Who do OOOD think they are?
Reported by Andy Force
Submitted 20-11-12 20:41
OOOD are a psychedelic-electronic band with humble beginnings. These four guys have known one another as far back as a time when I probably wouldn't have been able to say the word 'psychedelic' without spitting my dummy out, and have been contributing to the ever-changing landscape of the UK music scene for the best part of that period.
A four-piece musical experience is a rare thing to find at a party these days, so we at Astral Circus HQ appropriately decided that there would be nothing more extravagant than to put them on stage in front of our eager mob of bedlamites, surrounded by the most insane display of visual delights we could find without sending the economy into another recession!
So guys, OOO Did the inspiration for the group come from, and how did you all get together?
We were all good mates into the same music, that’s the main reason why we write together. Colin, Steve and Nigel started the band in Oxford in 1994, then Ryo and Rama took over from Nigel in about 2000 or 2001, but we’ve all known each other since ‘94 or earlier The inspiration for the group as such came from writing our first track together, everything fell into place and it was obvious to all of us what we had to do.
Who do you think OOOD are?
We are 4 guys who were always supposed to write music together. What defines us isn’t the fact that we play live, or play instruments, but the fact that we’ve been friends for 18 years or so, and when you have that as a foundation it gives you unshakable trust to always work things out should things go wrong. It also means that wherever we go, we remain friends having fun, which we hope will transmit to the dancefloor when we play. Having four of us also means that as long as we keep open minds, we will always have a very diverse musical direction.
You’ve been a round a heck of a long time, in what way has the OOOD sound changed over the years?
It has become much more varied, in speed and style. When you are in one scene for so long, you have to get fresh inspirations from other up and coming music and this is what we’ve always done. Our production has improved as we’ve learned more, and our writing has improved as we’ve progressively removed the limitations on what we’ve allowed ourselves to create.
Through our DJing we have seen how different styles of dance music can affect different dancefloors, and how playing at certain times of the day or night has a bearing on how your set flows and what it consists of. The wonderful thing about being in OOOD is we can look back at 18 years of back-catalogue and know that we have something to suit pretty much any given time and place.
Are you all ‘proper’ psychedelic? Which one of you are we most likely to find talking to a lamp post after a gig, and who slopes off home early as soon as you’ve finished?
Lamp posts are not very good conversationalists, they’re far too rigid in their opinions. We found that orange flavour Tic Tacs are far more intellectual and have the best stories. We’ve all had gloriously psychedelic moments over the years, and going home as soon as we’re finished would be punished by the goddess of parties. Even Colin doesn’t do that, and he’s the lightweight amongst us. Falling asleep at the afterparty is very much not advised, nor is trying to keep up with Ryo… you’ll probably fail, but you’ll pass out with a smile on your face (in permanent marker).
So, music… what’s in it for you?
Joy, expression, connection, inspiration, surprise, travel, therapy, and making music that we think is worth sharing...
Within the band you all have different roles and talents, OOO Does what, and OOO Does the tea making?
Most of us write solo, which often become OOOD tracks but we all also often write together in various combinations. Col is the strongest on Cubase but we all make the tea. On stage, Ryo plays drums, Col keyboards, Steve guitar and Rama is the phat controller, but in the studio roles often swap around. We are very much a unit, and for us it feels like the whole is greater than the sum of our parts.
Please describe the sound of OOOD in eight words.
Diverse, raw, honest, instinctual, open-minded, uplifting, psychedelic and deep.
What’s the greatest sound in the world, like, ever?
The obvious answer would be “Ommmmmmmmmmmmmm” but really, you want us to pick just ONE? Between four of us?
You’ve travelled to some amazing locations and international events over the years. Who tends to get the mOOODiest on the road and what do you do to keep it real?
We’re lucky in that we don’t often get moody as there are four of us and we can usually talk each other round, and this also helps when we’re in a new place with people we don’t know. It’s a great privilege for us to find ourselves in the most outrageous of places with the most outrageous of people, getting paid to share what we love, and being aware of that helps us keep our feet on the ground.
With there being four of you, it must be tricky getting you all in the stOOODio at the same time, which makes the release of your fifth album ‘You Think You Are’ even more of an achievement. How long has the new album taken to write and record and what were the driving forces behind it?
Yeah this has been the case, but we’re looking forward to moving into a bigger studio soon! Some of us have spent four years of our lives sat on Colin’s bed working on this album alone. Since before we released ‘Fourthought’ we’ve been writing continuously, whether it’s been remixes, commissioned tracks or just our normal thing of writing what we want because we want to. Only very few acts that we’re aware of concentrate on releasing albums in the way we do, and we were happy to wait until the right collection of tracks came together.
The right connection with a respected label was the final ingredient, and it was only when we met Anton from Vertigo that the album started to become more than just a collection of unreleased music. Working as organisers and DJs in the electro/breaks/techno scene in Bristol, and the opportunities which it has brought us, has fed into our writing in a big way, although we feel the album itself actually contains some of our best psy trance work so far.
You’re launching ‘You Think You Are’ at two parties this coming weekend: Astral Circus in London on Friday night and Tribe of Frog in Bristol on Saturday. What are you looking forward to the most about this weekend and are you planning on getting any sleep?!
We’re looking forward to catching up with folk (including some very special folk indeed) and celebrating the completion of a project that has been a real 4x4 rollercoaster (4 people, 4 years) We’re gonna get our groove on and see how far into the weekend it will take us… if prior experience is anything to go by, Monday is by no means out of the question for some.
Many thanks for your time and see you on Friday!
Cheers Andy, see you there!
Images courtesy of Henry Clayton and OOOD. Not to be reproduced without permission.
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