RIP Bill Doss (Olivia Tremor Control/Elephant 6 Collective)

Written by
Bill Doss

My day was meant to start with a couple of hours of work on my new website, continue with the usual routine of dog walks and errands, then end around 8 P.M. in an entirely unspectacular fashion.

Instead, I’m still sitting in my office, writing this.

I saw first saw the tweet from Stereogum: “Bill Doss of the Olivia Tremor Control Has Passed Away.”

I’m still having trouble processing why this is affecting me so deeply.

I never listened to the Olivia Tremor Control until they reunited last year. When I did, I loved it, but it didn’t become my whole life. Nor was the Elephant 6 Collective, the loose batch of indie-minded musicians that Bill Doss co-founded in the ‘90’s, a huge presence in my life … or so I thought.

Even though I never became the Elephant 6 devotee that so many music fans rightfully did, everything about that collective, and the musicians who were a part of it, speaks volumes about the way that I and so many others have come to love the things that we love.

Thinking about which OTC song I should play on my show this weekend in tribute led me thinking that I really should do a full Elephant 6 tribute set. This would include Of Montreal, Beulah, and of course, the other two bands that, along with the Olivia Tremor Control, completed the founding trio of that collective – Neutral Milk Hotel, and The Apples in Stereo (a band which Doss had toured with and contributed to since 2006).

I remembered late nights alone on the beach, running along the edge of the water as I listened to the Apples’ song “High Tide”, for what would have probably been the 100th plus time. When I think about that Apples in Stereo song, I just feel immediately happy.

All of the musicians that were involved with Elephant 6 have moved music fans that way – and many different ways — and somehow knowing that we’ve lost even one of them feels like a giant loss for indie culture as a whole. We didn’t just lose an extraordinarily talented musician today, we lost a game changer.

— Marion Hodges