Sometimes we get stuff in the mail that is too good (well,... Enter Now
EL OLIO WOLOF
FRESNO FAMOUS: Your guys' first show was in Merced ... where'd you play?
KATIE REE: El Olio Wolof's first show was at the Cucumber Lounge above Maria's Mexican Kitchen with New Bethel; although there was a JKLMN Okapi show we played at a local coffeeshop a few months prior. It wasn't really El Olio, but some people might remember it.
FF: What sort of reaction did you get from your friends about the music?
KR: They liked it, they were excited to hear something different.
FF: Has your style changed since then?
KR: I think our music has changed over the last 3 years. I had never been in a band before, so I've learned a lot about music and we have a new member, Brian, who plays accordian and various things, so that adds a new dynamic.
FF: Are you all from Merced?
FF: Were you in a lot of bands before El Olio Wolof?
KR: Radioactive Cauliflower and Joey have been (and still are) in lots of bands, Brian has been in bands, but this was a first for Amber and I.
FF: How did you stumble upon this combination of instruments? It's not your traditional rock thing...
KR: We just looked around the house and picked up things that make noise.
FF: Who plays what?
KR: Like I mentioned, Brian plays accordian and things, Joey on the drums, Amber plays bass, I play the keys and some vocals and Radioactive plays acoustic guitar and lead vocals.
FF: What was the inspiration for the group? Was there a moment where you guys were like, "This is it! We're on to something!"?
KR: We all just wanted to play music and our practices felt good. It's fun and I can't think of anyone else I'd rather play music with-but we're not against expanding the band.
KR: Tom Waits, Shel Silverstein, Bjork, The Dead Science, Air, Modest Mouse, the orchid on my windowsill, hard work, love, sadness, and much more
FF: What has been your favorite or most memorable gig together?
KR: Last week we played a great show in San Luis Obispo-the place was packed and people were dancing. Our last show on tour in San Diego was funny-on the last note of the last song Joey knocked over a cymbal and RC broke a string. It was perfect.
FF: Why El Olio Wolof? "The Shapeless Messenger"? How exactly does that work?
KR: It's a melange of three different languages. I guess we like to make up words.
FF: Were there any other band names in the works before you changed from JKLMN OKapi to El Olio Wolof? How'd you choose that one?
KR: No. Radioactive Cauliflower came up with it and no one really argued.
FF: How big is your kick drum?
KR: That gold one? Almost too big to fit in the van.
FF: Do you guys still have day jobs? If so, what are they?
KR: We all work at various institutions-teaching, public services, booking, parenting.
FF: Do any of you have huuuge trust finds?
KR: I wish.
FF: If you could see any musician or group of musicians perform live who would you guys choose?
KR: Personally, the bands I would love to see don't play together any more (mostly due to someone's death) like Led Zeppelin or Pink Floyd. We were just talking about The Postal Service and what it would be like to see them live-that would be interesting. RC says the best live performance he has seen was The International Noise Conspiracy, so seeing them again could be cool.
FF: What kind of van do you drive in? The website says it is huge? It also looks like it has wood paneling ... is it a pimpmobile?
KR: It's a 15-passenger Dodge with the faux wood paneling already installed. The EOSpeedWagon is simply groovy, but if you want to call up MTV and nominate our van for Pimp My Ride, feel free.
FF: What's the last good book you've read?
KR: I'm always in the middle of a few, but lastly I finished a biography of Lizzie Borden. I haven't read too many murder mysteries, but this was a thrift store find; and I think she didn't do it.
El Olio Wolof will be performing at Gardenside Sudios in downtown Fresno on Saturday, January 22nd. For more information about the band, check out www.eloliowolof.com.