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Interview: Okilly Dokilly's Head Ned Talks All Things Flanders

Interview: Okilly Dokilly's Head Ned Talks All Things Flanders

Annabel Kean / Thursday 31st October, 2019 10:27AM

Ned Flanders-themed Arizona-based metalheads Okilly Dokilly are storming Aotearoa for the very first time this summer for two undoubtedly wild headline events. Presently featuring Head Ned, Dread Ned, Shred Ned, Bed Ned and Zed Ned, the moustachioed "Nedal" masters first formed in 2015, and have since dropped albums Howdilly Doodilly and Howdilly Twodilly, and even had their video for 'White Wine Spritzer' featured during The Simpsons credits. They'll be joined on their North Island tour by Melbourne's very own Simpsons-inspired thrashers Dr. Colossus. In friendly neighbourly fashion, Head Ned had a chat with UTR assistant editor Annabel Kean, talking all things Flanders, novelty bands, and binging the first ten seasons of The Simpsons...

Okilly Dokilly
with super special guests Dr Colossus

Monday 17th February - Whammy Bar, Auckland
Tuesday 18th February - San Fran, Wellington

Tickets available HERE via UTR 

Head Ned:
Howdilly doodilly.

Annabel Kean: Hi, how are you?

Hey, good! I'm Head Ned, lead singer of Okilly Dokilly, a very excited Ned that’s got some New Zealand shows coming up next year that I’m very excited for.

Have you been to New Zealand before?

Ah, no. This will be our first time over in New Zealand. We’re doing an Australian tour right before, it’ll be our first time there and then, yeah first time playing shows in New Zealand, first time being in New Zealand.

Do you know much about New Zealand? What is New Zealand like in your head?

I guess I don't know as much as I should. Myself and a lot of the band are big Flight Of The Conchords fans, they’re the figureheads of New Zealand for us, which is really great.

Fair enough.

I know that the Lord Of The Rings movies were filmed over there but that’s just kind of the New Zealand countryside. Other than that, yeah, I'm excited to discover the country a bit as we tour around and play some shows.

I hope you get to have a look around. Do you keep your real name a secret?

I do, I go by Head Ned on the stage and I’ve been keeping my real name secret. Although it must have been in case the Fox legal department ever try and find me, but they did end up finding me and they put our music video on The Simpsons. I don't think there’s much worry but now I just keep the secret out of habit.

Just in case you guys get huge, they might start wanting to take a cut.

Yeah exactly.

Where are you calling from by the way?

I'm calling from Atlanta in Georgia in the US, backstage. We’re playing a show, were opening on a tour for a band called Mac Sabbath which does McDonalds themed Black Sabbath covers.

Oh my god, how common are these themed metal bands?

I didn't know there was so many of them until I started playing in one. There’s a band called Mac Sabbath. We toured with a band called Metalachi that does heavy metal covers but they are a whole mariachi band, those dudes are great. There’s a band called Beatallica that mashes up Beatles and Metallica songs. There’s a couple - we played a show with a punk rock ABBA cover band. There’s a band called PPL MVR, that’s like Sasquatch metal, there’s a band called Fartbarf, which is neanderthal synth-pop music, they keep coming out of the woodwork and it’s awesome.

Is there any problem with people taking the bands less seriously? Or is that the whole point?

I don't know, we’ve had people that do take the band pretty seriously and still enjoy it. We’ve had people who see all of the humour in it and they also really enjoy it. It’s one of the fun parts for me, that everyone has a different perception of it.

Does it get quite annoying, constantly being asked Ned Flanders related questions?

Haha, no! Maybe in a couple of years but we started this band as something fun to do and it’s kinda gone further than we ever suspected and I'm still having fun with it. If it ever got annoying or stopped being fun yeah, I'd probably move on to another cartoon character based band. Do like a King Of The Hill band called Propane And Discomfort. For now, we’re just sticking to Nedal.

Are you planning on calling your third album Howdilly Threedilly?

Hahaha! We haven't thought that far! Howdilly Doodilly worked out and then Howdilly Twodilly we really ran with it. When it comes down to it, it might be the kind of thing where we named Howdilly Twodilly, which was just the working title that we were using for humorous aspects until we found a better name for it and we never found a better name for it so it became Howdilly Twodilly. So Howdilly Threedily is currently the working title for the next one should it ever come to be, and unless that name gets beat out by something else then Howdilly Threedilly it is.

Do any of you have other side projects? Do you play in other bands, or did you play in any before this?

Before Okilly Dokilly, I played in a folk band, I played drums in a band. My main band was like an alternative band that people say sounded like Weezer. Two of the guys do a DJ group, one of the guys plays in a Beach Boys sounding band but none of us have ever played in metal bands before. That was one of the fun things about Okilly Dokilly, is nobody really came from a metal background, so that was our chance to jump into that. Playing this kind of music and having fun doing it and never really expecting it to go where it has.

