Interview: It’s All Gravy With Okey Dokey

Nashville’s Okey Dokey create irresistible sun-soaked ditties with a retro flair inspired by classic Motown, psychedelic melodies, and experimental artists like the Gorillaz. The band perfectly encapsulates life’s simple pleasures in their sound: things like low rent, blue skies, love and ‘wavy gravy’ vibes. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself smiling or feeling the urge to skip upon listening.

Fronted by singer, songwriter, bassist and visual artist Aaron Martin and songwriter and guitarist Johny Fisher (The Weeks, Sol Cat), the duo has an undeniable chemistry that surfaces through their collaborative songwriting, and dynamic, energetic live shows. Martin commands the room with a relaxed ease of someone who feels at home on stage. Of course you’ll have to see Okey Dokey live to experience the quixotic electricity for yourself.

Okey Dokey released their debut album Love You, Mean It at the start of 2017, and just released a new single “Hometown” last month. Catch them touring through the end of the year including a slot at Austin City Limits Music Festival.

What inspired the name Okey Dokey?
Okey Dokey: It was a combination of Johny’s dad and Aaron always having to read subtitles. Once you look it’s everywhere. In the past Okey Dokey has been something perpetually on the tips of tongues. Although, I hope that in the future it becomes something synonymous with that song stuck in all your little heads.

Can you name some other favorite/common expressions you use?
OD: On this leg of tour we’ve really been loving the following sayings:

  • Damn Skippy
  • Smack Dibby Dab
  • Boy Howdy
  • So, lemme tell ya whatcher gonna wanna do.
  • Hot snickers!
  • Got his ass!
  • Oooh, Jamboree!
  • They gotta Taco Bell?!

You’re all in other bands or come from previous bands. How did all of you come together to form Okey Dokey?
OD: Like all things mysterious; shit blew up, two dudes came together, the pot was mixed, add salt, call your mother, call your friends, and finally you have a young Okey Dokey.

Did you know what type of sound you were going to have starting out? How did that develop?
OD: We recorded, chopped, screwed, waxed, and then waned on this record until we finally had US. It took lots of friends like Jeremy “Unleashed” Clark, Ron Gallo, The Weeks, Caleb Hickman, Desert Noises, and a handful of other talented friends, but we did find us. Now that we have that, you can expect a more refined and focused kitchen from the next album.

You’re about to play some festivals including ACL, what are you most looking forward to? 
OD: I’m really looking forward to seeing a festival crowd again. I haven’t attended a festival in few years now, and I couldn’t be happier with the ACL lineup this year. I am delighted to say that this year I finally get to see Gorillaz. I’ve wanted to since I was a kid and, believe it or not, they were one of the main influences on me going into this project with Johny. I wanted two brains and lots to work with. Done and done.

What do you love most about living in Nashville?
AM: If you are a driven person with any creative edge at all and the willingness to really chase it, you may very well have a wonderful time in Nashville. The scene is rewarding to those who add quality art to the pool, and competitive for the same reason. We are all watching, supporting, and competing with one another for careers and, beyond that, insight. Great songs are the result of life experiences and the momentary clarity to put these experiences into a palatable response. Having a large group of peers around who actually inspire one another is what makes Nashville special. Darwin was correct, but he also had no idea he was really talking about music.

How do you like your coffee and what’s the best cup of joe you’ve had?
AM: I have a hard time drinking normal coffee anymore. I need cold brew straight to the dome these days. The good thing is, I’ve found the most perfect blend of speed and almond milk. So, I guess, to answer the next question, when every cup is your favorite there is only my coffee and bad coffee. Haha

What was the inspiration behind the song “Boodydew”?
AM: This was the first song Johny and I wrote together. I think it was more of a way to psych myself into being ready for the road ahead. Am I going to wait for success or take it? Is the man I see in the mirror actually the one I see in my future? Is he happy, or does he have a regret or two? Let’s figure this out.

Last dream you had and first think you think when you wake up in the morning?
AM: The last dream I had was hilarious. I have pretty vivid dreams and have always experienced at least a beginner level of lucidity. I tend to wake up with a grin on my face. This last one had me in a Goodwill checking out some fine dead guy apparel. An associate walked up and asked if I wanted to check out the furniture in the back. I walked with him/her (don’t recall) to the back and what I found was basically the MIB of tomfoolery.

There were old men in black suits furiously turning cranks on little brown boxes. It seemed like they were on some kind of timer, but it turns out that I was watching the officials in charge of creating that frustrating interference when you can’t get two words in through the static on your cellphone.

I then found another department, which was in charge of taking one necessary item from all DIY furniture sets. I had been brought into the space for a job offer. Apparently, your boy shows great promise in the realms of mischief, and is now Lead Official in the Department Of Changing Hands To Anus On Employees Must Wash Hands Signs, otherwise known as DCHAEMWHS.

I woke up thinking what I always do. Write this down. Write this down. Write this down.

photo by: courtesy of the artist