Roadrunner Records - Slipknot's hard-hitting, aggressive metal anthems are getting…
- Posted on Mar 2nd 2010 10:00AM by Matt Essner
Oh No Ono's sound is hard to categorize, but easy to describe: ethereal, haunting, catchy and melodic. The band consists of five lads -- Aske Zidore, Malthe Fischer, Nis Svoldgaard, Nicolai Koch, and Kristopher Rom -- from the same small town in Denmark. After building up a steady following in Europe, they released their latest album, 'Eggs,' in the US in early 2010. Before they head to SXSW, they're touring Europe, which is where Spinner caught up with drummer Kristopher Rom as he and the group were en route to Paris on their tour bus.
You guys are on tour in France right now?
Yes, exactly. We just crossed the border into France about an hour ago.
Have you guys played in Paris before?
Yeah, we've been there three or four times before, but this is the first time with the new album. Our first album came out all over Europe, and we had a couple of tours in France at that time.
How did your band form?
We formed back in 2003. We were all from a small town in the northern part of Denmark, so pretty much everyone playing music there knew each other. Some of us went to school together as well, and it just seemed natural. We shared similar tastes in music, so we started writing music together. We actually composed music for a couple of years before really playing what we made. Yeah, but that's pretty much it -- five guys in a small town in Denmark that were practically the only ones playing music, at least this type of music.
Where did the name come from?
It really hasn't anything to do with Yoko Ono, as most people think. We talked about [it] when we got the idea of playing together, around 2001 or 2002 or something like that -- that everyone called themselves the "somethings." We thought it could be fun to go the opposite direction and call ourselves something a bit more ironic like "Oh No" and something else. And then, the keyboard player came up with saying, "Oh No Oh No," and we messed around with how to spell it to make it look good graphically, so that's how we ended up with it how it is now.
How would you describe your sound?
That's always a tough one. What we've tried to do is to write as good and catchy pop songs as we can, then make them interesting with how we arrange the soundscapes around the melodies and the harmonies. We're very much into creating the perfect harmony for a specific melody. We try to convey the specific mood that we were thinking of when we were writing the song, when we arrange the song. Also, we use a lot of sounds from real life -- a lot of samples from nature and factories and stuff like that. For instance, the song 'Swim' -- we talked about it having a watery feeling to it, so we went to a beach where we recorded and sampled ourselves splashing around the water.
There definitely seems to be watery theme to at least a couple songs on the album.
Sure. We had the same feeling when writing the songs. It was quite a huge theme for us. At some point, we talked about starting the album with, you know, the sound you hear when you're diving? That the first song should kick off right when the diver reaches the surface water. We definitely agree that there is a lot of water going on on the album.
You've done some festivals in Europe before. Have you guys ever done a festival in the US?
No, we haven't. We actually played our first gig in the US ever, three or four weeks ago. We played in New York at the Mercury Lounge [and] in Union Hall in late January. That was our first time in the US. Hopefully, we're going to do some festivals in the summer, and we're very much looking forward to SXSW.
What goes into preparing for a festival as opposed to playing a one-off gig?
It depends on the festival. A festival like SXSW is completely different. We're playing a bunch of shows a day. There's a lot of logistic stuff that has to fall into place. Playing a club gig, you have two hours, three hours of sound rehearsal if you want to. At a festival you have [to] just go with it, [to get ready] in like 15 minutes. It's a challenge, but it's fun as well. It's fun to just have your instruments with you and put it all out onstage and play without having the time to worry about if everything sounds just perfect.
Beatles or Stones?
Beatles, I think, definitely. I think I can speak for all of us. We're huge fans of the Stones as well, but the Beatles have meant the most to us.
There is a video of you guys covering 'Tomorrow Never Knows' online.
Yeah. We played that for a couple of years, actually. It was something we did when touring with the album before Eggs. We think it's fun to do cover songs. And a song like 'Tomorrow Never Knows' really made sense, because compared to our own music, it's relatively simple -- not a lot of chord changes, the same beat through the whole song. It's nice to take a song like that into the set and just let the song play itself.
Do you think there's a discernible difference between American and European audiences?
I don't think there's much of a difference. That said, I think -- at least for the New York audience -- people were more open and up front. People would come and talk to us after the show. Where[as] people -- especially in Denmark -- can be extremely shy and just, after a show, get their jacket and go home.
Matt Essner is a contributor from Seed.com. Learn how you can contribute here.