With everyone kidnapped and quarantined due to the coronavirus, we’ve asked our favorite artists to come up with playlists that keep you entertained. Here’s singer-songwriter, producer, rapper, comedian and filmmaker Oliver Tree:
These are some of the rock bands that inspired my first album “Ugly is Beautiful”. Rock music seems dead in 2020 but for some reason I felt compelled to make a rock album when absolutely no one asked for it. Of course my album has a lot of other influences like pop, hip hop, and electronics, but the album as a whole is a straightforward alternative rock album. To release this music right now, I can’t help but feel left out of any music scene and community. When I was in college I was obsessed with classic rock and managed to convince myself that I was born in the wrong generation. However, when I finally opened my eyes and looked around, I finally found many amazing and exciting musical movements happening. I was never able to lock myself into a genre, so it ended up creating a hybrid of whatever I found along the way. This playlist shows my favorite nostalgic rock influence from all of my childhood years.
Radiohead – “Karma Police”
I actually went to London to record a cover of “Karma Police” when I was 19 for my project called Tree. Flashback to when I was 8 my dad and brother were playing OK Computer in the car and told them I hated it and wanted them to turn it off. 10 years later and Thom Yorke was my greatest hero and OK Computer was my favorite album. I think as children we tend to reject music that our parents like because we want our own identity.
David Bowie – “Space Oddity”
My dad got me into David Bowie’s in college. It was my first inspiration that stuck with me as I got older. The way he developed his character greatly influenced the Oliver Tree Project and the narrative aspect of his songs is impeccable. This song inspired me to start researching space. In many ways, David Bowie was the first Alien Boy.
Talking Heads – “Burning the House”
Talking Heads singer David Bryne was my dad’s favorite artist, so I grew up listening to this band. My brother was a cesarean so my parents were able to choose his date of birth in a certain week. My father chose my brother to have the same birthday as David Bryne. Ironically, I think I ended up being more of a David Byrne hit than my brother.
Red Hot Chili Peppers – “Under the Bridge”
When I was in college I read Anthony Kiedis’ book Scar tissue in a few days. It is literally one of the only books I remember reading to the end. It’s a classic California band that was super easy for me to understand as a wild kid from Cali. This group taught me how to inject sperm into my music.
Nirvana – “Heart Shaped Box”
Kurt Cobain is a God. He was the spark of the grunge movement. He was the poster child for the Alternative when the Alternative was at the forefront of the mainstream. My first album, Ugly is beautiful, has a lot of grunge influence. I did my best to do a new grunge fusion using the electronic production for my song “Cash Machine”.
Pixies – “Where’s My Mind”
This song is perfection. I know this is the song of the Pixies posers but for those who have never heard them, this is the best introduction. Doolittle is by far the best album, every song is perfect.
Weezer – “Defeat – The Sweater Song”
Weezer unwittingly infiltrated my subconscious in my childhood. I was too young to miss their golden years but in college I could never escape their song “Beverly Hills”. It wasn’t until recently that I studied their old stuff. My song “I’m Gone” is basically a song from someone who wants to do a Weezer song without knowing what the band is really like. This is my favorite Weezer song and I only found it by studying the work of director Spike Jonez. He’s a director I’ve admired for a while and he made this clip.
Counting Crows – “Mr. Jones”
The way in which Adam Duritz is able to use his voice to paint a picture and tell a story is truly remarkable. This guy really doesn’t care what people think of the way he is and how he expresses himself. My brother and I watched Counting Crows play in Berkeley about six years ago and it was extremely inspiring. He’s the most expressive performer I’ve ever seen and he mixes songs live the same way a DJ mashups.
Blur – “Song 2”
I found Blur in high school. They were never a big influence for me, but lead singer Damon Albarn formed Gorillaz and Damon has been one of my biggest influences all my life.
Blink-182 – “All the Little Things”
It was one of the most popular songs of my childhood. All of the Blink-182 earworms entered my mind and never left my consciousness. I never really liked pop-punk.
Smash Mouth – “All Star”
Easily my favorite song when I was 7-10 years old. Shrek came and ruined it but this song dominated my elementary school years, I had a good run with this song. Smash Mouth is actually 30 minutes away from where I grew up, so these are basically some of the only local rock bands that were there for young people.
Gorillaz – Clint Eastwood “
Gorillaz alone is the biggest inspiration for the Oliver Tree Project. This song changed the way I listened to music. The way they mix alternative and pop has shaped the way I make music. I was the first generation who grew up listening to different singers come together in this way, which meant I was one of the first generation who learned to sing both styles. My song “Bury Me Alive” is a great example of how I got to take on the role of Damon Albarn and Del the Funky Homosapien. Yes, it’s totally different sonically, but the idea comes from the same place.
To view our list of the Top 100 Guitarists of All Time, click here.