Birth name – Oliver Jones
Stage name – O.J.Jones /O.J.Jones one man blues band (when playing solo)
Where are you from and where are you based?
I originally grew up in the south of England. Behind our home were cow fields for a long way and in front was forest. Not to complain, I spent a lot of time in nature and focusing on music. I was somewhere between a hobbit and a hillbilly. It was probably this lack of musicians (or people) that lead me to start playing as a one man band.
My first real access to a music scene (aside from small pub gigs for art students) came whilst living in the south of France. I, by chance, ended up living for quite a few years in a small town near Montpellier that was for some reason heaving with musicians. This is where I really started focusing more on my own music and playing a lot more on the street and at private parties.
I’m relatively new to the music scene in Lisbon but I’m enjoying every minute of it. For the first time in my life, there is always a place to play and people to play with. Not to mention audiences that are interested and open to new music! The way things are going I think I may be staying and playing in Lisbon for a few more years.
What style of music do you play and what drew you to it?
I like to play a mixture of Blues/folk and ragtime with a lot of influences from Delta Blues. I honestly couldn’t tell you what drew me to this style. I think it was the natural progression from classic rock to rock n roll until I ended up researching further and further back through old records on wax, with terrible audio and worse sounding instruments. I fell in love with the rawness that comes from the blues.
As for my take on it. I like to keep it rhythmic. I like to see people move. And that’s why I needed to start playing with drums, whether I had a drummer or not. So I built myself a drum kit out of items I found on the street, re-wired an old telephone for a mic and started making as much noise as I could.
What’s your most memorable gig to date and why?
As far as gigs go, I remember playing a fair few private parties that have ended in utter madness. And one or two events that were WAY too white collar. For me, the thing that brings me some of my happiest memories is playing on the street. Having children and adults dancing around and really connecting with complete strangers who get the vibes you’re putting out.
Do you have any other projects outside of your music? What are they?
Outside of my music, I’m pretty obsessed with black and white photography. I’ve been shooting and making prints for the last six years or so and it for sure brings me a lot of joy. If you want to see a small sample you can check it out on Instagram @ojjonesphotography.
Is there a song/album that you’ve made that you’re particularly proud of or stands out for you? Which one and why? (and can we hear it?)
I’m currently in the process of putting an album together off originals and interpretations of old blues numbers. The track that I enjoy playing the most, that for me has the heaviest groove is “German Freight Blues”. For now, there are a few videos of me playing this track live floating around but it will be on the album I’m currently trying to get finished, which should be out soon.
Have you got any upcoming shows that Garden Collective members should check out?
The best place to find me in my element is on the street. I’m normally out most days at the Miradouro de Santa Luzia. If not, I post any shows that come up on my music page on facebook (at O.J.Jones one man blues band).