Olin and the Moon are a five piece folk rock outfit from Sun Valley, Idaho. At the beginning of 2011, the band released their debut album “Footsteps” before heading around North America touring. The band recently made a cameo performance on The CW show “One Tree Hill” performing “Not In Love.”
Marshall Vore, the band’s drummer took some time to chat with me about their new album, the tours and their successes.
MVRemix: First of all, congratulation on making the Daily Beast’s list of Music’s rising stars for 2011.
Marshall Vore: Oh thanks.
MVRemix: You guys are in great company.
Marshall Vore: Yeah, people have told me that we were the only unsigned band on the list. I haven’t checked
MVRemix: You guys are the only unsigned artist on the list. As an unsigned artist, this gives you guys a real edge. How do you think this affects your music?
Marshall Vore: You mean, creatively? I guess it would affect us creatively. Umm, being an unsigned artist is weird. Right now, I think right now is the worst time in the history of all music to be in a band for a lot of different reasons.
Marshall Vore: Yeah, because mostly everyone says this, even from people from people outside of music. It’s been so fucking weird because labels, for the most part, aren’t signing new bands. They are signing people who have already arrived or that are coming off other record deals. They are just shuffling people around so that they don’t have to take any risks. Because nobody is making money selling records and it’s hard to make money as a label.
MVRemix: What kind of interest has the industry shown you thus far?
Marshall Vore: We’re in a weird place because we’ve worked so hard for so long and had some successes but in the 90s or any time it would have been so easy to get someone behind our record. And we’ve had meeting with all sort of labels but getting to the next level is hard. So far, though we’ve been able to steadily build our own fan base with out that and we’ve been really smart and sort of business savvy on our own, in order to organize and keep making steps forward. In the end, we focus a lot of efforts on promoting and booking and all this other stuff but if we were with a label we’d be able to focus that energy on the creative end of things.
MVRemix: Is the business of the band a collaborative effort or are the responsibilities shared amongst the members of the band?
Marshall Vore: Well, for the most part it’s been me kind of out of necessity. Moving to LA from a small town in Idaho when I was 18, and deciding “you know, fuck it. We’re going to start a band.” Cause, I went to school for music and there’s a definitely a point where you have to decide if you’re going to be a hired professional drummer or musician on other peoples records or tours, which I’ve had the opportunity to do but I kind of I waned something more personal than that. And whether that was the right more, I don’t know yet.
MVRemix: How did you get yourselves out there and in to the clubs in LA?
Marshall Vore: Basically, I started taking burned CDs, printed out these pictures and a crappy bio and going to clubs in Los Angles and knocking on office doors during the day. Giving them this ghetto ass fucking press kit and taking their business cards and following up. Basically, just bugging people into giving us shows, which ended up being awful shows because we didn’t have a fan base and we didn’t know how to promote. But over time, it kind of started working.
MVRemix: So bascially, you taught yourself how to promote and book?
Marshall Vore: Oh totally, and I’m the kind of people that will drill people’s brains for info that I think will be helpful for us. But where we’re at right now, we have a manager, who handles a lot of us, which is great, and we have a publicist and a booking agency and we have all this stuff. But that’s all fairly new and before that, it was me handling everything and the other guys were really more responsible for showing up and knowing their parts. Our band is really, really dedicated but it’s more effective if there’s just one person handling things.
MVRemix: How long has your band been working together?
Marshall Vore: You know, Dave (the singer) and I have been friends since 8th grade and we’ve been playing music together since then. But back then it was a very different thing. It was just a couple of kids in the garage playing folk music. So it wasn’t organized. When we got down here to LA we didn’t even play and we weren’t even a band yet. We would play Dave’s songs cause they were cool and we kind of wanted to get a gig. And then it became this whole other thing about 4 years ago and we were really going to go hard for it.
MVRemix: Was Dave’s brother always a member of the band?
Marshall Vore: You know, actually in the very beginning it was Dave recording his songs and I was playing drums because I wanted to cause I wasn’t doing anything else. And then his brother, in the first incarnation for the band, was playing bass but it wasn’t really a band. We were just playing on Dave’s record. No one was really a member of a band until we decided to start a band and then he became our lead guitarist probably in 2006.
MVRemix: What influential changes have occurred in between your first album and now?
Marshall Vore: Just Age. You know. Moving out here to LA, living on our own and learning how to the make a record. When we went to make our second album we were a couple years older, more mature and we have played more shows and experienced live more. Our second album was far less naïve.
MVRemix: Footsteps features some orchestrations and instrumental lines. Was that a collaborative effort or was there a studio musician or arrangers?
Marshall Vore: Basically, Dave (our singer and songwriter) is an engineer and a producer for a living. So basically, when we were younger we had access to the studio but it would be minimal access, maybe one random day to record with. So, Dave started running his own studio and we had more time to record and add to it. We ended up making our album sound more epic.
