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INTERVIEW: Olive Tiger

Hi guys, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Well thanks!  We’ve been great; things are rocking & rolling.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Find Myself”?

I can indeed.  “Find Myself” is our debut single, and the first-released track off our upcoming record “Until My Body Breaks”, which is out in July.  It’s our first official anything, really.  It features lush strings, dark textures, and drum beats that make you nod along involuntarily.  Something about it makes me feel like I’m swimming in velvet.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

I wrote this song after relocating from Tallahassee to New Haven,  and with the huge transition I was consequently holed up in my bedroom for many months through the winter adjusting and experimenting musically.  This was both the first song I ever wrote with my cello and the first song I wrote with a loop pedal.  I was not cognizant at the time that this song would become Olive Tiger’s first single, and if I had, I probably would have scoffed at calling it “Find Myself”.  In any case, the song is a reflection on the unique morbid glee of choosing to pursue something that will ultimately destroy you in some way.

Any plans to release a video for the single?

Yes, a video is in the works!  We’re incredibly excited; we’ll be filming in an old watch factory this month.

The single comes off your new album Until My Body Breaks – what’s the story behind the title?

“Until My Body Breaks” as an album title refers to my personal mission to create transcendent music experiences that speak to the human condition– because that space is healing, and human beings need it.  It is also a promise, especially as a debut album title, that I will do that until my fingers are riddled with arthritis and my voice gives out.

“Until My Body Breaks” is also the title track on the record, was written in the wake of the  They were together for over 65 years, and I was thinking about the way that our culture’s ideals for love have shifted.  They had what our culture sees as an “ideal” relationship: 65 years, 14 kids, ‘till death do us part, the whole 9 yards.  But many in my generation wonder if that is even possible anymore, or if we even want that– do we really *want* to stare at the same face for 65 years?  I think love and the possibilities for love have become much more dynamic in the modern era, especially with the newfound freedoms in the queer movement.  It’s an exciting time to be alive in LGBT history.  The lyrics of the song begin “Oh my love / I cannot see your face / But I will love you / Until my body breaks”. I don’t know what love will look like for me in my life, but I’m excited to experience that depth when it arrives; love’s promise is simply that it will break you open.

How was the recording and writing process?

Oh god, it was amazing.  Our engineer/producer, Eric Tate, has this top-quality mobile studio he can set up anywhere.  We mostly recorded in a horse barn at Horseshoe Hill Farm in Harwinton, CT, which is in the wild and lush and gorgeous northwestern quadrant of Connecticut.  (We had to bring the horses out of the barn each morning so we didn’t have whinnies on the record.)  As our first official album as a band, and my first album ever, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but Eric’s expertise and patience and intuitition worked together so perfectly.  He was totally in tune with how we were feeling and what we needed and was able to guide the process like a master conductor.  We finished recording just in the nick of time before he moved to Denver.

In what way does the transition from being a 7 piece band to a trio has affected your sound?

The small group became necessary when I wanted to make the transition away from the simpler folky-type music I was writing when I started out.  You can have a few practices with a large group of people and be OK for a show when you’re doing that kind of stuff.  That flavor is definitely still present, but the introduction of the loop pedal meant we needed a much smaller and more precisely attentive group, and that moment also marked the beginning of a greater intentional use of electronic effects to acheieve certain sounds that are not possible acoustically.

So fans can expect a whole different sound?

Haha, the record in general is a different sound than what the music world is used to hearing, sure.  It’s a good representation of the influences we’re currently inspired by and also is representative of the direction we are moving.  We’re really proud of it.

Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

Until My Body Breaks’ lyrics originate from experiences with self-destruction and redemption, beautiful moments of tranquility after turmoil, love lost, love for late-night serendipity, dreams of escape, self-talk/self-yelling in attempt to recover from severe burnout/depression, overall maybe just solidarity/encouragement and simultaneous cynicism regarding the state of the world.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Dark”?

Sure! “Dark” is the second single off of our upcoming record Until My Body Breaks. It’s a celebration of the twinkly serendipity of the evening.

Did any event in particular inspired you to write this song?

This song was inspired by repeatedly experiencing things that I would have missed had I gone to bed at a proper hour. Interesting people met, collaborations launched, thoughts expressed, ideas nurtured… I love the feeling of freedom during those hours, because nobody in the world is expecting anything at all from you, so it feels a bit like stumbling on a block of “bonus” time you wouldn’t have had otherwise.

Any plans to release a video for the single?

Dreams, yes, but right now we’re finishing up the video for our first single “Find Myself”, so keep an eye out for that!

What drew you into the Folktronic genre?

It was a marriage of the sounds we had with the sounds we wanted to make.  I love folk music but it gets very stuffy very quickly; after I hooked up my cello to my loop pedal, a whole world opened, and the best way we’ve figured out to describe it so far has been “folktronic”.

What aspects of Darkness and Evening inspire the songs and lyrics on this album?

Darkness and Evening, to me, represent creativity, relaxation, openness, and generally the more artistic aspects of life, as well as the struggle for mental health and presence with the darker aspects of oneself that fuels reflection and growth.  A lot of the record is about facing that inner darkness.

What else is happening next in Olive Tiger’s world?

Definitely!  We’re working on a fall tour following our record release.  Thanks VENTS.

Listen here.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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