Olivia Hall (The Buffys) - Sound In The Signals Interview

I recently had the opportunity to interview Olivia Hall, formerly of The Buffys. We discussed how she initially became interested in punk rock, writing and recording, the band's connection to Side Walk Slam, and more. Check it out below.


First, thanks for the interview and for taking some time to talk to me about The Buffys.

Thanks so much for thinking of us!

I guess the best place to start is to ask how you initially became interested in punk rock and interested in starting a band?

I became interested in punk rock after seeing MxPx's “Teenage Politics” video on a Christian rock music TV channel. That was my introduction to the world of punk. I've always been super into music of all kinds, but it was the 90's and seeing kids with studded belts and dyed hair somehow felt like it was a great way to express teenage emotions and myself I guess! My interest in MxPx actually introduced me to some new friends that knew a lot of other punk bands and went to shows and that opened me up to the world of punk.

As far as wanting to start a band, I'm not sure if it was something I had really thought about as I'd just done acoustic, solo stuff (thank you, Sheryl Crow and so many other female 90's artists) as a teenager mainly in churches or youth camps. It wasn't something I had ever pursued but just happened. 

Can you tell us a bit about how you met and formed The Buffys?
I met Sarah through my then-boyfriend, now husband, Marcuss and she was a super cool lady that was into music like I was. It kind of just happened after our boyfriends' band, Side Walk Slam, formed. I think we were like, hey we can play music, let's have fun with our own band.

I always thought The Buffys was a great band name. How did you come up with it?

Fun fact, Side Walk Slam didn't have a name for their first Living Room Coffeehouse Show (Mt. Vernon, IL) yet, and if I remember correctly, Sarah and her friend Lindsay, were super into the show, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and suggested they call themselves The Buffys. We then had to use that amazing name once we formed our own band and SWS formed their own identity haha!

What was your songwriting process like during that time? Who were some of your biggest influences?

I have to be inspired and I'm not good at just writing things to write things I guess you could say. Sarah and I sat and came up with some songs, or I'd get ideas or catchy phrases would pop into my head that we'd turn into a chorus and we collaborated in that way on the few songs that we recorded or played live. The song, “North Carolina”, was inspired when Marcuss went to North Carolina for a week and I had to be away from him. Such difficult times for a teenage girl!

I went back and listened to The Buffys demo. It has a lot of great energy and the vocal performance is pretty strong. What do you remember about recording that demo?

Oh man, it was so much fun. We did it over a weekend, I think, with Josh Plemon in Dongola, IL. He was the man to record with if you were a band in southern Illinois! I remember feeling so cool for putting the work into it and actually making it happen. I felt like a total rockstar, I'm sure! Deanna Halo of the Halo Friendlies flew in to record with us on that so we were a legitimate girl band for that EP.

One thing I think a lot of people in the area are familiar with about your band is the logo shirt you had. It was featured pretty prominently in Side Walk Slam and Run Kid Run press photos and music videos. Who came up with that logo and designed it?

Sarah drew that up! She always had great ideas for the designs! That was a nod to Buffy the Vampire Slayer as well. I have to credit so much to Sarah. She was always doing the networking and coming up with designs and ideas!

The secret song on Side Walk Slam’s ‘Past Remains’ album was about you. What did you think about that song?

I remember thinking that it was about time Marcuss had written a song with my name in it haha!

If I remember correctly, Matt Jackson played drums live with the band and I think on recordings, as well. Was he the only drummer you had? What was that experience like for the band?

Matt was awesome to play for us! We had Deanna Halo, like I mentioned, record with us and played a show with us that same weekend. We tried out a couple of other drummers, one being Thomas Poole that played a couple of shows with us, and then another guy named Noah, that did the same. Both great drummers, but it was just so much more convenient to have Matt drum because he and Sarah were dating and we played so many shows with SWS and we just kept making Matt play. Haha!

What do you remember about seeing shows in the area at that time? Do you have any favorite performances from others and in The Buffys?

There was such a great group of people that supported all of the bands. It seemed like there was a lot going on in the music scene at the time. People were always excited for a show and all we needed was a garage, a basement, or a parking lot and we'd all be there. Parents, kids, and friends would show up to support all the bands. I just remember it always being an awesome time, always great energy, and a lot of familiar faces.

As far as favorite performances for The Buffys, Cornerstone was a great one, and probably the show we did with Deanna Halo because we were a "real" girl band that night!

Do you remember why The Buffys broke up? Did you pursue anything else musically afterward?  

I think I really wanted to just focus on my marriage since Marcuss and I were newlyweds. I think graduating high school and getting married in the same year made everything change.  Looking back,  I know I could have stayed in the band and focused on my marriage as well so kind of a regret there!

I didn't pursue anything in music per se, but Marcuss and I joined Josh Murphy (The Kilroys) in his band, Black Fortys, for awhile. I played bass at times and vibraphone. We also played in a band called, Gypsy Rose, that Marcuss headed up and wrote all the music that was spaghetti western inspired and so, much fun to play in. I kind of, sort of, played fiddle some and guitar.

Thanks for taking the time to answer the questions. Do you have anything else that you would like to add?

Thanks again for asking me to do this. It was a lot of fun to reminisce about these times and such amazing people that supported us and the friends I made. 

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1 comment:

  1. Olivia, you were a trailblazer for Southern IL punk-scene girls! I still have one of The Buffys pin buttons. One of my favorite memories was when you let me sing harmonies on your cover of That Dog's song Minneapolis.