Listings

    No events to show

Follow

Twitter

|

Facebook

|

MySpace

|

Last.fm

RSS

Subscribe

Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

O.Children – Interview

Interview with a darkly-influenced band, weaving a web of gothic rock and noise

Written by Ian Steadman

petter and the pix thumbnail interview

Last week I had the pleasure of reviewing Petter & the Pix‘s second album, here Good As Gold, malady an eclectic bundle of folk and rock that never sits still longer than one track at a time. I urge you to seek it out, and you can listen to the first single off the album (Never Never) here. Petter, lead singer and ringleader of the group, of sorts, is an Icelandic chap from something of a musical family – his brother, Pontus, is half of the successful pop songwriting duo Bloodshy & Avant (not sure which one), and Petter himself used to be in Iceland’s first big reggae band, Hjálmar, as well as in a few other acts making everything from house beats to jazz. The Pix is Petter’s band, consisting of Mike Svensson on piano, Andreas Gabrielsson on bass, Nils Törnqvist on drums, and Mattias Franzen and Klas Ericsson on guitars. I had a quick catch-up with him to ask about his songwriting process.

Hi, Petter. What is it that you’re trying to do with the Pix? As in, what are you aiming for?

To make music and let everyone that is involved feel as involved as we are. I see music as some sort of get together, and I don’t want to work with anyone unless I can trust them to do their very best. For me a very big part of making music is to find situations where you can create moments of trust, with both your fellow musicians and a possible audience.

How would you describe your sound?

I’d say it some sort of pop.

Your music is extremely varied in style and instrumentation – how much to do you draw upon your experience with genres other than just ‘indie’ in making music?

I don’t really know how to define indie or pop if you are referring to it as a certain style of music. There are so many different music styles that people call indie or pop. The expressions seem to change depending on the decade in which they’re used. I think that for musicians, every piece of music they participate in changes the way they think about making music. If the musical history of the members in a group is varied, the outcome will somehow be a reflection of this.

What’s it like working with such a talented range of musicians? How much do they help in achieving that semi-orchestral breadth of sound?

The musicians are everything that there is! If I would choose another constellation of musicians then I’m sure that it would sound very different, not necessarily bad, but different. The fact that we’re all old friends makes it easier to work together.

What else influences you in your work? Where do you draw your ideas from? The world around you, friends, things like that?

The fact that it’s possible to survive as a musician, and that I enjoy playing and recording music, of course, are definitely the reasons why it’s worth making the effort to finish a song. But I think that what actually triggers the ideas could be just about anything, most likely it’s a combo of different components that effects your emotional state and I believe that music is just a product of that process.

This is your second album – do you feel that you’re progressing as a band?

Yes, I think that this album sounds different from the first one, so that would be progress. We haven’t been touring with this band so we haven’t been able to evolve in terms of meeting an audience. But we’ve played together in different constellations for at least ten years so I think that gives us the comfort to play what we like, even if doesn’t happen that often.

Last week I had the pleasure of reviewing Petter & the Pix‘s second album, this site Good As Gold, capsule an eclectic bundle of folk and rock that never sits still longer than one track at a time. I urge you to seek it out, about it and you can listen to the first single off the album (Never Never) here. Petter, lead singer and ringleader of the group, of sorts, is an Icelandic chap from something of a musical family – his brother, Pontus, is half of the successful pop songwriting duo Bloodshy & Avant (not sure which one), and Petter himself used to be in Iceland’s first big reggae band, Hjálmar, as well as in a few other acts making everything from house beats to jazz. The Pix is Petter’s band, consisting of Mike Svensson on piano, Andreas Gabrielsson on bass, Nils Törnqvist on drums, and Mattias Franzen and Klas Ericsson on guitars. I had a quick catch-up with him to ask about his songwriting process.

Hi, Petter. What is it that you’re trying to do with the Pix? As in, what are you aiming for?

To make music and let everyone that is involved feel as involved as we are. I see music as some sort of get together, and I don’t want to work with anyone unless I can trust them to do their very best. For me a very big part of making music is to find situations where you can create moments of trust, with both your fellow musicians and a possible audience.

How would you describe your sound?

