Operation Every Band

OEB’s 5 SXSW Q’s – The Audreys
Hometown: Adelaide, Australia
OEB 2013 SXSW Review

Last night, Australian blues-pop band The Audreys previewed a couple of new tracks for the first time in their hometown of Adelaide, Australia, a glimmer of what is to come as they get ready to put the awaited follow-up to Sometimes the Stars on tape.  Gifted vocalist Taasha Coates took a few minutes to share a little bit about the journey from then to now as The Audreys prep to make the long, but hopefully exciting and successful, trip to Austin.

Even though it’s been a few years, I’d like to start with your latest full-length, 2010’s Sometimes The Stars.  Compared to your earlier records, I get a sense of more of a move towards jazz and soul versus standard pop/rock orientations.  Was this a conscious decision to try some new tones out or is this the evolution of The Audreys?
These days we try really hard not to make any conscious decisions about how our music’s going to sound because every time we’ve done that it’s ended up sounding lousy. The surprise success of our first record left us quite stressed about our follow up. That was a hard record to make. Arduous, depressing. But then it went and did well also, so by the time we got to our third record we felt more confident and freer to do what we wanted. We also found ourselves without a band, so it was just Tristan and I and our producer and that was also a very liberating thing. We brought in other musicians from all different genres to play on the tracks, so some of them ended up going in really unexpected directions. That probably explains the new sounds you hear.

Is there new music on the horizon for The Audreys?  Any ‘next steps’ you’ve taken musically since Sometimes the Stars?
Yes we’ve written a new record, although we haven’t had a chance to record it yet. That’s top of our list when we get back from SXSW. I took a year off to have a baby, hence the gap between this record and our last. Just in case you were wondering! I don’t know yet if there will be any next steps sonically, that will happen in the studio, but I can tell you I’m very excited about the new songs we’ve written. They’re our best yet I think. We only have short sets at SXSW, but we’ll try to fit in at least one or two new songs.

Your vocals are some of the strongest on the crowded SXSW roster.  Is this a natural tone or have you studied music formally?
Wow, thank you! Yes I studied Jazz Vocals at the Conservatorium of Music in Adelaide, South Australia, but I don’t think I really learnt to sing there. Not in any real or original way anyway. I found my voice by doing gigs and writing songs.

Have you lined up your SXSW dance card yet?  What’s on deck for your trip to Austin – anything particular you are looking to get out of the conference this year?
We’d love to come back to the States and do some shows once our new record is ready, so we are wanting to chat to labels and agents and see if we can form some partnerships to make that happen. We are also keeping our options open about a producer for our new record, just in case we meet someone awesome and really hit it off musically.

Have you had a chance to check out the SXSW roster yet?  Any artists you are hoping to catch yourself this trip?
We decided to do a bunch of shows before we headed to Austin so we were match fit for our showcases, which has been terrific but very time consuming. So while I sit and answer these questions my band-mate Tristan is sitting opposite me scanning the line up for acts we should go and see. Oops! So here goes: firstly I’d like to mention ALL the Aussie acts who are playing because we’ll try to get out and support them as much as we can. And we’re also keen on Jenny O because she sounds like Carole King jamming with JJ Cale, Canadian singer/songwriter Wake Owl, and Austin locals and troublemakers Lord Buffalo.

OEB’s 5 SXSW Q’s – The Audreys

Hometown: Adelaide, Australia

OEB 2013 SXSW Review


Last night, Australian blues-pop band The Audreys previewed a couple of new tracks for the first time in their hometown of Adelaide, Australia, a glimmer of what is to come as they get ready to put the awaited follow-up to Sometimes the Stars on tape.  Gifted vocalist Taasha Coates took a few minutes to share a little bit about the journey from then to now as The Audreys prep to make the long, but hopefully exciting and successful, trip to Austin.


Even though it’s been a few years, I’d like to start with your latest full-length, 2010’s Sometimes The Stars.  Compared to your earlier records, I get a sense of more of a move towards jazz and soul versus standard pop/rock orientations.  Was this a conscious decision to try some new tones out or is this the evolution of The Audreys?

These days we try really hard not to make any conscious decisions about how our music’s going to sound because every time we’ve done that it’s ended up sounding lousy. The surprise success of our first record left us quite stressed about our follow up. That was a hard record to make. Arduous, depressing. But then it went and did well also, so by the time we got to our third record we felt more confident and freer to do what we wanted. We also found ourselves without a band, so it was just Tristan and I and our producer and that was also a very liberating thing. We brought in other musicians from all different genres to play on the tracks, so some of them ended up going in really unexpected directions. That probably explains the new sounds you hear.


Is there new music on the horizon for The Audreys?  Any ‘next steps’ you’ve taken musically since Sometimes the Stars?

Yes we’ve written a new record, although we haven’t had a chance to record it yet. That’s top of our list when we get back from SXSW. I took a year off to have a baby, hence the gap between this record and our last. Just in case you were wondering! I don’t know yet if there will be any next steps sonically, that will happen in the studio, but I can tell you I’m very excited about the new songs we’ve written. They’re our best yet I think. We only have short sets at SXSW, but we’ll try to fit in at least one or two new songs.


Your vocals are some of the strongest on the crowded SXSW roster.  Is this a natural tone or have you studied music formally?

Wow, thank you! Yes I studied Jazz Vocals at the Conservatorium of Music in Adelaide, South Australia, but I don’t think I really learnt to sing there. Not in any real or original way anyway. I found my voice by doing gigs and writing songs.


Have you lined up your SXSW dance card yet?  What’s on deck for your trip to Austin – anything particular you are looking to get out of the conference this year?

We’d love to come back to the States and do some shows once our new record is ready, so we are wanting to chat to labels and agents and see if we can form some partnerships to make that happen. We are also keeping our options open about a producer for our new record, just in case we meet someone awesome and really hit it off musically.


Have you had a chance to check out the SXSW roster yet?  Any artists you are hoping to catch yourself this trip?

We decided to do a bunch of shows before we headed to Austin so we were match fit for our showcases, which has been terrific but very time consuming. So while I sit and answer these questions my band-mate Tristan is sitting opposite me scanning the line up for acts we should go and see. Oops! So here goes: firstly I’d like to mention ALL the Aussie acts who are playing because we’ll try to get out and support them as much as we can. And we’re also keen on Jenny O because she sounds like Carole King jamming with JJ Cale, Canadian singer/songwriter Wake Owl, and Austin locals and troublemakers Lord Buffalo.

OEB’s 5 SXSW Q’s – Amtrac
Hometown: Louisville, KY
OEB 2013 SXSW Review

On Thursday night, Amtrac grabbed a key spot for his SXSW showcase at Haven, squeezing brilliantly between OEB favorites Anna Lunoe and The Crystal Method.  I’m imagining the Louisville-based artist will drop some tracks from his latest EP The Scheme, but for now Amtrac checked in with OEB to discuss his past, including reminiscing on his first art show gig in Indiana, drawing sonic influence from John Carpenter and Stanley Kubrick’s films and what songs turned him onto electronic music growing up.

SXSW is a fairly big stage, difficult to reach without first conquering smaller ones.  Do you remember your first true live DJ set?  What details if any stand out?  ”True” as opposed to, say, playing for three friends in your dorm room.  ”True” as in where multiple strangers were watching and listening to your performance.
Yea man, I’m excited for SXSW! I can’t really recall my first ever DJ gig. I do remember the first real live electronic set I had though. It was an open house art show at Big Car in Indiana where the top floor had some electronic acts performing, along with live visuals being projected on the wall. I had about 7 different pieces of equipment, some running samples, synth sounds and a laptop to keep everything together. Now I’ve kind of just simplified that setup – ha!
Do you or did you ever spin vinyl records?  How does the technological arms race make life easier or more difficult for you, in either capacity, as DJ or producer?
I actually started DJ’ing with vinyl. I had a pretty decent collection of drum & bass given to me from an old friend, along with another 1,200 to boot!  I mixed in some old rock records & tinkered with those for a year or so. I still love digging & sampling records, my "Hey There Kiddo" Mixtape consisted mostly of all sample-based production, given a few synths here and there. I don’t think vinyl is ever going to go away, it’s still awesome to be able to hold music in your hands. I feel more connected with what I’m listening to when I can look at the LP cover while listening.

What inspired the I’m All Yours video?  What non-musical inspirations influence your sound?
I think that video showed my affinity to John Carpenter & Stanley Kubrick’s work. I grew up watching Carpenter’s movies and being drawn to the auditory aspects of his flicks, due to the fact he directed and scored most of his films. There was always a vibe and overall sound that really connected with the visual for me. Instead of taking a more traditional approach to “I’m All Yours” I wanted to try something different, I wanted to make a separate score for the visuals. Me and the other director Corey Black drew a lot of inspiration from Kubrick’s aesthetic looking at all the shots in the video. Big fans here.

What hooked you to electronic music?  Was it a song, a video?  Did you ever experience something to the effect of: holy shit, what is this, why haven’t I heard it before, how are they making that sound, where do I get some more…
I distinctly remember seeing all of The Prodigy’s videos on MTV right when their “Fat of The Land” came out. Mix that in with some videos from The Chemical Brothers & Basement Jaxx & I was sold. I remember having to buy the “Fat of The Land" cassette twice - I wore that shit out.

Is there a particular non-music attraction/feature/site you hope to take in during your time in Texas?  Do you plan on visiting anywhere besides Austin?
I Imagine I’ll just be hanging in Austin this time around. I’m in town for about a week - looking to get into whatever I can.

Bonus Question: Have you or will you ever play a live set at the Henry Clay ballroom?  It seems like a venue that deserves some Amtrac sound.
Would love to, lets put that on the to do list.

OEB’s 5 SXSW Q’s – Amtrac

Hometown: Louisville, KY

OEB 2013 SXSW Review


On Thursday night, Amtrac grabbed a key spot for his SXSW showcase at Haven, squeezing brilliantly between OEB favorites Anna Lunoe and The Crystal Method.  I’m imagining the Louisville-based artist will drop some tracks from his latest EP The Scheme, but for now Amtrac checked in with OEB to discuss his past, including reminiscing on his first art show gig in Indiana, drawing sonic influence from John Carpenter and Stanley Kubrick’s films and what songs turned him onto electronic music growing up.


SXSW is a fairly big stage, difficult to reach without first conquering smaller ones.  Do you remember your first true live DJ set?  What details if any stand out?  ”True” as opposed to, say, playing for three friends in your dorm room.  ”True” as in where multiple strangers were watching and listening to your performance.

Yea man, I’m excited for SXSW! I can’t really recall my first ever DJ gig. I do remember the first real live electronic set I had though. It was an open house art show at Big Car in Indiana where the top floor had some electronic acts performing, along with live visuals being projected on the wall. I had about 7 different pieces of equipment, some running samples, synth sounds and a laptop to keep everything together. Now I’ve kind of just simplified that setup – ha!

Do you or did you ever spin vinyl records?  How does the technological arms race make life easier or more difficult for you, in either capacity, as DJ or producer?

