By SPECIWOMEN Illustration PHILO COHEN
"I find that writing songs on the drums is almost easier than writing it through lyrics or on a guitar"
Who are you?
Who am I? Sometimes i don't even know. I change all the time, depending on what i'm doing. I will always naturally have this pull towards music and I think whoever I am will be solely based on whatever I am listening to. Right now, Olivia Ferrer is an aspiring actress who is quickly inspired by every movie she sees but behind that is background music playing in my head which is currently Radiohead. Is that weird??
What drew you into music?
Music, rhythm, melodies, always came naturally for me. I remember too distinctly sitting in the back of my Dads Chevelle when I used to live in Staten Island (gross) and we would listen to my moms Lenny Kravitz mix or her Incubus mix. My dad would hum me "yellow submarine" to get to sleep, he would play in my preschool cover band with the other dads, all of these Beatles songs. Beatles got me first. When I was 7 and we moved to Maplewood NJ I signed up for the 1st grade talent show (I don't know why i remember all of this) and I sang Hey Jude, and every year after that I always sang and everyone looked forward to it! My dad as a drummer was thrilled to teach me how to play I Love Rock n Roll on the drums for the 2nd grade talent show and then my parents realized that I was teaching myself how to play music on my own.
Drumming is a very physical experience, what do you hope to convey when you play drums for yourself, as opposed to when you play for an audience?
It's funny because I normally always play for myself. I haven't played drums live in a long time. But when I play for myself vs when I have played live, I always only try to write songs. I find that writing songs on the drums is almost easier than writing it through lyrics or on a guitar - which sounds strange but is true to me. I wanna make something I've never heard from myself before, and that challenge is what has me playing for hours on end until I hear just what I want.
In our society, we rarely come across female drummers, how do you intend to change the spot of women in music?
I think something you see a lot with women in music is that when a woman is put behind a drum set or a bass or a guitar or an instrument you TYPICALLY see a cis man playing, their talent isn't recognized truly, and they are just "hot" or "cool" or automatically "the best woman drummer" they've ever seen because it's the only one they've ever seen. Of course it catches your eye when you see a chick drummer, but I want people to be able to acknowledge my talent as a woman AND a musician.
Who have been your biggest inspirations as a musician?
Biggest inspirations as a musician have to be Jeff Buckley my soul my love my everything, Stevie Nicks, John Mayer, James Blake, Alicia Keys, Brandi Carlile, Debbie Harry, Janelle Monae, The Cure, The Clash, The Beatles, Jackson 5 (everyone after Jeff Buckley is not in order of most to least favorite LOL)
How have your experiences shaped your sound?
I will fall in and out of playing music on a daily basis sometimes. My mind will be preoccupied with school shit, fashion shit- but lo and behold, i come back to music. But the experiences that shape me the most are when i've been in withdrawal from my music and then I go to a concert- whether it be Stevie Nicks or Travis Scott even, it inspires me to perform and to want to be a performer. I'll go home and write vigorously for hours. Some times I perform with my father, when he isn't on tour, and we do 80's songs because I will like only perform 80's songs with a band if I am singing, and it just gives me that rush and I'm back. Olivia's back! Even answering these questions makes me wanna write.
If you could collab with three people in the near future, who would they be and why?
UGH all the people I wanna collaborate with are dead but i'll just say, for now, after seeing how fucking adorable Stevie Nicks is during her performances, 100% Stevie is one of them. If you haven't seen her 2017 tour you better hurry up and go because she is the cutest little rockstar grandma I've ever seen and in between each song that she does, she tells you the story behind them. Most of the songs she does are songs she's written and thrown into her trunk of forgotten songs and she pulls them out and performs them for you and it's a really intimate and beautiful experience. Is it weird if the next person I say is Travis Scott? I am super in love with him and similarly to how Chance the Rapper has a drummer on stage with him sometimes, I think it would be my dream to be his drummer. And sing on one of his songs. I don't know much about producing but all I know is that I wanna do that. And the 3rd shall be Sampha. I just got into him and there's no getting out. He is everything a musician needs to be. He carries grace and meaning but he's so versatile with his features and his own work! He kills me.
How much does your music connect with your identity?
Music IS my identity. I identify always as a musician. It has been the the thing i've always been the best at. I never played sports as a kid, I didn't like school I don't want to go to college and that kind of stuff makes you stick out in high school, in the best and worst ways. Music is the only thing that kept me okay when I wasn't okay. There is a song for every way you could ever feel. Searching for music is always a journey and it never fails you.
Name 5 songs that always keep you going.
The Last Goodbye - Jeff Buckley
(No One Knows Me) Like the Piano - Sampha
Morning Theft - Jeff Buckley
True Love Waits - Radiohead
Song to the Siren - Cover by This Mortal Coil, originally by Tim Buckley