Interview and Photos by Abra Richardson
Oliver Hazard is an indie-folk band formed by three guys that never played together until one night at a dive bar in Ohio, now they are traveling the country playing shows and starting their own music festival.
Lead singer, Mike Belazis spoke with Penny about working on music with his bandmates, Nate Miner and Devin East, explaining that they all grew up in Waterville, Ohio and knew of each other, but never really hung out until post-college.
"We never really played together," Belazis said. "It was cool because we just got together as we were still getting to know each other in a way, and the chemistry in the music just felt so natural that it was definitely an undeniable thing happening there from the music side that we decided to explore."
Belazis explained that he came home for Christmas break and asked them to play a dive bar show with him, which ultimately led to them writing their first album, 34 N. River. Five songs were written for their performance at the dive bar and five more were written when they won studio time.
"They offered us one free song [so] we instead asked them if we can record all 10 of our songs and put microphones all over the room and try to capture like a live recording of all of the songs," Belazis said.
A lot of the inspiration behind their music came from the sense of place from their childhood, a small town in Ohio and each band member’s personal experiences as friends.
As they grow as musicians, the band is now writing with more intention rather than the spontaneous path they took on their first album. There’s more pressure, now that they have a bigger fanbase and they are looking forward to growing.
"I think it's less like we care a lot about what other people think about [the new songs]," Belazis said. "In the end, we really want to be proud of what [the songs] sound like too so that's definitely the most important marker. Beyond that we just hoped that other people really like it, you know, but we try not to cater it to what we think other people will like."
The band recently released their new single "Ballerina" and are planning on releasing a few more singles before their album release in July. Pre-Save the record HERE.
Now, Oliver Hazard is currently on a national tour opening for The 502s with Nate Miller joining them on keys. Fans can catch up on tour dates and updates on their website. View photos from their recent Chicago show below.