LA based duo OYLS is David Kirshenbaum (former business consultant for KPMG) and Michael Lipp (a failed strip club DJ turned Hebrew school music teacher). Best friends since high school, Michael and David — both dreaming of a career in music — began collaborating and supporting each other musically at a young age. When they chose to attend different colleges, both quickly found themselves straying from their passion as they pursued their respective career paths. A chance encounter and some rare free time brought them back together creating music again. They soon both left their jobs and pursued music full time. OYLS was born.
The new EP, out today and available everywhere (iTunes, Amazon, and Spotify), is 5 tracks full of standout tunes, including their debut “Maps.” The track found immediate success, reaching #5 on Spotify’s Viral Charts gaining over 1.5 million streams and counting. “This song is about finding myself.” Michael explains, “I had held this false belief that I was going to suddenly feel a strong sense of direction after graduating. Obviously direction never came, and instead I had to battle with finding myself while sorting through so many spoken/unspoken expectations.” David adds, “we were blown away by the number of streams and thrilled that people were enjoying the song — it didn’t even feel real. The moment when it really sank in was during a live show. Our equipment, or maybe the soundboard, stopped working while we were playing Maps, our last song of the night, and the crowd stepped in and sang the rest of the song. It was surreal for both of us.”
Another stand out is “In The Light.” The tune is a celebration of life’s moments when one feels truly present and capable of connection. Michael explains, “it’s coming from this place of being in a really cloudy head space, full of voices about careers, life and expectations, and having those weird, in-between moments of clarity. Light is kind of shining the awareness on yourself. Those are the dance moments.” This track took the longest of any on the EP to complete. “There was a trap version, a somber acoustic version, and finally the one we actually released,” says David. “We also melted the motherboard of our computer by adding a few too many tracks, so that set as back a good amount too.” The song received critical accolades from Earmilk, who premiered the track and said, “David Kirshenbaum & Michael Lipp of OYLS see the light on their newest single, crafting indie-electro euphoria on “In The Light.”
The “In The Light” video, premiered with Baeble Music, was directed by Alex Medina, an accomplished Cuban American director, and filmed at Occidental Dry Cleaners in West Adams, Los Angeles, in collaboration with Amazon Fashion. In the video, actress Anissa Borrego (Criminal Minds and Lucifer) finds the special in-between moments conveyed in the track while working at the dry cleaners.
4th track on the EP, “Ghosts,” premiered on EDMBoutique is the bands reaction to the climate surrounding the 2016 presidential election. The track refrains from explicit political statements. Instead, “Ghosts” is meant to represent — in part — the hollowness behind our online personas that we project in social media and how that detachment from reality manifests itself in our treatment of the world. Ghosts is written as a preemptive apology to the next generation for how we left the world for them. (“We never meant to let you down”) Michael comments, “It came out of this feeling of anger towards my own generation for having been so out of touch and self-consumed. We felt a lot of frustration towards social media and my/our collective addiction to it—the way social media exploits our desire to connect and be noticed but instead delivers chaos and loneliness. This sense of disconnect was really amplified after the election where we realized that this online echo chamber didn’t reflect the values that we mistakenly thought were collective.”
With a very little budget, OYLS EP was recorded and produced at the studio they built in David’s family’s home in L.A. The duo used equipment they had started collecting throughout the years since they were kids. The constraints pushed their limitations and they grew as musicians and producers through the process. The multi-talented instrumentalists, David and Michael, recorded and performed every sound and instrument on the EP, including the trumpet, trombone, and synths. They enlisted friends to sing the lyric “Dance!” on “In The Light” and friend Adam Braun to contribute the finger snaps heard on “Maps.”