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Chris Olley from Six By Seven on the Band's Legacy

26 February 18 words: Rachael Halaburda

Six by Seven formed here in Notts back in 1994, with the indie rock band’s only constant member being singer and composer Chris Olley. During their time on stage, they recorded three albums for Beggars Banquet Records, toured extensively and had two hit singles. Now, Chris gives us a look back over the past 20 years...

So coming from Nottingham yourself, where did you first perform? How did it go?
It was at The Old Angel in Nottingham - the set was about 35 minutes long, we played three songs and it was a rip roaring success. It was one of those early gigs where all your mates and each of your girlfriends all come down and support you. 

Over the time has been there been a particularly enjoyable person or band you’ve played support for that stands out to you most?
It’s got to be The Dandy Warhols. We’d played at London Calling festival in Amsterdam and the Dandy’s were playing there as well. When they saw us they immediately asked if we’d like to tour with them and of course, we said yes. So we supported them when they came over to the UK for the very first time.

How was touring with The Dandy’s?
It was very relaxed, you could just wander into their dressing room five minutes before you go on stage and they wouldn’t think anything of it. With the bigger bands that just seems to be the way. They’re a brilliant band and I love them; I actually did an album with one of them recently.

So, Six By Seven... is there any particular reason for the name?
Yeah, there is a story behind it. The universe is expanding at a rate of six by seven and apparently is going to get bigger and bigger... it’s infinite.

In 1997, the band released their debut 12-inch single European Me, which led to a five-album deal. Can you tell us a bit about that up to current day?
The journey started with a guy in Nottingham called Anton, and he was going out with Lisa. Then Lisa had a birthday party at Sam Fays' and there was a guy there from Geffen Records. He saw us play and he came up to me afterwards and asked if I could record a demo, which I was up for already.  Then he added "...and I’ll give you £2000." So we went to a real studio for the first time and recorded European Me along with a few others.

After that, Beggars Banquet pressed up a thousand of the twelve-inch records and they gave us about 200 of them. We sent them all out to the fanzines, got reviewed and three days later it had sold out. NME said it was great and everything just went from there.

What would you say is the greatest venue you have played at?
David Bowie asked us to play Meltdown at Southbank Centre, which held around 2,800 people. We were on to perform first with Mercury Rev; as I stood on stage I remember looking out and there was around 5,600 eyes all looking at me and that was a really weird feeling, especially knowing that included the eyes of David Bowie.

If you could choose anyone, dead or alive, who would your dream collaboration be with?
It would have to be John Lennon, closely followed by Neil Young. 

As a band, what has been your biggest achievement to date?
Playing on Jools Holland was a major highlight for us, it was an amazing experience.

Six By Seven on Facebook

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