Detective Instinct
By One Giant Leap
Tuesday 05 Jan 2010 11:47:00
Browse all Music articles

Oli Heffernan is on a new case. He has put on his deerstalker and is sitting hands clasped gripping a pipe between his teeth. He is trying to invoke all his detective instincts to crack the case. It is a complicated crime of passion that is affecting and infesting several countries and indeed continents. But a star sleuth like Oli will soon have it under wraps.


Some people are just too clever for their own darned good. Mr Oli Heffernan plays lead guitar and is one of the main songwriters for the intense and atmospheric local power houses that are Idiot Savant. He plays a driving bass for the highly innovative British Lichen Society. He has toured Europe playing for Das Wanderlust. Oh and played guitar and written music for my lot, Shrug. But that isn’t the half of it. Just before Christmas Oli released not ONE but FOUR singles, under the title of Detective Instinct presents. And he hasn’t finished there; another eight releases are planned for the near future.


Detective Instinct is a collaboration between Oli and people he admires far and near to home. He mixed and sent out the music and then eagerly awaited vocals returning through his email inbox. By exchange of mp3s Detective Instinct presents some amazing results.


Oli tells some of the tale behind this ongoing project.


“I began by going through old tapes and realising a lot of it was good stuff and I needed to do something worthwhile with it so I wrote to a few friends from bands I’d been involved in or had played with and then we began a type of online exchange of recordings.”


Oli has long been fascinated by sounds as well as music. Whilst touring in Europe with Das Wanderlust he made a lot of recordings in old scary houses and the sounds of everyday life on the road. He has looped or sampled some of this field recording and worked it into many of the singles. But he also written some cracking tunes.


The partnerships forged span the world. Venerated voice piece from the mighty Dutch masters The Ex, G.W.Sok, features on one single. There is a truly haunting epic recorded with an American musical legend. Oli tells the tale of how he came to work with Mike Watts of Minutement, Firehose, Sonic Youth and of course more recently The Stooges.


“Mike Watt heard the songs on myspace and wrote asking if he could play them on his radio show in LA so I chanced my arm and asked him if he wanted to get involved, which he did.”


There is great attention to detail on the singles, even the artwork comes from a rare find by Oli. The covers are images from an old book of woodcuts discovered in a second hand book shop which have been given new life by the award winning locally based artist Nicky Peacock. So, yet another exciting artistic collaboration.


You can hear the tracks at



The first four 7" singles (limited editions with 500 pressed) were released just before Christmas on Sickroom Records.


#1: Detective Instinct & The Champagne

#2: Detective Instinct & Mike Watt

#3: Detective Instinct & GW Sok

#4: Detective Instinct & Jimmy McGee



Oli is currently working on the next eight singles which will feature vocals by Quasi, Jad Fair, Nicky Peacock, Trumans Water, Radar Brothers, Brian Stevenson, Emily Ryan and Black Heart Procession.


Look out for the Detective Instinct singles in the shops or available online through or



Robert Nichols

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