Along with the guys from Gemini Syndrome, Pushing Veronica and A Killer’s Confession, I couldn’t be more excited for this show tonight. We caught up with frontman Joey Arena from Ovtlier and we discussed the new release and how even though it was written a year ago it fits perfectly with what is going on now in the world, the future of the music industry and touring during COVID. Joey gave us how things are, and how things will become with Ovtlier.
How do you feel that Ovtlier is taking part in the US tour along with Gemini Syndrome and AKC?
Joey: I feel great. I feel very fortunate because all the tours are trying to get out all at once. I am glad to get back out on the road. And for Gemini to select us is incredibly awesome. They’ve been awesome, super friendly and down to earth.
How did this tour happen?
J: We all have the same allegiance. They approve it because they are the headliner. We are all part of the same family, so it all works out.
You have a new single out, “Bulletproof”, which I had a chance to listen to recently. Is that just the start of what’s coming up? Are you releasing a full length soon?
J: Yeah, that’s just the start of what’s coming up. We are currently shopping for a label. We got some heavy stuff next. We wanted to drop “Bulletproof” because I felt that it was a perfect time to do it. I recorded it pre-covid lyrically; it cannot be more close to the moment. I’m not left, I’m not right, I’m not up, I’m not down. I don’t care what you are, or who you are, or what you are asking. I don’t care about any of that shit. This is my song towards the corruption and bullshit that goes on in the government and all the hypocrisies. I just think we Americans are blindsided and just narrow-minded with everything and I just really think we need to get pissed now.
I want to find a label that believes in us and gives us a response and I would still like to hold on to the rights to my music. And that’s why I’ve been extra picky on that. People ask why it takes us so long to drop our singles, and the truth is I have a Dropbox full of demos waiting to be released. But I want to do it right.
Will you continue working with Zoid Entertainment?
J: Yeah so this is our second release with them. I didn’t know if we were going to do another one with them. The Zoid guys are great. Peter and Eric are awesome guys. They’ve been in the industry for a long time, they managed Soil, and a lot of bands you’d know. It’s not their first go around. They just decided to take their management to a label now. They kinda switched gears a little bit. I like the guys, and they were willing to do a single and, you know they were investing into us and then they believe in what we’re about and you know we just clicked. They love “Bulletproof”. I’ve wanted to release this one for a long time so I just kind of gave it to them to do. I keep the rights on it and you know they get reimbursed for it, and it’s very black and white. I own two businesses and that’s the way I like to do business. It’s a win win situation for everyone.
So, what has changed from the Youngbloods days to Ovtlier both musically and lyrically?
J: Oh, everything (laughs). Youngbloods was a huge learning lesson for me. I lost myself as a musician, and I can wholeheartedly say I started playing for other people and not myself. I signed with some subsidiaries and affiliated with some Majors that I am not able to really talk about anymore. But I got shelved, you know how I got this is a typical shelf story. You’re a&R gets fired and you get lost in the mix of a million other artists. After that, I just signed a f@cking deal and there’s the 360 deals, like what do I f***** do?!? But it had some cool moments, like being on Billboard and killing it on the Warped Tour. Selling more records on the Warped Tour, the staff from the Tour had to come up to the label and ask for signatures from everyone that purchased the record. Just because they didn’t believe the numbers. That was sweet! We sat on Billboard for 3 months besides the Warped Tour thing.
Then I started writing in 2014, 2015, which would technically be our EP. But another record and give it to this f@cking label. What would be the point of that? So I finished my contract. I felt with a new name, and getting back to my roots this is why I started playing music and I started working for myself. Ovtlier makes me happy. And that’s who I am.
Speaking of the name, how did Ovtlier come about?
J: So, wow, oh my God, so for the first time in my life, that there was never a name that encompassed who I am. My attitude about everything. I was going to name the record “Ovtlier” like I said. I even read the definition, although I knew vaguely what it meant. I feel like an outcast, a misfit. I’m not a registered voter. I’m not this. I’m not that. I don’t like these things, that, we as humans like these tribal things, that we have to be a part of. These cliques, and these groups that we all feel like we need to be a part of. I just feel like I can’t be a part of all of that shit!
Do you think that the coronavirus madness has affected both the bands and the music industry in the same way or do you think that the bands have been hit hard?
J: Well, a ton of these labels have more than enough money that they take from the bands, which they can sit for a while. Friends that are in bigger bands, and that’s all that they did. They didn’t have anything to go home to. I have a remodeling business, so I just kept doing what I do. They didn’t have the luxury of falling back on something, or on a job real quick or something. They were waiting and waiting and waiting on something, and just cancel after cancel of shows. It created a ton of depression. And solely relying on touring as their main income, again as far as the labels I’ve quite frankly don’t give a shit what they think.
Do you fancy the live streaming shows, versus live venue shows?
J: This is a great question. I mean honestly, before things started to pick up a bit, I’m not going to lie, people would ask us this, and I said, to be honest I want to just wait and see how things go. Nothing against anyone that does those, but, I won’t do those. I need to get in the crowd’s face. I like to be a part of that emotional connection. Nothing can replace it. It’s on a deeper level. I think if we become ok with the streaming thing, we will lose that emotion.
What would you like to achieve with Ovtlier in the next years?
J: To be the biggest f@cking band ever… (laughs). Honestly, I just want to keep us going, find the right deal, rest at night and just feel like I’m in good hands. I want to give our fans the best record I can give them, and I will keep creating some longevity. I want to build relationships with people.