Olivia Reid Interview for Nightmare Machine

Olivia Reid Interview for Nightmare Machine

Olivia Reid Interview


How would you describe your music?

I like to think I live at a crossroads of a lot of different styles. Where organic meets the electronic, where very personal introspection intertwines with something universally relatable, and classic pop/folk songs are intertwined with elements of other genres like jazz, electronic and R&B.


What was the inspiration behind your latest single "Nightmare Machine"?

I wrote the first iteration of "Nightmare Machine" after the Las Vegas shooting in 2017. Thinking about what those survivors went through, the fear of shootings invaded my nightmares. And being someone with very lucid dreams, I struggled to escape that world or ever feel rested. Over the years, the song's meaning evolved, as we faced more shootings, a global pandemic, police brutality, political divide, and climate change. So, I think the song has now become a general plea for peace and rest.


This song was written, produced, and performed by women. Was this something intentional you set out to do? How was it working with an all-female team?

Intentionality is crucial, especially considering the underrepresentation of women in production roles. But for "Nightmare Machine," I specifically chose So Wylie for co-production mainly because of her unique ability to reimagine organic sounds. We crossed paths at a time when she was sampling bird songs and creating incredible modern electronic soundscapes with raw organic material. Also, her knack for cinematic production made her the perfect collaborator to co-produce and reimagine some of the organic sounds I had recorded.


What are your musical influences?

I grew up listening to singer-songwriters on the radio who had crossed into mainstream culture. On the coffeehouse radios when I was a kid, artists like Norah Jones, Corinne Bailey Rae, John Mayer, Colbie Caillat, Tracy Chapman and Jack Johnson were everywhere. Of course, I was also inspired by people they had come up listening to, greats like Bob Marley, Bob Dylan, Stevie Nicks, Simon & Garfunkel, Marvin Gaye, Erykah Badu, even Billie Holiday. I was drawn to a certain softness and lyricism. As I got older, I discovered artists like Bon Iver, Hozier, Florence and the Machine – and the production styles really spoke to me. We're all an amalgamation of our influences, right? I am without a doubt!


Do you prefer performing live or recording?

Recording is definitely not my favorite, nor is listening to recordings of my live performances. I tend to be hard on myself and am working on being kinder to myself. Often, recordings feel like I have a microscope on my flaws, whereas I feel live performances allow people to connect with the imperfect nature of being a real human performance. But there's nothing quite like producing a song and feeling like you've discovered THE sound. The feeling is unmatched when the idea that was in your head comes to life sonically.


What motivates you most when writing music?

I lean on the idea that my thoughts and feelings probably aren't unique to me and didn't originate solely from me – that if I'm feeling something it's likely many people are too, and I might just have a specific way of processing that through words and music. Then releasing the songs, I find comfort in the notion that someone else might find meaning in my words, even if it's just one person.

Which music/artists are you currently listening to?

Lately, I've been really inspired by artists like Augustine, The Maria's, Dijon, Men I Trust and Chiiild. Also love listening to the songs from some of my friends or people I've crossed paths with, like So Wylie, Tim Atlas, and NoMBe. I think they are great humans and creators. I've also been drawn to the more cinematic side of electronic music, like Fred again.. and RÜFÜS DU SOL.


What or who was your inspiration to go into the music industry?

I don't think I ever fully intended to enter the "industry," but I just loved music and admired music artists so much that I knew I wanted to do it to the fullest extent possible. I didn't understand the intensity of the "industry" side or the business side until I got into it. But, musicians like the ones I mentioned earlier have inspired me a lot, just seeing them do their thing.


If you could collaborate with another artist, who would it be?

Without a doubt, Florence Welch of Florence & The Machine. My heart would simply burst with joy.


What is the biggest challenge you have faced in the music industry?

One significant challenge was realizing how male-dominated the music industry is. Growing up, many of the writers or artists I looked up to were women, so I didn't even realize it was an issue or see it as a barrier to entry. It was a cultural shock once I entered the industry, especially as a woman trying to produce or engineer. There's not as much room to make mistakes or ask questions as a female producer or engineer. Overcoming the pressure of being "likeable" among men in the business was a challenge I'm still overcoming and growing from. However, I'm glad to be surrounded by more and more supportive collaborators of all genders and am focusing on fostering supportive relationships with female and non-binary producers who understand those challenges.


What's next for you? Tell us about your upcoming EP?

In the songs I try to unpack that duality of emotions or experiences that are multi-layered. The times where exhaustion co-exists with adrenaline ("Runner's High"), pain coexists with healing ("Wounds (Healing)"), grief coexists with joy ("Central Park West"), dreams coexist with unrest ("Nightmare Machine") and madness coexists with clarity ("Madness Act I, II, + III"). 


The EP is titled TO BE NAMED BY THE PEOPLE and is coming out September 15th! Ironically, I always wanted the EP to be named by a crowd vote, so I had that title as a placeholder, but when I actually ran the vote, hundreds of people on Reddit & Instagram voted for the title to stay TO BE NAMED BY THE PEOPLE. I think it speaks to the fact that the emotions I explore in the EP will mean something different to everyone. There's no right answer; it's your EP now – to be named by you.


Can you share your socials?


Yes! Here are my social media links:

●      Personal Website- https://www.oliviareid.com

●      Instagram- https://www.instagram.com/oliviareidmusic

●      Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/oliviareidmusic

●      Twitter- https://twitter.com/oliviareidmusic

●      YouTube- https://www.youtube.com/@oliviareidmusic

●      TikTok- https://www.tiktok.com/@oliviareidmusic

●      Spotify- https://open.spotify.com/artist/570A6QXjRBWJHPM3LrDjg1?si=EKO8jN3RREO7yQpTRKMOHw

●      Apple Music- https://music.apple.com/us/artist/olivia-reid/1448990144


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