Music

Oliver Tree: The King of Trial and Error

todayOctober 28, 2022 66 8 5

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Morgan Hirosky 

Assistant Director

: A caricature drawing of Oliver Tree crucified on his 20-foot scooter with light sketches of an ashwood tree in the background, resembling shots from the music video for his song, “Hurt”.
 An artistic portrayal of Oliver Tree crucified on his 20-foot scooter, mirroring shots from the music video for his song, “Hurt” / Claire Phillips & Ellie Phillips

 

Oliver Tree is modernly known for being a spoof – a caricature of a character – garnering attention for gnarly haircuts, giant scooters, ridiculous outfits and music promotion so shamelessly absurd that it almost distorts his talent. However, cyber-evidence reveals that the real Oliver Tree is the unbeknownst king of trial and error.

For most, Oliver’s career timeline starts with his 2016 emergence to the industry scene, followed by his first hit record “Alien Boy” off his Alien Boy EP in 2018. His kooky persona in combination with his eccentrically-alternative sound has earned him millions of listeners and multiple worldwide tours, but this present-day identity is merely his most successful approach to making it in music.

Oliver Tree has been fighting for space in the industry for over 12 years. The now 29-year-old played out and discarded three “failed” pseudonyms before landing on his current tactic: “Kryph”, “Tree” then “Turbo”, in that order.

Traced back to early 2010, “Kyrph” was his first persona. After extensive YouTube exploration, home videos of a young Oliver in a typical teenage bedroom can be dug out of the woodwork; most of his music from this era consisted of Beastie Boys-esque raps over old-school beats and self-produced dubstep.

Kyrph marked the beginning of Oliver’s musical pursuit, and though he was young with a less-than budding sound, his lyricism, creativity and personality were just as rampant as they are today. All in all, Kyrph’s reign was short lived and quickly lost in time.

His latter and most recent ex-persona, “Turbo”, was Oliver’s first try at a music-making character. In 2016, Turbo gained traction as an internet personality thanks to the presently extinct video-streaming platform, Vine. He utilized this popularity and started promoting music he made to match the role of his totally-exaggerated, extremely-obnoxious alter ego.

Turbo’s sound is reminiscent of Kyrph’s, composed of overemphasized ‘90s-style raps on quirky, boombat-heavy beats. Although Kyrph and Turbo are extremely similar, it’s easy to recognize the growth that transpired during the years between the two personalities.

Sandwiched between Kyrph and Turbo is Oliver’s most organic persona, “Tree”. The era of Tree came with the release of Oliver’s Demons EP in 2012 and his debut album, Splitting Branches, the following year. Tree is the first and only persona that Oliver pursued completely as himself – no gimmicks, no costumes, no nonsense.

Tree’s sound was experimentally-alternative and incredibly original, featuring innovative concepts like reversed instrumentals and themes such as the one he coined “The Ashwood Project”. The project is a beautifully constructed body of work that touches heavily on concepts such as life after death, lacking human connection, growing apart from someone you once loved, navigating through time and feeling far from yourself. He was inventive, talented and impassioned with music that was original, relatable and genuine.

Unfortunately, Tree’s honest effort secured minimal returns, leading Oliver to ditch the concept. He appropriately named the abandonment of his bona fide self, “The Forest Fire”, leaving only embers of his discography to be found in obscure internet archives. Tree wore his heart on his sleeve yet, ultimately, was forsaken.

Tree’s failed attempt at authenticity launched him into absurdity. Modern-day Oliver is a result of backwards thinking in music consumption and industry standards. Ingenuity means nothing to an era of internet goons that need their monkeys to sing, dance, tell jokes and wear giant jeans while riding Guinness-sized scooters.

It’s no secret that the music industry is notorious for its reputation as a soul-reaper; tall tales of fame-hungry artists making alleged deals with the devil in hopes of being the “next big thing” constitutes most of Hollywood’s folklore. However, dedicating years to the pursuit of a passion, heart-first with complete sincerity, only to be ignored by the world – then cheered for after ditching heaps of artistic integrity for the sake of success – is so unusually cruel. Oliver Tree deserves to crash his stupid 20-foot scooter, rid himself of his bowlcut shackles and return to his authentic ashwood roots.

 

Written by: Jordan Young

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: Image features A.L. West in a worn, dark purple shirt which depicts a Great White Shark erupting from it’s center. West stands relaxed, hands behind his back, in front of slender trees. West wears wire framed glasses and a relaxed baseball cap.

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