Meet alt-rock trio Ok Hotel, who emerge with new single, Life is Crazy (Like That)
After the success of a debut single earlier this year, the Wollongong three-piece make it two from two with their second track, out today.
If 2020 ushers one east-coast punk group into one to watch status, we hope that it's Ok Hotel. We don't have any doubts that it won't be either; the Wollongong-based three-piece diving head-first into the city's growing and well-loved live music space through support slots for Pist Idiots, Ruby Fields and TOTTY - some of which taking the group all across the east side of the country - while in recording, they brought the energy that's made their show so cult-adored with their debut single Swim, which arrived earlier this year.
In many ways, Swim felt like the beginning for a band on the cusp of something special. It plucked influences from punk, alt-rock, indie-rock right through to 90s shoegaze and tied them all up with a distinct, Ok Hotel-branded bow; the group introducing themselves with a clear-cut vision that even despite a turbulent few months - especially for a group like Ok Hotel which thrives in the live space - sees them continue to look forward, and edge into new directions with everything they do.
Now, with their second single in Life Is Crazy (Like That), it's clear that the group aren't just some one-trick-pony. Arriving today alongside an official video clip part-filmed by the band and edited by Liam Jordan, Life is Crazy (Like That) further establishes Ok Hotel's sound while showing the spaces it can move between, deepening that influence in 90s alt-rock-pop bands such as The Smashing Pumpkins and Weezer as they whisk together a sense of nostalgia with their own, 2020-sounding alt-punk backbone, something that is a little more subtle on this new track.
Lyrically, the single is really built around its title - "life is crazy like that" - and how the unpredictability of your life is so out of your hands, that sometimes you've really just got to throw up your hands and there's nothing you can do, something that we've found particularly true as the world grapples with a pandemic out of our control, that no-one really saw coming. "Everything I wanted to say came out in the ‘life is crazy like that’ chorus line," the group say. "It was one of those rare occasions where the chorus wrote itself, with not much more than a single phrase. It was the very first thing I said on a voice memo and it stuck.
"Growing up we get worn down by things we love, and not knowing where to start mapping boundaries can be tough. The songs about unhealthy friendships and questioning what it is that keeps people together in the first place."
It's a brilliant track and one that further suggests that Ok Hotel are a menacing force worth keeping an eye on in the year ahead, so take a dive into the track and its official video below, and before the group blow up in a big way, introduce yourself to them underneath, and get in nice and early.
Tell us about yourself?
We’re 3 best mates from Wollongong who met playing music in high school. Jason works at a pizza store. Liam also worked at the same pizza store. Josh just prefers dominoes because it’s cheaper. Differences aside, we get along great.
What’s the ‘vibe’ music-wise?
Drawing from lots of opposites is so much fun. We’re all just very obsessed with listening to music, so we pick up a lot from everywhere. In OK Hotel we feed off enjoying really well-written pop music and some obscure guitar stuff from the 90s, a lot of which carries over into the way it sounds. We like making heavier sounding wall of fuzz-pop songs. Making the music to our own taste is a big part of the feel and lyrics.
What are your production and writing processes usually like?
Writing either comes extremely from somewhere or extremely from nowhere. Normally, I’ll start with a phrase or idea that goes through my head and wait for inspiration. But, squeezing as much as you can out of an idea when its fresh is key. There’s always something special for me hearing an idea for the first time and knowing what should follow. We’re all very into the idea of making music that’s sonically appealing through mixing healthy amounts of lo and hi fi. We spend time making sure that’s gotten across in the production stage.
Can you tell us about your new single, Life is Crazy?
Life is Crazy (Like That) is a cool achievement we’re thankful to be sharing at the moment. We made a song that got across more by saying less. The inspiration behind it points at the confusing energy this year dropped on everyone and figuring out where to draw boundaries on the things we love. Most of it was written in April when josh was in lockdown for his 21st birthday and couldn’t see any friends. Getting Kell from TOTTY to do some backing vocals was an addition that helped push across how we heard it. Kell has such an incredible voice and we’re always so in awe of how cool TOTTY are.
Working with Fletcher Matthews to record and bring this song to life was so fun. The end result was a lot cooler than we could have imagined. It’s definitely the most happy and fun song we’ve written so far. We made the music video ourselves (like the last one for Swim), and had lots of fun wearing influences on our sleeve and not taking anything too seriously.
What does 2020 have in store for you?
Lots of writing and practising! We’re planning to have our first EP out by the end of the year which will give us an excuse to play some COVID safe shows. We’ve got a new addition to our live band we can’t wait to share with everyone!
What do you want people to take away from the project?
We want our music to have value and give people something back! whether it’s a memory, mood, feeling etc. Music has helped us so much and anyone that enjoys anything we make is more than enough.
Where can we find more of your music?
Hopefully in a car add so one day josh can buy a dominoes franchise that doubles as a live music venue. For now though, just on Spotify, Apple Music, Bandcamp, triple j Unearthed or at Yours and Owls 2021!