Fusing elements of soul, funk and pop, Tucson's recent favorite hard-to-classify band are putting the finishing touches on their debut album. Miss Olivia and The Interlopers have been recording in WaveLab Studios over the past seven months, and expect their new album, Little Stories, to be finished this summer.
Miss Olivia and The Interlopers features Olivia Reardon as lead vocalist, Mike Sydloski as guitarist and vocalist, David Hostetler as bass guitarist and Daniel Thomas as drummer and vocalist. However, many Tucsonans might already know this, considering the band's prolific number of performances around town.
"We play a lot of shows together," Hostetler said. "We're trying to play less, but it doesn't seem to be working. We just love performing together, so it's hard to say no when we get an offer."
While having performed at nearly every venue in the downtown area (191 Toole, Rialto, Congress, Flycatcher, etc.) the members of Miss Olivia and The Interlopers don't feel their music is necessarily indicative of the borderlands region, at least genre-wise. In fact, they hesitate to align with a genre at all.
"In my head, I think of the Tucson sound as classic bands like The Sidewinders and River Roses," Hostetler said. "I don't even know what genres we fit into. We always joke and just say our sound is like a mixtape."
On the two singles released from their new album, "Leaving You Behind" and "Blacklisted," listeners can hear the band jump from moody introspection to energetic rock.
Reardon said in the past some of her favorite musicians were: Aretha Franklin, Joni Mitchell, Jeff Buckley and Erykah Badu. Listeners can hear influences and timbers from all of those voices in Reardon's singing, depending on the song.
"It's like any relationship, if it doesn't click, it doesn't click," Reardon said." But luckily for me, these guys are all badass."
Hostetler's bass can switch from blues to funk depending on Reardon's vocal inflections, and Thomas' groovy drumming brings it all together while Sydloski's guitar isn't afraid to jump into some driving distortion.
"Me and David have been giant local music omnivores since we were kids," Sydloski said. "I look at our sound as a true melting pot. So in that sense we're like the city around us."
Miss Olivia and The Interlopers formed in early 2017 from the members of a Pink Floyd cover band, Atom Heart Mother. Sydloski and Hostetler recall hearing Reardon's vocal talents as a singer on cover songs like "Great Gig in the Sky." Hostetler remembers thinking "God damn, she's good." From there, Miss Olivia and The Interlopers were a cohesive unit.
"It was a very organic transition," Sydloski said.
Miss Olivia and The Interlopers' cover band past is still evident in certain live shows, where they're known to cover a wide variety of songs. Even part of the name, interlopers, came from an inside joke during the Floyd days. They've also performed in The Great Cover Up multiple times, pushing cover sets to the next level with costumes, props and even the occasional burlesque dancer.
But as a four-piece band performing new material, every member holds their own.
"David has been largely the driving force behind a lot of our songs. He's probably the main reason we get stuff done," Sydloski said. "Dan brings an amazing musical acumen to the table. He's always asking melodic questions, making suggestions that people might think go beyond the role of a drummer. His abilities are astounding to me. And of course, Olivia is the heart and soul. She makes the whole thing feel like a big family affair."
While finishing their album is their main goal, the band is also planning a tour. Sydloski said he's actually looking forward to the music they produce after Little Stories is complete, because of all the lessons they've learned in the recording sessions.
So far, Hostetler said the biggest achievement for the band is hearing their music played on a radio station in Australia, and getting to perform at the Rialto.
"I'm always amazed people show up at our shows in the first place," Hostetler said. "We're mostly having fun and playing together like we're in our 20s again."
Sydloski shares this sentiment, although he feels their age actually helps them form a cohesive and productive band.
"If anything, we're positively affected by our age," Sydloski said. "We're more straight to the point with our ideas. We put our egos aside. Our age is serving us very well."