An interview with Oppenheimer

What type of music did you listen to growing up?

Rocky:I bought my first album when I was six, It was piece of mind by Iron Maiden. After that I liked Guns ‘n’ Roses for while. When I was eight i started listening to Nirvana, and then stuff like the Pixies and Radiohead and the Boo Radleys. I didn’t really get into keyboards or electronica until I was sixteen. I saw three bands, Mina, Salaryman and To Rococo Rot, I thought ‘I have to get a Moog’

Shaun: When I was very young I remember certain songs on the radio that really grabbed my attention. ‘Don’t You Want Me?’ by The human League is one. When I was about 11 or 12 I really got into The Sex Pistols. ‘Pretty Vacant’ is one of the songs that first made me want to learn how to play drums. I then moved on to New Order and The Cult. Then I went through a bit of a ‘metal’ phase but when ‘Doolittle’ by Pixies came out it set me on a path that I’ve never really veered off. When I was 17 the best album ever came out – ‘Loveless’ by My Bloody Valentine. It has never been off my stereo/walkman/i-pod ever since.

Who do you think are today’s most influential bands?

R: if you mean in general – I’m not too sure – the Arctic Monkeys were the last sensation to get all over the Uk. Personally I think there’s loads of really great bands out there, The Like Young from Chicago and Nanook Of The North from Sweden are just two that spring to mind. I think it’s great that you can find whatever interests you so easily through the internet now, we’re no longer all listening to what the NME is talking about.

S: To tell you the truth I don’t really know. The bands that get picked for popular TV shows are probably very influencial to a lot of young music listeners. Them and the one band in Tom from MySpace’s Top 8. *laughs*

How did the two of you meet?

R: Shaun was playing in quite a well known local band when we first met. I was a kid gaining experience in live sound and recording, as time went by I starting working with their new band. They recorded with me and we realised we both wanted to try something with keyboards and loops. We talked about it while getting drunk at an Album Leaf concert and the next week we started.

S: It was moog at first sight.

How do you feel about performing live?

R: I think I’ve started to really really enjoy it recently. It’s the chance to play to new people and to create a good feeling in a room. We’ve played some really fun shows this year and got to meet a lot of nice bands and people from all over.

S: Love it. We’ve had a few people say things like ‘I’ll never be able to take you seriously unless you have a full live band etc…..’. I like the way that our show has even made them think about what their view of live music is. We didn’t plan any live shows when we first started Oppenheimer but then a friend bullied us (in a nice way) to play a live show so we got to it.

How do you approach your music writing process?

R: One or the other will usually have a riff or loop or sound and we’ll start there and see where it takes us. We usually write as we record, play until we’re happy. Then Shaun will write vocals and they’ll go in, then we’ll play some more. There have been a few songs where I’ve just thought up a little vocoder phrase and we’ve worked completely backwards. It’s never quite the same way twice.

S: Humming a riff then grabbing an acoustic guitar/my 1984 yamaha keyboard.

What do you think about the new filesharing trend?

R: I think it’s making it easier to get music, which is good. It’s somewhat damaging to musicians and labels maybe. I’m not too sure, I think maybe the people downloading illegally are the same as people who used to tape songs off the radio, except I guess they can get anything they want now. I think if you say you like a band you should buy their album, if you want to download mid nineties dance classics, do what you have to. We’ve had people tellign us they’ve seen the album on download programmes for a few weeks, the albums only out today (6/6/06), it’s a strange feeling, but I guess people are interested in hearing it and that’s a good thing.

S: I’m a luddite….how do I share my ‘file’?

Any extensive plans for the future?

R: We’re planning a summer of touring in America, shows back in Ireland and then more shows in America. We’d like to play as much as possible anywhere we can. We’ll be working on new stuff too, hopefully with a few different people on a few things. All that and buying keyboards i guess.

S: Gig gig gig. I can’t wait to hit the road! That and getting Brian Eno to produce the next album….

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