Interview - OLMS
Updated: Jul 1, 2020
Photo by Jay Itchon
From an unassuming Detroit neighborhood comes a strange cacophony of sounds: industrial noise melting beneath dystopian keyboards and agonized vocals. A mysterious figure dressed all in black looms over you, 6 feet and 4 inches tall. This is Olms, the manufacturer of these haunting sounds, inspired by the likes of Fad Gadget and Peter Baumann.
The Mood 51: You definitely had an interesting, unique upbringing. I already know about it, but would you go ahead and describe it for my readers? Olms: Isolated. Spiritually aware. Grew up homeschooled. Learned a lot hands-on with nature. Honestly, that was the best part of my childhood: walking in the woods. It's good to be in the woods when your house is haunted.
M51: You celebrate your Catholic faith in songs like “Time to Get Cool With Jesus.” What’s it like being a Catholic musician in a largely non-Catholic space?
Olms: I think Jesus is cool. People never really give me shit for it, which is cool! Most people are pretty tolerant and I have a lot of friends and fans who are non-religious or even all out heathens. Different strokes for different folks. I think nowadays most people are pretty cool with Jesus. I mean, how can you hate the guy? That's throwing stones at a man who is already on a stick. I can understand how some people don’t like certain Christians. Hell, even I don’t.
"I think Jesus is cool."
M51: How do you think you've evolved as a musician since your earlier releases?
Olms: Well I started as a folk musician! I was a Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen kind of guy. Guess as my tastes evolved I accidentally got into this. Basically as soon as I found prog rock German psych, I sort of started mutating from there.
Photo by Jay Itchon
M51: Are any of your songs about living with high-functioning autism, and if so, can you dissect those lyrics for us?
Olms: Uh songs about autism. Uh yeah I have a few but I gotta think on that. Honestly much of my music is about alienation and sort of well... not really understanding things. I guess the closest thing I could really dissect off the cuff is definitely a lot of themes of alienation and apocalyptic scenarios in much of the songs. I often use bunkers and boarded up homes (through implication) as a metaphor for that. I’ve always had trouble being totally open. I’m good at sort of putting on my “people person” face but honestly,
most of my life people have been a big test to me. I guess I write a lot about whats missing and the paranoia it comes with. I have friends. Wonderful friends who I truly consider friends. However, people at large, well, people fucking scare me.
"People fucking scare me."
M51: Which track of yours do you consider the most divergent from the type of music you’d normally make? Olms: Uhh that's hard to answer. I never really do just one style anymore but I guess my folk tracks?! really I think the new album will be much different. M51: In the documentary about your life, “Share the Same Madness,” your mother says that your music has brought people out of Satanism. I’d like to hear that story! Olms: That's not what happened really! A good friend of mine just changed his perspective on things after talking to me on religion.
Photo by Jay Itchon M51: Aside from Olms, you have a few other side projects like White Christian Male and Nightfood. Could you go over each of them with a one-sentence summary? Olms: Well WCM is more about industrial sounds and polyrhythms, and humor. Nightfood is more so a project showcasing my love of bowling alley weirdos and disco. I have other projects too but they're sort of uhh, not fully realized yet. M51: You are particularly renowned in a few other countries. Describe your experience with that. Olms: Uh yeah, I honestly am always amazed at how far the music goes. I mean, there're fans everywhere: Canada, Germany, France, lots of places in South America, even all the way in Nigeria. It’s really cool, I never expected anything like this happening with it honestly, it all really started as a hobby and now it’s grown into so much more and I’m really thankful for that. It's amazing hearing from so many people from different cultures and walks of life. M51: You now have a wife and son (congratulations!). How has this impacted you as an artist? Are any of your songs about them? Olms: Yeah I’m a dad now! Honestly it hasn't really affected how I work but I admit my son has been a priority honestly. I work on my sounds when I can but Dad is my first name nowadays. I don’t like to really release the songs about them, it's sort of an intimate thing but yes they exist!
"I work on my sounds when I can but Dad is my first name nowadays."
Photo by Olms M51: Quick list of 10 things that inspire your music (that aren't other musicians). Olms: Well, inspiration is a fluid thing. Sometimes my work is stream of consciousness, sort of drifting into a trance. I guess if I listed 10 it would be sort of hard to do. I guess a lot of my inspiration is nebulous. It's like an amoeba constantly changing and jiggling.
I think my inspiration is really often sort of how I’m digesting life as I live it honestly. 10 things is really hard to think about due to the nature of how I work I guess, I would love to have a list but it's hard to find words for a lot of it.
M51: What’s next for you in life, both as a musician and in your everyday goings-on?
Olms: What's next for me is...I’m gonna raise my son and keep playing music! I am also going to have a beer. M51: What's your favorite pizza? Olms: Detroit style pizza is the best pizza. Period. And it's not because I’m from here! Food critics across the globe have verified this!
Follow Olms on social media: Soundcloud