I actually started DJ’ing with vinyl. I had a pretty decent collection of drum & bass given to me from an old friend, along with another 1,200 to boot!  I mixed in some old rock records & tinkered with those for a year or so. I still love digging & sampling records, my "Hey There Kiddo" Mixtape consisted mostly of all sample-based production, given a few synths here and there. I don’t think vinyl is ever going to go away, it’s still awesome to be able to hold music in your hands. I feel more connected with what I’m listening to when I can look at the LP cover while listening.


What inspired the I’m All Yours video?  What non-musical inspirations influence your sound?

I think that video showed my affinity to John Carpenter & Stanley Kubrick’s work. I grew up watching Carpenter’s movies and being drawn to the auditory aspects of his flicks, due to the fact he directed and scored most of his films. There was always a vibe and overall sound that really connected with the visual for me. Instead of taking a more traditional approach to “I’m All Yours” I wanted to try something different, I wanted to make a separate score for the visuals. Me and the other director Corey Black drew a lot of inspiration from Kubrick’s aesthetic looking at all the shots in the video. Big fans here.


What hooked you to electronic music?  Was it a song, a video?  Did you ever experience something to the effect of: holy shit, what is this, why haven’t I heard it before, how are they making that sound, where do I get some more…

I distinctly remember seeing all of The Prodigy’s videos on MTV right when their “Fat of The Land” came out. Mix that in with some videos from The Chemical Brothers & Basement Jaxx & I was sold. I remember having to buy the “Fat of The Land" cassette twice - I wore that shit out.


Is there a particular non-music attraction/feature/site you hope to take in during your time in Texas?  Do you plan on visiting anywhere besides Austin?

I Imagine I’ll just be hanging in Austin this time around. I’m in town for about a week - looking to get into whatever I can.


Bonus Question: Have you or will you ever play a live set at the Henry Clay ballroom?  It seems like a venue that deserves some Amtrac sound.

Would love to, lets put that on the to do list.

OEB’s 5 SXSW Q’s – Hiatus Kaiyote
Hometown: Northcote, Australia
OEB 2013 SXSW Review

Breaking any sort of genre conventions, Australia’s Hiatus Kaiyote will be bringing their unique blend of R&B, soul and hip hop to an exciting Saturday night showcase on Maggie Mae’s Rooftoop alongside fellow countrymen and OEB favorites Flume and Seth Sentry, among others.  Bassist/producer Paul Bender shared some additional thoughts with OEB last week surrounding their trip including some discussion on their debut EP, 2012’s Tawk Tomahawk, how all four members of the band contribute to make up the Hiatus Kaiyote sound and reflecting back on the band’s first gig, which coincides two years to the day with their flight to the States for SXSW.

For readers that are new to Hiatus Kaiyote, how many members make up the group and who provides what elements to the group’s songs?
The core of the group, the (un)holy marriage if you will, is Nai Palm, Simon Mavin, Perrin Moss and Paul Bender.  Nai brings lyrics, melody, magic; her song structures are like the bones of otherworldly skeletons, the JuJu/GriGri queen.  Mavin is the hummingbird, spreading the sweet nectar over the keys with fingers too fast to see in dazzling, blissful explosions of colour.  Perrin is the wild bear, ferocious and unpredictable on the skins, yet slow and gentle in hibernation, creating complex ecosystems and mysterious sound worlds in his winter cave.  Bender grounds the group with a deep, winding bass as both mountain and cloud, opposing polarities in the sonic landscape.
When we can we also feature the vocal stylings of multi-talented artists Silent Jay, Loreli, and Jace Excell: the Wondercore Choir.  Those three are mad sexy.

Tawk Tomahawk is a really adventurous album musically, it strikes a perfect balance between vocal and instrumental harmony. How long has the group been together?
The group has been together just over two years.  In fact, the day we leave Australia for the US is two years exactly from the date of our first ever gig, which happened to be a grand affair put on by our Australian manager, Si Jay Gould.  Hardest working man in Melbourne, at the very least.

What is the song creation process like for the band?
It’s an attempt to reinvent or at least heavily modify the wheel at every opportunity.  Always exciting.

SXSW will kick off a US tour for the group, what cities will you be visiting after Austin? What appearances do you have lined up for SXSW?
We will be performing at The Aussie Barbecue at SXSW, March 16th at Maggie Mae’s Rooftop as well as a jazz battle in a burger joint with a certain Canadian trio, details TBC…
After that we will be in DC 18th March at LIV Nightclub, Chicago the 19th at Double Door, a little teaser set at ?uestlove’s Brooklyn Bowl show on the 20th, 22nd at Slipper Room in NYC, and then the 23rd at Del Montes Speakeasy in Venice, CA.  Might be a few surprise shows up our sleeve to be revealed…

Have you had a chance to check out the band list for SXSW?  Are there any acts the group is looking forward to catching in Austin?
I heard that 2 Chainz will be doing a one man tribute show to the work of Transylvanian composer Gyorgy Ligeti, though maybe I read that wrong?  We will certainly be getting “soused” with Melbourne friends Clairy Browne and The Bangin Rackettes; fingers crossed Billy Murray and RZA turn up together again.

OEB’s 5 SXSW Q’s – Hiatus Kaiyote

Hometown: Northcote, Australia

OEB 2013 SXSW Review


Breaking any sort of genre conventions, Australia’s Hiatus Kaiyote will be bringing their unique blend of R&B, soul and hip hop to an exciting Saturday night showcase on Maggie Mae’s Rooftoop alongside fellow countrymen and OEB favorites Flume and Seth Sentry, among others.  Bassist/producer Paul Bender shared some additional thoughts with OEB last week surrounding their trip including some discussion on their debut EP, 2012’s Tawk Tomahawk, how all four members of the band contribute to make up the Hiatus Kaiyote sound and reflecting back on the band’s first gig, which coincides two years to the day with their flight to the States for SXSW.


For readers that are new to Hiatus Kaiyote, how many members make up the group and who provides what elements to the group’s songs?

The core of the group, the (un)holy marriage if you will, is Nai Palm, Simon Mavin, Perrin Moss and Paul Bender.  Nai brings lyrics, melody, magic; her song structures are like the bones of otherworldly skeletons, the JuJu/GriGri queen.  Mavin is the hummingbird, spreading the sweet nectar over the keys with fingers too fast to see in dazzling, blissful explosions of colour.  Perrin is the wild bear, ferocious and unpredictable on the skins, yet slow and gentle in hibernation, creating complex ecosystems and mysterious sound worlds in his winter cave.  Bender grounds the group with a deep, winding bass as both mountain and cloud, opposing polarities in the sonic landscape.

When we can we also feature the vocal stylings of multi-talented artists Silent Jay, Loreli, and Jace Excell: the Wondercore Choir.  Those three are mad sexy.


Tawk Tomahawk is a really adventurous album musically, it strikes a perfect balance between vocal and instrumental harmony. How long has the group been together?

The group has been together just over two years.  In fact, the day we leave Australia for the US is two years exactly from the date of our first ever gig, which happened to be a grand affair put on by our Australian manager, Si Jay Gould.  Hardest working man in Melbourne, at the very least.


What is the song creation process like for the band?

It’s an attempt to reinvent or at least heavily modify the wheel at every opportunity.  Always exciting.


SXSW will kick off a US tour for the group, what cities will you be visiting after Austin? What appearances do you have lined up for SXSW?

We will be performing at The Aussie Barbecue at SXSW, March 16th at Maggie Mae’s Rooftop as well as a jazz battle in a burger joint with a certain Canadian trio, details TBC…

After that we will be in DC 18th March at LIV Nightclub, Chicago the 19th at Double Door, a little teaser set at ?uestlove’s Brooklyn Bowl show on the 20th, 22nd at Slipper Room in NYC, and then the 23rd at Del Montes Speakeasy in Venice, CA.  Might be a few surprise shows up our sleeve to be revealed…


Have you had a chance to check out the band list for SXSW?  Are there any acts the group is looking forward to catching in Austin?

I heard that 2 Chainz will be doing a one man tribute show to the work of Transylvanian composer Gyorgy Ligeti, though maybe I read that wrong?  We will certainly be getting “soused” with Melbourne friends Clairy Browne and The Bangin Rackettes; fingers crossed Billy Murray and RZA turn up together again.

OEB’s 5 SXSW Q’s – Pentatonix
Hometown: Arlington, TX
OEB 2013 SXSW Review

After taking the crown on the TV a cappella completion The Sing Off, Pentatonix is looking to explore their buzzy sound even further in 2013 – the ultimate goal of becoming the first preeminent mainstream a cappella group in the last half-century.  They are well on their way, drawing tons of viewers to their wonderfully active YouTube account and releasing a set of well-received EPs last year.  2013 should see no slowdown – a third Pentatonix EP is on the way and founder Kevin Olusola checked in with OEB from the road as the quintet sets to close off this current national run at SXSW.  Olusola hit on a variety of topics, notably discussing shifting from popular covers to original material (yes!!), what’s on deck for the band after this tour wraps up and the opportunity that SXSW allows to ‘test the waters’ of Pentatonix’s exciting next steps.

The technical skill that Pentatonix brings to the table is extraordinary.  Where does all that technical prowess come from?
I think our technical prowess comes from each member putting in years of hard work honing their craft.  We’ve all been singing since we were young and pursued it passionately.  Scott, Mitch, and Kirstie had a lot of experience singing together in choir and naturally found their blend.  Avi sang with award-winning choirs and a cappella groups.  I’ve always loved beatboxing and finding unique ways to showcase it, like playing cello and beatboxing simultaneously.  So when we came together, we clicked.

While Pentatonix will surely always be in the business of reinterpreting popular material, what are your thoughts on writing original a cappella material and do you think that is something an audience can get behind?
2013 is an exciting year for us because we are working on that very goal – creating original vocal music that people all around the world will enjoy!  We’ve been writing a lot on our own and with other songwriters to figure out what our original sound is.  You’ll get to hear some more originals on PTX Vol. 2, and then in fall 2013, we’re focusing solely on writing.  Stay tuned :)

From television shows to YouTube videos, one thing Pentatonix has done brilliantly is find many channels to get your music out there.  SXSW presents a different angle playing alongside artists of every genre imaginable.  Why SXSW and what is the best way to get your music out to ears in this day and age?
SXSW is an amazing festival because so many awesome up and coming bands from around the world will be in one place!  That being said, will your band standout from the plethora of bands around you?  That’s why we love SXSW, for that very challenge.  At this stage in our career, we want to test the waters and see how our music fairs with everything else out there. 
Per the second question, we really believe in the power of the internet/social media.  We are huge Facebook/Twitter/YouTube people, and it’s a great way to keep people interested in what we’re doing.  Artists like Macklemore have used these tools on their own to create a huge buzz for themselves, and that’s what we’re doing as well!

Do you have any shows lined up for SXSW yet?  I hear LiveNation has some interesting plans up their sleeves for a showcase.  Anything else of interest on deck for the beginning of 2013?
Yes!  We’re doing a showcase called “As Seen on TV” at The Belmont on March 15th, and we’re also doing a Whole Foods Rooftop Showcase earlier that day!  As for 2013, we’re finishing up our second headlining tour on May 11th, and then opening for a bigger artist all summer ’13 !  In addition to touring, we are releasing our third album, PTX Vol. 2, before the summer tour so we have new original material to perform on the road!

