Written by Emily Smith
Originality and creative freedom are always a driving force when it comes to making music and other creative decisions. Before they were Olloway, the members of the Vancouver-based band were part of another project called FKYA as DJs/producers in their early college days. However, the project left the members wanting more than what they were limited to creating. “With our original music, we weren’t excited about getting toplines from singers and building tracks around them,” one of the members explains. “It essentially felt like remixing and lacked a personality.” Wanting more than just the “DJ/producer” label, the group started over and formed Olloway. Even the name refers to this decision to start from scratch. “We chose the name Olloway as we threw our old project all away.”
This rebranding happened very recently – so much so that the group hasn’t had a live show yet. Right now, the group is planning the set up for future performances. The group says the live set will include “love vocals, guitars, keys, and drum pads with some electronic backing.” Overall, the excitement is building for whenever their first performance may be. “We look forward to how nervous we are going to be for that first show.”
Olloway’s time and energy is currently being spent on work in the studio, and creating a pre-work routine before working on their music. “We like to spend about fifteen minutes warming up our voices, fingers for guitar, and getting strung out on coffee.” Their future pre-show routine will probably be a little different. “I’m sure our live set will be less dependent on coffee.”
This excitement to move forward with the current project is driven by a desire to create the eclectic, genre-mixing sound that the members have always envisioned for Olloway. Though it may be tough, creating that original sound is very important for the group. “Our biggest challenge is trying to break away from a categorized genre while still gaining support,” the group reveals. Major platforms like Spotify often choose “safe-sounding” music to fill their playlists, making it difficult for bands to break musical barriers and receive some recognition from these platforms.
The group has seen some support for their sound, however. The Daily Listening once remarked, “It’s pretty hard to categorize them, but then again, the best bands always come in uncategorizable packages,” a compliment which still resonates with the band to this day. The members of Olloway believe it is important for other rising musicians to experiment with sounds they feel passionate about. “You don’t need to chase a certain sound,” they say, “Stay true to yourself and everything should fall into place.”
Their songs don’t fit into specific labels, and their songwriting process shows that, as no song is conceived the same way as others. “Every song comes about differently,” they say, “We strongly believe there’s no right or wrong way to write a song and we don’t really stick to any rituals [.] We just kind of write.” What is consistent is their work schedule, which usually involves waking up at 8AM to work on writing and producing while also answering emails, replying to fans on social media, and even creating their own album art. It seems the band likes taking control of their specific sound and image – and it seems to be working.
For the band, each song has a unique meaning for each member, though there are a few favorites that stick out. For member Brett, “Haunted” means the most to him. He says, “’Haunted’ is the first time I’ve put my emotions out there into a song knowing full well that the girl we wrote the song about was going to hear it. It was both exciting and nerve-wracking to put that out.” Member Paul, meanwhile, has an attachment to ‘August,’ since it was the first release under Olloway and a step in a new direction as musicians.
As for rehearsals for future live performances, “Moving Out” is a fun song for all the members, since for that song, as they explain, “We get to rock out on the guitar and drum pad.” When it comes to their music, the band wants fans to takeaway whatever they feel. “It’s not up to us what they take away. Whether ‘Moving Out’ can help someone through a break up [or] get them pumped for a basketball [game] then we’ve done our jobs.”
In the end, Olloway hopes their music makes a positive impact on people. “The ultimate goal is to have our music affect people and be a part of their lives.” The group is always looking to improve, referencing a quote by Coldplay’s Chris Martin: “We couldn’t get any bigger so we had to get better.” The quote basically says that even the best can get better.
To the band, there isn’t really an end goal that they want to reach with their music. They simply just want to continue to inspire others. The band also hopes to keep learning from other musicians (some of their inspirations being Coldplay, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Porter Robinson, and Blink-182) to improve their own sound.
While a stadium tour and other big goals sound very appealing to the group, overall they mainly want to continue making music that is 100% them, which they are definitely succeeding at.
Today, Olloway releases their 4 track EP Haunted. Listen to the full EP here.