Having spent 10 years as Oxygen Thief, Non Canon is the new project of Barry Dolan, under which he releases a self-titled album this month and heads out on tour, visiting the Star & Garter, Manchester, 22 Oct.
Tell us a bit about your sound and your influences.
On record it’s fairly simple acoustic songs with instrumentation that builds, ebbs and flows from a solitary guitar to a small orchestra of voices, strings and percussion as the album progresses. Live it’s me, a guitar and my voice at the moment. I hope to perform it in full some day as a live reproduction of the record. Influences include The Good Life (Tim Kasher from Cursive’s other band), Jonah Matranga, old-school Radiohead and Manic Street Preachers acoustic b-sides from the 1990s.
How have you evolved as a musician over the years?
I’ve spent 10 years making loud acoustic noise as Oxygen Thief (a solo act, recently turned into three piece full band). My focus was generally on riffs and volume. Non-Canon is a new direction – less of a direct progression from OT. Both have a similar anatomy but are completely different on the surface.
Were there any alternative aliases before you arrived at Non Canon?
I can’t use my real name for anything as there’s a US rapper called B.Dolan that people already confused me with. The phrase “Non Canon” had been in the back of my mind for a while and cropped up in lyrics from time to time, so when I decided to start a project that was so different from the music I usually make it was the obvious choice.
What are you up to at the moment artistically?
Gearing up for the album to be released – we have made a video for A Study In Emerald which will be the next single from the album. I’m very much looking forward to the live shows – it’ll be great to be on the road again.
How do you stand out from the crowd in a saturated industry?
I’m not sure Non Canon is about standing out – that’s what Oxygen Thief has done. This project is much more about being open, direct, making connections, finding my own way to fit in as opposed to battling against the grain.
What’s on your rider?
Water, snacks and local ales.
Tell us about your worst live show.
Before this tour kicks off I’ve only played six Non Canon shows – the first ever was hugely nerve-racking with the (self-imposed) pressure of playing a set of entirely new songs for the first time. To cap things off it was at Xtra Mile’s Christmas party, in front of the whole label staff and a large chunk of the roster (Frank Turner, Recreations, Will Varley, Beans on Toast, Ducking Punches, Rob Lynch, the list goes on). That was terrifying, but absolutely worth doing.