Have you had a chance to check out the SXSW lineup yet?  Any artists you are looking to catch yourself while in town?
Oh my goodness yes, there are so many good bands that we all want to see!  I personally want to see Benny Benassi, but that’s just me :)

OEB’s 5 SXSW Q’s – Pentatonix

Hometown: Arlington, TX

OEB 2013 SXSW Review


After taking the crown on the TV a cappella completion The Sing Off, Pentatonix is looking to explore their buzzy sound even further in 2013 – the ultimate goal of becoming the first preeminent mainstream a cappella group in the last half-century.  They are well on their way, drawing tons of viewers to their wonderfully active YouTube account and releasing a set of well-received EPs last year.  2013 should see no slowdown – a third Pentatonix EP is on the way and founder Kevin Olusola checked in with OEB from the road as the quintet sets to close off this current national run at SXSW.  Olusola hit on a variety of topics, notably discussing shifting from popular covers to original material (yes!!), what’s on deck for the band after this tour wraps up and the opportunity that SXSW allows to ‘test the waters’ of Pentatonix’s exciting next steps.


The technical skill that Pentatonix brings to the table is extraordinary.  Where does all that technical prowess come from?

I think our technical prowess comes from each member putting in years of hard work honing their craft.  We’ve all been singing since we were young and pursued it passionately.  Scott, Mitch, and Kirstie had a lot of experience singing together in choir and naturally found their blend.  Avi sang with award-winning choirs and a cappella groups.  I’ve always loved beatboxing and finding unique ways to showcase it, like playing cello and beatboxing simultaneously.  So when we came together, we clicked.


While Pentatonix will surely always be in the business of reinterpreting popular material, what are your thoughts on writing original a cappella material and do you think that is something an audience can get behind?

2013 is an exciting year for us because we are working on that very goal – creating original vocal music that people all around the world will enjoy!  We’ve been writing a lot on our own and with other songwriters to figure out what our original sound is.  You’ll get to hear some more originals on PTX Vol. 2, and then in fall 2013, we’re focusing solely on writing.  Stay tuned :)


From television shows to YouTube videos, one thing Pentatonix has done brilliantly is find many channels to get your music out there.  SXSW presents a different angle playing alongside artists of every genre imaginable.  Why SXSW and what is the best way to get your music out to ears in this day and age?

SXSW is an amazing festival because so many awesome up and coming bands from around the world will be in one place!  That being said, will your band standout from the plethora of bands around you?  That’s why we love SXSW, for that very challenge.  At this stage in our career, we want to test the waters and see how our music fairs with everything else out there. 

Per the second question, we really believe in the power of the internet/social media.  We are huge Facebook/Twitter/YouTube people, and it’s a great way to keep people interested in what we’re doing.  Artists like Macklemore have used these tools on their own to create a huge buzz for themselves, and that’s what we’re doing as well!


Do you have any shows lined up for SXSW yet?  I hear LiveNation has some interesting plans up their sleeves for a showcase.  Anything else of interest on deck for the beginning of 2013?

Yes!  We’re doing a showcase called “As Seen on TV” at The Belmont on March 15th, and we’re also doing a Whole Foods Rooftop Showcase earlier that day!  As for 2013, we’re finishing up our second headlining tour on May 11th, and then opening for a bigger artist all summer ’13 !  In addition to touring, we are releasing our third album, PTX Vol. 2, before the summer tour so we have new original material to perform on the road!


Have you had a chance to check out the SXSW lineup yet?  Any artists you are looking to catch yourself while in town?

Oh my goodness yes, there are so many good bands that we all want to see!  I personally want to see Benny Benassi, but that’s just me :)

OEB’s 5 SXSW Q’s – Lissie
Hometown: Ojai, CA
OEB 2013 SXSW Review

While all interviews bring an air of excitement as they come in, reading through Lissie’s initial feelings on her upcoming follow-up especially has grown my interest in catching the next phase of her promising career..  It was at SXSW three years ago that I first caught the burgeoning acoustic singer-songwriter and it’s been a joy to see Lissie’s songs grow into gritty and emotional indie rock gems.  Lissie also explored some other topics with OEB, from maturing into a band-centric sound, managing a steady climb of expectations and the intensity of going all-in at SXSW.

I’ve been lucky enough to catch onto your music pretty early (after a set at SXSW 2010) and have noticed a steady transition from quiet folk to passionate rock.  Have you sensed the same transition?  Does gigging regularly with your band have an effect on your songwriting?
Hi and thanks! :) The transition has been a real natural one.  I was always a solo/ singer-songwriter with an acoustic guitar out of convenience and necessity.  Playing with a band, switching to electric guitar and having made two studio albums now has allowed me to find more of a “sound”.  I wouldn’t even say that it’s been intentional, but just in how playing with others allows one to flesh out songs.  At its core, a good song is a good song though, so I think I still have that “folk” in me.
As my career progresses, I’d like to give people the option of having the stripped down, acoustic versions of songs as well as the band and studio stuff.

You posted this month that your record is in it’s final mixing stages.  What are your initial thoughts listening back?
Yes!  Mixing is complete!  My initial feeling is that I’m really proud of the new songs and record.  Also, that I can barely wait to release it!  I’ve been trying to get this darn thing done and out for like two years now!  Ha!
There’s more cohesion in this record than my first as I made it with my band and was writing all the songs within the same year.  I think my songwriting has gotten better and I also think that having worked with the same producer for the whole record gives it an overall aesthetic that I think is both cool and accessible.  The entire process was a real pleasure!  Also, I was able to learn what I’d do different next time.  Furthermore, as important as an album is to me, I tend not to over think stuff.  I’m more like, OK, get it out, get back on the road and move on to the next thing.

Catching a Tiger proved to be a really successful debut, both sonically and in terms of finding an audience.  Now with some exposure, is there that ‘sophomore pressure’ for you that other artists have spoken of?
Catching a Tiger was the first time I turned my songs into bigger productions, ya know?  It set me up nicely to where people got to know my voice and me, and it did well, but not so well that I had that overnight success/hype that leads to high expectations.  I’ve enjoyed the slow and steady climb of my career thus far.  It’s given me a chance to live and become a well-rounded adult.  So, I feel like I’m just gonna keep getting better and coming to know myself better.  At the heart of it, what I do is about my voice, opinions and feelings, so I don’t think that can ever go out of style or bomb, ya know!  Haha!

Do you have any shows lined up for SXSW yet?  As a repeat performer, how do you view the conference differently then, say, a regular string of shows?
Yes - quite a few lined up.  Three years ago, we did ten shows in four days and it nearly killed me, so I’m trying to have a lighter load this time around.
But, we are still doing a ton and some really cool stuff!  A regular tour or even festival is nowhere as insane as SXSW.  It’s an animal all its own.  There is music, as you probably know, absolutely everywhere and it’s so intense, I didn’t have much time to think about what it even was while I was there!  But it’s a blast - so much energy!

Have you had a chance to check out the SXSW roster yet?  Any artists you are looking forward to catching yourself?
I haven’t checked the roster out really yet, no.  It sounds flakey, but I feel like I go into most things kinda up for anything and blindly!  I think HAIM are gonna be there - they’re the most exciting band I’ve heard in awhile, so I’d love to check them out.  I hear they’re incredible live!

OEB’s 5 SXSW Q’s – Lissie

Hometown: Ojai, CA

OEB 2013 SXSW Review


While all interviews bring an air of excitement as they come in, reading through Lissie’s initial feelings on her upcoming follow-up especially has grown my interest in catching the next phase of her promising career..  It was at SXSW three years ago that I first caught the burgeoning acoustic singer-songwriter and it’s been a joy to see Lissie’s songs grow into gritty and emotional indie rock gems.  Lissie also explored some other topics with OEB, from maturing into a band-centric sound, managing a steady climb of expectations and the intensity of going all-in at SXSW.


I’ve been lucky enough to catch onto your music pretty early (after a set at SXSW 2010) and have noticed a steady transition from quiet folk to passionate rock.  Have you sensed the same transition?  Does gigging regularly with your band have an effect on your songwriting?

Hi and thanks! :) The transition has been a real natural one.  I was always a solo/ singer-songwriter with an acoustic guitar out of convenience and necessity.  Playing with a band, switching to electric guitar and having made two studio albums now has allowed me to find more of a “sound”.  I wouldn’t even say that it’s been intentional, but just in how playing with others allows one to flesh out songs.  At its core, a good song is a good song though, so I think I still have that “folk” in me.

As my career progresses, I’d like to give people the option of having the stripped down, acoustic versions of songs as well as the band and studio stuff.


You posted this month that your record is in it’s final mixing stages.  What are your initial thoughts listening back?

Yes!  Mixing is complete!  My initial feeling is that I’m really proud of the new songs and record.  Also, that I can barely wait to release it!  I’ve been trying to get this darn thing done and out for like two years now!  Ha!

There’s more cohesion in this record than my first as I made it with my band and was writing all the songs within the same year.  I think my songwriting has gotten better and I also think that having worked with the same producer for the whole record gives it an overall aesthetic that I think is both cool and accessible.  The entire process was a real pleasure!  Also, I was able to learn what I’d do different next time.  Furthermore, as important as an album is to me, I tend not to over think stuff.  I’m more like, OK, get it out, get back on the road and move on to the next thing.


Catching a Tiger proved to be a really successful debut, both sonically and in terms of finding an audience.  Now with some exposure, is there that ‘sophomore pressure’ for you that other artists have spoken of?

Catching a Tiger was the first time I turned my songs into bigger productions, ya know?  It set me up nicely to where people got to know my voice and me, and it did well, but not so well that I had that overnight success/hype that leads to high expectations.  I’ve enjoyed the slow and steady climb of my career thus far.  It’s given me a chance to live and become a well-rounded adult.  So, I feel like I’m just gonna keep getting better and coming to know myself better.  At the heart of it, what I do is about my voice, opinions and feelings, so I don’t think that can ever go out of style or bomb, ya know!  Haha!


Do you have any shows lined up for SXSW yet?  As a repeat performer, how do you view the conference differently then, say, a regular string of shows?

Yes - quite a few lined up.  Three years ago, we did ten shows in four days and it nearly killed me, so I’m trying to have a lighter load this time around.

But, we are still doing a ton and some really cool stuff!  A regular tour or even festival is nowhere as insane as SXSW.  It’s an animal all its own.  There is music, as you probably know, absolutely everywhere and it’s so intense, I didn’t have much time to think about what it even was while I was there!  But it’s a blast - so much energy!


Have you had a chance to check out the SXSW roster yet?  Any artists you are looking forward to catching yourself?

I haven’t checked the roster out really yet, no.  It sounds flakey, but I feel like I go into most things kinda up for anything and blindly!  I think HAIM are gonna be there - they’re the most exciting band I’ve heard in awhile, so I’d love to check them out.  I hear they’re incredible live!

