formed?
I had been playing in bands with Dan (saxophone) and Charlie (drums) for years… Then I met Jamie (bass) at university by asking my tutor “Who’s the best bass player at this uni?” He pointed me in Jamie’s direction and I’ve been playing with him ever since! We then found like-minded people from Hastings and here we are.

You’ve been described as almost a music collective, can you tell us what this means and the impact this has on your sound?
I think the best way to describe it is that we always put the music first. Having the freedom of a “collective” allows for new ideas and directions to flow. I think the impact on the sound can only be positive – It removes the possibility of stagnation.

Where do you feel you guys fit into the ever-changing music scene?
I grew up on a diet of Bombay Bicycle Club, Talking Heads and The Strokes. Plus all kinds of Americana, Ska, Folk, Jazz….An endless list of influences. I think there’s always room for new music, it just has to be your own. We hope fans of those aforementioned bands will resonate with what we’re doing and where we are taking our journey.  

What are your thoughts on the music scene recovering as restrictions end, do you think that live jazz music will bounce back?
I believe it will come back in time, there’s a serious drought right now and I’m not sure about other people but I’m getting thirsty… I’ve seen some shows go-ahead that looked great. I applaud artists for still putting on socially distanced shows – that’s a hard thing to pull off with the same intensity as a full show.

What can you tell us about the story behind your latest single ‘Birds’?
Near my house there’s a strange lady that does gardening outside and she puts her pet parrot out in a little cage to be with her. It’s so messed up. This beautiful tropical bird living out its days outside, but also in a cage? I wanted to let it out, but then I realised it had lived its whole life in this tiny box and probably wouldn’t survive out in the open. My sympathies for this bird gave me a lot to reflect on in my own life and how I live it.

‘The more I learn and grow, the more arrows I have to my bow in terms of where I can take a song.’

The song has lyrics about feeling trapped, how do you deal with these feelings in your personal lives?
I think the lockdowns have given us all a taste of that feeling. I personally recommend spending as much time in nature as possible. Carrying a guitar for miles to a beautiful spot is always a great solution if you’re lucky enough to have open space near you. Driving is also good.

‘Birds’ is a really interesting song as it blends a lot of genres, what drew you to these sounds in particular?
I had more time to practise piano which is my fourth or fifth instrument so it doesn’t always get the time it deserves. Just having the time to throw lots of different ideas down (on an instrument you’re not fluid with) can be so rewarding as the limitations can focus you on the important matter at hand – the song!  

Within those sounds, who or what would you cite as your inspirations?
I get so much inspiration from the other members of the band. They are all a part of the collective because I value them all musically so much. I often when writing or producing think “what would Jamie do there? What would Dan do over that?” I then sometimes do the complete opposite – but it’s all food for the song. Some production inspiration comes from artists like Tyler The Creator, Yves Tumor and Jacob Collier.

The sax solo in ‘Birds’ is mesmerising, what is the value in blending organic sounding instruments like these with the electronic elements found in your music?
Dan is quite a mesmerising gentleman when it comes to blowing his pipe! The music has become more electronic since the expansion of our studio and the endless possibilities that can be created. Also because of lockdowns I have had my hands forced more into electronic instruments. I would say I resisted at first but the more I learn and grow the more arrows I have to my bow in terms of where I can take a song. 

What do you want listeners to take away from your music?
I hope it can provide some form of escapism, giving joy and maybe even challenge a perception or two of what one song is “meant’ to sound like. I hope I sit on the edge of trying to expand on pop music and test its boundaries.

What can we expect from your upcoming EP and is there anything else on the way?
We have so much music we want to share with everyone and we’re excited to present the next chapter from Someone Anyone. We’re going to be expanding on Birds on this ever-winding road, but expect some beautiful harmonies, and rather naughty snare sounds. We also have a music video for ‘Birds’ in the making and can’t wait to share it!

Thanks Harry for chatting with Listen to Discover
Interview by Ella McLaren

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