Photo by Chad Elder
Interview with One-Eyed Doll
I caught up with OED while they were on the road with Otep and Picture Me Broken in Virginia. We were having such a good time talking that I literally almost forgot to even turn on the camera! Once we got through discussing zombie apocalypses, world war and how much Kimberly liked the venue (The NorVa) we got down to the brass tacks….
*disclaimer – It was a whole lot of fun chatting with OED so this interview is pretty long. This isn’t even the entire interview. I did not want to get hate mail from their fans eyes going crossed.
HHM: Did you guys play SXSW this year?
Junior: We played the day after, in Austin.
Kimberly: So close…
Junior: We played that Monday, the day after SXSW.
Kimberly: It’s officially the worst day of the whole year to play in Austin.
HHM: I would imagine…I figure everyone would be like “I am so fucking tired of music” at that point.
Kimberly: It was packed. It might have been sold out.
Junior: It was a really good show.
Kimberly: It was the most people I have ever seen at that place.
Junior: Our fans probably skip SXSW anyway. It’s such a circus, it’s impossible to get anywhere. Parking is crazy. The actual Austin locals probably don’t even go to SXSW, for the most part.
Kimberly: We actually had some people stay, change their flights out of town because they found out that we were playing that Monday. Everybody flies back on Sunday and we had some people change their flights to stay for that show.
Junior: We had actually booked a show at SXSW prior to confirming this tour. But of course we had to cancel it. This one guy from Germany was coming to see us.
Kimberly: This was his yearly One-Eyed Doll show
Junior: We got an email from him about us cancelling the show and that he had already gotten his tickets..we let him know we were playing that Monday so he was able to change his flight so he could see us.
HHM: You guys are kind of SXSW royalty.
Kimberly: Awww, I don’t know about all that but thank you.
HHM: I mean, you have gotten a lot of “Best Of” awards at SXSW. That says a lot to me because there are a shit ton of bands that play there.
Kimberly: We’ve never even really played an official SXSW showcase. We do the underground stuff. We play RockFest, we usually headline that.
Mike: Yeah, you usually have to be on a label to play the official kind of stuff. I had asked one of the venues that we had played at and they said that some European company came over and rented the place out for like a million dollars for the week.
Kimberly: Yeah, you pay to have your sponsored spots and then you bring your bands in. Being locals in Austin we can kind of work the underground scene and play these big shows all week. It’s so fun, it’s free, no wrist bands. Fans love it.
Junior: Since we know everyone in the scene, all the promoters, they’ll sneak us in on the good shows.
Kimberly: We don’t get to play in Austin that much anymore since we tour so much. It’s really special when we do. That Monday I was so relieved that people came out for us and Otep. We were just hoping Austin represented since we hadn’t played there in such a long time. They did, it was good.
HHM: You guys have toured with Otep before right?
Kimberly: This is our 3rd time. We’ve played like a 100 shows together.
HHM: So it has to be a little bittersweet with the rumors that Otep may be calling it quits…
Junior: I don’t believe it. I don’t think she’s quitting. I stand next to her every night when comes come up to her “ahhh this is your last tour…” and she’s like “Who told you that…that’s not true” so….
Kimberly: Who knows, we don’t know anything. We’ve hear a lot of different things.
HHM: Well, yeah I guess the way it has been put out there is that is the last record, so who knows.
Junior: Well, check this out, you remember back in like 1991 Ozzy Osbourne’s No More Tours tour?
Junior: Then Ozzfest happened, so that’s about all I have to say on that topic. (Haha)
Kimberly: Ya know, it’s hard. I think artists try to quit but they feel that pull and they need to go back and start performing again. It’s something you love to do, it’s hard to stay away from it. There’ve been all these different rumors, I’ve read all these different articles whether this is the last album, this is the last tour yada yada but I don’t what’s going on. To me, you just have to play every show like it could be the last, go on every tour like it’s your last one and enjoy it. Savor it.
HHM: Could be an apocalypse right around the corner…
Junior: That’s right
Kimberly: A Bomb, have goggle ready….chainsaw (haha)
HHM: You guys have put out a lot of material….how much time do you spend writing, do you take time off to write or do you write as you go?
