Q&A Category Archive

!! OMG, a Q&A with Róisín Murphy (2020) !!

Roisin Murphy by Adrian Samson

Photo by Adrian Samson

Full disclosure – if you think this intro is going to shy away from unabashed idolatry in the name of journalistic neutrality you’ll be wildly disappointed. At the moment, Róisín Murphy is promoting her muscular new record, Róisín Machine [available for pre-order], which is already being hailed as a modern classic – or at least it is now!

The record has been somewhat unfairly promoted as a disco record – a purist term that limits the depth and variety of influences that informs her every move. Leave it to Murphy, however to further futurize a genre that has, since its inception, been subject to evolution.

It’s improbable that Murphy could make a genre-specific record, a born rule breaker since the early days of her first band, the Sheffield-based duo, Moloko. Her formative years populating clubs in Sheffield and Manchester remain at the forefront of her inspiration. Her influences range from industrial music, to punk, techno, and most recently to massive dubbed out disco classics. It’s unsurprising that her own projects have veered into almost all of those genres without ever approaching parody or disingenuity.

Roisin Machine cover art

As hard as she may try, Murphy seems incapable of complying to tradition. On the cusp of three decades in the music industry, the 47-year-old’s body of work defies categorization, which explains her adoring fan base’s indefatigable interest in her work.

As if her soon-to-be-released record weren’t exciting enough, the self-proclaimed Machine can’t help but share incredibly exciting news about her next project and her aspirations for after fifty.

In an attempt to contain her multitudes to one article, we chatted with the iconic disco-punk queen about her legacy, her relentless creative curiosity, reputation, and her many cultural infatuations.

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!! OMG, a Q&A with Phoebe Bridgers !!

Phoebe Bridgers

Photo by Olof Grind

When we spoke with Phoebe Bridgers a few weeks ago, the pandemic was only just hitting its stride, with self-isolation in full effect, and universal dread and confusion dominating our every waking second. It was a claustrophobic time, and thematically, her second solo record, Punisher, arrives with eerily prophetic imagery of isolation, social anxiety, apocalypse, and social unrest, yet it’s far from a protest record.

Bridgers’ songs elude social commentary, and feel contained to a poetic personal narrative whose focus falls somewhere between observation and confession. While at times mournful, Bridgers’ songs are never overwhelmed by their own gloom. Her isolation is a self-imposed source of comfort, and while she sings from sidelines, they’re well populated by ghosts.

Phoebe Bridgers Punisher

One can’t help but assume Punisher will remain linked in the minds of its listeners to the COVID era surrounding its release. It’s not the first time, however, that Bridgers has had to navigate a record release around troubling external circumstances. Her first album, 2017’s Stranger In The Alps was launched amidst her participation in calling out Ryan Adams, who had used his position as an established musician to control younger women in the industry.

Despite the foreboding conversation the album may unwittingly contribute to, Bridgers’s songs have a distinctly “shit happens” quality to them. The songs are funny, smart, and filled with millennial wisdom and clarity, like a breath of fresh air from the confines of a bedroom.

Amidst the weirdness, we chatted with Bridgers about reluctant yoga, astrology, woke rockers and, oh yeah, her incredible new record.

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!! 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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