Emerging Artists #1 – North Atlantic Oscillation

March 29, 2010 by  

After becoming a victim of the average freelance writer’s time restrictions, our introducing section is returning from its hiatus to bring you lots more new bands and hopefully unearth your new favourite. As usual, we’ll be firing our set of questions at the best new bands currently floating around the blogsphere and hope the responses are at least comprehensible and will urge you to check them out. This time around we have named it ‘Emerging Artists’ and left out as many of the usual ‘pigeonholing’ questions as possible.

Up first is Sam Healy from North Atlantic Oscillation.

Standard first question, how did you get together, where you all from and why did you decide to make music together?

We found each other through a common love of Victorian decorative plates. We are from Ireland, Scotland and England. We got disillusioned with the absence of innovation and melody in recent music, which is even less excusable now that low-cost technology exists to allow you to do things with a laptop computer that were previously only possible in huge studios.

How long did it take you to decide on your sound/direction, and how did you come to the decision?

We played for a year or two before hitting our stride. We found ourselves scrapping a smaller proportion of our output, but also spending more time writing each song. So we’ve become less prolific but hopefully more discerning.

What equipment are you using for recording, and is there any particular reason behind the choice?

The album was recorded in small home studios. We used 4 or 5 different guitars (mostly Fender Telecasters), a Precision bass, a Conn saxophone, a Pearl drumkit, a Roland XP-30, some African percussion and lots of software synths.

What’s the best bit about being in NAO and what’s the worst?

Best: being part of something that might one day stand a chance of making a small improvement to the world. Worst: insomnia on tour.

Where was your first show and what was it like?

The open mic night of a local music pub. It wasn’t too bad. The soundman was on our side. 7 of the 10 people listening appeared to like it.

What’s the most high profile show you’ve done and what was it like?

We played 4 dates with Porcupine Tree in December last year. They were Academy venues, about 2000 capacity. They were amazing shows. Porcupine Tree’s fans were welcoming and appreciative even though our sound is very different from PT’s.

So what’s your average day at the moment?

We’ve just come back from a tour around the album launch, which involved Travelodges, coffee, beer and bananas.

If you could change one thing about the music industry what would it be?

Just one? Radio. Because of ever more destructive radio compression and the manic, coked-up pace the producers seem to think is necessary to stop their youthful ADHD-afflicted audience from getting bored and switching off, modern music radio is the sonic equivalent of wrestling a fluorescent chimpanzee in a wardrobe.

What bands/artists are you into at the moment new or old?

New: Thee More Shallows, Sufjan Stevens, These New Puritans, Caribou, Tomahawks For Targets. Old: countless.

Last gig you went to and what was it like?

So So Modern at Sneaky Pete’s in Edinburgh. Great gig, criminally under-attended.

What would you like to happen for the band in 2010?

Play good shows, finish writing the second album, start recording it.

What can people expect when they come to your live shows?

Intense, loud, apparently a bit rockier than the album. Plus visuals.

Favourite music era/scene and why?

None. The best music is faroutside of recognisable scenes or identifiable eras.

If you could get one band to reform who would it be?

Mr. Bungle. I never got to see them live, and would kill to do so.

What’s coming up next for the band?

A session for BBC Radio Scotland, and we’re playing at the Locomotiva Festival at the Half Moon in London on April 17. Then Live At Leeds on May 1 and lots more shows in the second half of May.

North Atlantic Oscillation’s début album Grappling Hooks is out now and you can find them on Myspace


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