Oystercatcher Touring South Africa [Interview]
UK-based band Oystercatcher touring South Africa 2019
Oystercatcher is a music collective based in Manchester. At its core are vocals and bass duo Caitlin Laing and Tom Chapman, but their philosophy is to make each live performance unique by constantly varying line-ups and arrangements. With a strong emphasis on songwriting as a duo this is always at the heart of their music but is continually recontextualised by the different line-ups that they use, ranging from just bass and vocals to a full Orchestra.
Oystercatcher is currently on tour in South Africa and have three shows coming up in Cape Town: 9, 10 and 12 October (see below for full details).
I’ve caught up with the duo to find out more about their music and their future plans:
Has any of you been to South Africa before and what made you decide to visit our shores?
It’s the first time in SA for both of us, we were invited over to play a festival and decided to book a bunch of gigs around it, as well as do some exploring while we’re there!
Awesome! You’ve formed last year. Since then, what has the journey been like? Any standout shows?
It’s been a lot of fun so far. This tour is a huge highlight itself, but previously one of our favourite gigs was one we put on ourselves at the International Anthony Burgess Centre in Manchester (for which there are videos online!) We had support from a load of friends, and it felt like a really special night.
In this short time, you have also produced plenty of music. Tell me about the process of putting new music together. Who works on what? And have you also collaborated with other artists or producers during this time?
We both get involved in every aspect of the songwriting so it’s a very collaborative process. Songs come about in different ways but generally we start with a subject that we want to write about, discuss it in depth and then start to create something based on that. We haven’t written music with any other artists, however, Alex Armstrong-Holding produces our studio recordings and has been a vital part of creating our debut EP “This Too Shall Pass”.
And what are you currently working on?
At the moment we’re booking a UK tour in November/December and are getting ready to release some videos that we’re really excited about, in addition to always writing new music.
Exciting! It has been said that you keep your live performances unique by constantly varying line-ups and arrangements. Can you tell me a bit more about this?
We both love arranging music for different line-ups, so when we formed Oystercatcher we agreed that we’d try and make this a big part of our music. We’ve played with a big range of musicians in different combinations, including rhythm sections, horn sections, string quartet, percussion, vocals and harp. We love how much we can change the feel of a song when we keep the bare bones the same but mess around with different ideas around that, and for us it helps keep the music evolving-even if it’s one we’ve been playing for a while!
So, how many instruments do you normally use in a set?
We often do gigs as a duo (bass and vocals-which is what we’ll be doing for the South Africa tour) but can have any number of instruments on top of that!
Awesome! Please share a link to one of your songs you think would give people a taste of what to expect at your shows in South Africa.
Finally, do you have a message for fans in Cape Town?
We’re super excited to share our music with you and explore your beautiful country!