At times like these, the yammering overload and collective nonsense of commercial radio seems highly unavoidable, its soot plastered all over the walls of our everyday lives. Due to this overcast of ubiquitous airwave debris, it is crucially imperative for one to take a full-blown aural, and a mind-imploding trip into the a kind of “organized chaos” within the unknown, as Oddience band member Tulip Pezley, subtly puts it. And no, I’m not talking about those heady drug-induced trips. The collective’s first EP Lit Lava Lamp, is currently gut-roaring throughout the World Wide Web, Miche Maya’s glittery melodies perfectly laced over her brother Eddingtonn Howard’s unwavering drums; all three bring an undeniable scorching breathiness to hip-hop medleys. Think: being a wandering soul and cruising aimlessly down the Pacific Coast Highway on your way to Venice Beach. Its a spontaneously-fueled soulful drive, we wager? Here we caught up with Oddience as they flesh out the charm behind their beat production, if they really are psychedelic pop whimsy, and what exactly is “wave riders.”
Oddience as a stage name definitely has that oddity and mysterious edge to it. Where does the name come from?
Pez: Ricky Henderson believes that now is a crazy time for music. Listeners are tired of hearing the same shit, and artists are over with trying to emulate tired sounds. Because so many groups create and release music independently nowadays, it allows for this ‘fuck it’ feeling and/or approach when creating. The belief in “Lets make weird shit that sounds right to us at the moment.” You can feel the freedom in the sound but you are unable to box it. You might be able to name all kinds of influences, but the tunes are still gonna sound odd when all blended together. Its organized chaos at its core. There is an audience for odd shit. Most of this I learned from a book with a big yin-yang on the cover.
Miche, how does it feel being in a band with your brother?
Miche: It has it benefits. I really love the honesty, support and guidance we share with one another but he can still be an annoying big bro sometimes.
Eddingtonn: (blank stare)
Pez: Ed’s your brother?
How did you two meet up with Pez?
Eddingtonn: I met Pez at Barcade over a glass of lukewarm ice tea.
Miche: Through my bro.
Most of your videos feature Los Angeles’ balmy landscapes. Do you think being in L.A. shapes the direction of much of your calm breathy synths?
Pez: LA is why I make music. The city sings to me from the Venice boardwalk to the 7th street bridge. Our sound is just a response to a melody that already exists. When you think about it, LA has every type of geographical feature any person could want. This is to say that LA’s keyboard collection goes deep. Depending on its mood the city could be on all kinds of different sounds. I tend to vibe with calm refreshing ones. In the outer atmospheric instrument world, this synth sound you refer to is played using the Nefxz 3100. Same book.
Miche: Definitely. We speak from our souls. Thats what it sounds like.
With “Lit Lava Lamp” Pablo Balderas’ cinematic style, effortlessly thrusts the viewer into an untapped visceral escapade that’s clad in sunny-ridden delight. Just when you think the video is coming to an end, the soft sublayer of the medley unexpectedly loops you back in by splitting between colorful stills and black and white imagery. Here, euphoric merrymaking is in full overdrive, on so many different levels. Were you guys involved in Balderas’ visual outlook?
Pez: We all vibe off each other. I feel we all trust each others creative taste. Pablo did his thing with the video. If we all formed like Voltron, Pablo would be the heart. The heart controls the mind but the mind controls the vision. Its circular.
Eddingtonn: Hell yeah! I love Voltron! Pablo is definitely the 4th member. We usually throw our ideas in the bucket and he picks them out like a raffle. Its an exciting time.
Miche: We all had ideas for the scenes and Pablo puts them together in a way only he can. He’s a window to our minds.
How was shooting that lengthy sweet bike ride scene, Pez?
Pez: Since I wasn’t around when bicycles were invented, naturally I never really got into them. I never learned to ride one because I thought of it as some stupid ancient technology. I got myself some bad ass rollerblades as a kid instead. Mastered those things to death, cinchy! But when Pablo came to me and proposed the idea of me riding a bike for this next video I knew I had to learn fast. Since my girlfriend knows a bunch of 8th graders she hooked it up with a bike I could use and some lessons. I learned in 18 days, but I did that scene all in one take.
Eddingtonn: Ha ha!
