Rock ‘n’ roll is not dead. Young Fort Worth band Olive Vox is here to show up for the music, the fashion and the fun that was once the associated with the biggest rock acts of all time.
These bands seem to have their finger on the pulse of the younger generation as they revive the punk/rock movement of coming as you are, showing out, and fearless inclusivity.
The die-hard fans in attendance were enveloped in layers of leather, mesh, plaid, boots, lace, studs, eyeliner and more in their fashionable self-expression. There was a sense of community among them, nostalgic of the punk scene that brought people together in the 90’s.
Olive Vox co-founders (and brothers) Parker James and Caden Shea make it a point to be fashion-forward on stage while staying true to their artistic nature.
“A show is who you are, you’re putting on a performance. We wear whatever the hell we wanna wear,” James said. “In the South, it can feel like you’re kinda repressed by the norm. Even my day-to-day isn’t normal. When we get on stage and wear big transparent shirts, big chains, old lingerie, whatever – it just adds to the performance. We love vintage, and we definitely take inspiration from that.”
“I feel like shows over the years have lost that flair,” Shea says. “Rock shows have always been this extravagant thing, like gender bending and pushing against the norm – pushing identity. Punks did it, rock kids in 80’s hair metal bands did it. We’re just like, ‘Let’s start having fun again.'”
Olive Vox’s latest release “Superstition” emerged from their earlier years – when Shea (now 17) was just 14 years old and James was 19 years old. The song took on a new life as the band recorded it at EastWest Studios in Los Angeles with producer James Saez.
The change of scenery breathed fresh inspiration into their music, and the song now speaks to the concept of generational superstitions, urging listeners to look beyond the surface and question the beliefs they hold. The lyrics delve into the complexities of parent-child relationships and encourage open communication.
“There’s a lyric in the song that says, ‘It only takes a couple hours to get to know your kids.'” James said. “There are parents who are so quick to assume what their kids are doing, what they’re into. Just talk to them as people before you go along accusing them of things.”
The band’s involvement in directing the video allowed them to create a compelling narrative that aligns seamlessly with the song’s lyrics. The video’s concept stemmed from the imagery of roses and flowers, symbolizing the act of washing away negative influences, making a powerful statement about the need to cleanse one’s life.
Olive Vox’ next single and music video, “All My Friends Are Dead,” is planned for release in the next few months. “It’s a very youthful song, it’s just kinda out there,” Shea said. “Sometimes being in Texas we feel like we don’t belong. We don’t have a lot of solid friends, and when you already feel like you don’t belong it can be hard when you try communicating.”
Reflecting on the past two years since we first spoke with Olive Vox, the band has undergone significant growth. Their development has been fueled by a determination to refine their songwriting skills and create the best possible music. Shea (the lead music composer in Olive Vox) has expanded his musical influences beyond indie bands, drawing inspiration from pop icons like Billie Eilish. They emphasize the importance of adapting their sound while staying true to their artistic integrity, creating a distinct blend that resonates with a wide audience.
“Before, it was like, ‘Let’s look at what Kurt Cobain did,” James said. “We took inspiration from small indie bands. But we could only write music like that for so long. Looking at pop music, it’s like a whole new format and new way to approach it.”
As brothers, James and Shea share a unique dynamic that fuels their creative process. Their close bond allows for seamless collaboration and constant communication, enabling them to work on music whenever inspiration strikes.
“Since I’m older, you’d think I’m in charge,” James laughed. “But Caden’s blunt when we’re in the studio. Caden’s got perfect pitch. So when I’m in the booth and I think I nailed it, Caden’s like ‘Redo it! The note’s flat.’ It’s very serious.”
Shea chimed in, “But it’s not like some random person you’re bossing around, it’s your brother. I think it’s nice, the whole aspect of being brothers. We’re always together, we don’t need to schedule rehearsals. Even if we’re not together, I can call him any time and play him a song over the phone if I get an idea.”
“‘Olive Vox’ translates to ‘speak peace,’ with the symbol of like an olive branch for peace and ‘vox’ is Latin for voice,” James said. “[Our message to listeners is] be unapologetically yourself.”
Olive Vox’s music is more than just a collection of notes; it’s a reflection of their vision and message. Their songs encourage listeners to embrace their individuality, to shed societal expectations, and to speak their minds boldly. Through their music, Olive Vox seeks to promote unity and understanding, reminding us that we’re all in this together.
“Everyone cares about themselves too much to care about you,” Shea said. “Just be a corn ball, do stuff that people would call cringe. As long as you’re happy doing it.”
Catch Olive Vox at their upcoming shows:
- August 11 (Austin): The 13th Floor w/ Caroline Carr, Grocery Bag & Slurp the World
- September 8 (Tyler): The Green Room
- September 23 (Denton): Andy’s Bar w/ Max Diaz
- September 30 (San Antonio): Paper Tiger w/ Max Diaz
Jessica Waffles is a freelance photographer/videographer and regular contributor to KXT.
Our work is made possible by our generous, music-loving members. If you like how we lift up local music, consider becoming a KXT sustaining member right here.