Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Oh Captain

Dystopian post rock rage from Brighton

Website here

So..can you tell me a bit about how Oh Captain ended up being Oh Captain?

Sadie (drums): Well, Jamie, Hope and myself were all acoustic artists playing open mic nights around Brighton to begin with. Hope was the first person I sorta made friends with after moving here and we hit it off, I offered to put some drums to her acoustic tracks then it sorta went from there.

Hope (Guitar/vocals): After a couple of jams we invited Jamie along and the next thing you know, we're shouting and sweating and mangling our guitars, throwing ourselves about. After playing a few acoustic shows we realised we were getting way to heavy for that style of music so we moved onto electric guitars. At this point the line up was two guitars, drums and we all had vocal parts, we barely even had any pedals and the sweating was minimal. In the months that followed we wrote like we were on fire and smashed together our first E.P 'THE SKY IS FALLING!', on an interpersonal level we all became super close, it became apparent that we are all massive geeks who love zombie movies, sci-fi novels and buckle under the social pressures of appearing as if we're not horribly awkward people, haha!
After launching this, we focused in our writing skills; we somehow managed to write a whole new album in a year. We also worked hard on our live performance which are pretty explosive, often ending with Sadie collapsed on the kit, I'm usually on the floor and Jamie's crouched over his guitar like a mad-scientist.
We came to a crossroads with writing and then Joe appeared, as if sent from the Post Rock Gods, he plays bass and sampler and shouts! So now armed with a bassist and 18 months of band experience we jet set off to The Ranch Production House to record our debut album 'PISTOLS OUT' which is 9 tracks of rage, pain, dystopia, blood, sweat, tears, screaming, crying, singing, atheism, love, emotional torture, zombies, noise and above all a sense that 'things are terrible and they need to change! Right now!

Is that how you would define post rock in general or is that just Oh Captain?

Hope: Well 'post rock' as a genre is a lot of things, it's like a mix between psychedelic, grunge, metal and ambient instrument music. It's pretty technical and emotive so every band has it's own take.  The rage, pain etc is just Oh Captain really.
Sadie: I think that in terms of trying to define Oh Captain!'s sound, we each have a range of different influences, which tend to make themselves known whenever we jam with each other. I feel like we're very lucky that we sorta glue so well together, sometimes parts of songs just come to us super organically, and other parts we have to just work and work at it until we get something that fits well. I think if we all liked just one genre of music or one small collection of bands throughout our individual lives we'd clash more, musically. It definitely works in our favour that we all come from different musical influences. Post-rock is sorta just the genre we seem to fit into the most and at this point in time, the one we are influenced by and enjoy the most. It also has quite a niche audience at the moment too, which I think is what we're drawn to as a band.

copyright © 2014 Emily Hammerton-Barry
Sounds like the shows are pretty high energy!  How have they been received by Brighton punters?

Hope: Yeah we do play pretty high energy shows, usually people love it, I think mostly because it's a bit of a surprise considering how horribly awkward we are the rest of the time. A lot of people's reactions are 'Blimey, where'd that come from!' which is positive.
Sadie:  I hope people enjoy it as much as we do! Sometimes people let that be known, and sometimes we finish and people look like they're not sure what to do.. I'm hoping that that's a sign that it was a good show..either that or they're just not bothered really at all by it, I just hope it's not the latter! I feel like we give as much as we possibly can at each show and if people enjoy it - that's awesome! If not - no worries!

copyright © 2014 Emily Hammerton-Barry

You're in a mixed gender band - have you ever felt that the guys get treated differently by sound engineers, venue staff, promoters, other bands etc?

