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10 Questions With... Olivia Browse

Olivia Browse is a Manchester-based, Essex-born indie-pop singer songwriter. With two fantastic singles under her belt already (Sober and Halloween), she is set to return with a new track, Red Stripe, released through Manchester's own Bread Records.

Red Stripe is a fantastic new single that acts as a perfect introduction to Browse's music. It perfectly encapsulates the typical Manchester student experience in indie nightclubs such as 42's - I found every line taking me back to nights spent drinking and dancing to The Courteeners and New Order. The song effortlessly skewers Manchester indie culture, but with a loving wink. It's witty and fun, with a ridiculously catchy chorus and beautiful guitar lines that are melodically gripping and ethereal. It combines Browse's sense of humour with empathy, making for a memorable single that's remained stuck in my head since I first listened.

Over the last week, we got to catch up with Olivia Browse and chat about Red Stripe, clubbing, festivals, and future plans. Read on to find out what we learned!

1. Hi Olivia! Can you tell us a bit about your upcoming single, Red Stripe?

Red Stripe is written in the perspective of a typical Manchester lad who loves nothing more than going to 42’s nightclub, drinking Red Stripe and listening exclusively to The Smiths and Joy Division. It all started when me and my producer ‘Shtum’ were messing about and trying to create a song to imitate 2000’s indie bands, we released it on my birthday last year on SoundCloud but everyone kept asking me to release it properly so I decided to re-start the project and properly record it!

2. You mentioned that Red Stripe was inspired by indie nightclubs such as Manchester’s own 42’s. What is it about these places that inspired the song?

Pre-Covid, 42’s was my favourite place to go clubbing and I have some very fond memories in there. The music in 42’s is the main reason why people go there and that’s why I thought it’d be the perfect setting for this fake love story. I’ve met so many people in 42’s that make me think of this song.

3. Is there anything in particular about clubbing that you’ve missed during COVID?

Ah everything! There’s something about being absolutely shitfaced in my club hearing the life story of a random person you’ve just met in the smoking section. I also just miss getting dressed up – I have too many loud clothes and not enough opportunity to wear them!

4. How was the process of writing Red Stripe different to your earlier singles such as Sober?

Sober was a song that has been under my belt for a very long time and It felt like a big moment when putting my first song out there. I wrote Sober when I was angry and living on my own in first year of Uni, which is actually how I wrote most of my songs. Red Stripe is the only song that I didn’t write completely on my own so it was definitely a different way of writing for me but I enjoyed bouncing my ideas off of someone else’s.

5. Which comes first when you write songs: the music or the lyrics?

I usually write random phrases down on my notes that I hear or come up with and that inspires a song normally. I then work with that phrase or word and come up with what chords sound good and create a melody around that. Lyrics are my favourite part of writing songs so they’re usually the most important part to me.

6. How has lockdown affected your songwriting process?

I find that I don’t have much to write about nowadays, I usually write at least something once a week but I’ve only written a handful of songs in lockdown. I think that it’s just down to the fact I’m not going out and having song worthy experiences!

7. Are there any artists in particular that are inspiring you at the moment?

There’s always plenty of artists on the local music scene that inspire me with just the sheer amount of effort they put into their content. Some other artists I’m really liking at the minute would be; Ashnikko, Claud, Spill Tab and Arlo Parks.

There’s something about being absolutely shitfaced in my club hearing the life story of a random person you’ve just met in the smoking section.

8. What’s it like working with your producer, Shtum?

It’s really easy going working with someone who shares the same vision as me and I find it super easy to get my ideas across and never feel uncomfortable to share ideas. That is something I really value about working with Shtum as I can find it difficult sometimes communicating how I want something to sound. I also feel like working in a comfortable environment is important so you can get the best results. As well he’s just super talented and I wouldn’t be able to create my tunes without him.

9. Picture this. It’s summer 2022, festivals have returned, the sun is shining, and you’re given the chance to book an amazing all-dayer. Who have you got on the bill?

The last time I put on a gig was January 2020 and it was to showcase female musicians in Manchester. I’ve said that when I get back to putting on gigs, I’d do the reboot of that night and get some of the musicians who played, back for another gig so I would say that would make a pretty good all-dayer. In terms of my dream festival line up though it’d probably look something like this;

Charli XCX, Dorian Electra, Ashnikko, Glass Animals, Haim, Lana del Rey, Matt Maltese, Stella Donnelly, Sports Team, Pete & Bas, ahah I could go on..

10. Do you have anything else in the works?

I’m currently in the process of starting my EP, I’ve been sitting on about 2 albums worth of songs for a very long time and I’d like to start something a little bigger. I’m super excited because there’s so many cool ideas for it and they’re a really nice collection of songs that all mean something to each other. I probably will release the single for it later in the summer so it’s all fairly exciting!

Olivia's new single, Red Stripe, is released on 9th April. You can pre-save it here.

Find more from Olivia Browse below:

Bread Records website:

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