I am back with another interview! This time it is with the Hawaii-based rock trio Executive Order with their newest single “Wicked”. What influences Executive Order’s music? And, how is “Wicked” and the US TV show Supernatural related? Read on the find out!
Be sure to check out “Wicked” as well as “All Bleed Red” down below and let me know what you think of the songs in the comment!
First of all, please introduce yourself.
JOSEPH: Joseph Olson, the lead singer-songwriter was born in Hawthorne, CA, and moved to Honolulu in 2009.
RICH: Guitarist and backing vocalist, Rich Elg, was born in Englewood New Jersey, and has called Oahu, Hawaii home since he was a child.
JIM: Jim Christian is a home-grown, native of Honolulu, Hawaii, and is the bass player and a backing vocalist.
What artists or genre influences you?
JOSEPH: I have always been mesmerized by the great vocals and harmonies of the Motown era. At the age of 13, I was inspired to become a musician after seeing the movie The Rose, with Bette Midler. From that moment on I was hooked on the dream of becoming a “Rockstar!”
Other earlier influences are Johnny Cash, Aretha Franklin, Van Halen, Queen, and Prince. More contemporary inspiration comes from artists such as Alanis Morissette, John Mayor, One-Republic, Twenty-One Pilots, and The Script.
RICH: I’m influenced by Classic Rock, Blues, Funk, Jazz, and R&B. Some of my favorite artists are Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Pink Floyd, B.B. King, Van Halen, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Earth, Wind and Fire, The Beatles, etc. I could go on and on.
JIM: Older and newer rock. Rhythm and blues, funk, soul, and country. Early on Jim was under the rich influences of many bands of the ’60s like Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, James Taylor, and Leland Sklar.
You are a brand-new band that just released their first single last month. How did the band come together?
JOSEPH: Jim and Joseph met in the early ’10s at a blues jam session and from there put together a band with the late guitarist Harold Slate, of Honolulu. Later, while creating a new band, Joseph met Rich through a Craigslist ad. He was practicing in a funk band but was ready to do some live rock concerts.
Eventually, Jim joined the new band, Naughty Smile, and together they played the island circuit for a few years. Their setlist consisted of some original songs mixed with covers.
The bandmates needed to take to focus on their various careers and educational pursuits and disbanded until 2018. That is when Joseph called up Rich and Jim and said, “Let’s make a one-hit-wonder.”They both said, “hell yes,” and evolved into Executive Order.
RICH: I met Joseph through a craigslist ad about 7-8 years ago. He was looking for a guitar player for his band, “Naughty Smile”. We gigged around town for a few years.
Jim eventually joined that band as well after we went through a few bass players. I left the band eventually but stayed in touch with Joseph. About two years ago he asked if I would be interested in writing some tunes and I said yes.
We started practicing a couple of times a month and eventually, we had enough songs to make an album.
JIM: We had known each other for awhile having played together in Naughty Smile. We eventually decided to get together and jam to possibly find our one-hit-wonder.
Let’s talk about your latest release “Wicked”. What is the song about?
JOSEPH: The song brings to mind how people can blame their behavior on situations, other people, or even some shadowy “entity.” This song leans more toward wicked-fun or wicked-excess as in a night on the town leading to a raging hangover or the wicked-goodness of eating a decadent dessert.
We wanted to release “Wicked” during this time as it fits so well into the season of Halloween and the full moon with its haunting vibe.
But, we hope it becomes something of a “wicked-cool” anthem or a “wicked-tune” that resonates with listeners year around.
RICH: The song is about a person who is living a wicked lifestyle. Going out and drinking and partying every night, but feeling the effects of it the next day and wondering who is to blame.
I like the tagline for the song: “You choose your hangover.” How does this tagline relate to the song?
JOSEPH: At the culmination of the song it states,”Who the hell is this entity, making such a fool of me? In the bright light of day, the discovery is made.” The likely answer is “It’s me! I chose the hangover that left me dehydrated and forgetful the next day, not some shadow figure I may have invented in an attempt to absolve myself of shame/embarrassment/wickedness.”
Often people may behave in wicked ways and blame that “shadow” figure or someone else for their actions. As my partner summarizes, “You choose your hangover,” is like saying, “You pay the cost to be the boss of your own life, however you choose to live it.”
We hope listeners find a variety of ways to groove with this song and have fun. We hope they sing to it, dance to it, and discuss it. That’s what we think is fun about this. song. Listeners may see themselves or apply the word “wicked” in a variety of ways that vibe with them in different contexts and on different levels. No matter how wicked is defined, own it if you like it.
