An Interview With The Dallas-Based Band OIL BOOM On New Music, Jimmy Buffet and More!
Posted On 22 Nov 2017
“Terribility” is the name of Oil Boom’s latest album that was released on October 20th via Dreamy Life Records. “Earful” was the first single to be released from it. Produced by Grammy Award-winning producer Jordan Richardson (Ben Harper, Charlie Musselwhite, Quaker City Night Hawks), Terribility is a 10-song LP of psych-leaning, wisecracking rock ‘n roll.
Ever hear one of those canonical classic rock guitar solos and thought, “I wonder if that riff made the engineer laugh a little?” The dudes in Oil Boom crack up over that stuff all the time, and then they turn those jokes about Joe Perry hot lixx and Robert Plant blues-ball moans into songs. It’s classic rock deconstruction in the vein of Ween, or at least Weezer. Or, put another way: Oil Boom makes rock ‘n roll inspired by the all-time greats, but instead of worshipping at the church of St. Mick and St. Keef, they sleep in on Sunday (especially if they stayed up late listening to Sabbath).
Oil Boom is: Ryan Taylor (guitar/vocals), Steve Steward (bass/background vocals), Dugan Connors (drums/background vocals), Zach Edwards (guitar). The band’s 6-song debut EP Black Waxy was recorded in 2011 with Stuart Sikes (Loretta Lynn, The Walkmen), and quickly followed by Gold Yeller, their second color-themed, 6-song EP in 2012. Its lead single, “The Great American Shakedown” was added to the rotation of NPR stations and appeared on the soundtracks to The Vampire Diaries, If I Stay, Freeheld and Grandma. The band spent a couple years playing around Texas and the Midwest while working on songs for their next release, recording a full-length in 2014 called Red Metal. The album continued their streak of colorful titles and soundtrack success, with “45 Revolutions Per Minute”, “Delta Rice” and “Ball O’ Fire” placed in films/TV shows such as Manchester By The Sea, Rectify, Lucifer, and Elementary.
Since Red Metal‘s release, Oil Boom has spent the intervening years on the road with heavyweights like Social Distortion and the Toadies,and at home opening for Johnny Marr and The Hold Steady.
Check out more on Oil Boom here:
Learn more about Oil Boom in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time for another All Access interview! Where does this interview find you today? Is there music playing in the background? What is it? What is one song that you are all loving right now? What is a song that you disagree about loving right now?
Whew, that’s a lot of questions right out of the gate. Let me collect myself here. This interview finds me at home on a Tuesday afternoon, the day before my 37th birthday, ruminating over missed opportunities and my diminished sense of self. All the hairs lost, the chronic back pain, refinancing concerns. I kid. Actually I’m looking forward to a Chili’s dinner tomorrow night with all of my closest friends and family. Feel free to join us.
As a matter of fact, there IS music playing in the background. I’m listening to the soundtrack to Better Off Dead, one of my favorite movies. Specifically, I’ve got the the song “Arrested By You,” playing on loop in YouTube. It’s featured during a scene in which John Cusack’s character plays a passable, but altogether pitiful saxophone solo, in order to impress a French foreign exchange student at a hamburger restaurant. It’s a very specific kind of 80s soundtrack schlock, overly earnest and schmaltzy, which is probably what attracts me to it.
One song that I would say we are collectively loving right now would be “Blacklight” by our good friends from Denton, The Birds of Night. It’s an unimpeachable song, the best kind of dark, menacing psych-rock. One song that we are disagreeing on is probably a Jimmy Buffett song because it’s always a Jimmy Buffett song. For the sake of clarity, let’s say it’s “Einstein Was A Surfer,” off his Songs From St. Somewhere latest conch symphony.
How did this group first come to be? Can you recall the moment when you all thought you could be in a band together? Was it hard to come up with a name that you could all agree on? How did you come up with your band name?