Sonically, “Homeboy Palm Tree” features pulse-spiking soulful drum salvos laced with sweeping rhythms, cementing this ballad with equal parts subtle drums, whimsical tranquility, and sinister urgency. Carefully packed, layer upon layer, into a strikingly bold hip-hop composition. When it comes time to shape everything, how are you generating ideas for specific sounds like this one?
Eddingtonn: “Homeboy” was definitely one of my favorites to record. It has a lot to do with the beat and what page were all on the day of.
Pez: Between the three of us we are up against a clusterfuck of musical influences. I produce beats based on what I’m diggin’ at the time, as well as, what I know Ed and Michelle are into and will be able to shine on.
Miche: We don’t really put a lot of thought into planning our songs. We all have different styles. But, then when we come all together, and put them together, it all makes one sound. We just go with what sounds right and real to us.
Throughout the songwriting process, how do the lyrics fit? Do you place the music and the lyrics on one playing field?
Miche: When I hear sound that flows with a previous piece I’ve written I go with it. Sometimes Pez’s beat touches me so much that things just flow off from my brain onto a piece of paper. Poetry to a symphony turns into the wave that we call music. Thats why we refer to ourselves as wave riders.
Eddingtonn: Most definitely. Kowabunga!
Pez: Usually the beats come first and we fit lyrics around them. We never really think about it as a process though. We meet up, I play some beats we share some hook ideas or verses we have written, sing a bit, dance a lot and hit record. So far it has worked best when its improvised.
We’ve never heard hip-hop kneel in some way to a frivolous pop-y synth. Your music speaks fervent volumes to the lost rawness and excessive commercial blandness found in many of today’s music. Where do you get most of your musical influences from?
Pez: I like anything with ooohhhh‘s, uhhhhaaa’s, sha-woop’s, and other vocals like that. Basically, lyrics with feelings so strong that you need to make up sounds in order to express yourself. I love to sample that stuff. Currently I’m into Sade, Evelyn King, and Michael J. Fox stand-up.
Eddingtonn: I have a lot of influences from music to day-to-day living. Im a big fan of Dobermans because they come in so many different shapes and sizes. You got your red ones,your typical ones, your miniature and whatever other undiscovered species that are out there. I feel the same way about music. Also, I’m a huge fan of Santigold.
Miche: My influences come from the great singers and lyricist of the past along with some of the musicians of today. Anita Baker, Nina Simone, Lauryn Hill, Pharcdye, and Stevie Wonder are just a few.
When sifting through your tracks, sublayers begin to refreshingly unfold where many believe they are comfortable nods to Gnarls Barkley and Outkast. Do you agree with them?
Pez : As long as you throw both Prince Paul and Prince (no Paul) in there, then yeah, sure. I dig those artists.
Eddingtonn: I can see that. I’m definitely down with the comparisons.
Here at BULLETT, we have “Smile” literally on repeat! Hands down one of the sharpest lines on there is “We gargle gravy, not no Listerine paste.” Is that a stab at the music industry’s lackluster appeal? Where does it come from?
Pez: We strive to live life easy. Basically, no ever said, “It’s all gravy in the 90′s?” All is well here. Gargle it, let it really get in there you know?
Eddingtonn: “Smile” is my favorite track so far! That line was all Pezanator; greater than an eagle or a one-eighth greater mixed alligator and a quarter part raptor.
Miche: That was Pez! He’s a walking conundrum.
Your track plays are like LSD for the ears! Do you think they relate, in any way to a psychedelic aesthetic?
Pez: The psychedelic movement is based around exploration and self-expression, so in that sense yes. At the same time its weird to hear our music being labeled psychedelic. Psychedelic implies that it is outside of the ‘listeners’ mental state. We don’t strive to create this acid trip of an experience. This shit sounds normal to us, these songs are our brains natural urge to express. If it comes across as psychedelic to some, good. When you think about it in those terms, any tune can be psychedelic. It depends on the person and where their mind is at. Same book. Different chapter.
Eddingtonn: Yes, indeed! There’s definitely some trippy shit going on in the studio.
Miche: Yeah, and I see that as a good thing that people compare us to that type of feeling. We’ll try to keep the bad trips to a minimum, though.
Photography by Brantley Gutierrez