Electronic pop rock trio Oak Street Blues hails from Southern California and creates some of the most endearing, engaging, and downright danceable songs in all of music. Known for their energetic and unpredictable live shows, the band perpetually delights fans by delivering rock and roll-fueled performances, while keeping its recorded music closer to the electronic side. Oak Street Blues- Chris Hall (founder/frontman/guitarist), Jenny Arias (bass/ukulele), and Desiree “Crazy Legs” Gonzalez (keys)- released its first full-length album in September of 2012. Entitled Waiting For Something, the album features catchy love songs with clever lyrics and head-bopping beats. I got the chance to talk to the talented Hall about the new record, the things that inspire the band, and partying with Eazy-E.
What was your goal with Waiting for Something? Did you achieve it?
The first Oak Street EP, For Lover’s Only, is very acoustic/folk sounding. On Waiting For Something, I wanted it sound more electronic and a bit overproduced. I think we got about halfway there, which is a good place because I tend to go overboard on things. If we went as far as I wanted, we probably would end up sounding like Nicki Minaj or something. Where we landed I think is a perfect mix of synth, acoustic, and rocking electric guitars. Who knows, maybe on the next CD we’ll straight up auto-tune everything T-Pain style.
Are there any songs on the album that perhaps you were initially uneasy to release?
I kind of feel like Oak Street on the CD and Oak Street live are two different bands. I always write the songs and then we play them live for a while and they sound awesome. When we record them we have so many more options then we have playing live. We can add different vocal effects, more synths, drum machines, and all the great plug-ins in the studio. I never want to limit myself trying to make something sound the way we play it live. There are some songs that sound way different than we play them live, like “Marie” and “Heavy on the Back Beat.” At first I was hesitant to have the CD sound different from a live show, since I was so used to hearing it that way. But I liked it anyway, so what the hell! I kind of feel that “Marie” is the hit song on the album, but I don’t think it’s received the as much attention as our first single, “Stars,” which sounds awesome live.
Where do you draw your inspiration from? Is there a particular place or time of day when songwriting seems to flow easiest?
Songs usually come to me when I’m alone. I came up with “Heavy on the Back Beat" while walking from work to my car. Sometimes I wake up and there it is. I usually try to make danceable tunes. The words are usually about being awesome. Pretty much everyone I know has something awesome about him or her, and I guess I kind of write about that.
What is the strangest thing to spark the creation of a song?
We have a few strange songs, but I really don’t think that anything strange sparked the idea. I’m working on a song right now about a girl who goes back in time to kill her boyfriend before he was born. That kind of sounds evil, but it is really good tongue and cheek stuff. Someone at a party told me that our “Robot Song” was about Terminator 2. Although I really love that movie, I wasn't thinking about that at all when I wrote it. By the way, check out the video for that one. It’s quite entertaining.
What's the most surprising thing about starting your own record label?
It’s surprising how much additional work it is. First off we already have the job of writing songs, recording a CD, and playing live shows. Now tack on all the work behind the scenes. Needless to say, all the ideas I have don’t always get done, but I do my best.
If Oak Street Blues music was the soundtrack to a movie, which film would it be and why?
Wall-E seems like a good fit. It takes place in the future so our cool synth would really blend in quite well. There is some romance, so songs like “Marie” and “Our Hearts” would be perfect soundtracks while Wall-E is trying to win over EVE. The movie is just fun and sweet like Oak Street. Plus, we have a song called the “Robot Song” – perfect fit!
If you could have anyone in the world as the #1 fan of Oak Street Blues, who would it be and why?
Eazy-E of course. I love Eazy-E, the guy has a great voice and he makes it simple. All his songs are about being a gangsta. No clubbing or all this other nonsense. Oak Street is kind of like Eazy, our songs are simple and fun. Plus, it would be cool to drink a 40 or a Tilt with the dude after a show.