There is an interesting story with this song and the CW show Supernatural. What is it about?
JOSEPH: The concept of Wicked and the initial riff was written when Joseph (singer, songwriter) was watching an episode of Supernatural, that focused on a being escaping from purgatory. This entity would take over human bodies and indulge in wicked behaviors that the host would be aware of but could not control.
As a key aspect of the show, Sam, Dean, and other “hunters,” would track and dispatch supernatural beings. Many of the supernatural beings were born “that way” with little control over their destiny or “what”; they were.
During the pursuit of the supernaturals, over the course of the show, the team would also indulge in what could be considered “wicked” behavior and overindulgent activities of their own with fast cars, great music, fistfights, plenty of drinking with hangovers, casual sex, etc. So what is really wicked?
How was producing/writing this song, especially in the pandemic? Did anything change between producing/writing the first single and this one?
JOSEPH: The team actually all met up in Hawaii in September 2019 to record the album at Blue Planet studios. We were fortunate to record all the main parts before Covid-19 hit Hawaii. A fun piece of trivia is we started recording on Friday, September 13th on a full moon.
The interesting part was our producer, Michael Cutting went back home to Brazil to prep all the parts to send to our mix/mastering, teammate, David Zaffiro, in Nashville, TN. While the producer was prepping, he had all of us create mini studios in our homes to record additional solo’s, riffs, and background vocals even before the pandemic. Recording at home felt very strange for us all but it paid great dividends for the quality of the Album.
Promoting music in the time of COVID-19 has been interesting. We were so excited to perform live and introduce our new sound on our old stomping grounds of Oahu. Now, promoting solely on social media, we have had some initial challenges but have realized the wider reach our music can have. Promoting on social media we have made many more connections and new fans in countries all over the world! That is so exciting and eye-opening.
Our situational awareness in regard to music promotion has grown exponentially. While we would have loved to have some amazing release parties at some fun local venues, it is humbling to realize how much more reach music can have when we leave our own backyards. As musicians, sharing our music with music lovers is one of the most important things we can do. I am so grateful for the lessons we are learning about sharing music during this time.
RICH: The song was written and recorded before the pandemic. We sure wish we could be out there performing it for our fans in person!
What do you want listeners to listen for in “Wicked”?
JOSEPH: The spirit of the song we hope people experience is to let go, dance, sing, groove, and for a little while, forget all the responsibilities that plague us and weigh on our souls. Then in the morning don’t blame anyone for your actions.
RICH: Listen to the interesting vocal style that Joseph has in the song. It almost flows like a rap in some parts. Listen to the guitar, bass, and drums and the mood that it sets for the song. The bridge of the song takes a nice turn off into another place and brings it back into a heavy chorus to finish the song!
JIM: Listen for what excites them! So many good parts!
What are your future plans?
JOSEPH: We will continue to write new material. We want to keep up our skills and creativity and provide our fans with fresh musical content. We hope to put out some fun, simple band videos of our songs and cover songs for our fans to get to know us during this time of social distancing. In the future, we want to play live in the areas of the world where they love our music. We want to go where our fans live.
RICH: Keep writing music and figure out how to perform our music for our fans!
JIM: Sticking with Executive Order and working at getting our music out into the world!
Finally, any message for the readers of ai love music?
JOSEPH: Thank you for taking the time to learn about Executive Order and our music! Please continue to allow music to be a safe space to share what moves you. We hope you like what you hear in our music and that you join us on a fun journey of discovery.
RICH: This is a difficult time we are all going through, but we will get through this together. Stay positive and focus on the people and things that you love in this world. Music can be a great way to lift your spirits in a time like this. Thank you all for taking the time to check out our band!
JIM: Excited to hear what they think of Wicked! We hope they can give a listen to our first release, “All Bleed Red”.
About the Artist: Executive Order
Executive Order is an eclectic, genre-defying, new band with a seriously fun and often provocative attitude. This three-member band features danceable and sing-along original tunes reminiscent of classic rock, funk, and blues from the ’60s to the ’80s, and alternative rock of the ’90s to now. This diverse sounds comes from all three band mates who were, to varying degrees, influenced by rock sounds of the ’60s, blues, pop, Motown, and the Seattle scene.
Executive Order’s storytelling lyrics along with their creative hooks and bridges stimulate the imagination and supply tantalizing sounds. Individually, members of Executive Order are amazing artists in their own right. Together they make magic.
Make sure to check out Executive Order at the following sites: