Q&A Category Archive

!! OMG, a Q&A with Yelle !!

Yelle Julie BudetIn 2007, the French club-pop group YELLE achieved popularity in the midst of an enormous rift between past and present in the music industry. Early social networks like MySpace were only beginning to tap into the DIY aspects of file sharing that now dominate our day-to-day lives both socially and professionally.

2020 finds YELLE (aka Julie Budet and her writing partner GrandMarnier/Jean-François Perrier) on the brink of the release of a new full-length record, their fist since 2014’s “Complètement Fou.”

Given their experience in the murky waters of an ever-morphing industry, the duo should be adept at navigating weird professional curve-balls, but then, like all of us, they found themselves in the midst of a global pandemic which brought the creative industry to its knees.

Despite the unpredictability of the times, YELLE have just launched their new single, the shimmering, and tender “Je T’aime Encore.” The song finds YELLE in a more contemplative state than their fans may be familiar with, almost fortuitously mirroring our collective, confused circumstances.

We chatted with YELLE from her seaside village in France about the new album, and the surprising merits of releasing new material in such peculiar times.

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!! OMG, a Q&A with Anna Calvi !!

Anna Calvi

Anna Calvi didn’t land on the stage in the typical singer-songwriter fashion so much as stomp her way onto it. The former London-based guitar instructor immediately gained notoriety with her self-titled 2011 debut, which was nominated for the prestigious Mercury Prize in addition to a slew of other award nominations. In an unprecedented achievement, Calvi repeated those nominations for both her subsequent albums.

Her third full-length record to garner this attention was the critically lauded 2018 album Hunter, which saw Calvi unfurl her talents towards a more explicit conversation about her lived experience as a gay woman. She used the visceral, primal themes of the hunter to explore issues of the feminist experience beyond gender.

In addition to a number of collaborative projects between then and now, she was most notably brought on as composer for season five of the hit UK television series Peaky Blinders. Talks for future seasons are in the works.

Anna Calvi Hunted cover

Among all these projects, this past week we saw the release of Hunted, a musical response to Hunter formed out of the songs’ earliest incarnations. On it, Calvi explores the initial impulses of her songs in their sparsest forms, and the paths they might have taken by way of collaborations with the likes of Courtney Barnett, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Julia Holter.

OMG.BLOG spoke with Anna to find out what she was looking to find on these new versions on Hunted, as well as how the non-stop pace of the last few years has informed her work as a multi-faceted artist at large in complex personal times.

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!! OMG, a Q&A with James Oseland !!

James Oseland

In its earliest incarnation, the North American punk scene was a type of social art movement, often populated by aimless kids from broken homes, fumbling through the night to mould the chaos of youth into some sort of meaningful experience.

By the time James Oseland anointed himself “Jimmy Neurosis,” he was well acquainted with the seedy, yet somehow innocent underbelly of the San Francisco punk scene – which was itself, in 1977, only beginning to take shape.

In his book, which arrived last month as a paperback, Oseland describes the way the birth of punk helped him navigate survival in desperate times as a gay kid in a low income, single parent family before there was any template of how to do so.

Nowadays, Oseland is better known as an award-winning food writer and his five-season run as a judge on the Bravo show Top Chef Masters. We got the chance to chat with him about why, at this stage in his career, he decided to revisit these traumatic, yet formative years in the punk scene and how those experiences play out in his life now.

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!! OMG, a Q&A with Michael Stipe !!

Michael Stipe Polaroid portrait

Despite his apparent radio silence, Michael Stipe has been anything but idle since the dissolution of his legendary band R.E.M. in 2011, keeping himself busy as a visual artist based in New York City, but last October, he re-emerged in a surprising return to the music world with new solo material.

Without warning, one of the most iconic vocalists and performers of our time presented an entirely personal communiqué via his new single, “Your Capricious Soul,” released in conjunction with and in support of a mass protest held by the UK based non-violent environmentalist group Extinction Rebellion, with all proceeds from the single going to the organization.

In addition to unveiling his solo musical endeavour, Stipe also recently published a second book of visual work, Our Interference Times: A Visual Record, created in collaboration with Canadian artist Douglas Copeland.

Michael Stipe Our Interference Times with Douglas Copeland

And, in a near-comical torrent of activity, Stipe’s former band R.E.M. are simultaneously celebrating the 25th anniversary of their divisive and pivotal glam rock stomper of a record Monster with a special edition re-release. Following R.E.M.’s ascension to superstardom and celebrity with the release of their 1992 album Automatic For The People, Monster was the twisted, feedback-soaked response that saw the band confronting rumours around Stipe’s sexuality as well as the mindfuck of sex and death in the arena of rock stardom.

Having just returned from a jaunt in the UK and Europe promoting all three projects, Michael Stipe chatted with OMG.BLOG about his new work, his many transformations, and how it feels to be a Queer icon for more than thirty years.

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!! OMG, a Q&A with Amy Douglas !!

Amy Douglas

Anti-diva Amy Douglas is a delightful, brash New Yorker whose versatile vocals are popping up all around the club world and we were fortunate enough to snag a cheeky interview with this wild woman.

You might know Amy from her pitch-perfect DFA Records release “Never Saw It Coming,” which features her incredible vocal range in a thumping disco package.

For our Toronto readers, Amy will be performing at the Hotnuts Halloqween Streamed Buns party this Saturday, and we encourage you to turn a look and let Amy guide your swirl.

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!! OMG, a Q&A with Robert Alfons of TR/ST !!

Robert Alfons of TR/ST

Photo by Elliot Lee Hazel

This past April brought us The Destroyer Part 1, the latest release from TR/ST, the synth-soaked brainchild of Los Angeles-based artist Robert Alfons. Since releasing his first record in 2012 with then-band member Maya Postepski, Alfons has evolved the project into an ever-shifting musical and visual endeavor as a solo artist with bludgeoning synths, a beguiling range of vocal styles, and emotionally driven live shows.

After a five-year gestation period, The Destroyer is the band’s third full-length release and reunites Alfons with Postepski on a series of tracks that contribute to what has become an epic two-part project, the latter half to be released this November.

We spoke to Alfons about the emotional meat and creative genesis of The Destroyer along with his thoughts on L.A. and whether it’s possible to be too emo. Read the full Q&A after the jump!

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!! OMG, a Q&A with Orville Peck !!

Orville Peck

Photo by Carlos Santolalla

Blue-eyed crooner Orville Peck recently cruised into listeners’ hearts with his two singles “Big Sky” and the recently rereleased “Dead of Night.”

His debut album Pony will be released on the iconic Seattle-based Sub Pop record label on March 22. With minimal information floating around about the artist or his past, we got down to the nitty-gritty with Orville about his new record and what we can expect from the future with this sometimes heart-breaking, and often heartbroken cowboy.

Peck speaks about his queer experience of love with such intelligence and sensitivity, it’s the perfect Q&A to publish on Valentine’s Day. Take it all in after the jump, and don’t blame us if you develop a crush!

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