Problemas "Spooki Babi"
Hailing from Los Angeles, Problemas is Ollie Stone, front woman of The Oohlas, who is now flying solo. Just in time for Halloween, she has released a self-directed music video for her new song “Spooki Babi”, a witchy anthem inspired by the spookiest season of the year. We had a chat with Ollie about the process, the inspirations, and the life of Problemas.
CELL VISION: The new Problemas video is super spooky. To quote Ministry, is every day Halloween for you?
PROBLEMAS: I don't know how to observe something and not write from my perspective....probably why my songwriting career writing for others hasn't taken off, haha! Halloween is the beginning of people dressing better and holiday kindness kicking in, cauldroning a nicer human ambiance over the fall months.
CELL VISION: What is your most memorable Halloween moment?
PROBLEMAS: I have too many that i can barely remember, sorry. I do remember playing a show with Veruca Salt on Halloween once and we both played to like 20 people, lol.
CELL VISION: What are the origins of “Spooki Babi”? Why did you decide to write a Halloween song?
PROBLEMAS: I had heard “The Crypt Jam” by The Crypt Keeper and thought it was really fun, and the lyrics are asinine. Then I remembered how dope the Doug E. Fresh song “Spirit” written for Ghostbusters 2 is. then I wondered why no one had made a beat out of Ray Parker Jr.’s masterpiece “Ghostbusters”. so i did some DJ Screw shit to the bridge of the song, and wrote lyrics about the pop culture inspired costumes I’d be seeing at Halloween parties this year. I felt like no one out here is trying to make a “Thriller”, and I really wanted my own spooky ass BOP that makes people smile and do moves in their living room while getting ready to kiki. I dedicate it to every corny ass songwriter getting their Christmas music ready to go for the last quarter of the year's sales.
CELL VISION: Problemas is a healthy combination of visual art and music. Do you see the visual aspect as equally important as the music in this new era of overstimulation, and what inspires you to execute that overall vision?
PROBLEMAS: I don't know how to release music without the visual yet. I want to get my idea across as thoroughly as I can. Music videos work. I don't have money yet to pay for marketing and payola for playlists like other big artists. I feel like videos are the best way to get people to listen and pay attention to you when they don't know who you are.
CELL VISION: Prior to Problemas you fronted the band The Oohlas, what was it like to go solo and what is the creative process like now that it’s just you?.
PROBLEMAS: The creative process is whatever. Sometimes it’s joy. Tears streaming out of your face joy. Sometimes it’s lonely pain. like you're screaming into a black hole with no walls to bounce ideas off of. Ii like being in a band. I like collaboration and forced family environments. But it’s expensive. Very expensive. Lots of instruments. Lots of gear. All the time. Also, rock ‘n’ roll is dead. The Oohlas are a casualty of the music industry falling apart. we are not broken up - my bandmates had children early in the growth of the band and had to take care of their families. The Oohlas made no money, despite being on a major label. it is what it is.
CELL VISION: You work closely with Travis Keller of the notorious Buddyhead and American Primitive collective, who has had his finger on the pulse of all things cool coming from underground LA for decades. What is it like working with him, and tell me a little about the collective and how you guys operate on projects.
PROBLEMAS: Ooh boy a TK super fan, LOL. I discovered TK at the beginning of Buddyhead while I was still in high school. I had a local music blog of my own and someone in the Phoenix music scene told me to check out Buddyhead. This was before Buddyhead’s gossip section posted celebrities phone numbers, when Marko still did the sex advice. I asked him and Aaron North to prom so I could cover it for my blog. they said sure, as long as Ii pay for it! Being a teenager working at pizza hut for $5.15 an hour with no tips, i sadly declined. I moved to LA, and we didn't really hang out that much. he was kinda famous at the time, and shortly after i started The Oohlas, I was busy playing shows and touring. We lived completely different lives. We didn't start making shit until he moved back to LA from Washington a few years ago and we crossed paths over Twitter. After he got settled back in LA he casually took photos of me on film while hanging out. He’s good at capturing people just existing. Meanwhile, he trained himself to fly a drone, and we shot a bunch of footage to film a music video. We scrapped the video, but this was the beginning of us making films and stuff. Part of working with someone creatively is having a mutual respect for each other. It has to exist. If it doesn’t, its dead in the water. Also, Travis doesn't say "no” or "you can't." We hear no every day as artists. the word no is death in artland. Travis always finds a way to encourage me, give me ideas, to see the bright or fixable side of any idea or problem, even if it’s a really bad situation. I’m also trying to gaffer and assist in any way I can on upcoming films the Primo crew make for other artists. we really work well together. When you find that, learn from and explore it as long as possible!
CELL VISION: What else can we expect from Problemas in the near future?
PROBLEMAS: I don’t know, I fucking need MONEYYYY y'all. I’m making beats for myself right now. Keep hustling. Keep making cool shit. Invincible, unfuckwithable. Trying to keep up with Spotify... It’s hard af. Also, if your readers know any producers… Shit, man... This last dude i was working with ghosted…
Problemas’ “Spooki Babi” is out today on all platforms, you can check it out on Spotify via the link below.