One year ago Jessie Vivian was downtown with three friends checking out some music. The club was hot and stuffy, so they went outside to get some fresh air. While they were hanging in the back alley, a transient character approached the foursome. He was clothed in a fatigued trench coat wearing a top hat. Immediately he introduced himself as OctafellaSoul.

He told the three guys that they needed to start a band and that Vivian should be their singer. A moment later, he was gone. The four friends decided to take his words to heart, and thus the birth of a new band in Los Angeles! What better name to give their group than OctafellaSoul in honor of the man who deposited the very idea into their hearts in the first place. Two months later they were performing on stage.

The band is made up of some very talented musicians: Zach Indrizzo writes all the music and plays a wicked bass. Kile Garcia rocks the place on drums, while Brandon Watts rouses the house with a mean guitar. Vivian’s raw beauty captures the attention of the audience as does her vocal performance.

I met up with Vivian in a funky little cafe in the valley to talk with her more about the band, how they do what they do and where they are headed.

Vivian describes the process of her writing all of the lyrics. “Zach is amazing”, she says. “He creates the music and gets it to me on CD so I can listen. Not only do I concentrate on what he has come up with, I am hearing the words inside me. I don’t write anything down during this time, I simply listen, and as some of the same lyrics make themselves clear after six or more times I realize they are the ones that belong to this song. I like keeping things simple.”

I was surprised to find out that the four band members had all been friends for a about six years prior to becoming OctafellaSoul. Their relationship with each other has been a key component for Vivian taking the step to perform.

“These guys are so encouraging,” she acknowledges. “I would never have taken this on without them.”

Most of the band members are self-taught musicians or took lessons as kids on instruments they don’t currently play. If you ask Vivian about their style she would say they are definitely a rock band. Their fan page catalogs it as sleazy rock. Their style on stage is absolutely playful and entertaining.

The first time I saw them perform they had naked mannequins onstage with them. Watts started the gig in a full-length fur coat and quickly shed that only to show he had a tapestry coat on under the fur coat! I was told he actually had six coats on that night, one on top of the other. Indrizzo was sporting a wig and a wild outfit, while Garcia had on his Halloween costume, even though it was not Halloween.

Vivian describes it like this: “The guys just like to play dress-up for 50 minutes at a time, that’s all.”

While I don’t recall ever seeing Leonard Cohen in such gear, he happens to be one of their musical influences. Jacques Dutronc, Can and La Femme have also been key players whose work has had a great impact on the band.

Vivian’s thoughts on what makes for a good song are this: “A good song can’t be forced but just has to flow. Good music just happens.” she says.

What’s next for OctafellaSoul, the band birthed in the back alley of downtown L.A.? You’re going to have to go underground to seek them out.

“We prefer the downtown clubs tucked away from the crowds. We also hope to be producing some new tunes in French – we love the language, and to perform in French creates a non-judgmental atmosphere for the audience.”

Their new EP is coming out soon, so look out for that, but until then you can check out their tunes “Floating Farm Animals” and “Apporter” on their Facebook fan page. For booking, contact

Suzi Fox is the founder of an organization that offers a venue for musicians, writers, actors, artists and others to post their work for FREE for the world to see.