Find A Place to Be Myself: An Interview with OK Cool

Photo courtesy of Nina Gaulin

Bridget Stiebris and Haley Blomquist have been longtime collaborators and friends, with projects such as The Weekend Run Club keeping them busy, but when they found some free time in early 2020 they decided to write a song just for the hell of it. That song, “I Can’t Stand in Ice Skates”, led to their latest project, OK Cool.

Completing “I Can’t Stand in Ice Skates” was all the motivation they needed to keep this project rolling, and by the middle of the year they released their first EP, Anomia.

“The pandemic really gave us time to take this seriously,” Blomquist said. “We live super close and [Stiebris] has been in my pandemic bubble from very early on, so we had a lot of time to write and improve together.”

Blomquist went on to say that they were both getting their sea legs with writing Anomia, trying to get a feel for how this duo would work and the sound that would best encapsulate the project. For Stiebris, this was her first time diving into singing and songwriting, and found it difficult to get to a point where she was happy with the outcome.

“The most important thing I learned was how to better place my voice into the songs in a way that I’m comfortable with,” she said. “With the new record, I was able to think about other ways to write and perform that weren’t such huge downers for me to listen back to. I love thinking about the way songs are mixed and how much that can impact the final product.”

The new EP, Surrealist, is a more thought out version of the sound they want to focus on, and is composed of five tracks that really stuck with them throughout the writing process.

“When deciding to work on or not work on a song, it’s really important that both of us vibe to it,” Stiebris said. “We’re very honest about how a certain idea is connecting or not connecting with us as individuals. Sometimes you just have a really good day and you can do a five-hour writing marathon; other days, you sit at the computer for just as long and come up with nothing but duds. With these songs, we both felt that they had the potential to really shine in the recording and editing process, and we weren’t tired of hearing the demos a million times.”

They recorded everything on their own, minus drums, at Foxhole Creative, an award-winning production company with studio and creative space in Chicago. It made the process all the more rewarding, and gave them the opportunity to better themselves as musicians.

OK Cool hopes that the five songs from Surrealist are interpreted in any way that is meaningful to the listener, because that is the best part of listening to music - uncoding a message that will mean something different to everyone.

Pre-save Surrealist now.