The Olivia Tremor Control :: The AD Interview

(In 2009, with news of a long awaited Circulatory System lp follow-up, I asked Athens, GA's Lucas Jensen to catch up with and interview Will Cullen Hart. Now, two years later, The Olivia Tremor Control are once again a working unit with a variety of tours, reissue projects and an album on the horizon. Below, Lucas interviews the beloved Athens group. The OTC are set to perform in Los Angeles this Saturday at the FYF Festival. - AD)

I have lived in bucolic Athens, GA since 1998 and have enjoyed all 13 years of its incestuous, experimental, try anything once, form a band every night music scene. The first three or so years of my stay here really were something special, and not just viewed through the gauzy soft-focus of nostalgia. I’m not a spiritual or mystical guy, but there was something in the air energy, if you will, that permeated those early Elephant 6 shows, a sense of coiled chaos. Onstage lineups were amorphous, with band members subbing in and out like hockey players. People bowed banjos and turned baby heads into horns. Parades broke out with surprising regularity. It was a fun time, and none of it felt forced or artsy. It was communal and celebratory. The Olivia Tremor Control, along with fellow travelers Elf Power, The Music Tapes, of Montreal, the Gerbils, and, of course, Neutral Milk Hotel, dominated my show-going docket, and I was rarely, if ever, disappointed. The Olivias always killed it, careening between pop sensibilities and more inscrutable experimental concerns and never less than transfixing. They had great press, toured with some great bands in Europe, and then it was just...over.   There were rumors of fallings out and OTC founders Bill Doss and Will Hart, each had their own fantastic new projects, The Sunshine Fix and Circulatory System, respectively, and that was that. Except, thankfully, it wasn’t. In 2005, the band reunited for a series of shows that found them in top form. And they have been going at it, however slowly and behind the scenes, since. Now the band is “out” again, with new tour dates and new material. As wonderful as the different band members’ myriad projects are—it would take us years to list all of them!—it’s great to have an energized and productive Olivia Tremor Control back in our lives.

OTC members John Fernandes, Bill Doss, and newest band member Derek Almstead graciously consented to an extensive interview. Will Hart showed up a few minutes in. Unfortunately, Eric Harris and Pete Erchick could not make it. The interview got off to an...auspicious start, as yours truly accidentally turned on the metronome on his recording device, aka iPhone.

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