Kimberly: It just comes out when it’s gonna come out. Ya know. Sometimes driving from one show to the next. Sometimes at home when have a break from tour. We don’t really sit down and plan it out, the songs just tend to vomit out when they’re gonna vomit out.
HHM: Vomit out, yes, that’s great!
Kimberly: When we get a break from touring, which isn’t all that often, we sit down and record the stuff. There’s such a massive amount of stuff that we haven’t even recorded yet.
HHM: So you record all your own stuff?
Junior: She’s the main songwriter, she writes the music and lyrics and all that stuff. We started out working together when I was a studio own, producer. She would come over and record her albums with me. So that’s what our relationship was from the beginning. As a producer I prefer to work with one singer/songwriter because I can play everything. I’m not bothered by some lame bass player, or all these other people that can’t play that well in a band.
HHM: You’re just going to have to track his shit for him anyway.
Kimberly: Yeah exactly. (Haha)
Junior: With Kim and I it’s the perfect relationship. She can write whatever song she wants and I can finish it in any way that we come up with together. It’s a really fast process with us. We can put out tons of music.
Kimberly: It’s really effortless it just kind of flows.
Junior: Several times, she’s written a song and it’s done that night, ready to be sent off to get mastered. We went over and recorded with Sylvia Massy who is one of my heroes. She made the first Tool albums, fist System of a Down album, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, the last Johnny Cash record…she’s legendary. One of my goals for my whole life is to record with one of my heroes. A producer that I can really learn something from. I figured that we probably needed to have a major label deal for that to happen. Sylvia emailed us…it’s a funny story because she (Kimberly) would get emails from producers all the time, “ahh I’ve already got my producer” and just delete it.
Kimberly: I’ve very loyal. I don’t know who anybody is, I don’t know names. I don’t know rockstar names, producer names. One day this one came in and I read it, it was short, just basically saying she loved our music and would love to do a project with you. It was signed Sylvia Massy and I was like “oh, a girl!” I forwarded it to Jason.
Junior: Of course my jaw hit the floor and I was like “Do you know how this is?!”
Kimberly: Don’t worry, you’re my guy. I’m not working with anyone else. (haha)
Junior: So I immediately called her up and said let’s set something up. About 6 months later we were in the studio and the plan initially was to do 6 songs, but the chemistry between us and Sylvia was amazing she basically just let us stay there and do what we wanted for like 6 months. We made like…at least 4 albums worth of music. She literally has everything.
Kimberly: We just sorta lived there between tours and recorded. We had access to her cool engineers, mixer and interns. Her Mom sang on one of our songs. “Plumes of Death” on Dirty, the opera singer, that’s her mom. I dressed her up in one of costumes, put boas on her, put a hat on her and had her hold my bumblebee pillow. She sang the part all epic, in the dark. She’s so cool.
Junior: Sylvia has the NEVE console form the 60’s. She had a Fairchild compressor that was made for The Beatles, handmade ya know? She’s got everything. She’s got this old ARP 2600 synthesizer that’s all over the music we recorded there. She’s got a real Hammond organ with a Leslie that’s in this art deco theater with the mics all the way back so it’s this huge epic sound. A grand piano, everything. We just stayed as long as we could and made as much music as we possibly could there. We’ve got so much stuff we don’t know what to do with it. She still has a 100 songs we haven’t even recorded yet.
Kimberly: That place was so inspiring that I wrote so much more after our sessions I’d sneak into the studio A and theater at 4 in the morning to play that grand piano in the dark with the ghosts. There’s so much more music that came from being there that didn’t even get recorded.
Photo by: Brandon Delano
HHM: What are your plans for the new material? You trying to shop it to get a deal or continue doing thing on your own?
Junior: The music business is not the way it used to be. We’re gonna do what we can, we’re shopping the main album we did with Sylvia, that should come out this summer, tentatively. We’d like to put it out on a label, if not we’ll put it out ourselves like we always do.
Kimberly: We’re not able to put out the volume that we need to nowadays. It’s great problems to have but our demand far exceeds our supply. Any small business goes through this. You have to figure it out or you die at that point as a small business. We’re figuring out if we can get some sort of funding behind it. Release it bigger so we can get it out to all our fans before it sells out agan.
Junior: We have a lot of friends that trying to help us get something done with it.
HHM: I understand, I’ve managed bands so I understand what you mean.
