News OLO Worms: ‘Our Music Is A Big Soup Of Different Meats’

Huw Oliver speaks to a band on the brink of releasing their album as an annual…

West Country psych freaks OLO Worms have been around for a while now, but only dropped YISO (Yard Is Open), the Fence-affiliated band’s incredible self-released debut, last month. Having taken a break from most aspects of the band for a couple of years, brainy man James explains the OLO confusion.

What was the thinking behind releasing your album as an “annual”?
Leading up to the album, we’d done quite a lot of releases in various different ways, and I think we wanted as many people as possible to hear it, yet we still wanted it be very different from a normal CD. We looked into getting it pressed on vinyl, but we couldn’t really afford that. There are a lot of references to cartoons on the record and I’d imagined it in my head as a cartoon-style album from the very beginning. I’d always imagined it as quite a colourful, cartoony thing, so I guess it’s an annual in the style of the beano or something like that [laughs].

And you do most of the art, right?
Yeah, I do. Depending on the project, I like to sort of look at it in different ways. With this one, it was kind of colourful and chaotic and cartoony.

Are there any particular places or artists which inspired you?
Oh… It’s everything, really. I wouldn’t want to pinpoint one thing. There are so many places I draw inspiration from. Artists as such… Is there one person? I don’t know… No… I don’t know… I think it’s best not to think too much about who influences you in anything, because you then try to copy them. It’s best if you just go on your instincts. That way, all the things you’ve been soaking up over the years just come out, I guess.

And I suppose it must be similar with your music; it’s pretty difficult to compare it to other bands. There are elements of AnCo and Radiohead, but how would you describe your music to someone who hasn’t heard it before?
It’s quite hard, you’re right. The way we’ve described it before is kind of like a “big soup of different meats”. I don’t really like talking about things in technical ways or musical ways. We don’t really try and tell anyone what it’s like, really. I think that not only on this album – it being a bit of a mess – but also in the past, what we’ve tried to do is do something different each time. We’re not one genre, basically.

You spent quite a lot of time making the album. Why do you think it took so long?
We had a few false starts: we had a few different ideas of how it might go, and then it kind of got derailed for various reasons. The three other guys in the band all got married in that period and one of them had a baby. It doesn’t sound like a reason not to crack on with things, but all this general “life” stuff meant we couldn’t really play live and record stuff together. Whenever we played live, that kind of set the album back again. They’re definitely two completely different things.

There are quite a few similarly minded artists surrounding you in Bristol. What do you think of the scene there at the moment?
This is a tricky one. People seem to be grouping things in as some kind of scene. That’s fair enough, and good luck to them, but I don’t think we’re going to be a part of a scene. If you get too attached to it, and it goes wrong… you could get dragged down by other people. I think it’s best to really be your own island, do your own thing and not worry about what anyone else is doing. There are some brilliant people in Bristol making music though. There’s Zun Zun Egui, Freeze Puppy… the people who we really connect with are the ones who don’t really sound like anyone else and do their own thing, the ones who try to be original. There’s also a band called Figaro who are really new – they’ve only played one gig. And also guy called Oliver Wilde, a really good singer who works in Rise Records with me. He’s got some stuff coming out on Hooting Owl Records.

Finally – have you any gigs coming up?
Only one: the Fear of Fiction festival in Stoke’s Croft (Bristol) in November. That looks pretty good.

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