Sebastian Reynolds is drawn to empty places. When he’s not seeking out remote stretches of coastline or heading to untouched forests he heads to what passes for local wilderness.

“I love remote, mysterious places that have a genuine effect on your consciousness,” he says. “That includes Wytham Woods, near my home in Wolvercote, and Lindisfarne in Northumberland which inspired my music.”

Sebastian is a familiar face on the Oxford music scene, having graced the line-ups of a string of local bands. The keyboard virtuoso has played with glam punks Sexy Breakfast, electronica ensemble Keyboard Choir, country-rockers The Epstein and expansive electronic-folksters Flights of Helios.

These days however, he is is happier on his own. Well, kind of.

Having explored his talents as a soloists he has settled in with two other independently-minded musicians – violinist Alex Stolze and cellist Anne Müller – to form the Solo Collective. It sounds tautological, but, he insists, it makes perfect sense, with each artist taking their turn in the spotlight, while the other two provide support.

“We are not a band,” he insists. “We are more a coming together of solo artists,” he says.

For fans of his previous work it is something of a departure.

“It will be a mix of ambient classical, grief fuelled atmospherics, electronic beats, samples, and my jokes,” he smiles.

“I grew up loving the films of Stanley Kubrick, and his genius use of music for his soundtracks, particularly A Clockwork Orange and 2001 AD, A Space Odyssey,” he says describing his influences.

The Oxford Times:

“Kid A by Radiohead opened me up to Aphex Twin/Warp electronica, and composers such as Olivier Messaien. I also always loved trip hop acts like Massive Attack and Portishead, though the trip hop influences will be more apparent on some future releases that I am planning!”

And it comes from a dark place. “My mother passed away a few years ago, so the journey through the grief and recovery has coloured and shaped my artistic work to a great degree,” he says softly.

“The music has come from a raw, direct place and came naturally and instinctively. I was inspired to start performing live as a solo artist, playing music inspired by what had happened, as well as other material going a long way back in my life.”

He admits it is different to much else being done locally but shares common roots.

“There’s always loads of cross over between what are seen as discreet genres of music,” he says. “Local heroes Radiohead are a perfect example of a act from an ‘indie’ background crossing genre barriers to great effect.

“Also, Sigur Ros and Mogwai, Godspeed and the whole post-rock thing bridged that divide between band music and modern classical and ambient music.

“It’s easy to forget that the great German avant garde composer Karlheinz Stockhausen is on the cover of Sgt. Peppers by the Beatles, and is cited by Björk as one of her main influences. I think when you speak to a lot of artists you will find that they seek inspiration in some very surprising places.

“Foals were greatly influenced by American minimalist Steve Reich.”

He goes on: “One of my most listened to artists is the country great George Jones, but I can’t sing and I don’t make anything close to country, for example!

“I think elements of my sense of atmosphere and texture have always been present in my work with the various bands I’ve been in.

The Oxford Times:

“It was more the fore in Keyboard Choir, of course, but some of the Epstein and Flights of Helios tracks certainly have my stamp on!”

The Solo Collective came together while he was in Germany.

He explains: “I met Anne and Alex through the Berlin music scene, when I was spending time there.

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“I am very people oriented when it comes to making music. I rarely work completely on my own, and Anne and Alex are such wonderful, intuitive musicians to work with. They know how to get the best out of me. I like the fact that they can improvise or semi improvise their parts. I like to work with musicians who are creative and can think for themselves musically.

“My first proper solo performance was with Anne and Alex at the Roter Salon in Berlin in February 2017, when we birthed Solo Collective,” he recalls.

“It was a packed out gig, and I was slightly terrified. It was also not that long after mum passed away so it was emotionally cathartic to perform the music when my emotions were still so raw. If you search “Holy Island Sebastian Reynolds Vimeo” on google you’ll find a video by my friend, the video director Adam Hale, who documented the trip and the show. I’m very proud of that performance.”

And the name? “We settled on the Solo Collective tag to make the point that we’re not a band in the normal sense, more a trio of solo artists coming together to perform each other’s music.

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“Our shows are a mixture of us each performing solo, and then in different combinations of the three of us, plus for this tour we will be joined by James from Flights of Helios on guitar.”

On Friday they take to the hallowed surroundings of St Michael at the Northgate Church in Cornmarket to launch their second record called, reasonably enough: Solo Collective Part Two.

What’s it like? “There’s definitely influence from atmospheric, post rock acts such as Sigur Ros on my track Holy Island,” he says. “I love Jewish klezmer music and By The Tower, At Nightfall is written loosely in that vein.

“Mildenhall and For Hazel are inspired by Japanese producer Susumu Yokota, who was known for his exquisite electro-ambient piano pieces, while Ripeness is All is based around a reading from the novel Catch 22 by Joseph Heller, and is a musical depiction of your worst nightmare.

“It will appeal to anyone with a pair of ears and an open mind.”

Despite their independent leanings, the touring has gone surprisingly well.

“We toured the UK twice, and played a couple of gigs in Germany,” he says. “We get on fine. I’d certainly like to do more.”

  • Sebastian Reynolds plays with the Solo Collective at St Michael at the Northgate Church, Oxford, tomorrow (Friday). tickets: wegottickets.com