My name is Olivia Elektra Willson-Piper (née Dibowski). I was born in a leap year to a Swedish air hostess mother from Västmanland and a scientist father from “Kraftwerk” city with a Polish surname, who is currently designing bricks for a future moon station.
I received my first musical education in a fiercely loyal forest green Citroen Berlingo (that car clocked up 500.000 kilometres in the end!). Sitting in those comfy car seats – which have since become a couch after the car’s death – we listened to classic tunes like “Downtown” by Petula Clark, “Dream A Little Dream Of Me” by The Mamas And The Papas, Dusty Springfield’s “The Look Of Love”, Dean Martin’s “Everybody Loves Somebody” and Lee Marvin’s “Wand’rin’ Star” (what a voice!), among millions of others. Renaissance’ “A Song For All Seasons” turned me into Prog Girl.
In 2013 I got hooked on “The Raven That Refused To Sing” by Steven Wilson (listen to both TRTRTS’s Luminol and Survival by Yes and tell me what you discover…), which caused my active involvement in the European Prog scene.
This year (2018) I’m going to host Europe’s biggest Progressive Rock festival “Night Of The Prog” for the fourth time. During these past years in the Prog Circus I hung out with Steven Wilson in his dressing room, put up No Smoking signs to protect Andy Latimer’s lungs (the irony), accidently drank Mike Portnoy’s sacred coconut water, Fish offered me a joint, I chatted with King Crimson legend David Cross about electric violins over lunch and eventually on Skype, Van der Graaf Generator’s David Jackson likes what Marty and I are doing live, I received compliments on my extravagant style and long blonde dreadlocks from Steve Hackett and Nick Beggs, and fell deeply and unconditionally in love with a caring, altruistic, empathetic, creative and passionate guitarist in Anekdoten when they were playing “my” festival. Thank you, Progressive Rock!
I started playing the violin when I was nine years old, and joined an orchestra at eleven. We played concerts in Sweden, Russia, Lithuania and Spain. I became leader of the orchestra at 18, and remained in that position until the day our conductor retired and the orchestra seized to exist. During my Uni years I focused on busking, jam sessions and Jazz violin.
I play a mysterious old skinny acoustic violin. The tag inside refers to a repair that was done in 1849 in Florence. Rumour has it my violin has actually travelled to Italy from England and was crafted back in 1760 in the land of cricket and separate hot & cold water taps.
I fitted another violin with D’Addario Helicore Octave Strings and it magically transformed into an instrument I’ve lovingly baptized “Cellolin”. So far we’ve used it on the upcoming Noctorum and MOAT records and live on the road.
My electric violin is a Vivo Air 5-string by Ted Brewer (see below). Fantastic look, insufficient sound. For future gigs I’m thinking about purchasing a Bridge violin, an instrument warmly recommended to me by the lovely Alix Kol of Australian band The Red Paintings. Also – with a name like Olivia Elektra, I should probably go for a Violectra as well (Nigel Kennedy, Jean-Luc Ponty, Anna Phoebe, David Cross, etc.). Wood’s Flying V’s are also a treat. Generally I’m an acoustic player though. Nothing beats the feeling of digging into silver-wound strings on a piece of old wood with a horse hair stick, coated with antique-smelling rosin.
Contributions & Live Recordings