Odwalla88"What happens when we’re saying those things together is an exciting part about doing this together rather than just one person."
Flannery: Yeah, I think delivery is definitely where what is a sincere sentiment comes off as insincere. Or sarcastic.
Chloe: Because sometimes we say things in a bratty tone, not that it's a bratty thing we're saying.
Flannery: Yeah, I think that when I’m feeling more aggressive, the more aggressive moments, are when that side of it comes out. There’s also a lot of repetition and a lot of mantra, so I think that the sayings can come off as more insincere.
Chloe: More insincere because they’re said over and over again.
Flannery: Yeah, I think the repetition reinforces that.
Brendan: Or maybe it complicates it. If you had a little spectrometer, like an intra-sincerity spectrometer, maybe if you said something one time it would register on one end, and then over the course of saying it five or 10 times it starts to —
Flannery: Yeah, like saying "I care" a million times and how we just keep saying it and it gets exhausted.
Chloe: But I do care.
Flannery: But I do care, completely... We’re totally not interested in cynicism and being sarcastic- we’re just constantly trying to be aware of how to be positive and think of the happy things, but also talk about what makes us mad.
Brendan: Still be critical.
Flannery: Yeah. That spectrum is definitely on the mind.
I was listening to this interview recently with a comedian who was saying that he likes to get into this certain un-comfort space, to take the joke someplace where people are uncomfortable and he likes to hang out in that space for as long as possible, push the limits of that space. I was thinking about you two and how I feel like the sincerity question space, you like to push that, you like to push those zones.
Chloe: I feel like that’s something I’ve noticed when I listen to the bootlegs from our shows, the audio recordings, but this also has to do with how our song structure is maybe a little... I’m not trying to say we have this wild, avant-garde sound structure but -
Chloe: You know how sometimes people are like, "oh, is that song done?" Or, like, "what’s the song?" Sometimes the point at which the audience claps, or the pauses after a song that’s because of the content, or just the weird way it ended.
Flannery: I wonder if its the fact that we’re not singing, we’re just saying it. It just always comes back to the delivery for me, and the kind of monotone intensity of it.
Brendan: It’s a pretty strict style, your two voices and then usually maybe at most two other sounds kind of happening at a time. Right? At most the drums and the sampler, or some combination of, and any single part has a lot of space to do what it needs to do, to explores these nuances and things. If you’re repeating something as many times as you often are it’s like you get to really sink into it.
Flannery: What happens when we’re saying those things together is an exciting part about doing this together, rather than just one person.
Chloe: I could never play an Odwalla song by myself just because it needs two voices.
Flannery: Yeah, but when we were on tour and I lost my voice, Chloe did most of my parts. It was beautiful and really emotional to watch, but it maybe didn't have the sting.
Chloe: Because a lot of songs it’ll be like Flan has her solo moment, and then I have my solo moment, and then it’s this thing in the middle that we say together. Not to reduce it to that, but that’s often how it jams out. Me saying all of the parts and then trying to use Flannery’s delivery, how she said it, was so bizarre. I mean it was cool for one night, but it kind of freaked me out. Because it’s about two voices, one voice by itself, one voice by itself, and then two together. I tried to sing those songs by myself when I jumped on a few of my friend's dates on a west coast tour last summer and it was weird.
Brendan: It was probably like you were doing some kind of a half cover kind of thing, right?
Chloe: Yeah, I would be like "this is a song by my hardcore band, Odwalla88," and there’d be a long pause, and I would go into it...
Andrea [Longacre-White] made this observation the other day listening to your side of the split tape with You Nori about how rad it is that the difference between your own voices and those samples of your voices kind of flattens out on the recording. It gets hard to tell what is your voice "live" and what is your voice being played on the sampler. Is that something you thought about?
Chloe: I’ve never thought about that, but I like the idea of that because to me it’s like if someone listened to it they would think it was a five person band and one person's job was to just go "tell my.../tell my.../tell my…," the whole time- like that’s the girl who just does that. That was the first thing I wanted to figure out how to do, is to sample our voices. I’m not really into gear, but we were having a hard time figuring out what to buy, because people are weird about that stuff. For me it wasn’t very accessible about what should I buy to start this band.
Flannery: It was like we didn’t have a cool older sister to ask.
