Photo Creds: Caroline Blanke

Farmer’s Ball Fast Fives: Seal of Approval!

Co-written by Tyler Burkett and Max Bryan


Last week, local Lawrence band Seal of Approval slid on into the KJHK station and answered some sweet and epic questions about vibes, musical genres, and Lightning McQueen crocs. Check out the highlights down below and just remember: keep. it. locked!



Tyler: What kind of music do you make and who do you make it for? 


Eli: Idk how to categorize it but we make it for ourselves.


Olivia: I guess we wanna make music that may resonate with somebody, in whatever way. We want folks to be movin’ and groovin’ with it, if we can, but the dream is that the intent of our songs reaches people. We have a lot of sad songs. I think I would describe us a cathartic funk. 


Eli: Just add neo…


Olivia: neo-post-modern-funk…


Gentry: I don’t even know if funk is always the right adjective.


Eli: That’s why we add neo- if you add neo then anything goes. 


Gentry: Lawrencian neo-funk.


Eli: I just don’t think you can write music with anyone else in mind because then you’re separating the music from yourself. 


Olivia: Right. I guess that’s not the intent when writing, but definitely when performing. I guess the idea that every single line has to be original has been SUCH a block for me… I think it’s just important to write freely and express yourself. 


Tyler: Imagine one of your three missing bandmates and answer this question as if you’re them. 


Gentry: I’ll be Sean. 


Olivia: I’ll be Connor.


Eli: I’ll be Zack.


Tyler: What non-musical attributes do you bring to your songwriting and music? We’ll start with you zack. Lots of drummers have said “I’m just the drummer” what do you bring? 


Eli/Zack: Well that’s fundamentally a lie. Even if you seem like what you’re doing is boring compared to everything else but that just makes it more important because if you don’t do the boring right then everything else will sound like shit. What Zack does really well is he’ll take what the band is trying to do and make it sound good. I can do the worst thing i’ve ever played but as long as i’m hooking up with zack it sounds good. 


Olivia and Gentry: AYOO?


Olivia: He would never say that, he would say like “I provide the grounding, I provide the foundation for others to improvise over” and we’re like no you need to go ham. 


Eli: Maybe the other drummers say they play drums because they’re a drum machine but he’s on level grounding with everyone else. 


Tyler: Connor and Sean, what do you bring? 


Gentry/Sean: I bring toys. Lightning McQueen crocs. Transformers. 


Olivia/Connor: Connor, Sean, and Zack bring HUGE HUGE HUGE vibes. Stage presence. 


Eli: I forgot non-musical. 


Olivia: Oh yeah… Zack brings grounding. For Connor, Sean, and Zack, they have never allowed me a moment to be anxious on stage because of the presence they bring. It comes with how they carry themselves, knowing that no matter what we’re doing they know we’re there to play music. No matter what we’re doing, we know we’re being accurate to ourselves, not putting fronts up over ourselves.


Eli: Sean, talk about yourself more.


Gentry/Sean: Not only do I bring toys… and a love for hello kitty…. *long pause*


Olivia: I would say they ground us.


Tyler: Back to you guys. So if the backline is bringing the vibes.. What are yall bringing? 


Eli: Unrivaled mental chaos. 


Tyler: Expand on that!


Eli: How do you describe something that is indescribably non-repetitive and constantly evolving?


Gentry: What’s a word for that? Capricious. 


T: So they provide a good vibe so you three can do whatever you want?


Olivia: Yeah we can just get more melodic with things and convey emotions. Only Connor is chordal so it’s like building textures. We’re like… less busy. 


Eli: Our rhythm section can sound good on anything so our writing stays pretty simple. Me and Gentry are the ones that inject a little bit of “what the fuck just happened”. 


Olivia: Making things unique and interesting. 


Gentry: I feel like I bring things like comedic relief, not just in Zombies, but the way I act on stage… when I mouth the lyrics along with Olivia.


Olivia: I feel like we build on each other the most. 


Gentry: Eli’s always reminding me what the lines are because I’m always forgetting them.


Olivia: We’re the ones that have to build the most, add the passion, convey the most. My job is the lyrical component and the emotional component, ensuring that the stuff I write fits well with these guys.


Gentry: I feel like our music is like an extension of our personalities. The music we bring aligns with us on a personal level.


Olivia: You can’t separate them. 


Max: So you would say you cannot separate the artist from the art?

Olivia: Yeah. I firmly believe that. I feel like whatever music you’re putting out should align with yourself. If you’re having to do that, there’s a problem.


Eli: I feel like I can do that as a listener but not with the music I make.


Olivia: Seal Of Approval is like the most accurate version of ourselves.


Eli: This is kind of why we don’t stick to a super strict genre, we make what we want. 


Olivia: It’s kind of like thinking how can I use my classical and jazz training to imitate an Olivia Rodrigo song.


Tyler. One last question: What’s the meaning of life? Tap into your alter egos for this one as well.


Olivia: Connor would say- Connor has this saying where he pretends he’s a white suburban mom talking to a child misbehaving “you get one toy, one candy, and one fidget”. I can’t say that… but It’s getting my mind rolling. Connor would say to play music and be yourself. 


Tyler: And also one toy… one candy… one fidget.


Eli: For me, i just like to think of keeping the sewage line that is my creativity open to the public because there’s definitely someone out there that likes what i’m doing even if I don’t.


Olivia: As Olivia.. I would say it’s to be the most honest representation and version of yourself as possible and be kind to others while doing so.


Gentry: Sean would say sharing the interesting things you love with the people you love. 


Olivia: And he would say “and to be funky” at the end. Zack would say something similar. I think he would say to keep it real and be yourself. We still need a Gentry. 


Tyler: top us all off. 


Gentry: I don’t know.


Tyler. That’s it. I don’t know?


Eli: life is just a constant relay of stimulations being sent to our neurons to the fat blob of flesh in our heads.


Tyler: Life is like a basketball.


Gentry: Exactly.



Get ready to rock out and rock on with Seal of Approval and the other bands this Friday, April 26th at Liberty Hall! Doors are @7pm and music starts @8pm! Get there between 7pm and 8pm to receive a voting wristband. Stay the entire time to vote for your top 4 favorite acts to advance to the Finals, which are Saturday, April 27th!