Unedited conversations between artist in a productive critique discovering thesis and processes behind the work.
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OLY: hey girl hay
RAMOS: Hi Oly, thank you for joining me
OLY: thanks for having me!
RAMOS: before we start... do you have any of the work/performance on YouTube?
OLY: hmm no i periscoped it live but i didn’t wasn’t able to download it
RAMOS: what is periscoped?
OLY: oh its awesome
its live feed of whatever you want on your phone
so you can watch what anyone is broadcasting anywhere in the world
its an app on your iphone
RAMOS: ohh kind of like snapchat?
OLY: i was bored the other night and made friends with people in Bahrain
or tried to
i haven’t used snapchat but i think so. its only available for 24 hours
RAMOS: right.. that's sort of weird cause you have to keep up with people you follow daily or you might miss something
is there anything online that we can reference in regards to your work?
OLY: oh yeah that sounds like a lot of work
i have a sound cloud right now but the new stuff isn’t there yet
i need to finish the mixing portion of the EP
RAMOS: what's EP?
OLY: but there are some new collaborations on there
I’m releasing an EP
RAMOS: what's that?
i mean.. i can guess from the name but i want to make sure i know what it is
OLY: its shorter than an album
like a teaser
RAMOS: between a single and an album
OLY: i think an ep has to have 8 songs or less
anything more is an album
RAMOS: like a short film
its going to have 6 songs
it’s tentatively called “You Are Heading In The Right Direction”
but i’m kind of leaning towards changing it to just The Songbook i dunno..
RAMOS: i like the first title... what's the right direction and how does that relate to the six songs?
OLY: it’s actually a fortune cookie fortune that i have kept for 15 years or so
i’ve kept it sandwiched btwn a piece of plexi
on my windowsill
“you are heading in the right direction”
its just a little reminder to myself i have kept around
and i wanted to call this EP that bc i’m had a long hiatus of putting out music
these songs were also an exercise in pop structure
RAMOS: what do you mean by pop structure?
OLY: most pop songs on the radio don’t deviate from a basic formula of verse chorus verse chorus bridge chorus or something like that and i had never written songs with this idea in mind and i wanted to try this out myself
my previous release A Hot Hooray was more stream of conscious style of writing
RAMOS: yes I am listening to your earliest sound cloud Dissolve Disappear
which has a narrative structure - but it sort of carries a subtle chorus
although definitely not the conventional pop-structure you mentioned
OLY: yeah i tended not to repeat very much
RAMOS: and how does that work? is it mathematical as in every verse is a an equation or proof that becomes foundation for the chorus?
so that the chorus makes more and more sense as the song continues
OLY: yeah thats exactly how a pop song structure is supposed to work the chorus should repeat yet evolve with more meaning if it’s done well
RAMOS: yes that can be powerful.. i can also see the inverse which would be more like a book... there is a beginning an ending and somewhere in between a climax
its kinda funny.. because life can be like both
sometimes we need to make the same mistakes again and hear that chorus
OLY: oh man so true
RAMOS: and sometimes we break through the first time and reach a climax
OLY: i find myself retelling myself or learning the same lessons over an over
RAMOS: i think i've experienced both
and prefer not to hear the chorus.. it's like life saying "i told you so"
but in music it can be an interesting exploration
if you want to get the point across
sometime it's best to say things many times in different ways to really get through someone
OLY: yeah and to yourself
one song that comes to mind that has no chorus is Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen
i don't know why i just thought of it
OLY: yeah i’m thinking about that song now
i gotta hear it thats a wild one
RAMOS: it is.. i mean it's epic
OLY: so epic
RAMOS: and it was pop in it's time
do you think pop in time has become repetitive as a reflection of newer generations?
OLY: hmm some pop is always repetitive in its nature of wanting to be on the radio but music is always changing
its hard to make a blanket statement like that of all music because theres always some crazy out there stuff
for the most part i feel the pop music now is getting more and more interesting.
as far as there being something like bohemian rhapsody on the radio... oof
maybe far from that but theres some weird shit making waves for sure
RAMOS: give me an example
OLY: on the radio weird? i’d have to say a lot of the newer hip hop stuff sounds so avant guard to me let me think of something..
the bass and really spaced out production
RAMOS: is that a song?
i am very much out of the loop when it comes to pop
OLY: no no i’m just describing it hold on i’m looking it up
but hearing it now it doesn’t sound as crazy as my memory
but i think its really interesting
there some other stuff too let me see if i can find it...
sorry i got a little distracted
yeah i'm looking at stuff too
one artist that sort of comes to mind when i hear your work is Bjork
OLY: yeah i grew up listening to her music
yeah the post era, so into it
probably so much so i can’t really listen to it anymore lol
RAMOS: yeah i haven't in a while either... and new things are refreshing
i am more interested in how these things reflect the social norm
feels like more and more the words are simpler, more straight forward, devoid of metaphors and not necessarily in a bad way
would you say that pop today is more transparent?
simplistic even? maybe that's harsh
OLY: hmm well Bjork’s new album is def a return to simplicity and straight forward
is that what we've become?
simple and straight forward
OLY: hm.. i doubt we all can be on the same page hahaha
RAMOS: well ... we have a common language which reflects the times
like we don't speak in thou and wilts
language too has become simple
OLY: oh totally especially with texting and twitter
get to the point real quick
can’t be wasting peoples time
RAMOS: the point is... as reflected in music... are we heading towards 10 second songs?
and in a way this repetition chorus structure is that
it is small fragments in repetition
OLY: i’m sure the 10 second song exist but its not quite satisfying unless you want a sort of instant gratification sort of like a Polaroid Picture.
it depends on your audience too.
pop punk songs were always notoriously short. i was writing songs that were under 2 minutes, but now i felt like let’s do a proper pop song with repetition and build up and gradual things, build, take apart. gets more interesting.
RAMOS: so in a way you are trying to upgrade pop
or give it justice
OLY: haha i love that, upgrade pop. yeah totally, i’m going to the school of pop basically. making notes and shit
RAMOS: what is the school of pop?
OLY: i also couldn’t do another stream of conscious type of recording. i felt like that was nice but i need to try out things too.
i don’t think there is such a thing of school of pop but there is the school of rock for kids lol
maybe its an after school program since they don’t really teach music in school anymore
RAMOS: ohh... well yes... in regards to the stream of thought... i think even Bohemian Rhapsody has structure... its just not repetitive
structure and repetition are very different things
although repetition can be structural
structural does not have to be repetitive