I’m Oli Frost, the guy who makes novelty songs about the climate crisis (involving vampires, pirates, aliens, and so on). Greta Thunberg danced the macarena to one of them. AMA!
Hey, I'm Oli, I mostly make novelty songs about the climate crisis, which you can find here https://olifro.st/.
You’ll also find my past projects, which have featured everywhere from UK Parliament to Britain’s Got Talent, BBC to Fox News, in art shows, and on bins.
Ask me anything! Have you always wondered what it's like to play the recorder for Simon Cowell? Now's your chance…
If you wanted to see what I'm doing next, it’d be great if you subscribed to my YouTube – I’ve got the smallest audience there, but the work looks better. Or follow me anywhere else.
I've done things for different groups at different times.
Probably most significantly I made a series of posters for various groups and events, like the Global Climate Strike, Fridays for Future, Extinction Rebellion.
The tone was a bit different to what you'd usually get, and they went down surprisingly well.
At the moment, I do regular work for Greenpeace, making videos for their channels.
Judging by the mentions of geo-engineering and the book "False Alarm" it seems fair to assume there's a few climate "skeptics" on Reddit. Either that or people with strong opinions on copywriting and graphic design.
An interest in geo engineering doesn't make you a climate change denier.
Sorry you’re right. It is sometimes, but not always, paired with a view that denies we should deal with the causes of climate change.
Dismissing/opposing geo engineering seems a bit irresponsible. It reminds me a bit of anti nuclear power extremism and Germany burning coal for >30% of their energy, which is far, far worse than nuclear.
Shouldn't we care more about efficacy than ideological purity? It's way too late in the game, and the stakes are too high.
I wouldn't dismiss it for ideological purity, I'd dismiss it for being extraordinarily risky.
Your thoughts on ducks?
I appreciate ducks. But I once did a food waste campaign playfully suggesting you should feed bread to them, which is apparently very much not accurate.
I’m genuinely curious about the time you catfished as a lass. What’s the story there?
Well short version is that in 2018 I made a service that helped you fake a more perfect online life. When I was testing it, I made a number of accounts using the photos on the site. One of them was a married woman with kids
Then a man named Yogesh slid into my DMs and we spoke intimately for several months
Jeeeez man well this Article/advertisement is uh, well it's something.
Last month I launched Lifefaker, the online life faking service. It let you take stranger’s photos, and post them as your own. To test the idea, I started a few accounts of my own. There was Oli Foster, an unsettled London artist. And Deliciously Anna, an entrepreneur, food lover, and mum of two. The profiles started to become more popular than my real self. I felt loved like never before. And then “Yogesh”, a man from India, slid into my DMs. We spoke intimately for three months. And then he was gone. That was the last ‘Hi’ Yogesh ever sent. And although my account was fake, the regret was real. Because with every ‘Hi’ I’d felt something. ‘Hi’ said ‘I’m here’ ‘Hi’ said ‘You’re wanted’. ‘Hi’ said ‘Send nudes Anna, you’re beautiful’. So when the tears had dried, an idea came to me. I logged onto my other fake account, Oli Foster, and slid myself a DM. Myself as Anna now speaks with myself as Oli Foster almost every night. Just like how I spoke with Yogesh. Because it doesn’t always matter if love is real or fake. As long as you have a convincing illusion of it. Visit Lifefaker.com and sign up for a fake profile today
Don’t say his name 😢
So, you a socialist?
Real answer: Yes I am a socialist vampire working to push evil socialist policies
Made up answer: I probably wouldn't say socialist - I think the term is sometimes used to make fairly popular and agreeable policies sound scary. Scary like vampire.
How long does it take for you to make a novelty song about climate crisis?
How did you got on britians got talent? Did you get asked by a producer or someone else?
How was it backstage on britians got talent?
I've been trying to get the time down, but it's around a month …or two. The idea and lyrics take up a long time. Then trying to figure out a new genre. Doing a new voice. Then the videos have sometimes got quite elaborate. Although once I had the lyrics done, the demo version of The Vampire Conspiracy happened in one quite intense week leading up to halloween.
Britain's Got Talent as Recorda Boi, I applied with an online form when I was "bored" one Sunday afternoon, and to my surprise got a call back. This year though I did get asked by a producer who wanted me to play The Greta Thunberg Song. I spent a few weeks rehearsing but dropped out at the last minute.