I’d say it some sort of pop.

Your music is extremely varied in style and instrumentation – how much to do you draw upon your experience with genres other than just ‘indie’ in making music?

I don’t really know how to define indie or pop if you are referring to it as a certain style of music. There are so many different music styles that people call indie or pop. The expressions seem to change depending on the decade in which they’re used. I think that for musicians, every piece of music they participate in changes the way they think about making music. If the musical history of the members in a group is varied, the outcome will somehow be a reflection of this.

What’s it like working with such a talented range of musicians? How much do they help in achieving that semi-orchestral breadth of sound?

The musicians are everything that there is! If I would choose another constellation of musicians then I’m sure that it would sound very different, not necessarily bad, but different. The fact that we’re all old friends makes it easier to work together.

What else influences you in your work? Where do you draw your ideas from? The world around you, friends, things like that?

The fact that it’s possible to survive as a musician, and that I enjoy playing and recording music, of course, are definitely the reasons why it’s worth making the effort to finish a song. But I think that what actually triggers the ideas could be just about anything, most likely it’s a combo of different components that effects your emotional state and I believe that music is just a product of that process.

This is your second album – do you feel that you’re progressing as a band?

Yes, I think that this album sounds different from the first one, so that would be progress. We haven’t been touring with this band so we haven’t been able to evolve in terms of meeting an audience. But we’ve played together in different constellations for at least ten years so I think that gives us the comfort to play what we like, even if doesn’t happen that often.

The first thing that you’ll notice about O.Children is that voice. Their singer sounds like he’s singing from the crypt – hell, physician the whole band sound like they’re howling from some horrible netherworld. Their indebtedness to the production style of the late 80s is clear (just stick on ‘Floodland‘ by the Sisters of Mercy to see exactly how much), but their sound owes just as much to more modern exponents of shoegaze and noise rock.

An introductory note here: When I first ‘got’ music, when it became something more than a tinny backing tune on the radio on the school run, it was the 80s that I fell in love with. I would stay up late listening the epic squall that opens Bauhaus’ ‘In The Flat Field‘ over and over again; or I’d search the web for grainy videos of Joy Division performing before they were canonical; or I’d even stay to the very end of Nick Cave‘s solo set at Bristol’s Colston Hall, missing my train back to London and sleeping in the station just because I couldn’t bear to miss a beat. I love how dark that music all sounded, all the space between the notes and the way that the guitars seemed to shiver while some demented sage would chant into the void about bats and judgement and all that nonsense.

Thus my fascination with O.Children, who appear to be rooted in this time period. I fired off a few quick questions to Tobi, their lead singer, on the eve of the launch of their latest single.

Can you introduce yourselves and the rest of the band?

I’m Tobi, I sing and write the songs. Gauthier plays guitar. Harry plays bass and Andrew plays drums. Collectively we’re O.Children.

I’ve been listening to your songs, and I sense an affinity with the darker sides of early 80s post-punk, and (whilst I’m not sure you’d agree with me here) especially some of those proto-goth/industrial bands like Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds and Sisters of Mercy. Where are you coming from with you music – are those the kinds of bands that you draw upon?

We’re certainly inspired by 80s goth music but we’re also into the general sound of the 80s as well as early 90s noise. The production techniques in particular. We love bands like The Birthday Party, Ciccone Youth, Big Black and Ministry, so we just take bits from all those types of bands and add them to our own personal sound. A little bit of edge.

What’s with the name? Is it a Nick Cave reference?

We bonded on ‘Shivers‘ by Boys Next Door, but then we realised that Boys Next Door was already taken and Shivers just didn’t work. O.Children was the next best thing.

What is it that you’re trying to achieve with your sound?

We just want people to enjoy the music. We’re recording out album at the moment and people will hopefully be (pleasantly) surprised by the outcome. We just want people to listen and make up their own minds.

What are you recording or planning to release? Anything soon?

Ruins‘, our second single, is released on April 19. The album should be done and released sometime in June so look out for that also.

Head over to our listings section for more info on the party to celebrate the launch of their latest single, ‘Ruins’.

Tags:

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Similar Posts:

Leave a Reply