By Gabby Redding | February 28, 2023
Stand out was Northern Lights, released last year on an EP of the same name. During an emotional performance, lights projected onto the back of the Bowery Ballroom stage, replicating the aurora borealis.
We caught up with Oliver Hazard before their Bowery Ballroom show and they answered a few questions for the groovement:
What was your first concert you went to?
When I was 13, my mom drove my friends and me 4 hours north, up to Grand Rapids Michigan, to attend a Red Hot Chili Peppers concert. I was a huge fan, and that was their hometown, so I wanted to tap the source by hitting the hometown show.
You’ve previously done ‘the Living Room Tour,’ and performed at baseball stadiums and movie theaters- how does performing at these more traditional venues on your current tour compare?
It definitely feels like we have less control. The beauty of producing your own show is you get to create the rules, however with that, you take on a lot more responsibility. Out here as a supporting band, we are just along for the ride.
Is this your first New York show? Or first time at Bowery Ballroom? How do you expect the crowd to differ from your hometown crowds in Toledo?
This is not our first NYC show. We played at Rockwood and Mercury Lounge once. However, this will be the largest NYC venue we’ve ever performed in and our first time at the Bowery Ballroom. We are very excited.
How did you first get started?
I was working in California, and during a holiday break back home in Ohio while visiting family, I had a goal to perform a short set at a local dive bar. So I booked 20 minutes at our local music dive, and then I asked two friends to perform the show with me. I had been working on some songs for the show. But as a trio, we were able to finish about 10 songs that week. We performed the show, our friends loved it, and serendipitously I won a recording contest at a local studio. We were able to record all 10 of our songs “live” for free. That became our first album 34 N. River.
What was the first concert you performed?
Besides the 20 minute slot that I booked to get the band started, our first Oliver Hazard show was a self produced concert in a local shop (after hours) in Waterville, Ohio. We brought in our own sound, lights, and stage. Sold tickets and invited all of our friends. About 100 excited friends and family showed up. We grew the project from there.
What is the significance of the band’s name ‘Oliver Hazard’
We grew up on Lake Erie. Oliver Hazard Perry was a historical figure with a lot of significance on Lake Erie. We wanted to choose a name that had a local tie to where we grew up, so we borrowed his first and middle name.
How would you describe your music – either by genre or general vibe
I would say it’s a good mix of indie, folk, and pop.
What is your pre-show routine?
We usually stretch, warm our hands (if it’s winter), sometimes we will even go to a local bar next door and shoot some pool if we have time.
Who/what do you draw inspiration from?
We get a lot of our inspiration from our hometown. The sense of place and human experience drives the music.
Do you have anything you want people to take away from your music?
We just hope that they can relate to our songs in their own way. Make their own interpretations, and take ownership over that interpretation, whatever it may be. Hopefully in a positive way.
What’s your dream venue to perform at?
We’d love to perform at Red Rocks one day.
What’s next for you, and what can you tease about your upcoming album?
We are heading on the road with Houndmouth this spring, then we are preparing for our music festival Oliver Hazard Day in August. The new record will be released in July. One hint: you will have heard most of the songs on the record by the time it is released.
📸: shot by Jori Halpern