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INDEX\ INTERVIEWS\ ONEIDA

 

 


 

 



ONEIDA is a good american band of noisy and psychedelic Rock... I sent them an interview after confirmation, to receive the answer in a very fast manner! (Less than 4 hours). They don't seem to be too famous in France, read and change it ;-)
November 2007
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20. Hello! Hope everything is Ok in the rehearsing rooms of ONEIDA! What are the last news? Something good to announce?

We just finished the recording stage of a triple album called Rated O – it will be released in 2008.

19. The band turned 10 years old this year... How did it feel? I had the same experience with a personal activity, and I didn't really realize, everything are too fast... Did something special like a show occurred? Did you receive a lot of birthday gifts?

We had a ten year anniversary show at an art museum called PS1 – that was cool. It felt gratifying. I think there are a few people who are excited about the fact that we’ve made it this far. Indeed – time moves too fast. The only gifts we received were a few notes from friends. The gift is in the music right? I think we were able to look back and be proud of what we’ve accomplished – but really we’d be nothing without the support of our friends and labels. The O wouldn’t even exist. We’re lucky.

18. Your last album was released in 2006... Did you start composing new tunes? How will it sound? (Don't tell me the Beatles mix Grindcore please). Since there obviously will be surprises, I'll change the question a bit: Will there be an absence of surprise, to eventually surprise the listener with the unexpected? Ah ah

There will be some tunes that people will probably not expect and some that are gonna sound like Oneida – I don’t know.

17. When I listen to your music, I can't avoid thinking about a bit of GONG by moments... I know it's not a very accurate description, since Gong was much more funny, and there are stronger influences, but there's a little something...

Never really liked Gong. There’s a song called “Oily Way” that I’ve listened to a few times. I like that one. I know that there are supposed to be some cool Gong records out there – I’ve just never heard them. I know for a fact that Oneida does not listen to Gong. We played with them once in Minneapolis though. . .

             

16. When I hear your band's name, I can't avoid thinking a bit about onions (In French it's "Ognon")... I know it's not a very accurate comparison, since your band name is linked to some past American history... But some freshness remains... Ah Ah!? Did you ever get strange interpretations of your moniker? What was the most surprising one?

Hmm – that was the strangest I think!

15. Do you keep on training your instruments to reach an higher technical level? Or does it sound better to search for new ideas or polyphonies? (When will I hear an hellish heavy metal lead in your music?)

I think if you haven’t heard a heavy metal lead in our music you haven’t been listening! Jane is all about metal – he’s a master. . .I practice drums still – a few times a week – I wish I could more but yeah. I think when you are in a performing band it’s important to keep your curiosity alive – listening, practicing, writing. It all goes together . . . hopefully it comes across in the music. We aren’t getting better as a band – we are just evolving. But I think we are one of the best bands around right now – we’ve always been that.

14. Are you very strict concerning rehearsals, or does it generally happen with its ups and lows... Nothing for weeks, and then 2-3 weeks of very intensive rehears-hards and flourishing songwriting?

We live in different cities now so we’re not practicing a lot. Just leading up to shows and tours. So life in Oneida is different now. We used to practice three to four times a week. . .Songwriting tends to happen all the time – we try to remain open to it.

13. Inspiration can come or be motivated by anything... In your case, what are the usual triggers? Music, pictures or something quite unusual?

I don’t think that we are inspired from unusual things – sometimes directly by music, sometimes by events in our own lives – really like most songwriters. . .We do like to try different things just to see if we can pull them off. There’s a dancehall style song on Rated O. . .

                

12. You're always working on new songs, many at the same time... I know this way of building tunes can sometimes be very long... What was the song that took the more time to finish and how many years did it take?

The songs on The Wedding were finished 2-4 years after some were originally demoed. But it doesn’t mean we worked on them constantly during the down times. We tend to crank ‘em out and try not to over think them. It’s more about the intensity we bring to the basic ideas. Oneida songs are very simple if you haven’t noticed. They are rarely particularly complex in form or execution. So perhaps that can explain why we are considered prolific. We aren’t particularly – other bands just don’t write songs. I don’t know why that is.

11. Was "Anthem of the moon" recorded in an old wet cave for real, or was some reviewer subject to seconds of subjective upheaval?

An old wet cave? No. The album was recorded in a studio – we just wanted to fuck with people so we told them it was recorded outside. I guess we thought people would get the joke. They don’t tend to get the jokes. . .

