By: Isabelle Flener
Godfrey, IL-based indie rock/folk duo Bill’s Problem, consisting of Natalie O’Rando (she/her) on vocals and Wyatt Heflin (he/they) on vocals and guitar, has gained attention for their experimental harmonies and singer-songwriter focus.
Heflin explained, “The idea for us to write together was something we had discussed for a while. We knew we worked well together from playing together in ensembles and that we would have a lot of fun recording songs together after we recorded her feature on my other band’s album.”
Bill’s Problem came to fruition at the beginning of the 2022 Fall semester.
“To Emalee” was the first song we completed together as Bill’s Problem,” said Heflin. “It is about when I went to visit my friend Emalee at Blackburn College last summer. We were good friends in high school, but it had been a while since we had been able to hang out together. I felt this deep sense of nostalgia seeing how much we had both grown as people and it was a nice moment.”
The duo performs a range of songs, including “Nothing Good Ever Comes from Ohio,” a personal account of O’Rando’s abusive relationship. “I got stuck taking care of his daughter I had developed an emotional connection with, I did not want to leave her with him. He used to always say that nothing good comes from Ohio– including him, he grew up there. I wanted to play “Your Dog” by Soccer Mommy because I feel like I have been put in so many situations where family members, friends, partners, etc. tried to use me and make me do things I do not really want to do. The lyrics of this song really resonate with that feeling I have.”
I wrote “Falling in Love at the Oddities Museum” about a very lovely date my boyfriend and I went on when we first started getting serious,” said Heflin. “He loves haunted stuff, so I took him to the Mineral Springs Hotel in Alton, and he lost his mind. He was so unabashedly himself; he had the brightest smile on his face talking about cursed items and serial killers. I love him so much and I loved writing about when I first knew it. “Some Things Last a Long Time” was originally written by Daniel Johnston but we plan to record our own version of it for our album. The song really resonated with the themes I have noticed throughout our songs regarding the transience of life, noticing the small things in all that we do.”
The band name, “Bill’s Problem” was a problem itself to decide. Natalie and Wyatt played with a few ideas before deciding.
“We originally wanted to call ourselves “Car Trouble”. Right after Natalie ran away from home her car broke down in the middle of the parking lot outside of Gilman Hall, she had a whole bunch of groceries with her and there was smoke everywhere and it was just a nightmare,” said Heflin. However, they discovered that multiple other bands had already claimed the name. After experimenting with translating “car trouble” into Swedish, they landed on “bilproblemar,” which led them to “Bill’s Problem.”
Fans of the duo can keep an eye out for upcoming concerts and musical events by contacting the Lewis and Clark Music Department at 618-468-4731.