Wyrd Question Daze : Goodparley (Oli Richards)


Hey there, I’m Oli and I record and release experimental ambient music as Goodparley. I also play bass in the art-rock band Silent Forum. I’ll be releasing my next album on Wormhole World Records on 5th August and Silent Forum are currently putting finishing touches to LP2. My new record on Wormhole World is volume two of a series which began earlier this year, titled Meditations. Each track is a fully improvised guitar meditation. Most of the tracks involve looping of improvised layers but two acoustic tracks on Vol. 2 are just one layer of improvised guitar work. You can listen to/buy the record here:

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Where did you come from and where are you going?

I came from raiding my Dad’s CD collection at age 14. Lots of post-punk. Early love for Joy Division (I was an intense teenager), Siouxsie, Echo & the Bunnymen. It was then pop-punk and emo, which has never really left. I played in a scrappy pop-punk band for a few teenage years and then an art-rock band that I still play in today. Obsessions with post-rock (all waves), jazz, classical, dance music and, eventually, ambient and drone followed.

I’m going to a balance of bringing the new Silent Forum record to life on stage whilst twiddling knobs and making ambient sounds in my room. I’ll be in London soon and hope to share more of these drones with open-eared people. I’m writing the score for a BBC-funded documentary film right now and hope to work with more filmmakers in the future.

What preoccupies your mind these days?

Mostly the practice of being grateful and trying to be present in all that I do. Looking after myself and spending more time with myself than before, but still seeing friends I’m very lucky to have. Moving to London is on the mind and getting to know my partner’s friends and family better. All of this whilst re-engaging with the band for LP 2 and my Goodparley project when I’m settled in the big city. Day to day I think about sleeping the right amount, breathing deeply, and trying to let loose/relax (a hard thing to try to do). I’m also about to begin a Masters degree, training to leave my office job and become a psychotherapist.

Name a favourite taste, touch, sound, sight and smell

Taste: fresh raspberries oh my god
Touch: hair
Sound: birdsong
Sight: natural greens and where they can be found
Smell: Sure aerosol deodorant that I wore as a teenager, brings back a lot of memories/impressions

Describe one of your most vivid dreams or nightmares

I recently had a vivid dream which felt like it went on throughout an entire sleep. I dreamed that I was falling out of an aeroplane. People were trying to pull me back in, but eventually realised they couldn’t so strapped an oxygen mask around my face and covered me in suncream: “He might get too close to the sun”.

The dream then took me through various “lives”, which I experienced in sequential order. During the first life there was a lot of conflict, strange animals and creatures doing battle and me stuck trying to find out what to do. I knew that this was part of my fall from the sky to the ground and that I had to act a certain way to survive the fall.

I lived about 8 different lives in all and each life had less conflict and more positivity and adventure than the one preceding it. As each life went past, I began to lose focus on the fall from the sky that my physical body was experiencing and began to lose myself in whatever situation/life I found myself in. By the end of the dream, I had forgotten all about the fall and had realised that these different lives were endless – I would continue living different lives in order forever and I would never die.

Have you ever had an uncanny experience?

I experience deja-vu a lot, maybe the regular amount. And I specifically find the second layer of deja-vu uncanny – the “woah I’m having deja-vu about a thing I’ve had deja-vu about before…”

How does your sense of place affect the way you express yourself?

I need to feel quite safe and comfortable to fully express myself and sometimes this can take a long time. It is mostly down to the people I’m sharing space with. In some places I also don’t feel the need to express myself too much, and I quite like these places these days.

What has particularly touched or inspired you recently?

The Marginalia recordings by Masakatsu Takagi. He lives in the mountains in Japan and has released 6 albums of collected piano improvisations. He sits at his piano and plays in exchange with the sounds of his surroundings. I’ve probably listened to these recordings more than any other music this year, they are very grounding and an obvious inspiration for my Meditation series. 

Tell us a good story, anecdote or joke

Eek – well a lot of these answers have been quite intense so how about this one.

Recently I went to an air bnb with some good friends. I followed the sat nav to the middle of nowhere (mid-Wales) and promptly lost signal. I arrived at an air bnb and saw my friends’ shoes in the locked house. They must have gone out for a walk. Fine. I go for a walk myself and return an hour later, still no friends – very out of character!

They’ve heated the hot tub at least so I get down to my birthday suit, put on my trunks and get in the tub. It is after about 30 minutes of tub time that I realise I was travelling to a farm and this Airbnb is definitely not a farm…

I get out the tub and get in my car still wet. I drive 30 seconds up the road and promptly find said farm, with my concerned friends in the correct hot tub. “Wow he already has his trunks on, he’s prepared!” “Yes, and you may notice I’m actually already sodden….” I’d been in a strangers hot-tub for half an hour in the middle of nowhere… I suppose shoes are really all quite similar!

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