London-based Indie soundscape songwriter Officer AKA Dc Logan was born in Glasgow and brought up in Northern Ireland. Officer’s debut album entitled ‘Myriads’ was crowd-funded by his fan base and described as “Flawless & promising” by FAME, “Deliciously dark with huge atmospheric rollercoaster landscapes” by RKC and “Stratospheric and yet disarmingly intimate” by Right Chord Music.
The indie songwriter Officer is a solo artist who is supported by a collective of different musical friends. Watch videos for singles ‘Can We Talk’ ‘Laughing Rafters’ ‘Glass Ceiling’ and ‘My Darling Defibrillator’ on YouTube. New album ‘Night Tennis’ will be released in February 2020, and is preceded by new single ‘Tilt The Clox.’ and ‘Heavening’ (Watch The Bottles).
Looking back, what were some of your earliest entries into music appreciation? And music production?
Well, I was around a lot of religious and sectarian music as a kid in Northern Ireland and so discovering music that brought people together was really amazing for me. In my teens, I headed out anywhere I could find alternative live music, from local punk bands to ancient traditional Irish folk music at pub firesides. I grew up in a few different pretty sheltered and strict old school charismatic churches too which meant hearing a lot of old and often really beautiful spirituals and hymns being sung at high intensity, something my parents were a big part of, with my grandfather having been a traveling gospel preacher. It was odd that music would be either dangerously territorial and divisive or wonderfully embracing and uniting… in both directions you could feel its power. In the end, I was really captivated by artists like The Clash, Marley, Radiohead, PJ Harvey, Rage, Ash, Glen Hansard, Damien Rice, U2, R.E.M., The Verve…
Music production… you know, the first thing I ever remember doing was playing a guitar with only four strings on it, then beatboxing, and then singing straight into my neighbor’s aunt’s laptop mic, inspired by having just seen Ash and U2 play at my first ever real gig. It was a little poem-cum-song I’d written about my mum and dad’s divorce before ever having learned a single song by anyone else. I kind of went straight into writing cos I felt I had lots I wanted to write about or just express in some way. A couple of years later I moved to London into a flat with a couple of other musicians who had an old eight-track Akai and Garageband on their PC’s and we started experimenting with all that.
Take us through your songwriting process. Are there any particular steps you take when putting music together?
I make a lot of notes and record a lot of melodies as I go… I pick up and play something every day really and have, for as long as I can remember, been a constant scribbler of little poems, thoughts, stories, images, doodles, feelings. When it comes to actually focused writing I usually have a kernel of a poem or a beat or a melody or something that I feel is uniquely expressive of me or where I’m at or what I’m going through or grappling with in the world around me. But it happens in lots of different orders and methods for me… I find that just keeping open to whatever way things are coming is both a lot of fun and highly inspirational in terms of both initial inspiration and enough inspiration to keep you fresh and resolved to completion. So sometimes I write in a really loud live band setting, off the back of whatever noise we’re forming together, and then other times entirely on my own quietly on the acoustic or my little synth. Some songs come in minutes and are like precious little gifts being just given to you for nothing and others take huge amounts of perseverance, reworking, and focus. Something I have found helps me though is to only give very limited time to any given song in one go.
What gets your creative juices flowing?
It’s just in me, like a constant thing I can’t shut off, it’s hard to describe… but I guess just caring about people really, both up close and at a distance. Also things like the sea, swimming, a good book or film, a unique place or time, a good chat over a bottle of wine and a campfire… and actually, the really early morning hours are fuelling of creativity for me, they are something that gets my music bones moving… I’m not a great sleeper and have experienced some both first hand and secondary trauma and anxiety here and there that can at times keep me up, but then being awake and thinking and feeling through things in that relative silence brings some imperfect but beautiful things out. Loads of this new album was written at two, three and four in the morning.
As a musician, it becomes apparent that there is a huge difference between the art and the business. Is there anything about the music scene that you would personally change?
Honestly, I don’t know where to begin with that, it feels like an awfully unhealthy place such a lot of the time in all honesty. But then, you can look at one aspect and be really inspired, find inclusion, authenticity, togetherness, something really valuable, and then other times it’s like being caught in a bit of a tidal wave of something deeply uncreative, artistically and mentally paralysing, emotionally isolating, without integrity or any iota of peace or worth… guess it depends who you’re with and what you’re caught up in.
Studio work and music creation or performing and interacting with a live audience, which do you prefer?
I truly love it all. I love the live gigs though, that’s where it’s at for me, if I have to choose. But yeah, searching, pursuing, waiting for something completely honest and magical to come in the writing and recording process also gifts you some incredible moments of elation and deep satisfaction, even when it’s draining. With good friends, it’s all a joy and adventure.
What is the most memorable response you have had to your music?
I’ve had unexpected sing-alongs and encores in packed places which is incredible in what it does for your soul but I have to say I’ve had more than a few emails or other contacts from people now telling me my music has or is really helping them through something really tough for them and that has been something really dear to me and helps me keep going when the struggle of being an unsigned artist with very little resources from a working-class background has been too much to carry here and there.
What’s on your current playlist?
I don’t do playlists, I get obsessed with albums, devour them and move on, so my recent listening has been a lot of Big Thief mixed in with some Sharon van Etten, Nick Cave, Angel Olsen, Van Morrison, Idles, R.E.M., Black Pumas, The Cure, some traditional Irish folk of long ago.
Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you in the near future?
A couple more singles, videos, live sessions, and then the new album, Night Tennis, in February, which is my second album – both albums have been fan-funded albums. The last little run of shows we did were all sold out but if I’m honest it’s been a real struggle to get gigs outside of London and I want to open it up more and get out on the road to other cities and music-loving places on a support tour or something. I’m looking for help and contacts with that. I have a third album pretty much written that I’m looking forward to recording, so hopefully that’s not years off either.
Famous last words?
Just never stop not don’t being you! – Something I, in drunken passion, advised a slightly more sober friend who was a bit down in the dumps in an attempt to encourage them. They laughed, so it worked.
Officer appeared in a feature on Exit Through Sound
Follow Officer online