The group first came to be through Craigslist, and given that not so minor detail, I’d have to say we probably didn’t think we’d make it out of our first rehearsal still together, much less almost 8 years. We’re still figuring out if we can be in a band together. If you know anything about bands, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
If memory serves me correctly, it was just one of many we wrote on a giant piece of paper. I think at the time we thought it would be cool to have a Dallas/Fort Worth centric name. Looking back, we probably would have chosen something even more DFW-focused like The Dallas Cowboys or The City of Fort Worth. There’s a general, mostly unspoken rule among musicians that you’re going to hate your own band name. At least our isn’t Oil Booze. That’s about all I can say in defense.
How do you think this band has been influenced by the city you are from? How did that music scene affect you all?
This band has absolutely been influenced by the city. Both cities in fact. There are many, many bands/artists around these parts that we try and emulate, but hopefully, subtly enough that they never pick up on it and subject us to a eternally drawn-out and expensive lawsuit.
How does 2017 compare to last year? What all are you most excited about for 2018?
All I can say is, I hope 2018 is better than 2017 for the world at large.
What did it feel like releasing your newest album, “Terribility”? Were there any unexpected surprises or challenges? How do you think this collection shows how much this group has grown over the years? What has remained the same about Oil Boom?
It felt really good. We worked on it for what seemed like forever and encountered enough obstacles along the way to make us question our motives, but we’re all definitely glad we stayed the course. I do think it’s shown some growth, but that would probably be for others outside of the band to articulate. I’d like to say we could play prog music by now, but I’m not sure we can.
What was the inspiration for the songs on “Terribility,” specifically, how did “Earful” come together? How did go about selecting it to be the first single released from the album? Was that a hard call to make?
There was no specific inspiration, but more a general feeling of impending dread and anxiety. That’s typically what fuels the vast majority of my/our writing. It’s a way to exorcise demons I guess and then to turn those demons into a licensing opportunity to be played at a low volume inside of a crowded bar during the part of a movie that you may or may not go out and get popcorn.
It’s always hard to select a first song or single to release, and we definitely went back and forth amongst ourselves. But ultimately, “Earful” felt like a little bit of a departure from our previous work, plus it had the word ‘ear’ in it, which was the deciding factor.
How have your recent shows been going? Do you have any upcoming tour dates planned to wrap up the year? What do you think makes for an ideal show for you all?
Recent shows have been good for the most part. We just played a small room last week that made our clothes smell like an ashtray at the bottom of another, bigger ashtray and it was pretty glorious. An ideal show for us is one that doesn’t involve parking/loading in logistical nightmares or meeting an overly affable soundman/soundwoman right out of the gate that is clearly disguising passive-aggressive tendencies that will show themselves later in the night. Our bar is pretty low these days.
We are living in a crazy and at times rough world right now so I am curious how you think being in this band gives you the most joy in life today? Do you think that new music being created today is going to reflect this difficult time?
That’s an excellent question. Playing music, as amazing and rewarding as it is, is often punctuated by long bouts of frustrating inertia and setbacks. But there is a joy at the root of it, that is genuine in the best way. You can’t equate it with anything else really. When it’s at its’ best, and you’re completely present in the thrill of the moment, you forget everything else going on around you or within you. You’re truly free for a brief window of time, even if you’re using that window to put your foot on a monitor or to pretend you’re using your guitar as a long sword. And that is an invaluable gift. The older I get, the less I try and take that for granted. There are great things outside of music too, but I feel extremely fortunate to be a part of a band, and especially with these particular dudes.
God, I hope the music being made today reflects these gross times, otherwise we’re not really doing our job. For our part, we named our album Terribility.
Who are some of your favorite artists right now? Who would you love to work with in the future? What would be a dream collaboration for this group?
You know what? Fuck it. I’m just gonna say Jimmy Buffett for all three answers. It would be a thrill for Steve, our bass player, and the rest of us could just suck it up and be happy for him. That’s not too much to ask.
What do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people continue to take away from your songs?
I wouldn’t say we’re a message band really, so if anything, the message is don’t pay attention to messages, text or musical or otherwise.
I hope people see a bit of themselves in our songs and can then laugh at themselves for being themselves and listening to songs that make them think about themselves and laughing at themselves.