Junior: For us to sign to record deal, it would have to be a really good deal because we’re actually doing pretty well for ourselves right now. Most of the deals you hear about are 360 deals where the labels takes all your money and then give you back something you can live on daily. That’s not anything we’re interested in.
Kimberly: A lot of our friends on labels have jobs when they’re not touring. We have been living on our music for years now. To have to take a step back just to be on a label doesn’t interest us.
Junior: It’s almost like they offer you the fame instead of the potential money you could make.
Kimberly: And they may or may not shelve you.
Jason: I feel like we’ll know if a label comes along that’s excited about us and gets what we’re about. So many people think they have an idea how they can take what we have and make it more marketable. You either like what we do or you don’t.
Kimberly: I’ve been told my whole career that I wasn’t marketable. That I had to change this and that. I can only do what I feel. I’m just expressing myself. I’m not trying to be a product, I’m trying to express my thoughts and feel good about what I’m doing and say what I mean. If people want to join in on that and support, that’s awesome. If not…then get out of my way.
Junior: As a producer, a lot of the big time producers know what the people want to hear and they craft the music to be just that. I don’t have any clue what the people want to hear. I only know what I like. If we make something and we’re happy with it, that’s success. I think it is kind of dangerous for us to get on a path making music we think other people will like. For me, if we don’t like it first, then we know other people aren’t going to like it.
Kimberly: I think we have already proven by the fan base we have literally built from scratch that people do get behind us. If not then we will continue to do what we love, do it like this, grow bit by bit the way that we have been.
HHM: You’re doing quite well all on your own, that’s pretty commendable.
Kimberly: Thank You, we even have a roadie now (looking at Mike). We have a crew.
Jason: We have a merch girl, Melinda, this new sweet van.
Kimberly: First time ever having a merch girl.
HHM: I saw that, that’s awesome. The van is super sweet too.
Junior: We’re renting it of course.
HHM: What’s that thing run you a month.
Junior: okay, I’ll break it down for you because I think it’s important for people to know. Our old van, Ford Econoline, we paid $2600 for it used. We got something like 7 mpg. Our last tour with Otep and Butcher Babies, which was similar mileage to this tour. It cost us 10k in gas. With the rental it’s basically 4k a month. So, for the 2 month tour it’ll be 8k. We get 3 times the gas mileage. With the savings in fuel it’s already paying for itself. Plus we don’t have to stay in a motel, we can just sleep in it. In the van, we’d have to stop for tires, tuneups etc 3 or 4 times.
Kimberly: Break downs, missing shows…
Junior: It looks all luxurious but in fact it’s saving us money.
Kimberly: We’ve got this cool merch hustling, helping us pay it off.
Junior: She’s selling twice as much merch as we normally would be. She’s paying for herself and Mike. (haha)
Mike: I just sit here and drink tea. (haha)as
Junior: I feel for Mike, I’ve been him for most of the tours and played the shows.
Kimberly: And I’ve been Melinda for most of our tours.
Junior: Yeah, usually Kim handles all the merch stuff. I handle all the roadie and driving stuff.
Kimberly: Most of those things are a full time job, they are really tiring.
Junior: I think we could still use a light guy and a driver.
Kimberly: and a personal masseuse.
HHM: and a personal coffee maker because you suck….haha
(when I first met Kim that evening, she was drinking a cup of coffee that was apparently not made correctly due to the high amount of visible ground in her cup)
Kimberly: haha I know…I did something wrong. *cries
Junior: and a sushi chef
Kimberly: and then someone to basically follow me around cleaning up my messes and when I screw up coffee machines.
HHM: Are you guys self-managed as well?
Junior: We have a manager, Phillip Kovac who is the brother of Allan Kovac who is the manager of Motley Crue, Buckcherry and many other bands. We do most of the stuff on our own but we’ve been working with Sylvia Massy and have a super cool manager.
Kimberly: We’re building our family
Junior: We have a booking agent who gets us on super cool tours with Otep, Orgy, Mushroomhead and Static X. We’ve got everything but a label and at this point I don’t even think we need a label.
Kimberly: We are the label right now. We’re hiring all these people to work for us like a label would I guess.
