Spotlight Interview With oliver Scott Draper
The new record form Oliver Scott Draper is a psychedelic romp through various styles of garage pop and with classic songwriting influences lurking beneath its skin.
The Flex Your Muscles album is loaded with fuzz guitars, synths and keys, and swirling sounds that can take over your brain.
Throughout the records 16 song course, you get blues rock, indie pop, dance, and plenty more. It all feels and sounds theatrical most of the time and does a great job of making you question what you've just heard before repeating the song again.
It's like reading HP Lovecraft. You read a chapter and it was awesome but you still go "hold on hold on...let me read that one again".
A creative album that pushes the envelope on character just right.
We had a sit down with Oliver to talk shop. Here's what happened.
RAG: Okay so let's start with the Flex Your Muscles album. This record is somewhat of a psychedelic pop record with an alternative edge to it and all kinds of great instrumentation and intertwined styles. Where did this record come from?
A: I suppose I’ve always enjoyed sort of genre-blending, and tried to make each song as different from one another as possible. If you go through my discography you’ll see generally there’s a major shift in sound from album to album. With Flex Your Muscles I tried to take the widest range of emotions you could and pack them into an album. The goal of the album isn’t very clear, and it changed throughout the whole process, but I try to leave some things up to interpretation.
RAG: Did this record take you a long time to complete? Did it come out how you expected?
A: Counting from when the oldest song was recorded to when the last song was finished it took around 3 years to put it together. I was a Sophomore in high school when Save You was written and the album cover was made and the concept started to slowly take form. I was 16, I’m now graduated and it’s finally out.
Initially I intended it to be upbeat and humor infused, and in some ways it is. Some songs got scrapped and I got new ideas. Eventually, it became more of a roller coaster, rather than a straightforward, fast paced joyride. It slows down and goes up and suddenly you’re dropped somewhere else. I’m glad it turned out the way it did, although it was really just made up along the way.
RAG: What bands or artists influenced you as an artist?
A: I was fortunate to be surrounded by a variety of music from a young age that inspires me still. The Beatles were introduced to me before I understood what music was. When I was a kid I liked Jazz and I love it to this day, but also 80’s synth-pop music, Queen and The Violent Femmes. In middle school I got into the 90’s thing with Smashing Pumpkins, then Nirvana and my most favorite being Ween. I also got into some bands like Talking Heads, Pixies, The Unicorns and Jay Reatard. I was introduced to things in high school, like George Clinton and Parliament/Funkadelic and Jazz Composer Don Ellis, and they’ve become some of my favorites. This is sort of the main pool I draw inspiration from.
RAG: So how did this all start for you? A: When I was about 12 I traded a skateboard for my first acoustic guitar. I had trouble learning it and put it down for a year. When I picked it up again I was more interested in music and that drove me to push through the learning curve. I got some lessons, mostly through the custodian at my middle school, and the rest was self taught. Soon enough I was writing, most of it unlistenable. I start recording a bit with GarageBand and eventually get a hang of the process and begin teaching myself to play drums, and keyboard and whatever I could manage. The first work I was comfortable releasing was my debut, Get Well Soon, it was recorded mostly with instruments in the school band room. From there I started talking to people in the local music scene here and there and learned things like recording drums first to a metronome can be a good idea. I’ve tried to expand and yet also concentrate, and focus my sound. I don’t plan on settling any time soon, but I feel from then to now I’ve grown. RAG: Did you used to play live shows? Will you focus on that when the time comes again? A: I’ve played occasionally, with bands but mostly solo-acoustic. There’s nothing wrong with that but it certainly isn’t ideal for me. I’ve been playing with friends lately and it’s going great, one of my top priorities is bringing this music to the stage when that’s possible again. RAG: What's next for you as an artist? A: Musically my next main project is an album I’m doing with Jamie Thompson of The Unicorns, which is exciting and an honor. I have plenty of unfinished stuff lying around too that I may finish or maybe even form into a compilation. RAG: What does someone like you do when you're NOT working on music? A: With things how they are I’ve been really into cooking lately. It’s something I’ve always liked but being inside more often gives you and opportunity to lend it more attention. In the beforetimes I loved making movies with my friends as well. Movies were my first love, I used to want to be a director even. RAG: You've been releasing music for a few years. Any advice you'd give to other up and coming artists trying to get heard out there? A: Please, just keep making your music. There are so many people out there listening to all kinds of music. There’s a high chance what you’re doing is exactly what they’re looking for. RAG: Before we go, what would you say to your fans right now?
A: If you listen to my music and enjoy it, know I greatly appreciate you. Keep listening, there’s plenty more where that came from!