The band formed in late 2008. Paul Tandy (vocals, guitar), Mikey Rainsford (guitar), Matt Harper (bass) (NB. Matt has since been replaced by Drew Aaron Comley) and Tom Weston (drums) are the four boys that make up Octane OK. They’ve loved music for years. Tom tells Black Velvet that his brother got him into wanting to be in a band. “My brother used to babysit me when my mom was working and I used to go in their rehearsal room while they were rehearsing. It just started from there. Found the love for it.” Matt also had a relative that played music. “My uncle plays saxophone in a covers band and I always used to watch him and it made me really want to play.” Mikey’s brother tried to be a musician but Mikey himself ended up with the bug. “My brother got a guitar and gave up on it after a week, so I picked it up and taught myself.”
Mikey and Paul are both self-taught although Paul has had some singing lessons. Tom also had drum lessons for six or seven years. “Practice, practice, practice,” is what got them as good as they are now they say. “Three times a week at least,” says Paul, before adding, “Three hours in the practice, an hour in the pub. That’s important!”
“You’ve gotta have bonding time,” laughs Mikey.
Every song the band has is catchy and likeable – from ‘Curtain Call’ to debut single ‘Take Take’. New song ‘Pretty Lady’ is the song they’re most proud of though. “It rocks. It’s a lot heavier,” describes Tom. “It’s more mature,” adds Paul. “We’ve got a catchy side and this is going to be the heavy side… It’s a gay name but it does rock,” convinces Tom.
The more melodic ‘Take Take’ was chosen as the first single due to its catchiness. “You only need to listen to it once and you know how it goes,” says Mikey.
Black Velvet asks what they’d like to ‘take take’ from another band that they don’t currently have to make Octane OK better. “A big live show with props… an air cannon with glitter flying everywhere,” is Tom’s answer.
“Just making the stageshow bigger,” agrees Tandy.
“Obviously in these smaller venues we can’t but we’ve got ideas.”
“And funds are limited.”
“Probably a better sound engineer!” jokes Mikey – as theirs is sat at the next table listening in.
The band hope to have their debut album out in 2012 – and for it to bring them world domination. They think it will be quite diverse.
Paul says, “We like heavyish music but we still like to have lots of hooks on it. Plenty of power to the music but still catchy.”
“Like ‘Take Take’ is the hook whereas the new one is the rock out one,” adds Tom. “We don’t want to be just straight down the line pop. We want to be pop-rock.”
The band have played shows in Germany and Midem in France – and in fact are sponsored by BMI Baby. They tell us that they can get free flights if they do shows as a band. They’d most like to play Japan and the USA, especially California. How about Warped Tour? Black Velvet asks.
“I think that would be ideal for us,” replies Paul. “If we ever got on that we’d be loving it.”
One of their most memorable shows was the York show on the William Control tour – although not really for the right reasons. “What went right?” says Matt thinking back to it. “We played well but the monitor came crashing down on me while I was playing which wasn’t good… kind of killed the mood a bit. Just kind of lost momentum from there!”
A happier memory was the Kill Hannah/My Passion show that they played at. “That was a really awesome show,” says Mikey. “We enjoyed that one because people didn’t know us before… When you do your own show you know what to expect but we played to a new audience that was sold out and they seemed to like it,” adds Tandy.
“They’re really nice guys as well, My Passion and Kill Hannah, so we got on well with them.”
Mikey once wrote on Tumblr, ‘Want to know a secret? I used to make up band names so I could disguise songs by Busted and McFly on my iPod because I was too embarrassed about liking them…’ When we quote him he wants to crawl into the ground.
He explains, “Right now I’ll say they’re wicked but a few years ago I wasn’t so confident. I didn’t really want people to know that I liked these songs so I made up band names. I made up a completely new band that doesn’t exist to disguise these Busted songs!”
What names did he come up with?
“They’re on my iPod…,” he replies. “I think one of them was something like Yesterday Tomorrow or something hilarious like that. I can’t believe you found that out, that’s so embarrassing!”
Mikey says he’d be quite hurt if fans were embarrassed to admit they liked Octane OK. “But I think we’re credible enough people to not be embarrassing.”
“That’s what we’re trying to be – we’re trying to be credible but still quite poppy as well,” says Tom.
Mikey decided not to go to University to concentrate on the band instead. He says, “We were having fun and it was going well and then we had to kind of make the decision to go full blown out and go for it, ‘cause this is the one chance. It wasn’t like a major decision but we all decided to just go for it ‘cause this is what we all want.”
“It’s make or break now. We’re going with all guns blazing,” says Tom.
Their dreams are to go all the way, to keep touring and of course… world domination.
“We enjoy touring,” says Paul. “Just hopefully every time we go round the tours get bigger and bigger.“
“We’re trying to keep our feet on the ground at the moment, but if it carries on the way it is it’ll be great,” concludes Mikey.
Visit www.myspace.com/octaneok or www.facebook.com/octaneok for more info.
If you'd like to purchase the printed issue 66 of Black Velvet which this interview features in, head to www.blackvelvetmagazine.com/backissues.htm
Our second interview with Octane Ok is in issue 68 (also available at www.blackvelvetmagazine.com/backissues.htm) while issue 69 included a joint Octane Ok & Sugarcult interview with the two bands interviewing each other.
Octane Ok are on the cover of issue 71 of Black Velvet (Feb 2012). Order your copy at www.blackvelvetmagazine.com