Backstage, all the performers looked incredibly nervous. There's a lot of interviews and extra footage to do. There is a little bit of pushing you to be this or that. They didn't really have me ear marked as a serious contender though, so I got off quite easily.
Where did you bury the gold?
You know where the big X is?
What are your plans for future songs or projects? And is there anything you wanted to do but couldn’t for some reason?
I want to do a song about ninjas but I can't make it work. How did ninjas talk? What kind of music do they make? They famously make no sound. What do we know about them other than that they use shurikens?
Hi so do u make money from all and if not how do u make a living?
Real answer: As vampire I'm able to live affordably by feasting on free range organic humans.
Made up answer: More recently I'm lucky enough to make some money from streaming services and Patreon, along with some freelance work I do for Greenpeace. I don't really want to go down the route of jingles for brands, so hopefully I'll be able to grow those things over time.
I applied to be your friend but you haven't gotten back to me yet, and that's made me very sad. I hope we can be friends. My question is, how do you choose what projects to do to help with your mission? Is it more about making sure more people know or more about getting people to do things? Or both?
Hey! I'm so sorry I haven't got back to you. I received a high number of applications and had to outsource replies to an AI We must become friends!
For each song, I usually pick a thing about climate change I think is poorly understood, and combine that with a character or world I think I'd enjoy making a song in, and would make sense for it. Actually I usually assume people know climate change is a problem, but maybe want to know more about how to respond to it.
Are you vegan? If yes, for the environment or the animals? If not, why not?
I'll come back later and give this a longer answer but in short…
For the environment, and more recently, for the animals
Also, on one occasion I gave up cheese for likes
Good to hear. Waiting for the long answer as I would like to know what changed recently. Thanks.
When you gave up cheese were you already vegan?
The long answer is I was a flexitarian, then a flexigan (flexible vegan), then a pizzatarian (nothing but the occasional pizza). Nothing changed recently other than choosing to think more about the other side of things more.
Isn't climate change a conspiracy made up by socialist vampires to push policies?
Yes… true. Mwahahahaaa.
There should be some more Vampire Conspiracy related things later this year.
Side note… I'm looking for someone to come up with a plant-based recipe for free-range organic human blood. Like a beetroot smoothie?
Outside of writing music/instructional videos, and sleeping in your coffin, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Coffin decorating, blood mocktails, bat watching
If a woodchuck could chuck wood, would that be bad for the environment?
I addressed this many years ago
The question is not “How Much Wood Could A Wood Chuck Chuck If A Wood Chuck Could Chuck Wood?”
It is how much wood should he chuck if he means to go on chucking for many years to come.
How did you come up with the idea for the vampire conspiracy?
And, a question for the vampire if you would be so kind.
Do you prefer a specific blood type or do you just like any free range, organic blood?
Real answer: Because I'm a vampire and it's true
Made up answer: The Vampire Conspiracy was originally a song about communists, conspiring to push climate change. Then the communists become socialists, and the socialists become vampires.
Really it came from two thoughts. The first was the way fairly popular agreeable policies get labelled as socialist in order to make them scary. The other was that the evil plots of people 'pushing climate change' didn't really seem that evil.
Have you read Bjorn Lomborg's False Alarm? Great book if you ask me.
I read some of it recently. And while I think it makes some interesting arguments, they have some serious inaccuracies (namely, underplaying the cost of climate impacts, and overplaying the cost of avoiding them)
What did you have for breakfast this morning?
Marmite toast. If you tell me what you had for breakfast, I can tell you how you die from climate change
Hi Oli! I just discovered your work from this AMA and it's really really cool! You've obviously done a brilliant job using your music to reach a ton of people who care about what you care about (climate change). I'm a much less far along musician, but I'd like to do something similar with mental health! So I have 3 questions about your experience sharing novelty music with the world:
- What would you say has been one of your biggest wastes of time and money?
- What would you never ever want to do again? (Not necessarily the same as a big waste - maybe something was a really crappy experience even though it was effective)
- If you were to start over with your project, what's something you would do more of?
Nice idea! Sorry I don't have better answers
- Wastes of money: buying second-hand trousers for a costume, when you're only going to film your face mostly. I had a striking set of shiny silver slacks for my alien costume in the last video, which you never really saw
- What would I never do again: Make a largely non-sensical song just to announce you're doing an AMA
- If I could start over I'd say that making a three minute sad song about santa having a mental breakdown because of his role in consumerism was not a good time length or pace for social media.
I really like your songs, have you ever thought of having nudity in them in order to increase views?
