Oly Ralfe, Ralfe Band

We chat to the Phileas Fogg of music to learn how he's always incorporating diverse influences into his music…

Anita Awbi
  • By Anita Awbi
  • 28 Jul 2014
  • min read
What’s not to love about the incredible Ralfe Band? Like the Phileas Fogg of music, their records travel from the Wild West to a Balkan mountaintop in the blink of an eye.

Brainchild of true artist Oly Ralfe, who is sole songwriter, the loose musical outfit grows for live shows and recording sessions.

They were first discovered by John Peel back in 2004, who remarked that it was 'difficult to tell who they’ve been listening to.'

True to form, over three flamboyant studio albums Oly has proudly worn his heart on his sleeve, drawing on everything from gypsy waltzes to bossa nova and worldly folk for inspiration.

But the band is just one outlet for his incessantly creative mind. He's also an award-winning filmmaker, screen composer and madcap visual artist.

His distinctive artwork and videos have shaped a unique image, from his animated video for the single Women of Japan – winner of Best International Music Video at South by South West – to the sleeve design for his singles and albums.

Past creative collaborations with Noel Fielding and Julian Barratt have seen Oly contributing songs and cameos to The Mighty Boosh TV shows, and in 2010 he directed the film The Mighty Boosh On Tour – Journey of the Childmen.

He has also won the Raindance Award at the British Independent Film Awards for BBC4-screened The Ballad of AJ Weberman, a documentary about the notorious Bob Dylan obsessive.

We were lucky enough to spend some time with Oly at Glastonbury Festival to find out what gets his musical tastebuds going, the art of collaboration and how he's always incorporating diverse influences into his music…