Junior: At this point the label would just be a bank that would just loan us large chunks of money that I guess we could just get from a bank at this point. (Haha) Their excuse for these 360 deals is that there’s no money in the industry these days. What I have found is that it’s not true, itunes and all the digital services, even spotify, Pandora etc, are generating more money. It’s increasing over the years. We’re seeing it too. Stuff like spotify even pays our phone bill now. Little things like that all add up.
Kimberly: It takes a lot of work to tend to all that stuff. We’re never in an office, we’re always on the road.
Junior: (holding up his phone) I manage all those things from this.
HHM: How often do you guys get home?
Junior: We usually get to be home for about 2 weeks between tours.
Kimberly: This last time was the biggest break in 2 years.
Junior: We put our foot down and decided we needed to take some time off.
Kimberly: We decided to take the winter off. We took some time to record and stuff. It’s a little treacherous to be cargo vanning it through the US in the winter. Blizzards and all that stuff are kind of scary.
HHM: This past winter was pretty rough, there were several pretty bad accidents some bands got into due to inclement weather.
Kimberly: I figure if we can, unless there’s some big opportunity we just can’t turn down that I would rather take the winters to catch up on recordings and business. Running our record label. No matter, you can get sick, get into accidents, miss show because you’re snowblocked.
Junior: On the Mushroomhead tour we had to go from Denver to Chicago for some strange reason.
Kimberly: All of us singers had lung infections, it was pretty nasty.
Junior: Oh, it was Vegas to Denver then to Chicago, we had to drive up through Nebraska and it was literally hours of just following a snowplow going 5 mph through the entire state.
Kimberly: You have to load in at a certain time….ya know
Junior: We had a day off between those 2 shows but it was literally 20 hours sitting behind this snowplow to get there.
Kimberly: Spring, Summer and Fall are awesome, we can be on the road all time.
HHM: Well eventually you can just be like Iron Maiden and take your private jet to shows.
Kimberly: We’ll just get lots of jets and fly all of our fans in to see us! We want even have to get out of our pajamas.
Junior: We’ll have Bruce Dickinson be our pilot too.
HHM: You should get him to sing the entire time.
Junior: He can do all the harmonies. Wow, that would be awesome. I’m sure he’d be done.
Kimberly: Yeah, let’s call up Bruce. Good ole Bruce.
HHM: You guys are definitely different than a lot of bands you tour with…
Junior: We’re different than all bands.
HHM: I wasn’t going to say that. You can definitely tell you’re doing your own thing. Do you find that you pick up a lot of fans who are like “wow, this shit is pretty rad”?
Junior: Yeah, every show. The only way we build fans, well, now that we have Ashley (their Publicist, who I vouch for as a rad human being) we get a lot of interviews, but the only way we build our fanbase is just one fan at a time a shows. Them coming up the merch booth, giving them a hug, interacting, then all of a sudden they are hooked for life. There’s so much music out there. It’s impossible to penetrate the scene from stuff like youtube videos. You have to really get them at the live shows. Build that one on one fanbase. As far as mixing goes with the other bands we play with. We have a lot of different styles of music, we have like what, 8 albums now…For bands like Otep, we play our heavier stuff.
HHM: You tailor your set list to accommodate whatever kind of show you’re playing.
Junior: Yeah, exactly. We played a tour with a really cool Japanese Punk band called Peelander-Z.
Kimberly: They’re super funny so we played all of our punky silly stuff the whole tour, it was so much fun. We get put on a lot of metal tours, it’s a lot of really upbeat stuff. It’s been a long time since we’ve gotten to play some pretty ballad stuff.
Junior: I really hope we start to get enough draw to do headline tours.
Kimberly: Have a little bit more time on stage to do a more dynamic set. What we used to do when we were “headlining”..
Junior: Ya know, headlining for 10 people at a sports bar.
Kimberly: We got to play for an hour/ hour and half if we wanted to. We would play this dynamic thing where it would go up and down. We played this soft thing, then pick it back up again. These kinds of tours it’s just bam bam bam bam goodnight! You gotta keep it moving cause you don’t have that much time up on stage. You have audience that is not 100% YOUR audience, ya know what I mean.
HHM: Yeah, totally, I’m following you.
Kimberly: It is an interesting dynamic, it’s been a real challenge and a lot of fun to feel that out every night. I’m almost like, when we get back to headlining again..
Junior: We’re gonna have to rework our show again.
Kimberly: Get 30 minutes into the set and think we’re done. Forget how to play all of our pretty songs.
