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Check Out Oliver Dobrian’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Oliver Dobrian.

Hi Oliver, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
I’ve been a musician all my life. I have two musicians for parents who’ve been super supportive the entire time. They never forced me into anything though, I’ve always been naturally drawn to music. I started playing drums at age four and guitar at age ten. My background is 100% grounded in rock n’ roll, but having musician parents has exposed me to all kinds of music from all over the world. Hey, even my degree is technically in Ethnomusicology (it’s really just a Jazz degree from UCLA, but that’s another story haha!) Anyway, I’ve been writing and producing my own music since middle school, as well as playing in various bands around LA. Currently, I’m producing new tunes under the name Millennial Whoop and playing drums in the band Filmspeed. Go check em both out wherever you get your tunes! @millennial.whoop and @filmspeedmusic on Instagram for all that social media stuff too.

I’m not exactly sure “where I am today,” I just know that I personally try to make music as much a part of my life as possible. Whether it’s playing, listening, writing, recording, producing, or teaching, as long as it’s music-related I’m happy!

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Again, I’m not entirely sure where this “road” has lead me or is leading me, so maybe that’s the struggle! But I have to say, I’ve enjoyed the journey so far. Career paths for musicians are always unpredictable and windy, but at least for me personally I’ve always managed to stay positive and enjoy the ride, even with the struggles. In fact, I met Filmspeed on the tail end of another band’s breakup! So there’s some cliché line about God closing doors and opening windows or something that probably applies here.

Furthermore, part of the reason I like being in Filmspeed so much is how much of a positive mental attitude we maintain, even in the face of adversity. Whether it be shitty gigs, an overly-complicated video shoot, a dumb business deal, or whatever (all of which have happened by the way), we always seem to come away from it chuckling rather than crying. I think that’s extremely important. So I guess in conclusion no, the road isn’t smooth, but what road is? We knew that going in and we’re making do. And to use ANOTHER cliché, it’s not about the destination but journey! At the end of the day, having fun playing music is the only thing that matters.

And hey, music’s in my blood and I would never stop doing it no matter what. I’m always grateful that my direction in life has been so clear from such a young age. I will never doubt my passion for music, and these days I’m just happy to be making it without worrying or even caring about its success or indeed its purpose. It’s just fun to jam, man!

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
Well like I said, my background is firmly in rock n’ roll. I was raised on classic rock from my dad (the Beatles are still #1 forever), but as I grew up and developed my own tastes I naturally gravitated toward pop-punk and emo music; you know, the whole Warped Tour scene, etc. So that stuff is still very much my musical lifeblood and easily the strongest influence on my creative output for sure. But with that being said, I mentioned that both of my parents are musicians and that my musical exposure is super diverse and expansive. I’m one of those guys who says “oh I listen to everything” and actually means it. My listening habits vacillate wildly depending on my mood or setting or whatever. From Jazz to Classical to Pansori (Google it) and everything in between, I try to listen to and appreciate everything I hear.

Of course, I always stay true to my rock roots. It’s my first and truest love, and I’ll never stray too far away from it. I try to draw from all of my extensive listening and distill that through my rock n’ roll lens in my songs. Who knows to what extent I succeed at that, but that’s at least what I like to think I do haha!

I’d say if anything sets me apart from others, it’s that maybe I’m a bit more old-school about my approach to songwriting than maybe most people these days? Not to get too “bitter old man” ish but a lot of popular music these days tends to feel rushed and underdeveloped. I still appreciate things like full verses with deep lyrics, double choruses, and God forbid a BRIDGE every now and then! Things like that seem to be missing in a lot of songs today, but I won’t let them die as long as I have anything to say about it! Also, full albums still matter and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!

Lately, I’m most proud of my fledgling YouTube channel (again under the name Millennial Whoop, go check it out 😉 ). I’ve been trying to consistently put out new music every week since the beginning of this year, and so far I haven’t failed yet. It’s easily the longest completely self-imposed deadline I’ve ever maintained, so I guess there’s something to be said for the sheer discipline and perseverance of it all at the very least. But hey I obviously wouldn’t make a song I didn’t like, so while I obviously like some of my songs better than others, I like to think they’re all cool in some way or other.

I’m also of course super proud of and fully devoted to my brothers in Filmspeed! I love my bandmates to death and still know we’re gonna take over the world someday. We’re easily one of the most fun live shows you’ll ever see, in my extremely biased but accurate opinion haha! Be sure to see us whenever/wherever you can!

Have you learned any interesting or important lessons due to the Covid-19 Crisis?
Hm, that’s a tough one. To be totally honest, if anything it was really just a test in adaptability. But I’ve always prided myself on my easygoing and go-with-the-flow demeanor anyway, so even though COVID was indeed a MASSIVE shift in pretty much everything, there wasn’t much else to do but to just look at it and say, “okay so, what now?” and just make a move in any direction. So that’s exactly what I did. I started writing more with all that free time, Filmspeed got way better at the online streaming game, and while 2020 as a whole was kind of a bummer, a lot of isolated (pun sort of intended?) positive moments managed to carry me through. Easily the biggest of which being that In September I bought a house! And with that house, my Filmspeed brothers and I have been able to convert my garage into a full-fledged music and media studio! As of mid-2021, we’ve basically just “finished” it and are just now starting to use it to its fullest potential. We’re going to use it for recording, performing, hosting our podcast Consistently Off (available wherever podcasts are sold 😉 ), and a whole lot more. It’s honestly the best thing to happen to us in a long time, and I have the added benefit of living 20 feet away from it so I can go play drums or lay something down 24/7.

So again, 2020 sucked for a lot of reasons, but right in the 4th quarter their things definitely started looking up and I’m extremely grateful for that. So maybe if there’s any lesson to be learned, it’s just the old boring but true one of “Stay Positive!” Take the good with the bad; frame of mind is everything. Happiness breeds happiness, and the more positivity you can give the more you’ll receive. Clichés are clichés for a reason, I guess. Also, get vaccinated!

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