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US Underground Interviews: oOoOO

Notion Magazine’s Editor, Michael C Lewin, interviewed the stars of the emerging US Underground scene for an in-depth feature in Notion 048. Below the full transcript of his interview with oOoOO.

MCL: How does it feel to be included on a compilation charting ‘A New American Underground’? Do you feel like you fit in?

oOoOO: I suppose.  I’m just trying to do my thing.  Not to concerned with where it ends up fitting in.

MCL: Are there any of the other artists included you would consider peers? What about influences? Generally, do you feel a kinship with any scene or ‘underground’ in America at the moment?

oOoOO: Yeah, I consider a lot of these ppl to be peers and am happy to be included with them.  I don’t really feel connected to a scene though.

MCL: Regardless of ‘scene’ and considering your own work, do you feel as though in any way your music is a response to, or influenced by, being American?

oOoOO: Definitely, yeah.  I don’t think I could make music like this anywhere else.  America is a raw and violent place.  If I lived somewhere where Drs made public-funded house calls, I’d have a very different outlook.  America is brutal and creates a lot of anger and sadness for intelligent people, especially if they’re poor.  Its infuriating to look at all of the rich people in this city spending however many hundreds of dollars on dinner every night and I don’t even have health insurance right now because what I do isn’t valued.

MCL: Being associated with Tri Angle Records along with a few other artists at the vanguard of a particular strand of US underground music, do you feel it helps or limits perceptions of and the effect of your own music?

oOoOO: I think both oOoOO and Tri Angle are working with a much broader set of influences and sounds than fit into any one “particular strand” of music.  There ‘s been a tendency, I think largely because both projects are so young, to sum up the work we’re doing as part of a really narrowly defined genre. But I think my songs are all really different and the releases Tri Angle is putting out are in some ways almost nothing like each other.  So hopefully as more stuff gets released the perception will change.

MCL: Regardless of origin or even being recent, what music is inspiring you at the moment? (This doesn’t need to be something which comes out directly in your own work.) Likewise, what inspires you outside of music?

oOoOO: Been listening to a lot of Marina & the Diamonds lately.  And the new Rick Ross record.  And this extended 10-minute remix of Catcall’s “Swimming Pool.”

MCL: Would it be fair to characterise your music as atmosphere- or aesthetic-led, as opposed to song-led music? What motivated you to avoid traditional song structure?

oOoOO: The songs come second to the sounds.  Its not intentional really.  I’m just more of a producer than a songwriter I guess.  I really like songs that just throw in a few disjointed bits of vocal melody and float around over the sounds.

MCL: Would you rather your music be beautiful or abrasive? I find both when I listen to it (and I like that). Is there a tension between them that’s enjoyable, do you think? And do you think that’s quite an important quality to have today?

oOoOO: I don’t know.  I really like things that are 70 percent beautiful and 30 percent ugly/abrasive.  People with beautiful faces with a lot of acne, or really unhealthy looking dark eye circles are like the hottest people.  Things that are all beautiful are kind of boring.  So yeah, a balance feels nice.

MCL: The visual identity seems to be a very significant part of oOoOO. Is this just to provide a visual context to the music, or is there something more you’d like to achieve with it? Is there a narrative or message to it?

oOoOO: I actually don’t think about it too much.  I’m not much of a visual artist myself.  But I like to associate the music with  images that make me feel the way the music does.

MCL: A lot of the time, the vocals in your music are obscured. Is that to allow more open-ended emotional response, or is it a case that you’d rather minimise that easy human connection for the listener?

oOoOO: I think its more to create an open emotional response.  How many times have you heard a song that sounded powerful and moving musically and then realized the lyrics were complete trash?  I’m not much of a lyricist so, I try to keep the words as simple and suggestive as possible.  No narrative.  Actually some of the newer songs have pretty audible vocals.

MCL: Finally: is your music something you want people to ‘enjoy’, or would you rather they felt something different to that? Does the listener come into it at all?

oOoOO: Well I definitely don’t try to make music that people dislike, but I know that a lot of listeners will dislike it no matter what I do, so I try not to worry about reception and just do what sounds good to me.

Read the full article at www.notionmag.com



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