Dylan Ollivierre of The Money War may be just 26 years old, but he has been making music for the majority of his life. Whilst most of us were working out what we wanted to do with our lives, Dylan was playing, writing and making music. Ollivierre reveals that he’s been playing the guitar since he was ten or 11, followed by writing his own songs at age 12 and singing them too when he couldn’t find anyone else to do it for him.
A rite of passage during the teen years, Ollivierre was listening to punk music, but now he plays anything but. He elaborates: “I like lots of different types of music. I think the common thread is I like melodic music; stuff that has a great melody line, which goes through so many different genres. I still listen to lots of punk, lots of pop music, lots of soul music and jazz as well. I’m also into electronica. I just like a good song, in whatever form that comes.” We discuss the wide-open musical landscape of the modern age and how easy it is to access so many different genres, agreeing that it’s truly a positive aspect of our modern connected life.
Despite his previous outfit, Rainy Day Women, landing a plum Laneway spot through triple j’s Unearthed competition in 2013 (along with Ali Barter, Jeremy Neale and Mammals that year), the band didn’t survive the rigours of transitioning out of school. “We all had that developmental stage that everyone goes through when they finish school into their early 20s. We were all into different things by the time the band ended and we weren’t exactly on the same page anymore,” he admits. “Everyone has gone their own way now.” Carmen Pepper was a late introduction to Rainy Day Women. Her vocals (also heard in Perth band The Morning Birds) featured on a couple of tracks late in the piece, but as the band moved on, The Money War began to gestate.
It was during a US road trip in late 2015 that the band began to take shape. Thanks to the wide-open road and their iPhones, Ollivierre and Pepper started to create something special. “The trip wasn’t at all meant to be a musical trip but it kind of just turned into one,” Ollivierre explains. As they motored down Highway One in California recording demos on their phone, fate took the lead. “It was so inspiring. We just had this really weird, bizarre trip of random things happening that lead us back to ultimately being back in the studio.” They happened to meet up with a couple of LA producers, Thom Monahan (Fruit Bats, Little Joy) and Arne Frager (Prince, Paul McCartney). The demos were shared, positive feedback was received and The Money War was born.
Picture the wide open road along the coast of California, sun streaming through the windscreen, an acoustic guitar and an angelic voice. They’re the ingredients that Ollivierre and Pepper have combined into their debut self-titled EP Back in Australia, the won another Unearthed competition, this time for WA’s Southbound Festival. They released new single Right Kind Of Love and the duo subsequently landed a big support slot with Melbourne’s Holy Holy, which they’re currently nearing the end of.
When asked about the best part of hanging with the Holy Holy boys, Ollivierre reveals: “Learning that they experience the same kind of emotions that we do. In terms of nerves, for example, we now understand that every band gets nervous; it’s about how you channel that energy into something cool. The way that they handle themselves before they go on stage and then on stage, it’s such a tight unit that you’re not thinking about anything else but how good that live show is.”
We discuss what’s in the water in Perth that seems to generate such a swag of quality music, from Methyl Ethyl to Kučka, Abbe May to Mathas, Koi Child to Tame Impala. “I think maybe just because there’s not heaps to do!” We chuckle, but Ollivierre continues, “You’re not constantly being compared to other people. Everyone develops their own way of doing things and has a really great work ethic in terms of music. Bands don’t come out saying they’re going to be the best band in the world, they’re just like, let’s make some awesome music so our friends will dig it!” Ollivierre then goes on to discuss a common thread between WA bands. “A lot of the bands from here sort of have an introverted sound. If you look at Methyl Ethyl or Tame Impala, I think a lot of the lyrics are ‘looking in’ and that’s also how our music is. I think the isolation is part of that. It’s the kind of music that you would make to be enjoyed on your own rather than out at a club.”
The Money War’s second EP is due out in the last quarter of this year and be sure to look out for them on your favourite summer festival’s line-up. Their music is best appreciated with the sun on your face and the wind in your hair.
13 July, Mojo’s, Freemantle
14 July, Jack Rabbit Slims, Perth
15 July, Prince Of Wales, Bunbury