THE sensational duo of…
OYLS have been talking about their eponymous E.P. – and the video for the single, In the Light. I ask how they got together and whether David and Michael have a favourite cut from the E.P. They look ahead at gigs and a possible trip to the U.K.; some of the new artists we need to listen to – and, what they hope to accomplish this year.
I ask whether OYLS get chance to unwind away from music; what the scene in L.A. is like right now; whether they have favourite memories from music – providing useful and constructive advice for new artists coming through.
Hi, OYLS. How are you? How has your week been?
Pretty good: like, a seven-out-of-ten. Maybe a little better, but I don’t want to bring decimals into this interview…kind of in a weird mood. I don’t have the words to explain it, but I hope we don’t come off as d*cks or as disinterested. Just feeling a little preoccupied - that’s all. We’re mostly very nice people...
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourselves, please?
We are David and Michael. We’ve been best friends since high-school and we started making OYLS music together about five years ago. We’re both really neurotic/anal people; so it took us a really long time to make this E.P.
We’re gonna try to be faster next time...
In the Light is your recent single. What is the story behind the song?
Hmm…there isn’t really a story behind the song: there’s no real narrative there. The verses are a bunch of reflections on being detached and heady - and then a chorus that reflects moments of clarity and joy.
The video interests me. Whose concept was it? What do you think of it?
Haha. We’re glad you found it interesting.
One of our best friends is a really talented filmmaker (Alex Median). The concept was his. We really love it. We can say that because we didn't make it. It’s a really incredible feeling to have made something that inspired someone else to make something.
Your eponymous E.P. just came out. Are there stories and themes that in inspired the songwriting?
There’s a lot of coming-of-age stuff in there. We were recently out of college when we started making it (five years ago). It has a lot to do with uncertainty - and the self-talk that gets you through such uncharted waters of new adulthood.
The debut track, Maps, was a huge success. Did that surprise you?! Why do you think so many responded to it?
Oooof. Don’t know about huge success, but it’s definitely been our biggest track so far. It totally surprised us. We went from having under one-thousand streams to 40,000 in one night. It was out of the blue, about a month after the track was released. So; we’re not totally sure why this song connects the way it has. It’s really hard to have perspective on our own songs.
But, we do have memories of first writing it and feeling like we had struck something really special.
Do you each have a standout track from OYLS? Which one stands out for each of you?
Michael: I come back to 10th Song the most.
David: Ghosts is a favorite of mine, in a kinda self-indulgent way. We make music we love but, at the same time, we always do our best to remain aware that, ultimately, the music we make is for everyone else to, hopefully, enjoy. Ghosts is where we just let loose. We have a chaotic guitar solo, weird harmonies; heavy percussion and a pervasive angst that we just rolled with. I still hope everyone likes it though!
Take me back to the start. How did you meet and form the duo? What were you each doing before you found one another?
We first met at the end of high-school through mutual friends. I was getting ready to leave for my freshman year of college and David had one more year of high-school. We really clicked, both as friends and as musicians. It took another four years before we would start making OYLS music, though.
L.A. seems like a great place to make music. Is the city constantly compelling and influential?
Definitely, definitely, definitely.
Well; we live in pretty opposite parts of L.A. (We’re about an hour from each other on a good day). David lives out in the West Valley surrounded by rolling hills and a lot of untouched nature. It’s quiet and suburban. I’m in Koreatown, which is close to downtown Los Angeles - and is the most densely-populated part of the city. Developers are currently building three-hundred units next door. So; we get two very different versions of L.A.
The city offers a lot creatively - and takes a lot, too. There’s an incredible amount of art and creativity everywhere. So much to be inspired by. But; there’s also a manic energy to the place that can be overstimulating.
Do you share the same tastes in music? Which artists did you grow up on?
Michael: Nope. Hahaha. There’s some overlap. But, I grew up on Funk/Motown/R&B/Jazz.
David: Jazz is definitely an overlap. (Charles) Mingus is a personal favorite. My mom introduced me to (David) Bowie, and my dad, the Ramones, The Clash etc. I listened (and still do) to a lot of Cursive, of Montreal; Wilco, Deerhoof and The Mars Volta. They balance chaos with moving melodies and that’s always impressed me.
Then, there’s Dr. Dre - who’s just an incredible producer and a huge inspiration.
What gigs do you have coming up? Where can we see you play?
We’re currently focused on writing our next E.P.; so the live shows are on a little pause. We’ll be back at it soon though.
Do you think you’ll visit the U.K. at all?
Oh, hell yeah. That would be a dream.
What do you hope to achieve in 2018?
We’d be really happy if we could finish another E.P. and do some touring. Would also be really nice to make some fat $$$$.
Have you each got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?
Michael: When our computer fried mid-show and the audience sang the words through the end of Maps…
David: Every time we’re provided a parking spot at the venue we’re performing at. After five years, it’s the little things.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
I don’t think we’re quite qualified to give advice. Can we touch base in a couple years?!
IN THIS PHOTO: Disco Shrine
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
Michael: Definitely. I just got a puppy - so I’m spending a lot of time with him. Also, I just got engaged; so I’m spending some time planning wedding stuff. Not sure if that counts as unwinding, though...
Finally, and for being good sports; you can each choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Parliament - P-Funk (Wants to Get Funked Up)
David: Paranoiac Intervals/Body Dysmorphia by of Montreal is my jam right now. So fun.