oOoOO Makes Terrifically Scary Pop
Goth-pop pixie oOoOO is a terrific soundtrack for when a club night in Ibiza gets rained out by hellfire. Both 2010's oOoOO EP and this year's Our Love Is Hurting Us are dance music for social misfits. They're dusky, palely moonlit fantasias enlivened by synths that churn like Bernard Herrmann and characters who hunger for interaction as ravenously as Travis Bickle.
In a candid interview, oOoOO (who asked that we not print his real name) spoke to the New Times about Lil B, Blondie, and unfulfilled desire.
New Times: Your last EP, Our Love Is Hurting Us, was almost two years in the making. Why the wait? And are you ever concerned about being forgotten in these hyper-accelerated times?
oOoOO: That's just how long it took me to gather a few tunes I like. The fear of being forgotten in hyper-accelerated times seems to produce some of the worst music, so I try to avoid that sort of thinking. People just throw shit out there for consumption constantly with no sense of quality control. There's already so much garbage out in the world, I'd hate to add to it.
NT: I've read your work described as Blondie's "Heart of Glass" on ketamine. What do you make of that description? It seems fairly accurate to me.
oO: Yeah, Blondie for less optimistic times. Blondie for introverts. Blondie with autism.
NT: "TryTry" is the scariest shit I've heard in forever. Do you make a conscious effort to evoke menace?
oO: To me, the driving emotion behind that song is frustration; the sound of unfulfilled desire. At the end of the song, there's a slight moment of release. But it quickly fades into nothing before it can be fully realized as satisfaction. I guess that is a menaced emotional state, but not in a horror movie kind of way. A very personal kind of menace.
NT: A lot of the subgenres that have caught fire in recent years — from "chillwave" to "witch house" to post-dubstep — are very much of their era, in that they're products of technologies-of-the-moment like GarageBand. How do you think this stuff will hold up in a decade or two?
oO: I think music that people can relate to will be listened to. If it's made on GarageBand or if it's made by dumping a handful of coins into a conch shell, that music's longevity will be determined by whether or not people find meaning in it.
NT: Many of your contemporaries (Telephoned and AlunaGeorge are great examples) tip their hats to late '90s/early '00s commercial R&B. You seem to do this a little less frequently. Is that not an era you're fond of?
oO: I love '90s/'00s R&B. But it's less a foundational element for me and more of an occasional bit of a dream that rises up unconsciously when I'm making music. It's spirit is in me and is unavoidable.
NT: A song like "Starr" is not particularly warm or communal in tone and content. Are your records best absorbed alone?
oO: I tend to enjoy music most when I am listening alone. And since I mostly make music alone, maybe something of that comes through in the songs. I imagine people who might like my music are often loners.
NT: Tell me about your relationship with Butterclock. She surfaces more than once on Our Love Is Hurting Us.
oO: We both lived for one year in the same small town in Nevada when we were in high school, and that's how we met. Two weirdos in a town full of cowboys. When she went back to Paris and I went back to California, we kept in touch.
NT: The two of you covered Rick Ross' "Hustlin'" last year. Why? Ross has done much, much better work in the years since.
oO: I dunno, honestly. It was her idea; she just asked me to throw some keys on the track.
NT: You're from the Bay Area, which has experienced something of a hip-hop renaissance in recent years — thoughts on any of the MCs cropping up there?
oO: Lil B's "I Get Mo Based" freestyle is the best song of 2012.
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