MVRemix: How did you achieve this epic sound?
Marshall Vore: Basically, we’d start with the basics. Just the drums, guitar and bass and then Dave would sit in the studio and come up with additional arrangements, like orchestral stuff and violins. It’s kind of his brainchild.
MVRemix: Has this affected your live performances?
Marshall Vore: Well, our fan base has been growing so we’ve had more time to play on stage. So we’re no longer playing shows with 4 or 5 bands, we get to play shows with two and the room with be full. And we recently added string sections to our live shows. We just played show celebrating the release of the new album and we had a live string section.
MVRemix: That’s really awesome. I’m such a sucker for string arrangements.
Marshall Vore: Yeah, me too. But it’s hard, in this way when small bands have string sections it seems pretentious. Like they think they’re playing the Hollywood Bowl or something. But it’s a fine line, where you have to ask yourself “is this really adding to the music or are you just adding this just because you think it’s cool?” But I think that our arrangements are really adding a lot to our music.
MVRemix: I agree. I think your violin lines really adds to your ambiance.
Marshall Vore: When you listen to the record there are strings on a lot of the songs but they’re not on the entire song. It’s just a small section of the song and it just adds another texture. It’s not overshadowing the fact that the core of our band is a guy and a guitar.
The guy and the guitar is where the real song is but when you add other parts you have to be careful not to loose sight of the guy and the guitar. The song should be just as good acoustic as it is in the recording.
MVRemix: You guys just finished up a tour of the west coast and you ended up at SXSW. What were your favorite parts of SXSW and your least favorite parts?
Marshall Vore: Well it’s funny, we had been on the road for a month before so when we got there were so dead. It’s just the craziest week ever. And I’ve been to SXSW before and this year it seemed like there were so many more people there. It was crazy. This was the first time we’d played out of town with our organ player and a he was like “being in Olin and the Moon is like my freshmen year of college.”
The most memorable part was a party we played this outdoor thing called The Big Eraser. We had terrible sound that show but we just had such a good time.
I wish had I a better story for you. The whole week was just crazy.
MVRemix: Did you meet or see anyone who really stood out for you?
Marshall Vore: Well, there were 2000+ bands there.
MVRemix: So, that’s a totally unfair question to ask.
Marshall Vore: I did see a lot of bands. Probably around 100 bands and out of the 100 about 5 of them really stood out and kicked ass for me. Umm, we have these guys who are kind of friends of ours, and we’re just huge fans of these guys. Kenneth Pattengail and Joey Ryan, and they played together. It’s sort of like Gillian Welch meets David Raulings. They’d take turns singing songs and it was fucking incredible. It’s really refreshing to hear them play because it has everything you’re looking for in music. It has intensity, really amazing songs and when they play they’re amazing musicians and they harmonize well together. They are also really fun and down to earth guys to hang with.
MVRemix: Do you have any plans to come to the East Coast? Maybe play New York?
Marshall Vore: Yeah. Well right now we’ve been frequenting the West Coast because that’s where we’ve had most of our success. As far as we, know… We’ve never really been out East. I mean, we played in North Carolina when we went to shoot for One Tree Hill but we didn’t play out at all down there.
But our booking agency is based in Brooklyn, so we’re hoping to get to be part of the supporting musicians on a bigger east coast tour. You know, get a good introduction to new crowds.
MVRemix: That’s exciting. Speaking of your One Tree Hill performance. Do you know when it’s going to art.
Marshall Vore: April 26th. And they cut a video of us playing at a venue that’s part of the show. It’s part of the plot and they’re posting an extra video on the website. It’s pretty cool.
MVRemix: Are you guys fans of the show?
Marshall Vore: Um, Dave’s girlfriend is. I’ve never really watched it but it’s a big show and it’s been on forever. I think it’s the last season so that’s a good time to be on the show cause everyone will be watching. I don’t think I’m the right demographic for the show.
MVRemix: Along those lines, do you think that by playing on the show you’re going to be playing to your target demographic?
Marshall Vore: I’m not really sure. I don’t know what our target demographic is. We’ve been on the show before and gotten really great feedback from their fans. So, we’ve inherited some of their fans. Like, young girls but that might be our demographic. You know, along the same line as Bright Eyes… the tragic singer songwriter. I’m mean, it’s weird…That might actually be the reason we haven’t been signed. No one knows what our demographic is… Our fans really span all demographics.
MVRemix: Cool. Well I’ve got one more question for you. If you had to fight one celebrity who would it be?
Marshall Vore: Well, let’s see.. I just saw The Fighter and Mark Wahlberg looks like a tough motherfucker in that movie. I’d want to take him on. But I’m sure he could kick my ass. But I don’t know, I’d have to train first. Also I know there’s been a long standing feud between Kyle, our bass player, and Pete Wentz. So I know he wanted to take him on.
I don’t know. Maybe now he’s not as angry anymore but there was time where he really hated that dude.