OEB’s 5 SXSW Q’s – Let’s Buy Happiness
Hometown: Newcastle, UK
OEB 2013 SXSW Review

Let’s Buy Happiness are gearing up for their SXSW showcase on Wednesday night at the rooftop of Maggie Mae’s and the OEB crew is excited ourselves – Let’s Buy Happiness will be gigging alongside their Communion peers and OEB favorites Jake Bugg, Story Books, Mikhael Paskalev and The Trouble with Templeton.  Guitarist/keyboardist James Hall caught up with us this week in the midst of mastering the new record and hit on topics ranging from the band’s maturation since their inception to making their first trip to the States for SXSW.

Let’s Buy Happiness’ combination of swells of drone and catchy indie pop is a unique approach.  How do you go about balancing the dark and light within your music?
I don’t think we really try to make it one or the other. I suppose it is about how we/the person who wrote the song felt at the time and that generally paves the way for the rest of the song. I think the light, soft side can sometimes come from Sarah, we write quite contrasting music to Sarah’s sometimes soft angelic voice (not on the new album where her voice is much darker and melancholic) and makes for an interesting mix.

Let’s Buy Happiness seemed to have a quite a quick rise in recognition in the UK since your forming a few years back.  Has that affected your musical direction at all as your sound has matured?
I think it did at the start. We were all quite young and didn’t really know what to think of it. We started to get into the mindset of writing “catchier/shorter” (radio balls) songs for a short period and it worked in the sense of helping our name grow and achieving more…yes. But not the musical direction we wanted. In hindsight, the whole thing helped us grow up and realize what we wanted to do and how we wanted to do it.
Since then our songwriting is definitely more honest and has matured. I think we needed time to grow and mature, not only personally, but musically. We’ve had that time now and we’re writing better than ever. Our debut tracks, including Chants For Friends, documents what and who we think we are perfectly… At least for the moment.

2012 saw the release of a string of strong singles. Should we expect Let’s Buy Happiness to continue this release strategy or is there a full-length or an EP on the way for 2013?
Well, for you lucky Americans we’re releasing the Ghost Arc EP on 5th March to tie in with our US trip. But the full-length album is being mixed whilst I’m speaking to you, from our producer’s studio in London.

Do you have any shows lined up for SXSW yet?  Have you had much exposure over in the States or is this one of your first trips over? Anything particularly you are looking to get out of SXSW?
Primarily, we’re looking to raise our profile and introduce ourselves to the attending US & Overseas industry. Our official SXSW showcase will be at Maggie Mae’s Rooftop on Wednesday 13th March at 8pm, presented by Communion.  This will be our first trip to the US, but hopefully there’ll be many more to come.

Have you had a chance to check out the SXSW roster yet?  Any artists you are looking forward to trying to check out yourself?
Ah there are so many… but we’ll definitely be making time for Bonobo.

OEB’s 5 SXSW Q’s – Let’s Buy Happiness

Hometown: Newcastle, UK

OEB 2013 SXSW Review


Let’s Buy Happiness are gearing up for their SXSW showcase on Wednesday night at the rooftop of Maggie Mae’s and the OEB crew is excited ourselves – Let’s Buy Happiness will be gigging alongside their Communion peers and OEB favorites Jake Bugg, Story Books, Mikhael Paskalev and The Trouble with Templeton.  Guitarist/keyboardist James Hall caught up with us this week in the midst of mastering the new record and hit on topics ranging from the band’s maturation since their inception to making their first trip to the States for SXSW.


Let’s Buy Happiness’ combination of swells of drone and catchy indie pop is a unique approach.  How do you go about balancing the dark and light within your music?

I don’t think we really try to make it one or the other. I suppose it is about how we/the person who wrote the song felt at the time and that generally paves the way for the rest of the song. I think the light, soft side can sometimes come from Sarah, we write quite contrasting music to Sarah’s sometimes soft angelic voice (not on the new album where her voice is much darker and melancholic) and makes for an interesting mix.


Let’s Buy Happiness seemed to have a quite a quick rise in recognition in the UK since your forming a few years back.  Has that affected your musical direction at all as your sound has matured?

I think it did at the start. We were all quite young and didn’t really know what to think of it. We started to get into the mindset of writing “catchier/shorter” (radio balls) songs for a short period and it worked in the sense of helping our name grow and achieving more…yes. But not the musical direction we wanted. In hindsight, the whole thing helped us grow up and realize what we wanted to do and how we wanted to do it.

Since then our songwriting is definitely more honest and has matured. I think we needed time to grow and mature, not only personally, but musically. We’ve had that time now and we’re writing better than ever. Our debut tracks, including Chants For Friends, documents what and who we think we are perfectly… At least for the moment.


2012 saw the release of a string of strong singles. Should we expect Let’s Buy Happiness to continue this release strategy or is there a full-length or an EP on the way for 2013?

Well, for you lucky Americans we’re releasing the Ghost Arc EP on 5th March to tie in with our US trip. But the full-length album is being mixed whilst I’m speaking to you, from our producer’s studio in London.


Do you have any shows lined up for SXSW yet?  Have you had much exposure over in the States or is this one of your first trips over? Anything particularly you are looking to get out of SXSW?

Primarily, we’re looking to raise our profile and introduce ourselves to the attending US & Overseas industry. Our official SXSW showcase will be at Maggie Mae’s Rooftop on Wednesday 13th March at 8pm, presented by Communion.  This will be our first trip to the US, but hopefully there’ll be many more to come.


Have you had a chance to check out the SXSW roster yet?  Any artists you are looking forward to trying to check out yourself?

Ah there are so many… but we’ll definitely be making time for Bonobo.

OEB’s 5 SXSW Q’s – Leif Vollebekk
Hometown: Montreal, Canada
OEB 2013 SXSW Review

Canadian singer-songwriter Leif Vollebekk grabbed a great spot at SXSW, where he’ll showcasing alongside OEB favorites Half Moon Run, The Staves and Lucy Rose on Friday night at St. David’s Church with a full band in tow.  Last week, Vollebekk released his anticipated follow-up North Americana and he took a couple minutes out of his week to chat with OEB about the arduous recording process surrounding the record, exploring some “trashier” tones on one of the tracks and what’s on deck for Vollebekk through 2013.

After a relatively long break, the follow up to Inland is only weeks away.  Was it by choice to take your time recording North Americana or is there a larger story at play here?
Well, there was a lot of touring. But mostly there was a lot of me just wanting to re-record things - either because they didn’t sound like the record I had in my head or the vibe, the way I was playing, didn’t convey the songs right. It took a while. I wanted to get it done in a week like the first one and it didn’t work. So we just kept booking time, wherever we were and took new stabs at the songs.

Are there any new directions explored on the new record beyond the folk/rock tone you established with Inland?
Well, I think “When the Subway Comes Above the Ground” was really refreshing. Sarah Neufeld’s violins are going through some guitar amps and it’s the first time I played electric guitar on a recording. It’s a bit ballsier, I think. And we went with everything live, vocals, drums, all in the same room, too. Which made things sound a bit trashier and I liked that.

Any other plans lined up for 2013 to promote North Americana beyond the trip to SXSW?  Are you planning on touring with the band you recorded the record with?
We’re playing a whack of shows in March and April and then we’re setting up summer and fall right now. Touring as much as possible. The band on the road is the band on the record, but it’s a bit of a rotating cast, since I can’t always have six musicians onstage.

Do you have any shows lined up for SXSW yet? 
Yeah, Communion on the Friday night - around 10pm. That’s at St David’s - beautiful place. And Swan Dive on Tuesday around 8pm. And some day parties, of course.

As a repeat performer of the conference, what has SXSW meant for your career and is there anything particular you are hoping to accomplish this year while in town?
It’s been good for a lot of reasons. I try not to accomplish anything at SXSW, I feel that’s not something you’re gonna get a say in anyhow. Just play your shows and find the out-of-the-way Texas BBQ.

Have you had a chance to check out the SXSW roster yet?  Any artists you are looking forward to catching while you are swinging through Austin?
To be honest, I find it a bit overwhelming and I haven’t really checked it out. All I know is that I’m not leaving my showcase on Friday. Every band on it is absolutely wonderful.

OEB’s 5 SXSW Q’s – Leif Vollebekk

Hometown: Montreal, Canada

OEB 2013 SXSW Review


Canadian singer-songwriter Leif Vollebekk grabbed a great spot at SXSW, where he’ll showcasing alongside OEB favorites Half Moon Run, The Staves and Lucy Rose on Friday night at St. David’s Church with a full band in tow.  Last week, Vollebekk released his anticipated follow-up North Americana and he took a couple minutes out of his week to chat with OEB about the arduous recording process surrounding the record, exploring some “trashier” tones on one of the tracks and what’s on deck for Vollebekk through 2013.


After a relatively long break, the follow up to Inland is only weeks away.  Was it by choice to take your time recording North Americana or is there a larger story at play here?

Well, there was a lot of touring. But mostly there was a lot of me just wanting to re-record things - either because they didn’t sound like the record I had in my head or the vibe, the way I was playing, didn’t convey the songs right. It took a while. I wanted to get it done in a week like the first one and it didn’t work. So we just kept booking time, wherever we were and took new stabs at the songs.


Are there any new directions explored on the new record beyond the folk/rock tone you established with Inland?

Well, I think “When the Subway Comes Above the Ground” was really refreshing. Sarah Neufeld’s violins are going through some guitar amps and it’s the first time I played electric guitar on a recording. It’s a bit ballsier, I think. And we went with everything live, vocals, drums, all in the same room, too. Which made things sound a bit trashier and I liked that.


Any other plans lined up for 2013 to promote North Americana beyond the trip to SXSW?  Are you planning on touring with the band you recorded the record with?

We’re playing a whack of shows in March and April and then we’re setting up summer and fall right now. Touring as much as possible. The band on the road is the band on the record, but it’s a bit of a rotating cast, since I can’t always have six musicians onstage.


Do you have any shows lined up for SXSW yet? 

Yeah, Communion on the Friday night - around 10pm. That’s at St David’s - beautiful place. And Swan Dive on Tuesday around 8pm. And some day parties, of course.


As a repeat performer of the conference, what has SXSW meant for your career and is there anything particular you are hoping to accomplish this year while in town?

It’s been good for a lot of reasons. I try not to accomplish anything at SXSW, I feel that’s not something you’re gonna get a say in anyhow. Just play your shows and find the out-of-the-way Texas BBQ.


Have you had a chance to check out the SXSW roster yet?  Any artists you are looking forward to catching while you are swinging through Austin?

To be honest, I find it a bit overwhelming and I haven’t really checked it out. All I know is that I’m not leaving my showcase on Friday. Every band on it is absolutely wonderful.

OEB’s 5 SXSW Q’s – Miracles of Modern Science
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
OEB 2013 SXSW Review

This year, indie pop string maestros  Miracles of Modern Science will be closing out SXSW with their official gig falling on Saturday night at The Whiskey Room, but expect the band to once again fill their Austin dance card as they build buzz around their newest tracks.  Speaking of buzz, frontman/bassist Evan Younger checked in with OEB this week to discuss the varied influences of their just-released EP Meems, “weirdness” making its way into Top 40 music and introducing new fans to their eclectic songwriting through inventive covers.
 
