I Am Oak is a folk/indie Utrecht-based band, founded in 2008 by Thijs Kuijken. The other members of the band are Stefan Breuer, Tammo Kersbergen and Robby Wouters. Since their debut in 2010, I Am Oak has built an impressive track record. They have won various prizes, has toured through thirteen countries, including performing at showcase festival SXSW in March 2012 and their albums have been released in many countries.
Whereas their debut album ‘On Claws’ (released by Snowstar Records in 2010) was warm and soothing, with banjo, organ and minimalistic beats, their following albums have a more electronic sound. In 2011, I Am Oak won the prestigious 3VOOR12 Award for best Dutch Album for ‘Oasem’ (pronounced as awesome). This album was written by Thijs Kuijken, but performed with I Am Oak. A trip to Finland was of huge inspiration for the music and the lyrics of this album. The jury described the songs as ‘night songs’, and as ‘music that takes you on a journey’.
Critics were even more enthusiastic about I Am Oak’s following album; ‘Nowhere or Tammensaari’. Again, recorded in Finland, this album exceeded all expectations, and was received with great critical acclaim. Without hurting the intimacy of the songs, ‘Nowhere or Tammensaari’ has a more and fuller electronic sound.
The latest album of I Am Oak, was launched in January 2014. ‘Ols Songd’ is a collection of previously unreleased songs. Thijs Kuijken: “These are old songs. While they were being written, they were already old songs. Though the content of the songs was current when they were written, the feelings enveloped in these songs had come over me before, making them old and new at the same time. Some time ago, another wave of similar feelings rolled in, reminding me of the old songs, obscuring the ability to differentiate between past and present – and inevitably the two intertwine.”
Check out the Dutch Sounds @ Northside playlist we made to listen to I Am Oak!