Monday, September 10, 2012

Interview with Oklahoma Lefty

This interview is from May 2009 and was conducted by Dave from Oklahoma Lefty.

Otisburg hails from Seattle, WA and plays a good mix pop punk, power pop, and folk punk. The band at this point is Scott and Steve and they are following in the footsteps of the Violent Femmes, playing their punk rock tunes acoustic style (while still plugging in for some numbers). Sure I might not be the most objective person in the world where it comes to this band (seeing as one of its members is one of my best friends) but my bias aside, Otisburg is a band that show a lot of promise. I highly suggest checking out the song “Hey Jennifer”. It’s my favorite.

Oklahoma Lefty: How did the band get together? What’s the history of the band?

Scott: I wrote the whole history down once and we might blog that on the MySpace, right Steve? The basics from my standpoint are that Brant, Steve, and I started the band. Brant and I knew each other from college and we finally sifted Steve out of Craigslist after meeting a lot of, shall we say, not so good fits. These included a Finnish guy who only wanted to play Van Halen and a Korean guy who wanted to make progressive instrumental rock. We almost gave up. After we met Steve, shared the songs we had been writing, and then heard his, we knew we had a band.

Steve: Yeah, we probably should put that history up on our MySpace. He is right about the basics though. I still remember that Craigslist ad. Something about band into theDescendents (and some other bands) needs singer. I was all over that. LoL!

OL: For those who have never heard Otisburg, how would you describe your sounds?

Scott: It’s pretty simple. Throw together ‘90s alternative and pop/punk and we’re somewhere in there.

Steve: I would have to say our sound is kind of random based on the mood that we are in. Currently, we are somewhere between a folk punk sound and an indie rock sound. I try not to label us though to be honest because I am not a big fan of genre labels because often they really do nothing to really describe what a band sounds like. Plus, I don’t want to let us get pigeon-holed into one style because you never know what we are going to be up to next!

OL: A couple of years ago you were poised to release an EP. What happened to that release?

Scott: Um… well, I’ll let Steve answer that question…

Steve: The EP, “Born Yesterday” became an internet-only released and was released in late 2007. You can hear the entire EP on our MySpace (

OL: Describe your song writing process.

Scott: My songwriting process is way different than Steve’s. He can write songs in his head just riding the bus or whatever he happens to be doing. I usually have to have an instrument under my fingers to write something. Either way it all comes out in the end. After one of us writes the basic words and progressions we just play it for the other, throw ideas back and forth, and eventually the song comes out the way we like it. Sometimes we don’t have to change much if anything, though.

Steve: Yeah, sometimes I just come up with stuff off the top of my head and other times I have to work at it. But normally, I differ from Scott in that I usually come up with lyrics first and then either try and come up with a riff that fits it or I take to Scott and he comes up with something. From my viewpoint, Scott usually comes up with the music for a song first.

OL: Where did you get the name Otisburg?

Scott: Superman

Steve: When trying to come up with a name, we tried to come up with a really obscure super-hero/comic book type reference. I was sitting down thinking of the movie Superman: The Motion Picture and came up with Otisburg off the top of my head. I went to the other guys with that idea and the name stuck.

OL: I know that this is considered the worst question to ask, but oh well. What are your influences?

Scott: Not the worst, but I won’t try to give you any worse questions to ask! My influences are pretty much Weezer, The Descendents, and The Ramones.

Steve: I would say as far as writing goes, my influences are also The Descendents and Weezer. As far as my playing goes, I really can’t say. As a punk guitarist, my biggest influence has always been Greg Ginn (Black Flag) but as a singer, I have no idea. I guess I don’t really have an “influence” in that regard. I just do what I do.

OL: Are you currently working with any record labels?

Steve: No, not presently. We kind of stick to the DIY ethic.

Scott: Right now it’s such a cool time because you don’t really need a record label to get your music out there. We plan to just distribute anything we do online, whether as a CD through or our own site, or digitally through iTunes or wherever.

OL: Any plans for a full length release?

Scott: Yeah, for sure! We feel the world deserves a full length! We’re in the writing process right now. Anyone who’s heard songs like or Doughnut Riot can expect a set of songs in a similar vein. Not necessarily joke songs, but definitely with tongue firmly in cheek. So far we’ve got songs about garbage men, high school bands, and married people, among others. Also we’re playing around with the idea to do an acoustic release, either alongside of or part of the full length. Can’t really say for sure yet.

Steve: Yeah, hopefully sometime this year.

OL: If you could play a show opening up for any band, who would it be?

Steve: The Descendents!

Scott: Definitely Weezer for me. Those guys are great!

OL: Any final thoughts?

Steve: Yeah. Milk it does a body good!

Scott: Stick with us! Check back often on the MySpace because we’re working on demos for the new stuff and kind of planning to release them there as a way for people to give us feedback as we make the record!