Your latest EP, Meems, seems to embrace classical melodies and structures even more Dog Year.  Do you find your balance between very traditional influences and progressive rock music changing over the years?
Our influences are always shifting, but I’m not sure there’s a clean trend in one direction or another. “Don’t You See?” definitely has some heavy impressionist influences. (I just noticed that the title sounds like “Debussy" - that’s fitting!) But then "The Singularity" has more of an 80s pop vibe, and "Physics Is Our Business" is a big, stylistic clusterfuck. All five of us are finding new sources of inspiration all the time, so the results when we collaborate are always different.
 
The record ends with the line, “Experiments never fail”.  How do you feel like modern music listeners value sonic experimentation versus, say, standard pop hooks?
I don’t know that there’s such a dichotomy between experimentation and hooks. Sometimes really weird things will get stuck in your ear. And even in Top 40, even though so much of it is derivative garbage, the really memorable hits always break the rules in some way. Some of Beyonce’s stuff strikes me as weirder than anything we do, for example!
 
I’m sure many fans have been introduced to you through your inventive pop covers.  Do you feel like that has helped draw people into your original material or is there any opposite effect where listeners just know you as cover artists?
I’m happy to say a lot of great fans have found us through our covers. Actually one of our biggest publicity coups to date –- an interview and performance on NPR — came about after a producer stumbled upon our “Pumped Up Kicks" cover on YouTube. But yeah, we sometimes see that opposite effect. An Australian radio station introduced us as "a band that plays Top 40 hits with string instruments". It’s more funny than bothersome, though.
 
Do you have any shows lined up for SXSW yet?  Is there anything different about playing the conference than just a normal string of shows?
Our official showcase is Saturday 3/16 at the Whiskey Room, and we’re working on setting up a bunch more. We can’t wait! SXSW is insanely hectic and overwhelming – last year we played 9 shows in 5 days and stayed out every night hoping to take in as much we could. But the atmosphere and the people are wonderful. 
 
Have you had a chance to check out the SXSW lineup yet?  Any artists you are hoping to catch yourself?
I’d love to see Marnie Stern, the Zombies, John Hiatt, Major Lazer, Eric Burdon, Jim James, Nick Cave, and Third Eye Blind. That said, last year we had a big list of bands to check out, but between the huge crowds and our own crazy show schedule, we hardly made it to see any of them. So we’ll have to wing it.

OEB’s 5 SXSW Q’s – Miracles of Modern Science

Hometown: Brooklyn, NY

OEB 2013 SXSW Review


This year, indie pop string maestros  Miracles of Modern Science will be closing out SXSW with their official gig falling on Saturday night at The Whiskey Room, but expect the band to once again fill their Austin dance card as they build buzz around their newest tracks.  Speaking of buzz, frontman/bassist Evan Younger checked in with OEB this week to discuss the varied influences of their just-released EP Meems, “weirdness” making its way into Top 40 music and introducing new fans to their eclectic songwriting through inventive covers.

 

Your latest EP, Meems, seems to embrace classical melodies and structures even more Dog Year.  Do you find your balance between very traditional influences and progressive rock music changing over the years?

Our influences are always shifting, but I’m not sure there’s a clean trend in one direction or another. “Don’t You See?” definitely has some heavy impressionist influences. (I just noticed that the title sounds like “Debussy" - that’s fitting!) But then "The Singularity" has more of an 80s pop vibe, and "Physics Is Our Business" is a big, stylistic clusterfuck. All five of us are finding new sources of inspiration all the time, so the results when we collaborate are always different.

 

The record ends with the line, “Experiments never fail”.  How do you feel like modern music listeners value sonic experimentation versus, say, standard pop hooks?

I don’t know that there’s such a dichotomy between experimentation and hooks. Sometimes really weird things will get stuck in your ear. And even in Top 40, even though so much of it is derivative garbage, the really memorable hits always break the rules in some way. Some of Beyonce’s stuff strikes me as weirder than anything we do, for example!

 

I’m sure many fans have been introduced to you through your inventive pop covers.  Do you feel like that has helped draw people into your original material or is there any opposite effect where listeners just know you as cover artists?

I’m happy to say a lot of great fans have found us through our covers. Actually one of our biggest publicity coups to date –- an interview and performance on NPR — came about after a producer stumbled upon our “Pumped Up Kicks" cover on YouTube. But yeah, we sometimes see that opposite effect. An Australian radio station introduced us as "a band that plays Top 40 hits with string instruments". It’s more funny than bothersome, though.

 

Do you have any shows lined up for SXSW yet?  Is there anything different about playing the conference than just a normal string of shows?

Our official showcase is Saturday 3/16 at the Whiskey Room, and we’re working on setting up a bunch more. We can’t wait! SXSW is insanely hectic and overwhelming – last year we played 9 shows in 5 days and stayed out every night hoping to take in as much we could. But the atmosphere and the people are wonderful. 

 

Have you had a chance to check out the SXSW lineup yet?  Any artists you are hoping to catch yourself?

I’d love to see Marnie Stern, the Zombies, John Hiatt, Major Lazer, Eric Burdon, Jim James, Nick Cave, and Third Eye Blind. That said, last year we had a big list of bands to check out, but between the huge crowds and our own crazy show schedule, we hardly made it to see any of them. So we’ll have to wing it.

OEB’s 5 SXSW Q’s – Wildlife Control
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY & San Francisco, CA
OEB 2013 SXSW Review

Bicoastal rock/pop band Wildlife Control are heading to SXSW this year in support of their excellent 2012 debut, an eclectic mix of organic and electronic melodies and harmonies.  The brothers Shah caught up with OEB last week to discuss breaking away from genre classification, the “blender” approach to songwriting and where the band’s sound is heading into the future.

One thing that really drew me into your music is the combination of electronic and organic instrumentation within a rock sound.  While EDM and rock fans historically have come from different camps, what is your viewpoint on merging these genres together?
We don’t think in genres. They are generally stale or racist classifications that suits invented to market products at specific groups of people. In that regard, it’s nice that we’ve made something that doesn’t neatly fit into a particular genre.

On the other hand, tracks like “Disguise” and “Melody” explore further sounds within the pop spectrum, from jazzy melodies to minimal acoustic tones.  Is experimenting in different musical forms a priority for Wildlife Control?
We never set out to make music that fits a certain mold. We have very diverse musical backgrounds, listening to everything from Rachmaninoff to Nirvana to tribal music of Ghana. So it all gets thrown into a blender and comes out as our sound. We like to make things that feel new and exciting to us, with elements that are inspiring and challenging to do live.

Recent single “Different” already comes across as the densest and most complex track in your catalog.  Is this a one-off release or is “Different” a lead in to new musical directions in the future?
We spent about a year dealing with strong label interest in our debut album. It was recorded nearly two years ago. By the time we decided it would be best to self-release it, we’d grown a lot creatively. It was an important snapshot of us as artists at a specific time period. But “Different” is definitely indicative of where we’re headed, and represent our live sound better. There’s some new material we are very excited about.

Do you have any gigs lined up for SXSW yet?  Is there anything in particular you are looking to get out of the trip to Austin this year versus a normal run of shows?
We have our official showcase on Friday night the 15th at Maggie Mae’s. We’re looking to get on some day parties. As a true independent, you’d be surprised at how many doors are completely closed to us. We were shocked we even got invited to play as an official act. But we’re usually able to find some intelligent folks with guts who still appreciate a hard working indie band and want to put us on their bill (we’re not fans of the Sonicbids “pay to play” thing). Hopefully SXSW will be a chance to put on a standout show for people with imagination and initiative. 

Have you had a chance to check out the SXSW roster yet?  Any artists you are hoping to catch yourself while in town?  
A little bit, but not enough. We’ve been pretty swamped working on new material.

OEB’s 5 SXSW Q’s – Wildlife Control

Hometown: Brooklyn, NY & San Francisco, CA

OEB 2013 SXSW Review


Bicoastal rock/pop band Wildlife Control are heading to SXSW this year in support of their excellent 2012 debut, an eclectic mix of organic and electronic melodies and harmonies.  The brothers Shah caught up with OEB last week to discuss breaking away from genre classification, the “blender” approach to songwriting and where the band’s sound is heading into the future.


One thing that really drew me into your music is the combination of electronic and organic instrumentation within a rock sound.  While EDM and rock fans historically have come from different camps, what is your viewpoint on merging these genres together?

We don’t think in genres. They are generally stale or racist classifications that suits invented to market products at specific groups of people. In that regard, it’s nice that we’ve made something that doesn’t neatly fit into a particular genre.


On the other hand, tracks like “Disguise” and “Melody” explore further sounds within the pop spectrum, from jazzy melodies to minimal acoustic tones.  Is experimenting in different musical forms a priority for Wildlife Control?

We never set out to make music that fits a certain mold. We have very diverse musical backgrounds, listening to everything from Rachmaninoff to Nirvana to tribal music of Ghana. So it all gets thrown into a blender and comes out as our sound. We like to make things that feel new and exciting to us, with elements that are inspiring and challenging to do live.


Recent single “Different” already comes across as the densest and most complex track in your catalog.  Is this a one-off release or is “Different” a lead in to new musical directions in the future?

We spent about a year dealing with strong label interest in our debut album. It was recorded nearly two years ago. By the time we decided it would be best to self-release it, we’d grown a lot creatively. It was an important snapshot of us as artists at a specific time period. But “Different” is definitely indicative of where we’re headed, and represent our live sound better. There’s some new material we are very excited about.


Do you have any gigs lined up for SXSW yet?  Is there anything in particular you are looking to get out of the trip to Austin this year versus a normal run of shows?

We have our official showcase on Friday night the 15th at Maggie Mae’s. We’re looking to get on some day parties. As a true independent, you’d be surprised at how many doors are completely closed to us. We were shocked we even got invited to play as an official act. But we’re usually able to find some intelligent folks with guts who still appreciate a hard working indie band and want to put us on their bill (we’re not fans of the Sonicbids “pay to play” thing). Hopefully SXSW will be a chance to put on a standout show for people with imagination and initiative.


Have you had a chance to check out the SXSW roster yet?  Any artists you are hoping to catch yourself while in town?  

A little bit, but not enough. We’ve been pretty swamped working on new material.

OEB’s 5 SXSW Q’s – Kim Janssen

Hometown: Utrecht, The Netherlands
OEB 2013 SXSW Review

Dutch singer-songwriter Kim Janssen is geared up to bring his gorgeous solo record to SXSW this year alongside performing in his full-time gig with The Black Atlantic.  OEB caught up with Janssen last week where he dug into the background of Ancient Crime, how he bled stories into one another, aiming to create a timeless period piece and urging some of his fellow Dutch musician to join in on his SXSW sets.

