The world of Static Dress is a dark and mysterious place, somewhere that’s not quite fictional, but not quite real. Rather, it lies between the two – all of both and none of one. Everything within it is interconnected, carefully constructed in painstaking detail. Nothing is there by chance. You can, if you wish, ignore that, and just focus on the songs. They veer between sleazy ’90s alt.rock, visceral post-hardcore and off-kilter electronics, and they work incredibly well on their own terms. Most fans, however, have started peeling back that the layers on the surface to discover – or attempt to discover – what lies beneath. That could be recurring images of a red dial phone or QR codes, which were inserted into the band’s lockdown livestream and linked to exclusive material. It could be the hidden messages and codes in the Prologue… comic book, or that aforementioned second side of the Prologue… cassette. It could also be something that, as yet, only Olli knows about. To some extent, he’s like a benevolent Jigsaw, plotting devious ways to give back as much as he can to those who have fallen in love with his music.
At the same time, he’s not afraid of losing casual fans – something he’s actually anticipating with the release of Prologue… Technically, there are nine tracks on the EP, but there are only four ‘real’ songs, five if you count the corrosive 67 second-long explosion of foreplay (is not my forte). The other four songs are punctuated with experimental, atmospheric soundscapes. Opener a_distraction… is the sound of a car crash punctuating a quiet, peaceful night, while the 62 seconds of EP closer to the hotel… starts with the sound of a match being lit, before – if the last panels of the comic are anything to go by – a Molotov cocktail is thrown and a car drives off. It ends with a demonic voice repeating, “Don’t scream.” The overall effect is less like an EP, and more like listening to a movie.
“I can’t wait to piss so many people off,” Olli laughs. “Honestly, I can’t wait for so many people to be like, ‘Oh, this is shit,’ and just toss it aside, and then I’m sitting there saying, ‘Look deeper than what you’re getting given.’ The very last thing I wanted to do with this was go, ‘Here’s the music that you want.’ What we’re giving you is a prologue to what you want. Look deeper, get more invested and you can get it way sooner than you think. There’s cryptic stuff hidden in this that if you have the time or the effort to put in, you can get six months ahead of where everyone else is going to be. That’s the kind of reward I can give. And I know it sounds weird saying, ‘You get rewarded for this,’ because I feel like I should be grateful, but at the same time, I’m doing everything I can to make you try and enjoy something.”