Interview: I am Oak

WORDS by Kristyn Potter.

Left Bank sat down with Thijs Kuijken from ‘I am Oak‘- indie folk band from the Netherlands. They recently played two shows for Northside Festival, and are playing another show tonight at Pianos in NYC. It’s always nice to sit down with a musician who is so passionate that their love for music and art becomes a presence in the room. Solid interview, check it out below:

Kristyn: How did you decide on the name?

It came from the town I grew up in ‘Bergeijk’ … a small town in Holland that translates to ‘Mountain Oak’.  I think the town you grew up in helps form you and has an impact on who you are, so I decided to take a part of that.

Kristyn: What has been the best moment as a musician so far? 

I think being able to release records and being able to play shows for people and stuff like this *gestures around the room*. Being able to go places around the world just because of the music is really amazing … To travel to places like New York, it’s one of the best parts … to travel and play music at the same time, two things I really like combined.

Kristyn: Anything that sucks about being a musician?

Not really … maybe that it’s not that easy to make a living out of it and you have to be really lucky to do it. It’s really hard to keep it going I guess. It’s sort of scary, you don’t have that security to know you are able to do this for the next five, ten years. But it’s all included in the thing and you know that beforehand. It’s a lot more rewarding than a steady day job, and it makes up for the part of not knowing.

Kristyn: What do you hope to accomplish with your music?

I really like what I’m doing right now and would like to keep doing this for a long time. Of course I want to grow and be able to come back to the U.S., and get a bigger territory of playing shows. It would be nice to grow with different labels and in different parts of the world … I don’t have this thing of I want to play here or there, I just want to keep doing what I’m doing and take every opportunity that I get and see where it gets me.

Kristyn: If you could play anywhere in the world (other than Northside) where would you play?

I would love to play on the American West Coast around Seattle and Vancouver because a lot of the music I really like comes from there and there must be something with that area … [I’d like] to just go there and take in that atmosphere.

Kristyn: What are you listening to now?

I’ve been revisiting Little Wings a lot lately. I’ve been listening to him for years now. And, Arthur Russell. I’ve [also] been really enjoying The War On Drugs. I’ve seen them play two or three weeks ago in my hometown and it was really nice … and Neutral Milk Hotel. I’ve been listening to them for years too and I got to see them live and it was really awesome.

Kristyn: If you weren’t a musician, what would you be doing?

[I’d be] a photographer. I studied photography and have a Bachelor of Fine Arts.

Kristyn: Nice … But, that’s kind of the same thing about not having hardcore job security and working hard on your art?

*Laughs* Yeah, I don’t know what I did with my life.

Kristyn: Dream place to live?

That’s a hard question. I really like living where I am but I would like to live in a bigger city- Berlin or New York … Tokyo too. That’s also why I like to do music and the photography, because you can do it anywhere and you’re not bound to one place.

Kristyn: Yeah it’s amazing. So, what in the near future are you most looking forward to?

When we get back from New York we are playing Best Kept Secret festival … it’s really big… War on Drugs are playing, [and] a lot of big bands. It’ll be a nice opportunity for us.

This one is a gem too:


Video copyright I am Oak. Check the band’s Facebook for regular updates.