Olio: New and Improved and Better Than Ever
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Established in 1997, Olio has been together longer than most bands can even dream of. Since their inception they’ve seen their fair share of turnover in their line-up, but since finding current bassist Kelley Hill in 2011 they’ve been re-energized and reinvigorated. Olio is now hitting the road with an energy and presence that can only come with the kind of experience a band of 13 years has. Drummer DeHaven Carrington takes a break from touring to give us some insight into Olio.
Progressive Man is here today with rock and funk specialists Olio. Thank you for chatting with us! Let’s kick things off by learning a bit more about the origin of the band. How did everything first get started?
Olio has been around for about 15 years now. Arif (guitar and vocals) and Tony (original bassist) had been working on a 3-piece band when they met me, DeHaven (drums & vocals). We clicked right away & started doing shows and eventually our first CD, a live project called “Ain’t No Party Like an Olio Party…Live” in 1998.
Fast forward through life…Tony quit, Arif had just married for a little while, I was having a kid & planning a wedding, No Olio during this time.
We hit 2001 and started to get the itch. Arif wrote a couple songs for some indie projects and we really wanted to record a new Olio album. More time passed…we found a new bass player from Chicago, Matt, and recorded the “Living the Dream” CD which was released in 2009, and played a lot of shows.
In 2011 we entered and won the Emerging Artist Competition held in Santa Monica, on the pier. We got to play two big shows during the Twilight Dance Series (festival show) and right after that, Matt quit.
A week later we found Kelley (current bassist & vocals) and now we finally have the lineup we have always wanted. Now we’re touring, we recorded our latest EP “Comeback Kings” with legendary Producer/Engineer Eddie Kramer and went to France with him and recorded 4 more new songs for our new full-length album. So things are groovy right now.
DeHaven, you and Arif have seen this band go through a number of line-ups since 1997. At one point you even experimented with being a 5 piece band. What is it about being a 3 piece that made you go back to it?
Yeah, the 5 piece was interesting; that was the “Colour of Music” CD era in 2003. We had a female backing vocalist and a keyboard player for the live shows. It was kool and served its purpose well, but deep down Olio is a power trio.
The way we write & play just lends itself to being a 3-piece. One of the biggest compliments we always get is, we don’t sound like a 3-piece, we sound like there are six people on stage. Plus the energy is totally different.
First and foremost we are a live band and in a trio it is perfect for what we do on stage as well. Since we don’t do typical rock, and the music is more groove & funk based, it makes for some unique music.
The latest addition to the band is Kelley Hill, your extraordinary bass player. How was it that you stumbled across him?
He came to us by recommendation from a gentleman that Arif knows. Actually Arif knew Kelley but didn’t know he played bass. We gave him a few songs, he came in to jam and it was amazing. We knew we had our guy.
We still had other guys to audition, just to be fair to them but we knew…
What we didn’t know was the energy and presence he brings to the stage. It is infectious! It’s like what we used to be in the early days but bigger & better.
Now, you guys have been known as Olio for a long time now, 1998 to be exact, when you were first starting out you went by the name Vivid. What made you switch to Olio and where did the name come from?
There was a band in Germany signed to Virgin, I believe, they were called Vivid. So, Arif found the word Olio in the dictionary. The definition is “a miscellaneous collection of music or literary works” it described us perfectly.
Having been together for over 13 years you’ve seen trends in music changing along the way. Have you guys attempted to adapt to the shifting music landscape or did you make a decision early on to stick to the style you know and love?
The biggest trend we follow is songwriting. If you write a good to great song, it doesn’t matter what genre it is in. Our overall style has changed naturally over the years because our lives have changed and we have had different bass players, with different approaches.
We stay in tune to what is happening in mainstream music and not so mainstream music. We are music fans, period, so the influences can be heard, we just don’t jump on something just because it’s popular…like some people do.
Let’s talk a little about your featured song, “Comeback Kings.” It’s part of your 4 song EP of the same name and happens to be the first set of songs you’ve put out with Kelley on bass. What does the song mean to you guys? How did the song first get its start?
We look it as an anthem for the underdog. Arif brought the foundation of the song to us and it just materialized from there. Then once Eddie (producer) heard it, he started having some kool ideas. Once we got into the studio the magic took over.
Now when we perform it live it has a whole new vibe to it. Check out the live video at oliomusic.com “Live at Tiki Bar” July 5th.
Like we mentioned, this was the first EP for which you guys had Kelley on the bass. How tough was it to integrate a new member and get him up to speed on your style and preferences?
Not tough at all, we had a lot of time gigging to get him into the Olio vibe and for us to get into his vibe. He’s so good, it made the transition really easy.
Nothing is off limits in this band. If it’s a good song, we’re gonna play it & probably record it.
Too many opportunities for song placement out there, so we don’t limit ourselves.
It’s impossible to talk about Olio without mentioning your live performances. As you guys like to say it’s the Darth to the Vader of your recordings. You guys have had some great opportunities, from playing at the iconic House of Blues to opening for 80’s hit makers Wang Chung. What’s one of your most memorable live show experiences?
Funny you ask, we just had one of our best experiences last night, July 31st,in Austin, TX at Scoot Inn. The other two bands on the bill were just incredible and let’s say…entertaining and interesting.
There was a bear suit, almost naked band members and that’s all I’m gonna say, hahaha!
Touring is really fun. That’s where we get to meet a number of kool bands and have some great shows. We have had some awesome shows at House of Blues and we’ll have more, those are always great.
As long as there are people who want to have fun & enjoy live music, Olio will put on a great show for you!
Give the fans a little teaser of what they can expect for the rest of 2013. Will you be releasing any new material or be in the studio recording?
More touring. We’re on our Comeback Kings U.S. Tour right now and throughout 2013 and into 2014.
We also have two studio projects to finish. One will be produced by Eddie and the other is self produced, right now. Hopefully they’ll both be done before the end of the year.
We are performing these songs on tour right now. One of them is called “Rich People Problems” which was record when we were in France.
You can get this song for free at www.oliosongs.com and other free music too!
Thank you for being with us! Before you take off, where can people go to find your music?
Thanks so much for the interview!!
We really appreciate it!!