Southern Utah has its own set of Olson twins in music duo Projekt Listen, an “energetic, earthy girl band” that tells stories through their music.
Who is Projekt Listen?
Brielle and Ari Olson are twins who say they try to use music as a language, each focusing on melody or lyrics and bringing the two together to form a perfect whole. Growing up in a musically inclined family on their mother’s side, the Olsons have had music in their blood from the start, Brielle said.
Both turned to music as children and started playing guitar and singing at an early age. They performed at several talent shows and began to find their groove in the music world.
During their senior year at Tuacahn High School in Ivins, they began to hone their craft.
“That’s when we started playing our music and finishing our songs,” Brielle said. “I had never finished a song before going to this school.”
Although both write music for the band, Brielle mostly focuses on lyrics and ukulele while Ari works on melodies. They often jam in the basement and just work on whatever comes out, but they also try to use their feelings to piece together a story to tell through their songs. Projekt Listen’s goal is not to become big and famous, but rather to use music as a means of communicating with people and with themselves, they said.
“It’s like a story of different things, like different things a person can feel when they’re going through something, and it can literally be anything,” Brielle said. “This song that we’re recording – it’s called ‘Blackbear’ – was a story that I actually created when I was kind of living inside my car and how it was like quiet chaos. I wanted to be able to somehow describe this calm calamity.”
How Projekt Listen was born
As children and still today, Ari and Brielle struggle to fully express what they want to say, and music made them feel seen and heard. Projekt Listen also has another message and it’s in the title: just listen.
“The melody is the part that makes me feel seen, because it’s so beautiful,” Ari said. “It’s also like, that’s kind of the point of Projekt Listen. We all spend a lot of time talking and we don’t spend enough time listening.”
The Olsons’ mother encouraged them from an early age to listen to others and they used this to influence their music and their lives.
Projekt Listen’s music is inspired by many artists and although the twins share a love of music, their inspiration and musical tastes differ. Brielle was very focused on pop-punk and grew up listening to bands like My Chemical Romance, We Came as Romans and Florence and the Machine. Ari has always been drawn to rock music of all kinds and heavy metal bands like Slipknot, she said.
Their own music, however, is very different. With Ari on guitar and Brielle on ukulele, Projekt Listen create soulful sounds and blend seamlessly as they perform in front of crowds in southern Utah, seeking to create a unique combination of emotion and perspective.
“That’s what I want to do. That’s why I’m working so hard right now is because I probably want to for the rest of my life,” Ari said. just making music, and then the aspect of connecting with people. If people really feel that way, then I feel like I did my job in a certain way.”
In their personal lives, Brille and Ari are different creatures, one outgoing and the other introverted. Ari works part-time to support them both while Brielle is a “vegan stay-at-home mom,” she said. Both are very environmentally conscious and have a unique style, not only in their music, but also in their clothing.
“We’re both very observant,” Brielle said. “Like, we both love our morning meditations. We both love our breath, you know. And so, that has something to do with why we’re kind of able to really connect.”
The two said they connected not just as twins, but as two people consciously trying to be on another level with each other and with their music.
Projekt Listen will perform Saturday, May 28 at Mike’s Tavern in Cedar City from 9 p.m. to midnight. Their first single, Blackbear, will be released on all streaming platforms in June.
To follow Projekt Listen, visit www.instagram.com/projektlisten.
Elle Cabrera covers the latest news and topics. Please help us continue to produce this content at thespectrum.com/subscribe.