So you would have had to figure out how to do those metal vocals, that screaming, which is really hard to do right?

Yeah, it takes a little bit of practice and learning how to do scream vocals was kind of like learning another instrument. There’s a technique to it that you’ve got to do so that you don't ruin your voice. It was fun to learn how to do and we started this band so I could practice it more, and overnight it turned into something a lot bigger than we ever thought it would be.



Are you all musicians full time? We were chatting in the office trying to guess what your day job would be if you did other stuff and we weren’t sure. Maybe… designers?

Yeah, our guitarist works as a musicians full time, he’s got some other bands. Our bassist is going the same way. Our synth player runs sound for venues, he works in the music industry. I'm the only odd one out, before I joined Okilly Dokilly I worked in accounting. I was an accountant.

That's amazing.

Now I do digital marketing online, helping people advertise on Google and I’m buried in spreadsheets all day, so the really boring stuff. So it’s nice to have a side job where I bury myself in spreadsheets and numbers and all that boring stuff and then the other half of the year, I'm in a van eating a terrible diet and playing death metal shows.

You’re touring quite a lot. Touring can be really hard on long stretches. How do you guys look after yourselves?

You get a couple of habits and things down. There’s a store in the US called Wholefoods which tends to be a healthier grocery store. They’ve got tonnes of vegetables and stuff like that. Any time we’re near one of those, we stop by. We get meals from grocery stores more often then fast food. We try and avoid the Krusty burgers of the US. Just keeping it healthy and hydrating a lot, we definitely take the morning to pile on the caffeine and pile on the water so that we have enough energy to keep pumping out the Nedal every night.

In Auckland there’s a supermarket called Farro, which is probably our Wholefoods.

Oh cool. Well yeah, we’ll probably end up at it if we’ve got time to. We’re always keen for healthy Ned snacks.

What are the dynamics of your band? Do you write everything or does everyone collaborate on songs?

I mostly set the structure of everything. For our latest record Howdilly Twodilly, I actually sat down and I watched all of the first ten seasons of The Simpsons and just sat down with a notebook and wrote down every Ned quote. The majority of our songs are direct Ned quotes so I just compiled them and started writing the guitar riffs with the Ned quotes on top of the guitar riff for the structure of it and then I kind of brought in a drummer to write drums, bought in a bassist to add bass, synths added on there. I did all the rhythm guitar and then Shred Ned did all the lead guitar on the record and that’s how we put everything together.

I'm very impressed with how well you keep up the Ned Flanders character in interviews. Do you find yourself slipping Flanderisms into everyday conversation?

Yeah, definitely. Somebody will describe something that’s happened, like a car accident or what not and instead of me saying “oh that's brutal” I say “that’s brutalino”.

[Gasp!] Hahaha!

So that gets dropped there. Even before the band, I'm left handed and I always advocated for left handedness being a good thing and that just rolls right into the band so that's nice. There’s definitely a lot of Ned-isms that just started invading daily life and it keeps it fun.

Yeah, it's a very positive and optimistic language so that's not terrible. Is anyone else left handed in the band?

Ahh no, I'm currently the only left hander in the band. Our previous synth player was left handed but all the guys are currently right handed and we always say that they’re just going through their left handed conversion therapy and they'll get there soon enough.

Could you explain to me the different names of the different Neds and how they relate to each band member? Some of them are more obvious than others.

Some of our early members like Stead Ned was gonna just be a rhythm guitarist, he was gonna keep the steady Neddy guitar. Red Ned obviously has red hair, Bled Ned we called him that because one time he was drumming and he accidentally hit his knuckle and he bled all over his drum kit and he got that nickname. For our current line up, Dread Ned is our drummer right now and he's got dreadlocks so that worked out well. Shred Ned is our guitarist because he does all the lead guitar and can shred a pretty metal solo. Bed Ned is one of our most recently added members, at that point, in all honesty we were kind of running out of things that rhyme with Ned but Bed Ned is the napper of the group. He's the guy that once we're done with the show, he’ll go out in the van and try and catch a couple of hours sleep. Then Zed Ned... doesn't have too much of a story to it but Zed was the last Ned name that we were able to come up with so he's the penultimate Ned.

Well, I’ll leave you to it. Have a really great show tonight and I can't wait to see you in February! I'm not usually a metal listener but I’m very curious.

Yeah we always have an odd Venn diagram of fans at a show that you can see. The people that are there for the metal are usually in the middle of the pit and then there's always that ring of people around the outside that aren't big metal fans, they don't wanna get punched in the face in the pit so they just hang out on the outside and take in all The Simpsons references and what not.

Thank you very much for talking to me. Break a Ned!

Okilly Dokilly's sophomore album 'Howdilly Twodilly' is out now.


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Mon 17th Feb
Whammy Bar, Auckland
Tue 18th Feb
San Fran, Wellington

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