Sadie: Nope! I think we're extremely lucky to be in a band living in Brighton, where that type of thing occurs only rarely (as far as I have experienced). Its a very accepting city, with so many female musicians. I agree it is still very much a male dominated scene, but at almost every show we've played, we've had feedback that has been very positive and most people treat us as equals and in the exact same way as the guys. So much so that its not really something I ever consider when going to play a gig, I'll talk to other drummers and band members and the subject is always on the music, gender doesn't play much of a part for me in that sense. We're all just musicians, there to play music! If anything, I think many people see bands with female members as a positive thing. This is one of the many reasons I love where I live. I was in a band before Oh Captain! back in Surrey, and I definitely experienced sexism in the music scene. The comments I had were more about how I looked rather than the music I was playing, and that definitely pissed me off! I played very different types of venues though back then and in small towns, in front of quite small-minded people.
Hope: Hmmm, not really, in fact when we first started playing they always turned Jamie's vocals and guitar right down which was weird. I used to be a sound engineer and I booked most of the gigs so usually I was the one chatting away to the promoter and the engineer and never really found that to be a problem. The most I've ever run into trouble for being female in the music industry was when I was engineering actually. I think the experience is different for everyone though and I've heard /witnessed a lot of women having a harder time being listened to and respected at shows, especially if the whole band is female identified.  I think there's a lot of pressure to assert yourself when you're playing a show, you know? It's like you have to introduce yourself to everyone and really make sure they know you're in the band. But the guys haven't ever been treated differently, not in front of me anyway haha.

What do you think would help more women break into the fields of sound technology, DJing etc?

Hope: Hmmm, I think that's a tricky one and I suppose it'd start at home or school. By this I mean that girls should be encouraged just as much as boys at school to learn about electronics and technology, more efforts should be put in to making those types of classroom environments accessible for people of all genders and not just cis boys, groups and classes taught by other people who aren't guys in the industry would be a good place to start. Perhaps more apprentice spaces in the field would help as well. The irritating truth is that by the time you get to college or uni and sit down in a tech class ,even if it's an equal amount of guys to everyone else, these ingrained unspoken rules that "only guys like tech and it must be so terribly boring for everyone else so lets not bother including them at all" are always in the air.  Not to be too philosophical: My belief is that the structure of our society is still that there are two genders and one does building and bread winning and tech and the other shops, cooks and has babies. Obviously this entire statement from start to finish is wrong and that kind of thinking is what needs to change. 

Sadie: I generally think that there should without fail always be equal opportunities presented to people looking to further their studies etc. I didn't study courses such as music/sound tech, but my understanding was that it was, alongside many other courses, very male dominated. I definitely think that the way of thinking 'oh, I shouldn't learn this, its not targeted at or meant for girls' needs to change. When growing up in a fairly small town, at around 13 years old I expressed that I wanted to learn to play the guitar, and was met with some kinda weird looks, and people saying 'oh! a girl playing the guitar!' which made me scared in a way I guess, like I would be judged negatively or something. But then I was like, fuck it. I want to play the guitar.

So where did the name come from?  It reminds me of gay erotica for men...we used to sell a book with a similar title when I worked in a bookshop in Stirling..

Hope: Hahaha thats fantastic! The name actually comes from the title track 'Pistols out' which is about a fight/murder with three different points of view to it, that kind of theme of perspective and dystopia follows through a lot of the album with small resolutions as it goes, so we thought it'd be a good title.

Anything else you want to say about the album?

Well the it's out on the 9th October which us and Mutant Killer Collective are putting out and doing everything ourselves, which is proving super educational haha,  The launch and promotion has all been paid for by crowd funding via Kickstarter which was totally flipping awesome! So once we've launched it our next plan is to hopefully tour, release a new video then world domination of course!! Only kidding but on the side of D.I.Y and the collective; we're hoping to document everything and publish how the release goes in the hope to make it easier for other bands to get the music out there off their own back without having to wait around for labels, contracts and advances etc.

1 comment:

  1. Ann Wilson, Janis Joplin, Stevie Nicks are my favorite female rock stars. They all are classical rock, Hard rock, rock and roll singers. I love their all songs.