Chloe: When we got the [Roland SP] 404 that was the first thing I was so hyped to do, just be able to put our voices saying something in, and then make it say that many times, being able to yell into it and then loop the yell. I was so excited about that, because I don’t know how to make beats.
Flannery: It was just like a powerful sound, to have that and then to be saying the same thing over, and then to kind of fade in and out of it.
Chloe: We either sample our voices or hard-core band's bootlegs- like at the beginning of a hard-core show and everyone’s screaming. Those are our two favorite things to sample. But I only like to sample the very beginning of songs, I realize.
Flannery: Live is preferable.
Chloe: Yeah, we like the sound of live bootleg stuff, which is why our tape is all... bootlegs. People weren't happy with that.
You love the bootleg as a format.
Chloe: I just like it just as much as regular recordings. I’m really excited about the things that we’re working on right now with Max Eilbacher, how we’re taking a long time to consider the vocals, consider how the samples sound and adjust the levels.
Flannery: He understands sounds differently than us so it has this cool digi feel, it is a cool version.
Chloe: I like listening to live stuff, and I guess I don’t have a good ear for tune or any of that stuff, which is why we don’t sing. I’m not a like a skilled craftsman in that way.
Flannery: You're a musician.
Chloe: I’m a musician. I guess what I’m trying to say is I’m not hitting notes. And so for me, I don’t have that ear and so a bootleg sounds pretty great to me. Listening to it, that’s what the show sounded like that we played, and we messed up a little bit when we played Pussy Step but that’s what it was like to be at an Odwalla88 show in March of 2014.
Flannery: Yeah, I think it translates well.
Yeah, I think so, too. Do you have a hierarchy of the relationship between a live performance and a document of the performance?
Flannery: Mmmm, I don’t know.
Chloe: I don’t think so.
Flannery: I think they’re both exciting. I’m excited about sharing both. It’s interesting hearing or having the video recording of the thing, and then having just the audio recording of the live thing, because without seeing it it almost felt more intense, more abrasive. Chloe has been recording the live sets on her tape recorder.
Chloe: But it sounds really bad.
Flannery: Bad in a way that we love.
Chloe: I didn’t realize how bad it was until everyone said, "oh, that tape you gave me…"
Brendan: Is that your half of the split tape with You Nori?
Chloe: No, I’m pretty happy with that one, actually. That one is audio from a video which was recorded with a digital camera. I made this other bootleg tape where it was five minutes on each side and Noel Freibert held the tape player at one of our concerts from 20 feet away. That one is really not that cool...
Brendan: Too harsh.
Chloe: Yeah, it’s too harsh. it’s like a flat buzz punctuated by me dropping the microphone or something.
Brendan: I’m curious if there’s anything to say about the way you two present live in the way it’s so still? I feel like your movement is similar to how there’s the sound economy, there’s not that many elements so each element becomes very significant. Similarly, physically you two are sort of staying in one place the whole time, and it’s so intense.
Chloe: That’s something, to quote Flannery, "to me it comes naturally." We both go to a lot of shows and when the performer maybe senses that this crowd isn’t going wild with them 100% they will throw themselves into the audience, and be pushy and crazy and wild. For me, I’m always like, "dude, that doesn’t make your set look crazier or more intense if you’re physically flailing all over the place." But that’s cool, that’s just their style, it’s not bad or stupid, it’s just — I think the way I stand in Odwalla is similar to how I did it when I played by myself, which is this bob back and forth, sway.
Flannery: It's swaying into the sound. But also, I can’t stand up without swaying or else I’ll faint. The Chloe sway started in a different way, so hers was more like feeling the words and feeling the sound.
Brendan: Wait, is that true about fainting, Flannery? That’s not true.
Flannery: No, it’s true.
Chloe: No, it’s so true, it’s not even cool.
Flannery: I faint like once a year.
Flannery: The sway and kind of the rock, it definitely felt like something that we're doing together and feeling together. So that, mixed with staring someone down or staring at something in the audience. I like to just keep one focus and just say it all into that.
Chloe: When we were on tour I never said this because I think it kind of would be hokey, but I joked at one point with Flannery that we would say "Hi, we’re Odwalla88 and we’re really happy to be here even if we don’t seem like it."
Chloe: We have an intense presence together, and I think about that a lot, whether or not that’s too negative.
Flannery: It’s a serious presence
Chloe: One day I’ll be in a funny band.
Chloe: Yeah, right.