I’d like to start with my favorite track on Ancient Crime: “Blyth Farjeon Choir”.  How did this song and recording come about and what are your thoughts on it as a closing statement of the record?
Thanks! I wanted the song, and I guess the whole record, to feel like a story or a film. That in the recordings, you would able to hear the different rooms of the school and in the songs, the different groups like the “Evans House" quartet or the choir. And that the different elements would sometimes blend into each other, as in a movie where the camera moves from one place to another in a long take and the sounds of each surrounding blend together.
I also tried to explore the contrast of being an individual in an environment that is not centered around individualism at all. In this isolated place, where uniforms are always worn and history and tradition are a large part of everyday reality, there is much more of a group-culture than an individualistic one. 
In “Blyth Farjeon Choir”, the contrast is made most obvious. You hear the song as being personal and fragile and then you hear a group of hundred trained singers singing the same song. The size of the choir, the room they are singing in, the weight of the words and the history of the song is massive and in sharp contrast to how the verses are whispered at the beginning. It seemed like a fitting way to end the album.
I contacted a number of choirs and explained my idea, also that I had a very low budget. I was very lucky that a renowned choir, the Toonkunst Koor Utrecht, was enthusiastic about this and was willing to try it. I had never recorded or performed with a choir before and neither had my friend who was recording the album.
I remember rushing through the rain with all of our gear that night and coming into the church not quite knowing what to expect. Sure enough, the conductor, the organ player, the choir, everyone was there. When they sang the song, we were overwhelmed.

Your music somehow pulls in so much classical influence but still remains progressive.  How do you bridge incorporating sounds from the past and pushing to create something new?
My intention was to make an album that sounded like it could have been released today or eighty years ago. I wanted to make it feel like a period piece, to try to draw the listener into this secluded world of the school where nothing much has really changed since the 19th century.
So the focus in each song is also not always on the piece of music itself but on “the story” of the album in which the piece of music is a setpiece. Couperin’s “Le dodo ou l’amour au berceau" for example is a beautiful piece of music that has been played and recorded many times and on this record it is performed and recorded quite poorly. However, it sounds much more like the version you would hear were you walking down the hall of the school and a (drunk) student was playing it somewhere nearby than for example Alexandre Tharaud’s recorded version of it.
So I tried not to touch the material too much that I used that was already written. But the songs I wrote for this album I guess you can hear are written by a singer/songwriter in this present time. You may be able to hear the influence of contemporary artists like Sufjan Stevens, Nico Muhly or Owen Pallett.

What’s on plate for you in 2013?  Is the trip to SXSW an indication that you’ll be spreading further outside of Europe this year?
I do definitely feel that I haven’t toured this album enough yet. I hope to be touring more in the US and in Europe this year. We also have a lot of touring plans with my other band, The Black Atlantic, so I may be too busy with that but we’ll see.

Do you have any shows lined up yet for SXSW?  Are you bringing a full band to Austin?
I’m playing a show on the 15th of March on the 18th Floor of the Hilton Garden Inn, and I’m playing a show on the 13th of March at the Dutch Impact Event. I will have a drummer and bass player and I hope to convince some of the members I know from the other Dutch bands to join me on a few more instruments.

Have you had a chance to check out the SXSW roster?  Any artists you are looking forward to catching yourself?
This will be my third time, I always really look forward to hanging out at the festival and seeing a lot of bands. I haven’t really taken a good look yet at the line-up for this year. But I definitely will before I head over there.

OEB’s 5 SXSW Q’s – Kim Janssen

Hometown: Utrecht, The Netherlands

OEB 2013 SXSW Review


Dutch singer-songwriter Kim Janssen is geared up to bring his gorgeous solo record to SXSW this year alongside performing in his full-time gig with The Black Atlantic.  OEB caught up with Janssen last week where he dug into the background of Ancient Crime, how he bled stories into one another, aiming to create a timeless period piece and urging some of his fellow Dutch musician to join in on his SXSW sets.


I’d like to start with my favorite track on Ancient Crime: “Blyth Farjeon Choir”.  How did this song and recording come about and what are your thoughts on it as a closing statement of the record?

Thanks! I wanted the song, and I guess the whole record, to feel like a story or a film. That in the recordings, you would able to hear the different rooms of the school and in the songs, the different groups like the “Evans House" quartet or the choir. And that the different elements would sometimes blend into each other, as in a movie where the camera moves from one place to another in a long take and the sounds of each surrounding blend together.

I also tried to explore the contrast of being an individual in an environment that is not centered around individualism at all. In this isolated place, where uniforms are always worn and history and tradition are a large part of everyday reality, there is much more of a group-culture than an individualistic one. 

In “Blyth Farjeon Choir”, the contrast is made most obvious. You hear the song as being personal and fragile and then you hear a group of hundred trained singers singing the same song. The size of the choir, the room they are singing in, the weight of the words and the history of the song is massive and in sharp contrast to how the verses are whispered at the beginning. It seemed like a fitting way to end the album.

I contacted a number of choirs and explained my idea, also that I had a very low budget. I was very lucky that a renowned choir, the Toonkunst Koor Utrecht, was enthusiastic about this and was willing to try it. I had never recorded or performed with a choir before and neither had my friend who was recording the album.

I remember rushing through the rain with all of our gear that night and coming into the church not quite knowing what to expect. Sure enough, the conductor, the organ player, the choir, everyone was there. When they sang the song, we were overwhelmed.


Your music somehow pulls in so much classical influence but still remains progressive.  How do you bridge incorporating sounds from the past and pushing to create something new?

My intention was to make an album that sounded like it could have been released today or eighty years ago. I wanted to make it feel like a period piece, to try to draw the listener into this secluded world of the school where nothing much has really changed since the 19th century.

So the focus in each song is also not always on the piece of music itself but on “the story” of the album in which the piece of music is a setpiece. Couperin’s “Le dodo ou l’amour au berceau" for example is a beautiful piece of music that has been played and recorded many times and on this record it is performed and recorded quite poorly. However, it sounds much more like the version you would hear were you walking down the hall of the school and a (drunk) student was playing it somewhere nearby than for example Alexandre Tharaud’s recorded version of it.

So I tried not to touch the material too much that I used that was already written. But the songs I wrote for this album I guess you can hear are written by a singer/songwriter in this present time. You may be able to hear the influence of contemporary artists like Sufjan Stevens, Nico Muhly or Owen Pallett.


What’s on plate for you in 2013?  Is the trip to SXSW an indication that you’ll be spreading further outside of Europe this year?

I do definitely feel that I haven’t toured this album enough yet. I hope to be touring more in the US and in Europe this year. We also have a lot of touring plans with my other band, The Black Atlantic, so I may be too busy with that but we’ll see.


Do you have any shows lined up yet for SXSW?  Are you bringing a full band to Austin?

I’m playing a show on the 15th of March on the 18th Floor of the Hilton Garden Inn, and I’m playing a show on the 13th of March at the Dutch Impact EventI will have a drummer and bass player and I hope to convince some of the members I know from the other Dutch bands to join me on a few more instruments.


Have you had a chance to check out the SXSW roster?  Any artists you are looking forward to catching yourself?

This will be my third time, I always really look forward to hanging out at the festival and seeing a lot of bands. I haven’t really taken a good look yet at the line-up for this year. But I definitely will before I head over there.

OEB’s 5 SXSW Q’s – Star & Micey
Hometown: Memphis, TN
OEB 2013 SXSW Review

Geoff Smith, bassist, vocalist and founding member of Star & Micey took some time out of his week to check in with OEB as the rootsy folk-pop band gears up for their fourth trip to SXSW next month.  Smith hit on a variety of topics, including finding their niche as they’ve grown as a band the past four years, the natural way hooks and melodies find their way into Star & Micey’s songwriting and the band’s incredibly busy dance card in 2013.

2012’s I Can’t Wait EP shows a nice growth for Star and Micey, especially with the additional layers of sound fleshing out songs like the title track and “No Pets Allowed”.  How do you view your band’s musical maturity since your 2009 debut?
I think the band’s maturity has grown extensively since that release. We started touring all the time, and trying new ways to reinvent ourselves, everything from a full band to a 3-piece. The first album was a solid pop record, but unfortunately we couldn’t represent it the right way because we didn’t have a drummer when it was finished! When Nick started to write songs for the band, the style of music started to take a new, different route which we all really enjoyed. We’ve grown so much and so well as a whole over the past 4 years. But now we think we have finally found our niche and we hope to continue this pursuit. 

The blending of pop and folk music has been ripe for exploration in recent years.  What are your thoughts on combining catchy hooks with the tenderness that often comes with acoustic-based music?  Is that a struggle or does it come naturally for Star and Micey?
It has never been a difficult thing for Nick and Josh to come up with catchy hooks and great melodies. It’s second nature it seems. As a whole, Star & Micey has always tendered to the songwriting and song structure of bands like the Beatles. Acoustic guitar has always been a part of this group, whether in a band aspect or solo. It has never been a struggle.

What’s on deck for Star and Micey in 2013?  I see the tour schedule is already packing out – is there any new music on the way?
2013 we think has a lot to offer us. We were on NPR’s World Cafe Live back in January. Also, we played Music City Roots with Leon Russell in Nashville. We are heading up to Toronto, Canada this month for the Folk Alliance which will be our first international endeavor yet. Also we will be going back to SXSW in March for our 4th year. These next few months will be very busy tour wise for Star & Micey. We are also excited to start working with Yep Roc Records out of Chapel Hill, NC this year. Those guys have a stellar reputation and not to mention they are super great people! We are scheduled to play Beale Street Music Festival this May, and the Harvest Festival in The Ozarks this October. This year just started and it’s already busy for us. Our manager, Curry Weber, has us all over the place! Not to mention he is also recording and mixing our new demos. But we all feel that something exciting and new is on the horizon and we can’t wait to see it.

Do you have any gigs lined up for SXSW yet?  As a performer year after year, what does SXSW mean to your band and is your viewpoint this year any different than years past?
SXSW is going to be crazy and awesome as it always has been since we’ve been attending. Our schedule is starting to fill up throughout that week which makes us happy, because the more you play down there, the more people are gonna see you. We will be posting our schedule for SXSW on our website soon as it gets nearer. Every year is different for us when we attend. We don’t know what to expect. But we are excited nonetheless.

Have you had a chance to check out the SXSW roster yet?  Any artists you are hoping to catch yourself while in town?
I’ve glanced at the schedule but not enough to really take it in. There is so many bands already playing, but I think the best way to discover new, great music at SXSW is by accident. It’s pointless to make plans down there. We found out about Shovels and Rope by accident last year. What an amazing group.

OEB’s 5 SXSW Q’s – Star & Micey

Hometown: Memphis, TN

OEB 2013 SXSW Review


Geoff Smith, bassist, vocalist and founding member of Star & Micey took some time out of his week to check in with OEB as the rootsy folk-pop band gears up for their fourth trip to SXSW next month.  Smith hit on a variety of topics, including finding their niche as they’ve grown as a band the past four years, the natural way hooks and melodies find their way into Star & Micey’s songwriting and the band’s incredibly busy dance card in 2013.


2012’s I Can’t Wait EP shows a nice growth for Star and Micey, especially with the additional layers of sound fleshing out songs like the title track and “No Pets Allowed”.  How do you view your band’s musical maturity since your 2009 debut?

I think the band’s maturity has grown extensively since that release. We started touring all the time, and trying new ways to reinvent ourselves, everything from a full band to a 3-piece. The first album was a solid pop record, but unfortunately we couldn’t represent it the right way because we didn’t have a drummer when it was finished! When Nick started to write songs for the band, the style of music started to take a new, different route which we all really enjoyed. We’ve grown so much and so well as a whole over the past 4 years. But now we think we have finally found our niche and we hope to continue this pursuit. 


