Wednesday, 23 March 2011

oOoOO interview

An interview I did with the band oOoOO last autumn, as featured in SuperSuper Magazine Issue 22.

Looking at the band name and the hidden identities of the band members, it’s apparent that fostering a sense of mystery is important to oOoOO. What is it that appeals to you about remaining anonymous? 

I've just never liked band names.  The intention of oOoOO was to not have one, to whatever extent that's possible, but it didn't really work the way I'd hoped because I'm always getting asked about what it means, or how it’s pronounced.  Anonymity leaves open a lot of possibilities… the whole point of defining/naming something is so that it can be set aside and forgotten about.  

So… to clear it up once and for all, and prevent any future questions on it… how do you actually pronounce the name?!

I don’t know… I think right now it’s ‘oh’, but I've told people that it’s ‘ooooo’ before.  It’s subjective.

oOoOO has two band members, right? Have you worked out a live 'performance' set up for the band, or is it more of a recording project?

Originally, it was just me, setting up a recording project.  Now, we’re working on a live set, which is going to be two of us.  We’re playing our first show in a couple of weeks and hopefully are coming to the UK for a week of shows in October.  

The production of your music forms a big part of the sound. Do you feel pressured to play live, or is it a natural progression? 

We kind of feel pressured to do it… it feels like there is this idea out there that you're not a serious act unless you are playing shows. 

How do you feel about the idea of personal fame, is it ever a worthwhile pursuit? Do you feel you could you ever be comfortable with it?

I like the idea of creating something that becomes famous; knowing that I am the creator of something that everyone is aware of.  But I'm not particularly interested in being a famous person… I'd much rather have the respect of the handful of people I think do amazing things, than the adoration of everyone else.

Do you like pop music? Would you say you ever aspire to make it?

Yeah, I love pop music.  For the past six months or so I'd say eighty per cent of what I listen to is pop, radio-ready hip hop, R n’ B… that sort of thing.  I'd really like to make music that uses a lot of sounds from current pop, but is darker on the surface, and uses a looser song structure.

Is there ever an argument that for something to justify its existence it should be essentially 'relevant', and aware of the context in which it exists? Would you say this was ever the case for you?  

Kind of… I don't really have an interest in anything ‘retro’; it’s inevitable to incorporate the past into the present to a certain extent, but I don't understand the drive to just redo the past.  Why put the effort into recording the songs?  Why not just relax and listen to the ones someone else made better 30 years ago?  

That said, when someone like Ariel Pink makes music that sounds like it’s coming out of an AM radio in 1976, there's something amazing going on. Its not retro at all, he's allowing people to hear something that's existed on an unconscious level for like thirty-five years in a conscious way for the first time.  It’s like he’s saying, "There's been a ghost in our songs for all these years and you guys didn't even hear it.  Let me show you."  That's a totally relevant way to approach the past.  

Culture is super conservative right now, especially in America; hardly any artists are doing anything new at all, and revolution is the last thing on peoples’ minds. There's hardly anything that can really be said to be edgy. People who want to be ‘punk’ in 2010 would have hated it in 1977 - they'd have been listening to Peter Frampton.

To my ears some of your music could be seen as a digital take on ‘90's Trip Hop. Would you say that was a fair comment, or is it merely incidental?

No, it’s a spot on comparison. I grew up listening to all that stuff, Portishead, Tricky.  PJ Harvey's trip-hoppish record ‘Is This Desire?’ is one of my favourite records from when I was young.  

Is music a legitimate career these days (i.e. something that will pay the bills)?

Not the kind I makeut I'm not really qualified to do anything that actually does pay the bills, so fuck it.

Video: oOoOO 'Hearts'

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