Yes, I am actually doing a song with that this year. It's my cheapest costume ever.
And lowest carbon footprint
I get them second hand mostly. But yes. And the lowest carbon footprint.
Will you ever sing live/do a theatre show? I would love to hear the vampire song live.
That's what I'm slowly working as of this year. There's a chance I might be playing a festival in the summer. Are you in the UK?
First of all - I love what you're doing! Your songs are very funny and for a great cause.
What's your favourite song out of everything you've done so far? And can we get an idea of what's next up?
Probably The Vampire Conspiracy but I can't help be swayed by the response it got.
I probably spend longer making tracks like The Dragon of Climate Change, because it's harder to get your head around arranging a song with instruments you previously knew nothing about. The medieval era was really short on bass guitars.
This year I'm writing several songs at once, rather than one a time (for my sanity). Which is why it's taking a bit longer. The next song is going to be… magical 🌈
How did you come up with the idea to write novelty songs to bring awareness to climate change?
In a way I didn't. I originally wrote a song with a lot of things rhyming with Greta. Then one about pirates. Then I liked doing it, so I did it many more times.
But for more context, I was already releasing videos around the climate at the time, and had in the past tried my hand at novelty music. So it was nice to be able to bring them together.
How close do you think the worlds imminent end is because climate change? And what can individuals do to prevent it?
And if you have the time: What’s the biggest climate hoax you’ve come across.
Hoaxes, I see a lot of them. Recently I saw someone suggest that because regenerative farming has some positive effects we should cover the earth in livestock. I also like the vague one that goes 'governments are pushing climate change to make money'. When in truth, governments are doing relatively little to push climate policies, compared to what's needed.
That’s made me think of a new question: What’s something people can do to avoid being misinformed about climate change
Well I have an answer to this but it's problematic. I'd read a book. Because I think trying to piece together a picture from newspaper headlines is deeply confusing.
The downside of this is that every book I've read has given some kind of slant to the issue. The best exception I can come up with is Mike Berners Lee, whose writing is not too dry either.
Getting a rough sense for how much carbon different things use is also helpful for detecting which things might be nonsense. Like when someone says "The problem isn't cats! It's dogs!"
Is communist vampires’a melody from somewhere else? I love it and can’t help feeling I have heard it before, at least the start
We sometimes mesmerise humans and bring them to our lair. Maybe it was playing on the hi-fi when you were in?
What tools do you use to make music? Specifically software and hardware wise.
Logic Pro, and all the usual suspects for plug-ins: Soundtoys, Arturia, Native Instruments, and so on.
Hows Wendy doing?
Wendy, the wind turbine that I'm marrying.
She wants all her bridesmaids, who are also wind turbines, to be in white.
I've been arguing that this ain't traditional
What’s the one thing you wish everyone would learn/know?
When you go to the shops to buy… I don't know… a salad?… you have a pretty good idea of what that costs and what things would be more or less expensive than that.
By contrast, most are pretty bad at doing the same for greenhouse gas emissions. And I think that would be pretty useful for working out what industries we need to change most, not just for buying salad.
Which chords do you think are most effective in fighting climate change?
All chords. I believe key changes are necessary to fight climate change.
When will AI make you even more useless?
You know we already have bots that can troll? They don’t even need AI to work.
One of my favourite songs you made was the dragon of climate change and I was just wondering where you got your inspiration for it?
I think that song started off the back of my strong desire to wear a muffin hat.
Some years ago when I was playing hip-hop on a recorder as Recorda Boi I had a related idea to play popular songs on a lute (as it turns out though, lutes are expensive).
Then more recently 'bardcore' happened (medieval covers of Shakira, and so on) and the idea of doing something medieval came up again, which melded with some books I was reading at the time.
Do you think younger generations in power will make it easier for climate change? Also what software do you work on?
Well the current generation, at least in UK politics, are barely making any sense. So I hope so. But it seems too far off to hold out for.
I use Logic Pro and Final Cut!
I LOVE your work, and want to be able to share it with the educators I work with. Many work with students under the age of 12, so I was wondering if you currently have any videos appropriate for younger audiences, or if you plan to? I work with US educators, so the rules about what can be shown in the classroom are pretty strict, but I would love to have your videos as a resource since they are so engaging!
Oh that would be great. I suppose the friendliest and most educational is The Greenhouse Gas Emissions Breakdown, even if it’s not the most fun. Suspicious kids might see through the chorus “Science and learning can be so much fun” though
Is it bad that I thought your name was Oil for a second? (I think it's time to check my eyes!)
