The Okilly Dokilly interview…
Okilly Dokilly took the internet by storm last year. Now, after some incredible live shows, and taking time to record a proper full album, they’ll be having a release party on 11/11 at Phoenix, Arizona’s Crescent Ballroom! Here to talk about the band, and their new LP, is Head Ned…
FLIM Springfield: How has the rollercoaster been, since the band broke big last year?
Head Ned: It put us in quite a tizzy. We played a bunch of shows and connected with some really awesome neighborinos. It’s been non-stop since then.
FS: Assume a potential fan already knows about The Simpsons, hardcore music, and basically what OKILLY DOKILLY is about. What else could you tell this person to convince them to give Okilly Dokilly a listen or come see you play live?
HN: If they don’t, I’ll run them down with my car. If they survive, I’d say the record holds more than they might assume. Panic Room is half brutal death march, half country-folk jamboree. Stead Ned even goes full Shred Ned on two tracks. For going to the shows, we made made a special speed Nedal suit you can’t miss. It’s easier to thrash when it feels like you’re wearing nothing at all.
FS: Head Ned, you’re the vocalist for the band, but what’s your behind-the-scenes role in Okilly Dokilly? Is Okilly Dokilly markedly different from other bands you might’ve been involved with?
HN: The band is definitely different from other bands. In any other band, you’d have to be a mad man to wear a sweater on stage. I do a number of things in the band. From songwriting to co-managing to producing, there’s little that happens in the band that I don’t have a hand in.
HN: That said, the other Neds are pretty indispensable:
Red Ned: our graphic designer and sole owner of the band’s only mustache comb.
Thread Ned: trained in first aid, which came in handy when Stead Ned cut his thumb open while smashing the painting in the music video.
Stead Ned AKA Shred Ned: has the most Simpsons trivia knowledge, and is the only one who shows up to practice on time.
Bled Ned: handiest and also dandiest Ned. Cracks as many sticks as he does smiles.
FS: How has the live show been developing/jelling, are you ready for that killer tour in March?
HN: We’re more than ready. We live for providing Flanders in the flesh and we’re stoked to tour. It will be as exciting as a baked potato.
FS: Being a band with a very prominent ‘mission statement’/theme sets it apart from a more conventional groups: you have to please fans of hardcore music who may not care about The Simpsons (hard to believe), and fans of the show who’re terrified of metal. Do you have to think about balancing … let me clumsily say ‘paying homage to the gimmick’ with making legitimately powerful music?
HN: In the beginning, we thought the band would only appeal to fans of both and we thought that demographic would be microscopic. We use our own internal compass when it comes to choosing who to please. If it gives us a laugh, we’ll do it. If no one else gets it, we still got a laugh out of it and that’s all we ever really wanted.
FS: How do you handle haters? Turn the cheek like Ned would, or more like …let’s say (wine making grouch) Maynard James Keenan?
HN: Haters are necessary to Okilly Dokilly. What would a group of Flanders be without an ever-criticizing group of Homers? Every Homer is okilly dokilly with us.
FS: I’ve read that the idea for OKILLY DOKILLY more or less started with a joke among friends. Obviously, at FLIM Springfield, we’re pro-running with a good joke, with that in mind, have you been surprised how referencing The Simpsons makes it easier (or harder) to find fans and—in a live setting—create a connection with the audience?
HN: It’s definitely made it easier to find fans, which is a fully diddly 180 from what we expected. It’s been pretty easy, and very fun connecting with the audience at shows.
FS: Apart from Flanders and The Simpsons, what are influences on Okilly Dokilly: Musically, or otherwise?
HN: Our collective childhood of watching cartoons like Ren & Stimpy, Beavis & Butthead, KaBlam! and many others were big influences. Bled Ned and I befriended each other over Futurama quotes and spent lots of post-practice time watching Metalocalypse. Musically, we come from all over the spectrum. I think the one record we all collectively enjoy is Neil Cicierega’s mashup record that includes parts of ‘All Star’ by Smash Mouth in every song.
HN: Not one in particular. We get a lot of great ideas from friends of ours, so our influences are mainly the neighborinos around us.
FS: Your new LP is about to come out, what can you tell us about it—I understand it was done at AUDIO CONFUSION (where bands like AJJ, Playboy Manbaby, Dogbreth and other great SW bands have also done their albums)?
HN: It’s super brutalino and made up of 75% Flanders Quotes, 10% other character quotes and 15% original lyrics (most of which are left-handed puns).
FS: What’s it like working with Jalipaz?
HN: The absolute best. We brought the idea of Okilly Dokilly to him early on and he said it would be huge. We didn’t believe him.
FS: Did it come together quickly, or were there surprises (good or bad) that came up along the way?
HN: The songwriting was quick, but we took a little extra time recording. Press Destruct Button was the most challenging song to record, which was weird, since that song was on our original demos.
FS: Any secrets, guest stars, or a particular track you’re proud of that you can tell us about (will there be a recipe for lentil soup hidden on a track for instance)?
HN: Donut Hell has an obscure and experimental section that we really liked. If you play it backwards, you might get a lentil soup recipe. The soup will be very bad though. Stead and Red Ned put some awesome guitar and synth solos in the album that give is some extra diddly. No guest starts, but plenty of secrets we’ve sworn never to reveal.
FS: What will it look like? Is it download exclusive? Or what will the packaging look like?
HN: We’ll have physical CDs in black digipacks with a few references to Flanders descent into madness on them.
FS: What will OKILLY DOKILLY be doing between now and the tour?
HN: Playing a few shows and saving up every dollarino for a van.
FS: Here’s a totally Simpsons-nerdy question for you: Is there a Simpsons joke or line that works as shorthand among your friends/family?
HN: It’s always acceptable to shout ‘Monorail!’ as soon as a song ends at practice.
Thanks to Head Ned for letting us take up his time away from the Leftorium. I was also able to spend a few minutes talking to Red Ned, here’s what he had to say:
FS: How’d you get involved with Okilly Dokilly, and do you have any specific/formative Simpsons influences?
RED NED: Head Ned asked me to join – I don’t really listen to much metal, but I offered my synth sensibilities. I was obsessed with the Simpsons growing up and read the episode guides religiously, so the project had a soft spot in my heart. One of my most prized possessions is a Simpsons portrait autographed … by Groening from 1990.
I love fiddling with pop culture and compounding on culture in general, so this project is a playground for me. I also really enjoy subversion, so I think this project has a healthy dose of subversion in terms of genre-bending and the expectations of metal. It’s really fun to muck with the personalities or expected roles/behaviors of music genres. It upsets some and thrills others, which I think is a great signifier of something being worthwhile.
FS: When tweaking pop culture as you do, have you thought about how ‘universal’ Simpsons is by this point in 2016?
RN: I think the Simpsons are universal in terms of awareness, but not necessarily knowledge of the lines and jokes, so it’s important to me that the project has multiple levels of involvement. It should be enjoyable on a more surface level, if you know who Ned is and appreciate the absurdity, but don’t necessarily have the encyclopedia of quotes and references in your brain. But then that’s there too, for people who would like to dive deeper and appreciate the connections. It’s gotta be enjoyable from each level, I think.
Thanks to Red as well. Now everybody, go to the official
website, get some merch, and check out their March tour dates to see when they’re coming to your town!