It can be tough for a dedicated musician find to like-minded creatives who are just as dedicated—and who want to play the same type of music.
Olivias got lucky in this sense.
Olivias are a four-piece Southwest emo/indie-rock band based in Reno. Their sound combines the raw emotion and hard-hitting instrumentation of emocore with the jangly lead guitar lines of indie rock. The band released two-track debut Olivias Halloween Demos in 2021, and are currently working on a debut LP. You can catch them live at 8:30 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 17, at the Holland Project, opening for Dogbreth.
During a recent phone call with all four members—Adrian Brown, Ramses Nava, Kyle Hutchings and Brady Leighton—the Olivias discussed their beginnings.
“Me and Adrian, we started the band out originally with a different bassist,” Hutchings said. “We just had it as a three-man group for a while, and then eventually, we got Brady on for drums. Our old bassist had to dip because of personal reasons, so we got Ramses in. It’s all good friends, and we’ve just been in different bands together for a couple of years. This one feels like the culmination of all that.”
Leighton said the four musicians quickly realized they all had a similar mindset.
“When we reached out to each other, we were lucky enough to find other people who had that same mindset of wanting to create music, and for us to be able to collaborate was awesome,” Leighton said. “We just went from there, and we all figured out that we wanted the same thing, and it’s got us to where we are now.”
Each of the Olivias members “draw from a lot” of their personal preferences—meaning the band will continue to tinker with their current emo/indie rooted sound.
“Me and Kyle are in another band that makes punk stuff,” Brown said. “Me, personally, what I listen to mainly is rap and hip hop, and I also like to make that. The four of us in particular are interested in Midwest emo and indie-type stuff, and we’re just trying to experiment with it. We don’t necessarily want to be in one genre in particular.”
Even though emo and indie don’t always mix well, the band found an interesting connection between the two sounds they wanted to explore.
“I feel like there’s something about the combination of the rawness of an emo or DIY aesthetic, with the direct messaging of an indie band, where you can just say exactly what you mean,” Hutchings said. “It’s also a lot of what we all grew up on. My dad was in a lot of ska bands growing up, so I was exposed to a lot of that side of the underground, and I feel like there’s a lot of parallels between the ska scene and the underground emo scene—which is one of the nerdier sentences I think I’ve ever said.”
The Olivias members attributed some of their genre-melding to Reno’s mix of sounds.
“I think Reno is really interesting, because it’s a small enough town that, everybody, no matter the genre, knows and plays with a lot of other bands,” said Hutchings. “You’ll have a straightedge hardcore band on a bill with Bug Bath (alternative emo). It’s a combination that you wouldn’t really expect from a larger city, but it’s nice people here are kind of forced to have a diverse path.”
The band’s upcoming show at the Holland Project should be special, as the venue is one of the group’s favorites.
“Me and Adrian have been going to shows at Holland since pre-COVID, and our dream when we started any project was to be like, ‘OK, when’s our Holland show gonna be?’” Hutchings said. “Holland is like our home; it’s our spot, and everyone there is just so nice. Everybody just kind of welcomes you with open arms there. Playing there is super dope; they have everybody, all genres. It’s great.”
Olivias have been hard at work on a full-length album, a project that will feature an expansion upon the emo/indie basis of their first two songs.
“We’ve been trying to stick to a lot of aspects of the sound that was on the first two songs, but also, it’s a nice opportunity, when you have a full project, to explore down a lot of different avenues,” Hutchings said. “We have a couple of songs that are more influenced by the hardcore grind scene here in town, or a couple songs that are more atmospheric or even psychedelic. It’s gonna be, I hope, a broader look at our capabilities.”
Added Leighton: “I’d say we’re definitely not going experimental with the album, but we think it was a lot better of an opportunity for us to all give our own creative input into the whole piece of the album. I think every song is unique in its own way, and each of our styles shine through in a different part of the album.”
Olivias, Dog Dog and Hey Cowboy! will open for Dogbreth at 8:30 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 17, at the Holland Project, 140 Vesta St., in Reno. Tickets are $10 in advance, or $12 the day of the show. For more information, call 775-448-6500, or visit hollandreno.org. For more information on Olivias, visit www.instagram.com/olivias.band.