Yes it’s a serious concern for me
What is your favorite snack?
Toast by day. Museli in a cup by night (find it easier to wash up).
Just kidding… the best snack is delicious free-range organic humans 🧛
Recorda Boi (Grades 3 - 4) is really just sheet music repeating the same two or three notes over and over again. It’s free on my Ko-Fi page
Can you do a song about blocking out the sun to reflect the suns rays?
Stratospheric Aerosolized Injections are said to be performed to limit sun light and temperature rise. But Chem Trails might be easier to rhyme with...
NASA here describing the concept
this Cambridge paper is very detailed on SAI and how current practices are imperfect.
Geoengineering? Like a song making fun of it?
Is it more environmentally friendly to go vegan/vegetarian than having a carnivore diet? I'm thinking of changing my diet and was wondering how much help I'm going to be for the climate
Yes, it’s more efficient to simply eat plants than give them to an animal first - so it uses a lot less land and water, and produces fewer emissions.
But besides being more humane and healthier, it’s also just tastier. I have no regrets about switching, and wish you the best of luck with it.
hi oli! i dont expect you to remember me from tiktok but im that one fan who did fanart of the vampire conspiracy song (taxcity6) ! i have a few questions:
1 how are the vampires doing since we now know their plans. (i hope they are ok)
2 why and how did u find out alien need cows to watch them when they procreate (ik u talked about alien disguised as farmers but how did u find it out)
3 how have u been? like would young you expect the path your life took?
4 what is your favorite color? (mine is green)
5 do u prefear odd or even numbers ( i prefear even numbers )
6 how many socks do u have. not pairs, socks ( i needed a even number of questions SORRY)
Ah here you are. Six questions? Ok.
- They're actually super stoked (not staked) about the response to the song. A number of people have been coming forward and volunteering themselves as familiars and saying it sounds like a great trade for their blood
- I got abducted once and they told me. Well, my probe told me. It speaks to me.
- This is a very deep question and I don't know how to answer it. It's yes and no.
- Probably blue. I know that's boring. I also like grey. (I know that's more exciting)
- I probably prefer even numbers because the maths is easy, but I think odd numbers are more arty?
- Socks are a big topic for me. I think have seven to ten pairs, all the same colour. I recently had an idea for a long-lasting sock brand called 'Unholey Socks'. And they would be sort of satanic themed. It's just a thought.
Will you be at Extinction Rebellion’s upcoming “Big One” April 21-24? https://extinctionrebellion.uk/the-big-one/
I've been asked to maybe play on the stage there
Ahoy!!! Long time follower, secret admirer, and devotee. Did you go to school for environmental science? Science communication? I've always been curious about any academic background you have!
I had a "science dad" so I learnt all the words to Tom Lehrer's periodic table song at an early age - something probably started there. But my degree was in analytic philosophy, and climate change is something I've studied since then.
My most recent reading area has been climate change communication – what angles are actually convincing or motivating to people (there are some good books by George Marshall and Rebecca Huntley)
Would you rather the planet heated up by 5 degrees or cooled down by 10?
I actually haven't read broadly on the topic of global cooling. Haven't needed to for some reason.
I'd rather civilisation be encased in a block of ice for future civilisations to discover, than razed to the ground tho.
If the climate hadn’t changed, then we would still be in the ice age. Why is this a crisis now and not just the earth doing its thing?
A slow natural change in climate might allow species to adapt and survive. The rate of warming we’re seeing now is much faster than natural cycles. That’s humans doing their thing.
Which corporations should I mail-bomb (or less drastically boycott) to help the climate the most?
Should we go email because it uses less resources, or do you think physical mail will have enough cut through to make it worth it?
Hey oli! I keep seeing this troll on your server who worships meat. Why is he still in the server?
Is that troll you by any chance?
What? No! Of course not! I'm-I mean he's not smart enough to do such a thing!
(In all seriousness, I apologise for any inconvenience caused by my shitty behaviour. I muted the plant eating channel so that I won't respond to anything posted there)
Oh thank you. I was thinking I was going to have to make a special carnist role. But I didn't want to embed it in your identity.
Do you ever feel hopeless? As in, we're doomed no matter what you, me, Greta or anyone does.
Sometimes! When I haven't had lunch.
Do you belong to any global activist organizations? (I.e. 350.org, extinction rebellion, others?)
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