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Interviewed by
Martyn Pepperell
Tuesday 25th October, 2011 10:42AM

Wives is Olmer Bollinger, Scott Hakkaart, Andrew Harrison and Lou Mutsaers-Hoyte, a box fresh band of psychedelic popsters hailing from Newtown, Wellington. Still relatively unknown on the national musical circuit, earlier this year they released a free digital download EP called The Spirit of John Travolta. Having been busy gigging around Wellington since, UTR decided it was time to catch up with these young bloods to throw a bit more light on what they're all about.

Okay, you guys call yourselves Wives? When I think of the word wives, I think of the word girls. Then I think, what is this, the older version of girls? Or is this a mission statement about your goal? Wives? What is going on here?

Olmer: We used to be called The Entwives, which is a name we had for about a year or so. Then we just kind of got sick of all the Lord of The Rings shit that went along with that. Or some of us did anyway. I couldn't really relate to it at all. I didn't think about it at the time, but the first question anyone asks you when your band comes up is what are you guys called? Then we have to explain why.

Scott: Kind of like what we're doing now in this interview!

O: So I didn't want to have to go through that talk anymore. Then we wanted to keep it kind of the same, so that was the logical conclusion, Wives. Then I sort of realised afterwards that [it was a similar name to some other bands]. I hadn't heard of Girls, or Women, but I had heard of Wavves. I've heard those bands since and it seems to be a popular trend.

Psychedelic pop is a pretty good description of what you guys do. What is the attraction to this sort of music and the culture associated with it. Why did you want to be in that world?

S: I didn't really think about it that way. It was sort of just what came out when we started playing.

O: With my guitar playing, I have always liked using lots of effects. From my side of it, it's just the way I like to play music, especially electric guitar. I just like textural music. I like messing around. If I have an instrument I like to try and get as many sounds out of it as I can. It's just a natural thing. We just got this Omnichord, which is this eighties synth toy, and I'm plugging it into effects and trying to get weird sounds out of it. Also, we like just relaxing and improvising music for hours on end.

Do you consider yourselves to make weird music though?

O: Kind of.

S: To an extent.

O: It's still pop though. Most of our songs still have a verse, chorus, verse structure.

So is there a twin interest going on? How can I experiment with sound and still be pop?

O: Yeah, definitely.

Now Olmer, if I was going to make a comparison within the local musical world, there is a singer from Auckland who used to live in Dunedin. You actually remind me of him quite a bit.

O: Tono? [Laughs]


O: I've had that before [laughs].

I don't imagine you're really influenced by him though? Or are you?

O: I really like Tono's music. Scotts from Dunedin, I spent a lot of time in Dunedin. Actually, funnily enough, I mean, it wasn't just Tono, but Lawerence Arabia and Phoenix Foundation and all these other acts that have that New Zealand accent, they definitely got me confident to do that as well.

There is also a sense of melodrama to that vocal style, it's very dramatic. How do you feel about drama and flamboyance in music?

O: That is funny, because the other person I've been told I sound like is Morrissey [laughs]. The whole dramatic thing aye, I never really thought about it too much. I never thought about it being dramatic or flamboyant. I guess I don't really see myself as being a very natural singer, so it was just a way of getting it to sound good.

Yeah I was going to get to Morrissey in a bit, [laughs]. So would you say being a singer is something you've really worked towards?

O: Yeah. I don't think I always sang with that strong New Zealand accent. It's definitely something that came out once I got more comfortable singing.

How do you feel about the Morrissey comparison?

O: Well I like The Smiths, I don't like Morrissey so much though. I don't know. After I got told that I could kind of see where it was coming from. I do like some of his stuff though.

How long have you guys been playing together for?

S: About three years. We started in Wellington. We had a member who left, and he has been replaced by Andrew [Harrison] and that has changed our sound quite a bit.

How do you see your sound as having developed?

O: Initially it was different, but now we have got synths as opposed to having another guitarist. We're noisier and less rock oriented. Especially getting the second guitar out of there forced us to really let go of a lot of that.

What do you consider important to your music? What is critical to making it work?

S: Keeping it accessible to most people. If people walk into a gig, you want them to enjoy it straight away. They need to be able to dance, so the poppy aspect is important.

O: Especially through the live performance thing, we found out pretty early that it was a good idea to play music that people could dance to. Ultimately if you're playing at a bar, people will be drinking, and if they can't dance, they'll just start talking.

Martyn Pepperell


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