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Just like Foy Vance (keep reading), Antun Opic is the real song-writing deal. Listen to the lyrics that accompany Moses, the warning shot from Dreams, or the inclusive story-telling of Mermaid and you'll get a keen sense of his rare talent. Opic's guitar playing is headier still, eating up a range of styles from gypsy and flamenco to traditional. If you love the likes of Django Reinhardt you'll love the gypsy swing of Opic's Hospital, while there's also a touch of Pierre Bensusan to his lighter, more melodic moments. When his intricately woven and self-produced debut No Offence was born this summer, it quickly attracted rave reviews from fans and the industry alike. When we asked Opic about his songs, here's what he had to say...
How would you describe your approach to song-writing?
“Songs are funny guys. When they are born, you couldn't imagine they haven't been here before. Like children. They breath. They learn to walk, to speak. They grow. Then they have to work. They're proud of their strength. And they also get tired. And they sleep. They even hide sometimes. Sometimes.
“I have some – hiding in my pocket. Some of them are already quite old. With white hair – not very fashionable clothes. I think they won't come out any more. They are used to my pocket and quite content. They have a very steady rhythm, you know? We don't see each other much.
“Then I have some... they are not sufficiently equipped. You could say, they are not born for our climate. If I'd let them out now, they'd freeze! But they sure want to come out. They just wait until I can afford to buy them proper clothing. I also have some... they are a bit like a foreign currency. They feel very rich. But in this part of the world nobody seems to care.
“I'm a little worried about those lately. They act very stubborn and aggressive – I tell them to be patient, of course. I travel a lot to show them the world. I want to introduce them to everybody and show them everything. Because I want to have them all opportunities, you know. I don't know how to say...Somehow I feel responsible for them. Yes, that's it. I really need to take care of them. You know how hard it is nowadays. And where they come from everything is just easy.
“I don't know how they all got here, actually. Somehow I can't remember. I don't even know why. And I really also have my problems with them. Sometimes they're a real pain in the ass. They always put pressure on me. And sometimes they all speak at the same time. Puh. Did you know how much a song is able to eat? They literally eat me. But mostly it feels quite comfortable to have them close. It's cosy and warm, and, you know...
"I have always somebody to talk to. And sometimes, sometimes I catch one of those guys just in the right moment. And I tell you, there's nothing like catching a song in the right moment!”
You say you feel compelled to make music; to play and sing. What would happen to you if you didn't do these things?
“Well, I don't know. I haven't tried yet. I always wanted to go on and to get better in what I am doing.”
There are some darker shades to your writing. Where does that come from?
“We're not living in sunny times. I like sarcasm and theatre. I'm interested in the things people like to hide. The things that break out when the pressure is too high.”
How long have you been playing guitar for, and how would you describe your style?
“The guitar is my company for all my life. I always played but hardly took any lessons, so I guess I developed my very own style. I progress through writing music. My new ideas are often a little bit too hard for me to play so I have to practice to get it right.”