Five Questions With Oliver Pigott

Canadian indietronica rocker Oliver Pigott has released his take on Aerosmith’s 1973 classic, “Dream On”.

“Here we were, my wife, kids and I, in a charming small town across the border in the US riding out the next wave of 2020,” Pigott recalls of the cover’s earliest inspiration. “We were in a basement playing music with a few new friends and strangers when, that night, we met a man who suffers from amnesia; he came down to listen to us jam.

“Apparently, he had been a musician himself before his near-fatal car accident,” the Toronto-based singer/songwriter, musician, and actor continues. “As I played a few arpeggios over a D minor chord, he began to half mumble/half sing ‘Dream On.’ ‘You know it?’ He asked me, and of course I replied. He nodded and looked through me with piercing eyes; ‘great song, man.’”

As the night wore on, the man ultimately forgot that moment as well as who Pigott was.

“Yet, we both knew the song would live on. Once I was back home, I began to dream of covering it in the studio and producing it with dramatic, orchestral-like instrumentation throughout.”

The process of recording the biting ballad would soon prove to create a journey all its own.

“My wife recorded the piano track on a beautiful grand piano in our friend’s home,”  Pigott shares of Danka Pigott. “Her take sped up significantly over the course of the song, but it was full of feeling so we made the choice to keep it.

“I had the same approach to my vocals; I recorded that night, and decided to keep everything that came out of me on the first take. Too much music is auto-tuned and set to a click, and I wanted to make a departure from that.

“I wanted to trust the moment.

“With my twin boys in the other room as I sang, I could not help but feel the weight of the lyrics. This song has always spoken to me and I wanted to create something that captured my feelings about 2020 as well as what I imagine a lot of people have grappled with over the course of this volatile year.”

When it came to the music video, Danka handily contributed there as well, directing and filming the stunning visual accompaniment; “Dream On” isn’t the first creative collaboration for the two — they appear together as Americana/folk duo LambLion as well.

On a cliff at dusk, overlooking tumultuous waves giving the shores of Lake Erie a piece of their mind, the entire video was captured in one take, with the partners once again ‘trusting the moment’ in its entirety.

“The two of us followed each other’s instincts and let the performance and camera angles unfold in real time,” Danka shares of the powerful dream-like sequence that evokes states of anguish and passion.

“And melancholy,” Pigott adds. “It’s where the struggle for freedom and the yearning for truth is unyielding.

“My wife always says ‘your art is your politics’ and, with this cover, that may well be the case.”

Check out the video for “Dream On” below, and find out more about Oliver via our Five Questions With segment.

Care to introduce yourself to our readers?

I’m a singer, songwriter, and actor from Toronto, although I also grew up in Portugal. I’ve starred in two films and toured three continents, and was a finalist on the closing season of Canadian Idol. In 2017, I had the honour of singing for Canadian veterans in front of Ottawa’s Memorial, for the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. I’ve had many different musical projects, but my current focus is the duo I have with my wife called LambLion, as well as my solo work. My wife Danka is an accomplished actress, director, and video editor who’s made music videos for several of my projects, including the Dream On video.

Tell us a bit about your music and writing style.

I like myriad genres and have dipped my toes in the water with rock, metal, country, electronica, folk, pop, and jazz. Writing-wise, I cut my chops as an artist under contract to BMG in the early 2000s. That was when I first started writing with heavy-hitters; writers with a lot of credits and hit songs. It was a crash course in the anatomy of a hit song, and I was soon immersed in the classic storytelling style of top forty radio fare. From there, I began to explore the word-slinging style typified by artists like Beck and Allen Ginsberg, switching to a stream-of-consciousness abstraction wherein I aimed to convey a narrative without literal reference. I’ve since been driven to meld the two, so “Dream On” appealed to me as a cover because I think it achieves that.

How are you keeping creative without shows? What are you spending your time on?

I’ve released several music videos from quarantine, one of which was from a Muskoka cabin on a lake. “Dream On” was filmed on a beautiful 30-acre property on a cliff overlooking Lake Erie in northern Pennsylvania. I’ve also been busy with live-streaming gigs in fun and interesting locations.

If you were asked to suggest only one of your songs for someone to hear, which would it be?

“Alien Like You” by The Pigott Brothers. It’s a song my brother and I wrote for a character he portrayed on the CBC series “Being Erica”.

Canadian Beats is all about Canadian music, so who are your current favourite Canadian bands/ artists?

I love Arcade Fire, Lukas Rossi, Mother Mother, Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, and Neko Case.

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