13 Feb Hi Diddly Ho Neighborinos: Okilly Dokilly Talks To UGS
Hi-Diddily-Ho, lovers of weird-ass music that, let’s be frank – doesn’t always just appeal to your ears, but gives you a lil’ somethin’ somethin’ for your eyes too.
Enter Okilly Dokilly. And no, the writer of these lines didn’t just have a stroke, that really is the name of the band we chose to have a few words with. Curiosity might’ve killed the cat, but in this instance Underground Sound really was curious; what makes these more or less bearded All-American-Heroes tick? What’s the jam with their name and the funky get-up? Be warned though. Shit’s ‘bout to get weird.
UGS: Toodily-Doo fellow Americans, I’m super pumped to be doing this interview with y’all. First off…I gotta ask. The name, I mean – it’s obviously “Simpsons” influenced, but who came up with it? Was it a team effort, or did one of you make the executive decision?
O.D.: Ha, it was a team thing, but I wouldn’t say any ‘effort’ went into it. We were envisioning the most brutal, heavy, deathgrinddjentdeathbloodcore etc. metal show ever and coming up with all the wrong band names for them to say when they walked on stage. Like ‘Hi We’re ‘The Blueberry Scones’, or ‘Hi, we’re The Wiggliest Worms’. Someone said, ‘Okilly Dokilly’. We said ‘what if the lead singer is dressed like Ned?’ Then, ‘what if they’re ALL dressed like Ned’. When we realized Okilly Dokilly could be spelled with the word ‘kill’ in it twice, we kept going with it.
UGS: For some reason I would’ve loved to see that in motion, I mean – seeing you guys go through the process of finding your “style”. Listening to some of your songs, I couldn’t help but notice some similarities to “Iwrestledabearonce.” While not as “Mathcore” influenced, would you agree there’s something to that statement? What other bands would you say have influenced your sound? What genre would you put on yourself, if you absolutely had to – gun to your heads.
O.D.: I’ve heard that, and yeah, I think there’s some truth to that. Any band that can both play instruments and survive confrontations with wild animals as well as that band can is an honor to be compared to. We have a really wide scope of influences, but I think there’s two main ones. There’s a band called Maximum the Hormone from Japan that bounces between really heavy breakdowns and very catchy J-pop within the same song and that’s very fun to listen to. We were also really inspired by a friend of ours named Kevin. He was the singer in a local metal band and very proficient at screams and death growls, despite not looking like the singer of a metal band. We thought that was cool and wanted to be like Kevin.
We’ve always just called our music Nedal. If that’s not an acceptable answer for the ‘gun to the head thing’ I’m just glad my last word on this planet was a weird pun.
UGS: I thought that, some influences were undeniable for me. Let me ask you though; how did y’all get together? I mean it can’t just be “Hey, we’re all, ya know…nice guys n stuff, so how about we get together and just “nice” the shit out of some heavy metal?” Tell me your story.
O.D.: That’s actually pretty much it. I just contacted some friends of mine who were musicians, but not necessarily strictly metal musicians. I explained the idea and they were interested. We’ve had a few different members since the start, but that’s generally the process. I find some friends who play instruments, subject them to hours of Ned quotes, lock them in a room for 72 hours with nothing but a bottle of white wine spritzer, some high-grade mustache fertilizer and a book called ‘The Natural Superiority of the Left Hander’ and eventually they become an official Ned.
UGS: Sometimes simplicity really is key. Let’s move on though – apart from – obviously – Ned Flanders, who are your heroes? Doesn’t have to be musically, any person/organization will do.
O.D.: Well, I already mentioned Kevin. Him definitely. We also play shows and work with so many hard-working musicians who tour and tirelessly push themselves in a really tough industry. Those guys remind us how thankful we are to be where we are. The local cider fest coordinator falls on our ‘hero’ list as well.
UGS: Sounds sick, really some cool dudes alright. Now, one thing that I’ve immediately asked myself; you got KISS fans dress up as the band-members for concerts. Slipknot fans do the same. Does any hardcore Okilly Dokilly fan ever show up in your dress-code?
O.D.: Yep. We call them Bonus Neds. We play shows in sweaters, which is fairly toasty. Those brave souls MOSH in sweaters. It’s way brutalino. They are the mad men and women we are proud to play shows to. Coming to our shows dressed as Ned is highly encouraged. We’ve also had fans come as other characters, like Sideshow Bob, Otto, Comic Book Guy, and Rod and Todd.
UGS: Did you ever play any other gigs in Europe? And if not: why? And what the frick are you guys waiting for? America is crazy, but you guys aren’t even ready for the weird-ass crowds we got over here.
O.D.: We did a tour of the UK last year with 10 shows in England, 1 in Scotland, 1 in Northern Ireland and 1 non-UK show in Ireland. It was very excellent. We’re working on some more shows in mainland Europe later this year.
UGS: Man, we certainly missed some shows. Make sure you come to Malta next, eh? Are any of you guys left-handed?
O.D.: I am. The rest of the guys are still going through the conversion therapy.
UGS: Right, we gotta wrap things up, this has been pretty interesting to say the least. I got one last question for you: do you have a personal Homer Simpson in your life? If so, how do you deal with him? Kill him with kindness, or what’s your stick?
O.D.: I don’t think I do currently, but back when we were first starting the band, before anything was released and while we were still recording demos and taking press photos, I shared an office with someone who didn’t like the Simpsons and really didn’t like metal at all. They were really nice and really great to work with, but I would literally spend nights watching the show for quotes, editing band photos, doing practices, etc. Then I would come into work and spend all day with someone who had absolutely zero interest in the band and thought the idea was absurd. I began to think I was just being a stupid Flanders and that this person represented the general populace. I dealt with it by just being a Steady Neddy. I kept going with Okilly Dokilly and wouldn’t be doing this interview if I hadn’t.
I also have an overweight neighbor who loves donuts and borrows my power tools all the time, but I don’t think that really fits the question here.
There you have it folks. Okilly Dokilly shows, that sometimes, a strange idea can still work wonders, if executed correctly. The combination of hard riffs, jumpy hooks and almost choir like verses certainly is a niche product, but one that this metal head here absolutely loves. Stepping out of one’s comfort zone is never easy, but one thing’s for sure; Underground Sound approves and the writer of these lines is definitely hooked to this unique sound. Just a shame these guys are across the pond, this is a sound the Maltese metal scene hasn’t heard so far… stupid sexy Flanders.
Photography Courtesy: Okilly Dokilly/Manny Manson
Words by: Ced Winchester