The blending of pop and folk music has been ripe for exploration in recent years.  What are your thoughts on combining catchy hooks with the tenderness that often comes with acoustic-based music?  Is that a struggle or does it come naturally for Star and Micey?

It has never been a difficult thing for Nick and Josh to come up with catchy hooks and great melodies. It’s second nature it seems. As a whole, Star & Micey has always tendered to the songwriting and song structure of bands like the Beatles. Acoustic guitar has always been a part of this group, whether in a band aspect or solo. It has never been a struggle.


What’s on deck for Star and Micey in 2013?  I see the tour schedule is already packing out – is there any new music on the way?

2013 we think has a lot to offer us. We were on NPR’s World Cafe Live back in January. Also, we played Music City Roots with Leon Russell in Nashville. We are heading up to Toronto, Canada this month for the Folk Alliance which will be our first international endeavor yet. Also we will be going back to SXSW in March for our 4th year. These next few months will be very busy tour wise for Star & Micey. We are also excited to start working with Yep Roc Records out of Chapel Hill, NC this year. Those guys have a stellar reputation and not to mention they are super great people! We are scheduled to play Beale Street Music Festival this May, and the Harvest Festival in The Ozarks this October. This year just started and it’s already busy for us. Our manager, Curry Weber, has us all over the place! Not to mention he is also recording and mixing our new demos. But we all feel that something exciting and new is on the horizon and we can’t wait to see it.


Do you have any gigs lined up for SXSW yet?  As a performer year after year, what does SXSW mean to your band and is your viewpoint this year any different than years past?

SXSW is going to be crazy and awesome as it always has been since we’ve been attending. Our schedule is starting to fill up throughout that week which makes us happy, because the more you play down there, the more people are gonna see you. We will be posting our schedule for SXSW on our website soon as it gets nearer. Every year is different for us when we attend. We don’t know what to expect. But we are excited nonetheless.


Have you had a chance to check out the SXSW roster yet?  Any artists you are hoping to catch yourself while in town?

I’ve glanced at the schedule but not enough to really take it in. There is so many bands already playing, but I think the best way to discover new, great music at SXSW is by accident. It’s pointless to make plans down there. We found out about Shovels and Rope by accident last year. What an amazing group.

OEB’s 5 SXSW Q’s – Rah Rah
Hometown: Regina, Canada
OEB 2013 SXSW Review

Rah Rah is heading to SXSW this year along with an especially strong Canadian indie rock contingent to support of their latest record, The Poet’s Dead.  Rah Rah vocalist/guitarist Marshall Burns chatted with OEB last week to share some thoughts on breaking new ground in rock music, bringing together different musical backgrounds and what’s on deck for their busy SXSW.

Rah Rah fits right in with a powerful, indie rock sound that has come out of Canada in recent years alongside inventive acts like Broken Social Scene and The New Pornographers.  Does this national scene encompass bands that are pushing each other to break new ground within rock music or is there something else at play here?
Those two bands were both very influential bands that we certainly listened to but there’s been a lot of excellent rock music coming out of Canada in recent years. I think any band, in Canada or elsewhere, that isn’t pushing themselves to break new ground isn’t going to be a very interesting band.

So many elements come together fluently in Rah Rah’s music.  Is this a product of communal songwriting or do the songs start small and build from there?
We don’t have any set formula for how we write a piece of music. Sometimes someone will come forward with a song that is nearly complete while other songs have been written totally organically thru collective jamming. I think everyone brings their different musical backgrounds to the table. We try and let the songs showcase these varied influences and when we do I think that is when Rah Rah is most successful.

What’s on deck for Rah Rah in 2013?  Is this year a continuation of the touring cycle behind The Poet’s Dead or is there any new music coming down the road?
We have started to work on a few song ideas informally here and there, but I think the main focus is going to be on touring until 2014 comes around.

Do you have any gigs booked for SXSW yet?  As a repeat performer of the conference, what does SXSW mean to Rah Rah, especially in 2013?
We do! We are playing the Canadian Blast BBQ on the Wednesday, Friends on Thursday and the Sonicbids Day party on Friday. I am very much looking forward to the music, the margaritas and the good times that are SXSW.

Have you had a chance to check out the SXSW roster yet?  Any artists you are hoping to catch yourself while in town?
I saw Nick Cave will be there and I will be doing everything I can to catch that.

OEB’s 5 SXSW Q’s – Rah Rah

Hometown: Regina, Canada

OEB 2013 SXSW Review


Rah Rah is heading to SXSW this year along with an especially strong Canadian indie rock contingent to support of their latest record, The Poet’s Dead.  Rah Rah vocalist/guitarist Marshall Burns chatted with OEB last week to share some thoughts on breaking new ground in rock music, bringing together different musical backgrounds and what’s on deck for their busy SXSW.


Rah Rah fits right in with a powerful, indie rock sound that has come out of Canada in recent years alongside inventive acts like Broken Social Scene and The New Pornographers.  Does this national scene encompass bands that are pushing each other to break new ground within rock music or is there something else at play here?

Those two bands were both very influential bands that we certainly listened to but there’s been a lot of excellent rock music coming out of Canada in recent years. I think any band, in Canada or elsewhere, that isn’t pushing themselves to break new ground isn’t going to be a very interesting band.


So many elements come together fluently in Rah Rah’s music.  Is this a product of communal songwriting or do the songs start small and build from there?

We don’t have any set formula for how we write a piece of music. Sometimes someone will come forward with a song that is nearly complete while other songs have been written totally organically thru collective jamming. I think everyone brings their different musical backgrounds to the table. We try and let the songs showcase these varied influences and when we do I think that is when Rah Rah is most successful.


What’s on deck for Rah Rah in 2013?  Is this year a continuation of the touring cycle behind The Poet’s Dead or is there any new music coming down the road?

We have started to work on a few song ideas informally here and there, but I think the main focus is going to be on touring until 2014 comes around.


Do you have any gigs booked for SXSW yet?  As a repeat performer of the conference, what does SXSW mean to Rah Rah, especially in 2013?

We do! We are playing the Canadian Blast BBQ on the Wednesday, Friends on Thursday and the Sonicbids Day party on Friday. I am very much looking forward to the music, the margaritas and the good times that are SXSW.


Have you had a chance to check out the SXSW roster yet?  Any artists you are hoping to catch yourself while in town?

I saw Nick Cave will be there and I will be doing everything I can to catch that.

OEB’s 5 SXSW Q’s – Simian Ghost
Hometown: Stockholm, Sweden
OEB 2013 SXSW Review

As of today, Swedish indie pop trio Simian Ghost is in the funding stages of their SXSW journey, trying to gather up enough resources to make their first trip overseas in support of 2012’s Youth and Autumn Slowmo EP and maybe even preview some new tracks in the writing stages as the hard working band eyes the next studio project for the end of 2013.  Simian Ghost frontman Sebastian Arnstrom took some time away from the pen to check in with OEB last week to discuss “dipping their toes in the water” of pop music, blending electronic and organic instrumentation and some of the artists he is looking forward to catching if they can make the trip to Austin.

While Simian Ghost has a dreamy and ambient nature to your music, there are moments of catchiness that separates you from bands that play in a similar fashion.  Is that a conscious decision or do the songs naturally grow that way?
It’s a bit of both I guess. We’ve all been doing less structured music for years, and to us working within the framework of traditional pop music presents an almost bigger challenge than going down that road. It’s what we’re into right now, but I mean, we’re just getting started. What we have done so far is kind of dipping our toes in the water, so to speak.

Your music also merges electronic and organic instrumentation, a relatively new area of exploration within the indie music scene.  Is this an area you see yourself as Simian Ghost breaking new ground?
Well I hope we will. I think our next record will be very interesting in that regard. We’re doing some stuff right now that I can’t wait to share with people. 

It has been about a year since Youth’s release. Does Simian Ghost have any new music set for 2013 beyond the recently released Autumn Slowmo EP?  Any other interesting plans for the year?
We’re going to release a new full length by the end of this year. We’re writing it right now and we’re going to record it starting next week I think. I hope we’ll get some nice gigs too.

Do you have any gigs lined up for SXSW yet?  Anything particular you are looking to get out of the trip to Austin this year?
The first thing we need to do is find the money to go really. We have a couple of shows yes and if we get there, I mean, I have never been to the US before. It would be great. Also, I have a huge crush on Paul Rudd, but I doubt we’d be seeing him in Texas though. But anything that brings me closer to Paul, you know.

Have you had a chance to check out the SXSW roster yet?  Any artists you are personally looking to catch while gigging through Austin next month?
There are so many bands, I haven’t really had a chance to look through them all. Lots and lots of interesting stuff. I know Action Bronson, Carsick Cars, Toro Y Moi and Youth Lagoon are playing, so we’d check them out for sure.

OEB’s 5 SXSW Q’s – Simian Ghost

Hometown: Stockholm, Sweden

OEB 2013 SXSW Review


As of today, Swedish indie pop trio Simian Ghost is in the funding stages of their SXSW journey, trying to gather up enough resources to make their first trip overseas in support of 2012’s Youth and Autumn Slowmo EP and maybe even preview some new tracks in the writing stages as the hard working band eyes the next studio project for the end of 2013.  Simian Ghost frontman Sebastian Arnstrom took some time away from the pen to check in with OEB last week to discuss “dipping their toes in the water” of pop music, blending electronic and organic instrumentation and some of the artists he is looking forward to catching if they can make the trip to Austin.


While Simian Ghost has a dreamy and ambient nature to your music, there are moments of catchiness that separates you from bands that play in a similar fashion.  Is that a conscious decision or do the songs naturally grow that way?

It’s a bit of both I guess. We’ve all been doing less structured music for years, and to us working within the framework of traditional pop music presents an almost bigger challenge than going down that road. It’s what we’re into right now, but I mean, we’re just getting started. What we have done so far is kind of dipping our toes in the water, so to speak.


Your music also merges electronic and organic instrumentation, a relatively new area of exploration within the indie music scene.  Is this an area you see yourself as Simian Ghost breaking new ground?

Well I hope we will. I think our next record will be very interesting in that regard. We’re doing some stuff right now that I can’t wait to share with people. 


It has been about a year since Youth’s release. Does Simian Ghost have any new music set for 2013 beyond the recently released Autumn Slowmo EP?  Any other interesting plans for the year?

We’re going to release a new full length by the end of this year. We’re writing it right now and we’re going to record it starting next week I think. I hope we’ll get some nice gigs too.


Do you have any gigs lined up for SXSW yet?  Anything particular you are looking to get out of the trip to Austin this year?

The first thing we need to do is find the money to go really. We have a couple of shows yes and if we get there, I mean, I have never been to the US before. It would be great. Also, I have a huge crush on Paul Rudd, but I doubt we’d be seeing him in Texas though. But anything that brings me closer to Paul, you know.


Have you had a chance to check out the SXSW roster yet?  Any artists you are personally looking to catch while gigging through Austin next month?

There are so many bands, I haven’t really had a chance to look through them all. Lots and lots of interesting stuff. I know Action Bronson, Carsick Cars, Toro Y Moi and Youth Lagoon are playing, so we’d check them out for sure.

