Friday, September 9, 2011

Interview - Will Cullen Hart - Olivia Tremor Control - New Hazlett Theater - 9/15/11 - Show Preview

One of the most unique band's born in the early 90's will be making a stop in Pittsburgh on 9/15 at the New Hazlett Theater. Olivia Tremor Control are synonymous with the Elephant 6 label (indie pop) they developed during those formidable years. Honing their sound in Athens, GA the band created two of the best experimental pop albums of that decade that received international acclaim in the underground scene. I was never able to hear or realize the full extent of their influence until years later. On their drive to Los Angeles, we were able to speak with Will Cullen Hart about the future of the band, current lineup and their next release.

First, is this the original lineup that will be touring? Are we to expect any extra players?

Yes, this is the original lineup with a couple of other backups. AJ and Derek are both helping out with the sound. Eric is not with us right now, but I believe he is going to join he’s going to be with us soon. Scott is playing horns and Robby is as well. It’s exactly the same lineup beyond that.

What made you decide to tour now? Will you continue touring? Or is this just a short stint?

Honestly, it’s just fun. We did something 5 years ago with All Tomorrow’s Party, but that was it. We are actually creating and recording for a new album which will probably be out in Spring 2012. This tour is to help flesh out some of these songs. It’s also just to remind people that we are still out there. It’s a short stretch of 17 shows. In December we will be playing in England at All Tomorrow’s Party Festival which is being curated by Jeff Magnum. There are a lot of new people that never saw us or even heard us, so this is a way for it to happen.

What have you all been up to this past 15 years? Still working with music? Or regular jobs and families?

Yes, many of us have families and jobs, I don’t. Members were always working on different projects such as Circulatory System and Sunshine Fix. For this tour some have to take their vacation time just to make the trip.

For those of us who were too young and never saw you perform live, what should we expect from your live performance? Do you condense these songs to shorten them for a live show?

Most of our songs are just 3 minutes. There might be a couple that run together on the albums, but we try to switch it up and freak them out a bit. We mix it up and try to make it fun. There are a couple of news songs we will be playing, but for the most part we play all old material.

Chunklet is reissuing your two albums Dusk at Cubist Castle and Black Foliage.  How did this come about? Why now? I read an interview where at one time you were having difficulty getting your master tapes. Were you able to get these for this release?

John (Chunklet) is an old friend of ours who actually put out our second single. He was willing to put up the money to reissue these albums. We wanted the vinyl to look really good if we did it and it turned out great. All the artwork has been rescanned and it just looks awesome. We remastered the Black Foliage album. We wanted to make it sonically better with a more full sound. If you compare it to the other version you will be “like wow”. Dusk at Cubist Castle we didn’t touch because we are happy with the way it sounds.

Yes, we had difficulty getting them (original tapes) back from the label, I couldn’t even tell you what happened there. But they were also really cool and helped us out. We wanted to put a double album to show everything we could do and they were really supportive. We ended up releasing two double albums because the first one did so well.

You recently released one new song, “The Game You Play Is in Your Head, Parts 1, 2 &3”. Should we expect new material? EP? LP? Or will this just trickle as time progresses?

Yeah, I am pretty sure we will be putting something out this spring. It will probably be an LP, but it might even be a double LP. We have about 30 something bits and songs. But we don’t know if they will all work. Cloud Recording will be putting the album out.

At one time I remember a dvd that was being created from live shows/recordings. Is this still in the works? Did anything ever become of it?

A few people have promised that. It’s finally starting to materialize after all these years. Three or four people told us they would create something, but it just never got done. A friend of Robert Schneider’s (Apples in Stereo) is actually putting it together. He gave us a promo of it and it really looks great. It should be good. 

There are several bands that have jumped on the reunion band wagon the past 5 years getting pretty good guarantees (Pavement, Dinosaur Jr, Sebadoh, Pixies, etc). Have you all received similar offers from promoters, etc?

No. That would be awesome. No one ever came to us besides All Tomorrows Party.

How is your health these days? I read about the MS you were diagnosed with. Does working on music, performing live, etc help?

Yes. I am actually doing a lot better over the last 2 years. Music has been a great outlet for me and helps out a lot.

What does the immediate future hold for OTC? Anything you are wishing to accomplish in the interim?

Touring and putting out the new album.

Any memories from visiting Pittsburgh? Anything you would like to say?

Is the Mattress Factory still there? Really like that place. The Andy Warhol Museum of course which is where we will be playing. I hear the Hazlett Theater has a really great sound system. Looking forward to it.

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