The two things that I did as a kid were music and skateboarding. They would kind of waver on which would be more at the forefront. Once I got to high school, I started meeting more musicians, and all the music classes offered at San Dieguito were a big thing for me. When I started we had Dr. Van Decker. He provided a lot of resources. He brought in a recording arts class; he also started a MIDI class. Those were pretty big for me, to be able to spend two hours a day sitting in recording arts class or working on computer music. With a MIDI I could make impossible music — just the fastest, unending runs and scales, polyrhythmic stuff that I couldn’t play on my own. I think, in turn, that got me into Philip Glass and Tangerine Dream and things influenced by minimalism. Those were things that weren’t available at many high schools, for sure.
Did you know then that you wanted to make music professionally?
Olson: I didn’t admit it to myself but I knew that I loved to make music. I had a band in high school. It was instrumental. We really just played at our battle of the bands. This was at the turn of the 2000s; I was just a teenage kid heading down to Che Cafe at UCSD, where underground bands passing through San Diego would play — you would see Pinback play there when they were starting out. I was never old enough for Belly Up when I lived there. Same for Casbah. Playing the Casbah [on L.A. Takedown’s recent tour] was kind of kind of like a mini-dream come true, because that’s where all the cool bands would play that I could never go see.