Psychedelic/folk rock trio Brother Oliver – comprised of brothers Andrew and Stephen Oliver and Devin Taylor – recently released “I Rely On Everything”, the first single off their upcoming third full-length titled Brother Oliver. The song itself is about addiction, and seeps into your veins with its catchy melody before you realize what hit you. “I Rely On Everything” can be found below, where we caught up with Andrew about all things music, Ben Gibbard (because duh), and cats.
What was the first album or song you remember listening to, and who introduced it to you?
The first complete album I truly got into was Narrow Stairs by Death Cab for Cutie. Their song “I Will Possess Your Heart” drew me in and I ended up buying the record. It’s still one of my favorite songs/records.
Do you believe that moment at all influenced the way you approach your work now?
I was 15 at that time, and I specifically remember trying as hard as I can to mimic Ben Gibbard’s voice. He has such a pure, honest vocal approach that I think it gave me the confidence to want to sing too. I started singing and writing songs a lot more after hearing that record.
Was there an “aha” moment for you, when you decided music was your thing? Or was it always kind of a thing?
I remember recording my first song just for fun in the audio track of some really cheap video editing software I had when I was 15. I was so quickly sucked into the process and immediately obsessed. All I wanted to do was make music after that. My friends and family thought it was just a phase. But the phase hasn’t ended almost 10 years later.
Do you think your location has much to do with the way you approach your music?
Our location has probably affected our sound a bit. I moved to South Carolina from Michigan about 4 years ago with music in mind. Stephen followed suit. Devin (our drummer) is originally from South Carolina so he’s a true southern boy. But it feels like our “home” is spread around in different places, which is an interesting feeling. That “wandering” vibe probably comes out in our music a bit. One of the newer songs “Torn” has a lyric along those lines:
“If it weren’t for that,
I swear I’d be alone.
‘Cause when you’re torn between two places
it’s the road that feels like home.”
Your track “I Rely On Everything” is so vibey in its sound. What inspired it, specifically?
“I Rely On Everything” is a song about addiction and short attention spans. Cell phones and technology being a big culprit but also just the temptation to check out mentally. It felt like the song kind of wrote itself.
How do you imagine people listening to that song?
I imagine them singing along as loud as they can and throwing a fist pump when it drops at the end. It’s pretty upbeat so I hope it pumps people up when they’re heading into work, or better yet, getting out of work.
Do you guys have any fun anecdotes from production that would give us insight into how you work together?
Me and Stephen will bump heads from time to time but nothing we can’t handle. Being brothers helps us be incredibly honest with each other. I like to work really hard in the studio to assure we walk away with the true spirit of what we’re working on. I’ve produced our last three records so it’s a slightly different role for me personally, having to wear multiple hats. Stephen and Devin do a great job assisting with that too.
Stephen usually gets the golden take during the soundcheck, so I’ve learned to hit record early and often with him. Devin is the grill master between drum takes. He grills a mean steak and even meaner chicken breast.
It’s almost Mardi Gras. Any activities/interesting things you’ll be going overboard on to celebrate?
None of my friends seem to celebrate Mardi Gras so I guess I’m staying in. Presidents’ Day on the other hand, that got a little out of control…
Who is your favorite superhero? Substantiate that claim.
Our cat growing up because she would always save the day.
What’s your favorite comfort food to get you through tough moments?
Anything that comes out of Willy Wonka’s factory.
What do you think is the key ingredient to life?
What is the best advice you have heard that you could give to aspiring artists, especially with the looming threat of cutting funds for the arts nationwide?
Always be incredibly honest and make whatever the heck you want. It will probably be amazing.
What’s up next, good sirs?
The coffee is brewing. Our new record is coming out this summer. We’ve truly put everything we have into it, so we’re really excited to share it. We have a pretty busy show schedule this year so we’d love to meet you at some venue in some far away city.
Thanks for the questions! Viva la Impose.
Brother Oliver is set to release this morning. Keep up with the band here.