OEB’s 5 SXSW Q’s – Seth Sentry
Hometown: Melbourne, Australia
OEB 2013 SXSW Review

It was all the way back in early December that Nate first recommended Australian rapper Seth Sentry and he has increasingly become an favorite of the whole OEB crew as we move closer to the conference.  Nate was able to catch up with Sentry as he prepares for his first trip to the States and hit on topics ranging from the exciting reception of This Was Tomorrow, bridging humor and music and even a little gamer talk.

This Was Tomorrow is a really fun album to listen to, you don’t seem to take yourself too seriously and your songs use a lot humor. How do you approach writing songs? 
Thank you. Yeah, I guess it really depends on the song for me. But if there is an opportunity to try & make someone laugh I will usually take it. My approach to songwriting has gotten a lot more conceptual over the years. It used to be quite loose & I’d just go where the song takes me, writing about a lot of different things on the one song. These days though, I like to pick a topic & really try to squeeze every last drop out of it. 


There’s a four-year gap between The Waiter Minute EP and This Was Tomorrow. Does it feel different now that you have a full-length album out? How has the fan reception been?
It’s so different now. Being able to do hour-plus sets is great, I really used to do a lot of shit talking to try & fill up my shows but now I have to cut it right back (though there’s always time for shit talking). I’ve been so stoked with the way people have received this album, I really never anticipated it to do anywhere near as well as it has. It’s also enabled me to quit working at restaurants serving jerks soy, decaf and café lattes.

You’re a big gamer, what’s your favorite game at the moment? What’s your favorite game ever? 
At the moment I have been playing the shit out of the new Call Of Duty game. I have quite a competitive streak, so my mates and I all play online & we play to win. We all rock headsets & some of the post-game lobby arguments can be hilarious. My favourite game of all time is probably Fallout 3 though, that game had me completely trapped in my room for months. I still get flashbacks to the wasteland.

Will SXSW be your first visit to the States? Do you have any appearances lined up for SXSW?   
Yep! I’ve never been out of Australia before so I’m super excited. I’m all prepared, got my visa the other day & I took a few classes so now I speak fluent American. 
So far, I’m playing at Maggie Mae’s Rooftop at 12am on Saturday.

Have you had a chance to check out the band list for SXSW?  Are there any acts you are looking forward to catching yourself?

Yeah! I checked it out - it’s extensive to say the least. I’m really buzzing to check out Rudimental, Hieroglyphics, Dead Pres, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Papa Vs Pretty, Flume, Major Lazer, The Pharcyde, Roach Gigz & Vampire Weekend.

OEB’s 5 SXSW Q’s – Seth Sentry

Hometown: Melbourne, Australia

OEB 2013 SXSW Review


It was all the way back in early December that Nate first recommended Australian rapper Seth Sentry and he has increasingly become an favorite of the whole OEB crew as we move closer to the conference.  Nate was able to catch up with Sentry as he prepares for his first trip to the States and hit on topics ranging from the exciting reception of This Was Tomorrow, bridging humor and music and even a little gamer talk.


This Was Tomorrow is a really fun album to listen to, you don’t seem to take yourself too seriously and your songs use a lot humor. How do you approach writing songs? 

Thank you. Yeah, I guess it really depends on the song for me. But if there is an opportunity to try & make someone laugh I will usually take it. My approach to songwriting has gotten a lot more conceptual over the years. It used to be quite loose & I’d just go where the song takes me, writing about a lot of different things on the one song. These days though, I like to pick a topic & really try to squeeze every last drop out of it. 

There’s a four-year gap between The Waiter Minute EP and This Was Tomorrow. Does it feel different now that you have a full-length album out? How has the fan reception been?

It’s so different now. Being able to do hour-plus sets is great, I really used to do a lot of shit talking to try & fill up my shows but now I have to cut it right back (though there’s always time for shit talking). I’ve been so stoked with the way people have received this album, I really never anticipated it to do anywhere near as well as it has. It’s also enabled me to quit working at restaurants serving jerks soy, decaf and café lattes.


You’re a big gamer, what’s your favorite game at the moment? What’s your favorite game ever? 

At the moment I have been playing the shit out of the new Call Of Duty game. I have quite a competitive streak, so my mates and I all play online & we play to win. We all rock headsets & some of the post-game lobby arguments can be hilarious. My favourite game of all time is probably Fallout 3 though, that game had me completely trapped in my room for months. I still get flashbacks to the wasteland.


Will SXSW be your first visit to the States? Do you have any appearances lined up for SXSW?   

Yep! I’ve never been out of Australia before so I’m super excited. I’m all prepared, got my visa the other day & I took a few classes so now I speak fluent American. 

So far, I’m playing at Maggie Mae’s Rooftop at 12am on Saturday.


Have you had a chance to check out the band list for SXSW?  Are there any acts you are looking forward to catching yourself?

Yeah! I checked it out - it’s extensive to say the least. I’m really buzzing to check out RudimentalHieroglyphicsDead PresNick Cave & The Bad SeedsPapa Vs PrettyFlumeMajor LazerThe PharcydeRoach GigzVampire Weekend.

OEB’s 5 SXSW Q’s – Jenny Owen Youngs
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
OEB 2013 SXSW Review

Singer-songwriter Jenny Owen Youngs starts every album with the same question: “What is going to be different about this record?”  We dug into that inquiry with Youngs when it comes to her latest, 2012’s An Unwavering Band of Light, as well as hit on topics ranging from Exhibit, a series of songwriting explorations based on museum visits, letting go of perfectionist tendencies and a preview of the Revival Tour swinging through SXSW to close out Saturday night along with Hot Water Music’s Chuck Ragan and Jenny O., among others.

While An Unwavering Band of Light has some quiet moments, I was most taken with the electric energy of songs like “Born to Lose” and “Pirates”.  With such a diverse spectrum to play on top of, what type of songs do you connect to the most?
I connect as deeply to up-tempo thrashers as to delicate weepers. I love sloppy punk music and I love meticulously arranged acoustic ballads. At the beginning of the writing process, you’re dealing with a plain block of marble that could become anything. I love working to find something different inside every time.

This record also introduces some inventive rhythmic elements that we haven’t heard yet from you.  Where did that new sound come from?  Is it hard for you to stretch your music in experimental directions or is that your natural inclination?
When we started working on the album, I was listening to the Tom Waits albums Swordfishtrombones and Rain Dogs like crazy. My longtime producer and cowriter Dan Romer was logging a lot of hours with Harry Belafonte records. I’d say those two gentlemen had a lot to do with where our rhythmic heads were at during the recording process. We focused on drums and percussion before anything else during the arranging sessions. Dan and I start every album the same way: by asking “What is going to be different about this record?” We’re always reaching.

I’ve been fascinated by your Exhibit series, creating songs inspired by NYC museum visits once a week.  Are these songs going to be part of your live rotation or is this an isolated project?  What have you learned about your songwriting since you started this in December?
Hey, thanks! It’s been a really fun project, and I’ve been so pleased with the songs that have come out of it. I’ve been playing some of them live and plan to work on fleshed-out arrangements for them as well. The most important thing I’ve learned from this project is that it’s possible for me to let go of my perfectionist tendencies and still write something that I’m psyched about. I don’t want to get ahead of myself but I’m feeling preeeeetty liberated right now.

Do you have any gigs lined up for SXSW yet?  Especially since you’ve been touring and releasing records for years, what are you hoping to get out of the conference in 2013?
My main showcase is Saturday night with The Revival Tour, an acoustic collaborative musical event founded by Chuck Ragan (of Hot Water Music) that might best be described as a raucous hootenanny (copious whiskey consumption optional). We play SXSW then the tour heads out for six weeks. I’m also participating in a literary salon on March 12th called Women of Letters with Amanda Palmer, Neil Gaiman, and John Sayles.

Have you had a chance to check out the SXSW roster yet?  Any artists you are hoping to catch yourself while in town?
I’m SO stoked to see Dave Grohl’s keynote address!! I haven’t checked out the band roster yet, shame on me. But you can’t walk down the street at SXSW without stumbling on some awesome music, so I’m sure it’ll be an inspiring week!

OEB’s 5 SXSW Q’s – Jenny Owen Youngs

Hometown: Brooklyn, NY

OEB 2013 SXSW Review


Singer-songwriter Jenny Owen Youngs starts every album with the same question: “What is going to be different about this record?”  We dug into that inquiry with Youngs when it comes to her latest, 2012’s An Unwavering Band of Light, as well as hit on topics ranging from Exhibit, a series of songwriting explorations based on museum visits, letting go of perfectionist tendencies and a preview of the Revival Tour swinging through SXSW to close out Saturday night along with Hot Water Music’s Chuck Ragan and Jenny O., among others.


While An Unwavering Band of Light has some quiet moments, I was most taken with the electric energy of songs like “Born to Lose” and “Pirates”.  With such a diverse spectrum to play on top of, what type of songs do you connect to the most?

I connect as deeply to up-tempo thrashers as to delicate weepers. I love sloppy punk music and I love meticulously arranged acoustic ballads. At the beginning of the writing process, you’re dealing with a plain block of marble that could become anything. I love working to find something different inside every time.


This record also introduces some inventive rhythmic elements that we haven’t heard yet from you.  Where did that new sound come from?  Is it hard for you to stretch your music in experimental directions or is that your natural inclination?

When we started working on the album, I was listening to the Tom Waits albums Swordfishtrombones and Rain Dogs like crazy. My longtime producer and cowriter Dan Romer was logging a lot of hours with Harry Belafonte records. I’d say those two gentlemen had a lot to do with where our rhythmic heads were at during the recording process. We focused on drums and percussion before anything else during the arranging sessions. Dan and I start every album the same way: by asking “What is going to be different about this record?” We’re always reaching.


I’ve been fascinated by your Exhibit series, creating songs inspired by NYC museum visits once a week.  Are these songs going to be part of your live rotation or is this an isolated project?  What have you learned about your songwriting since you started this in December?

Hey, thanks! It’s been a really fun project, and I’ve been so pleased with the songs that have come out of it. I’ve been playing some of them live and plan to work on fleshed-out arrangements for them as well. The most important thing I’ve learned from this project is that it’s possible for me to let go of my perfectionist tendencies and still write something that I’m psyched about. I don’t want to get ahead of myself but I’m feeling preeeeetty liberated right now.


Do you have any gigs lined up for SXSW yet?  Especially since you’ve been touring and releasing records for years, what are you hoping to get out of the conference in 2013?

My main showcase is Saturday night with The Revival Tour, an acoustic collaborative musical event founded by Chuck Ragan (of Hot Water Music) that might best be described as a raucous hootenanny (copious whiskey consumption optional). We play SXSW then the tour heads out for six weeks. I’m also participating in a literary salon on March 12th called Women of Letters with Amanda Palmer, Neil Gaiman, and John Sayles.


Have you had a chance to check out the SXSW roster yet?  Any artists you are hoping to catch yourself while in town?

I’m SO stoked to see Dave Grohl’s keynote address!! I haven’t checked out the band roster yet, shame on me. But you can’t walk down the street at SXSW without stumbling on some awesome music, so I’m sure it’ll be an inspiring week!