Junior: We did play a 3 hour set in Austin in June for our DIRTY cd release party.
Kimberly: Yeah, I threw up.
Junior: We played almost every song we had, it was pretty crazy.
Kimberly: That one really made me sick.
HHM: I haven’t had a chance to see you play live as of yet and the whole dynamic “minimalist” band thing is quite intriguing to me. I’m curious to see the set.
Junior: People ask us about that all the time. If you listen to any song you hear on the radio, the only things that really stand out are drums, guitar and vocals. You don’t really hear the bass a lot, I mean, there’s some solos here and there, keyboards etc but for the most part that’s all that really stands out. We’ve got that.
Kimberly: It really just started as a “The show must go on” I’d always have people flake out on me and I’d have to play the show anyway. I wrote music that I could pull off by myself. I wrote music that I could pull off with just a drummer so the show would go on no matter what the situation was. That’s kind of how it started and it sort of stuck. I’ve had different line ups here and there but the classic line up has always been what we have here. Just me and Jason. It’s been really cool. Some of the songs I’ve written and recorded for a 3 pc band, once in a while we’ll bring a buddy out and tour that.
HHM: When you’re writing, do you ever have to remind yourself it is just the two of you? I mean, you could be like everyone else and loop shit….back tracks.
Junior: No way, we would never use backing track.
Kimberly: I can’t deal with that in my life. I wanna play the music, it is what it is. I might sing off key, I might forget the words, I might miss a part. We might change the tempo…but that’s what live show is all about. If it’s sloppy, it’s sloppy. We do different things to make it work.
Junior: I like to think the audience is the third member, singing along. I think a lot of times if a band is locked into a click track, a certain set length, it’s difficult to have any interaction with the audience that changes what you do.
Kimberly: There’s no room at all for improvisation.
Junior: As a drummer, I will play with the crowd. If crowd is listening are bobbing there heads a little bit, I’ll play a little more groovy. If they just seem like they want to mosh, then I set it up a little bit and we’ll play the songs a little too fast (haha)
Kimberly: We love to play off the crowd, they give us our energy. It would feel lame to me if I didn’t have that kind of interaction. It would just feel like being in the studio or some Karaoke bar. If I want to stop in the middle of a song, start playing another song, say something or trip on my guitar cord and have to start over, so be it. We don’t have to hit a button to that.
Junior: Now for the albums, for the most part we put bass on everything..
Kimberly: and lots of other instruments. (Haha)
Junior: Kim will record 64 backup vocals and a choir. We’ll put banjo, violin whatever
Junior: Yeah, we’ll go all for the record. That’s a totally different thing. There isn’t that third element of the audience on a cd. We craft the music on cds for that medium.
Kimberly: It helps give the enegery.
Junior: I kind of expect people to complain sometimes, “wow, where’s that piano part that’s on the cd?” Nobody really cares. They just want to hear the vocals, see the show.
Kimberly: If we’re enjoying ourselves, having fun, most people tend to really join us in that.
Junior: Hopefully they fill in the blanks with their minds.
Kimberly: Once in a while, we’ll get someone walk up to us and say “hey, what you really need is bass and I’m a bassist”
Junior: “here’s my card”
Kimberly: It always ends with that, “I’m a bassist.”
HHM: After this tour, what do you have going on?
Junior: We don’t know, we only know two weeks in advance.
HHM: Wow, you guys are planners huh? (haha)
Kimberly: By the seat of our pants.
Junior: That’s how we live our lives. We just keep it open for whatever comes along. Ya know
Interview by DaveHHM
Now that I have had a chance to see them live, I can honestly say that was the biggest spectacles I think that I have ever witnessed. The amount of crowd interaction and captivation these two command is staggering. You don’t want to turn away for even in a second for fear that you might miss something. OED has more stage presence that half the bands in the scene…combined. All you bands out there could learn a thing or ten from these two. You paid money to see a show and that’s what you’re going to see. If all you care about is the music, buy a record. If you want to be entertained, then carry your ass to the next OED show in your town. I promise you that you will be smiling ear to ear by the end of the set and possibly pissed off because thy couldn’t continue to play. If they bottled and sold this kind of enthusiasm and sold it at guitar center, maybe this industry wouldn’t be in such disarray.
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