10. What are your relations with the medias, and especially reviewers? And how do you feel when reading a bad or hard to understand review? (Strange comparisons etc)

Sometimes if a reviewer insults us or our process or music it hurts me personally but most reviewers are failed musicians and actually cannot begin to understand what goes into making a record. I mean whatever – most people who write about music are terrible writers and have no knowledge of music at all. Maybe they think they do – but they are wrong. It’s more important if a project is satisfying creatively to me. If it is – then I’m happy.

         

9. Do you know how many copies of each album sells/ trades? What was the best seller? Do you think it's enough, or maybe you'd like to imagine more peoples with nice ONEIDA CDs in their bedrooms? Not necessarily to earn more money (I guess you don't own golden underwears) but maybe you'd consider your music as a message that might need to reach a given amount of receivers...

I think Secret Wars was our biggest seller. Yes I have an idea of the sales. We don’t sell many records at all. Very few. I think most artists want to be heard by as many people as possible. I feel that way – I’m not going to kill myself to make it happen though. At this point what is – is. You know? Music is about meeting people, sharing experiences and living life – the whole sales thing is really beside the point. But I think I would at least like to clothe a cute woman in golden underwears (as you say).

8. In the early days, did you record some demo tapes... and is it eventually available anywhere? Do you like tapes? A new, little wave of tape-revivalism is emerging in the underground, with colored pro tapes that almost look like toys. How does it feel?

Our first album “A Place Called El Shaddai’s” was kind of a demo that got released. You can still download it and buy it on ebay. I don’t like tapes. I don’t hate them either. It’s just a medium for storing sound. . .the revivalism strikes me as really strange. I don’t know why a young person would want a tape. Though perhaps there’s a craft element to making tapes which is missing from digital media. That I can understand. . .I’m all for that. Someone is releasing Happy New Year on cassette in Europe! As Bobby said at the time, “Welcome to the big time!”

7. Was ONEIDA ever remixed a way or another? According to the chaotic nature some of your guitars have, I think it could be interesting to hear your songs remixed by an industrial/ dark electro project...

We have a 12” of Caesar’s Column that Rough Trade paid for. . .there are three remixes of that song on there. It’s kinda interesting. If someone wanted to remix an Oneida song they can – I don’t really care. Go for it.

6. Would Oneida be the Dr Jekyll of Mr hide, or the contrary? In other words is your music more weird than your everyday's personality, or is it the contrary?

Weirder I think. We are just dudes who like hanging out watching movies, drinking beers, watching football. . .whatever. But at the same time I don’t think our music is that weird. It’s perhaps slightly off center – with amateurish vocals. That’s about it. . .its just not commercial.

5. Since everyone's tastes tend to be more and more varied, the influences of composer's also tend to be more diverse and eclectic, building (in theory) a kinda unique sound for each band... Considering this multiplicity of influences, did you ever cross the music of bands that sound very close to your own mixture? I think it would be a really strange feeling to discover a band whose influences, gimmicks or way of conceiving the songs taste very close to yours...

Oh well – once I was standing on the street waiting for the bus and I heard this song coming out of the bar across the street. It sounded a lot like Oneida. I was shocked. The organ even sounded like us! Then I realized it WAS Oneida. There aren’t other bands that sound like us. . .thems the facts. . .
I also think that the way we go about creating and being a band is very unique and organic. . .all good bands have a unique sound. But I’ve never heard a band like us remotely. Nobody plays like these guys – we aren’t the best at what we do – we are the only ones who do what we do. That’s what Bill Graham said about The Dead. . .but it can work for Oneida too.

4. If Lemmy remaint in HAWKWIND, would ONEIDA sound the same?

I’m not sure I understand this question – you mean if Motorhead never existed? Hehe. . .well – we are different from Hawkwind. I think Oneida is a lot more diverse than you are giving us credit for – perhaps so is Hawkwind!

3. Have you got parallel projects?

Bobby is in a band with his wife called Nurse and Soldier – you can get that record on Brah. Jane and I are in a surf band called The Bible with the bassist in Awesome Color. I play in a number of bands including Jah Division, Soldiers of Fortune, Ex Models and White Hills.

2. Did you count the amount of interviews you answered since the beginnings? Could mine be the 666th? ;-)

No idea. . .this might be the last! ;0

1. Ok, it's the final countdown is over... Tell us about your future projects and try to conclude a memorable way (After all, in few seconds we'll all be dead...).

Playing a show in Istanbul! Perhaps coming back to France and drinking your superior wine! I really really love France – but I don’t think French people have really picked up on Oneida. . .perhaps this’ll help. . .thanks for listening!
http://www.enemyhogs.com