Interview: O Emperor
Published on August 14th, 2013 | Jonny Abrams
It’s fair to say that we were a wee bit gushing in our praise for O Emperor’s second album Vitreous…but it’s okay, folks; we’ve listened back to it since then and we stand by every gosh darn word of it.
Thoroughly enthused and still abuzz with the discovery of a band we can hang our hat on, Rocksucker pinned some questions to a Frisbee and zipped it off in the general direction of Waterford. Remarkably, it found its way through to O Emperor’s singer/guitarist Paul Savage…
Congratulations on a genuinely stunning new album. Will it receive a full release in the UK? If so, when might that be, and will it be through a label?
Thanks very much! The album is officially released on August 19th in the UK. It’s released on our own label Big Skin Records, so at the moment it will be available on iTunes and physically on vinyl and CD through our website oemperor.com.
It’s even better for the buyer cause they don’t have to move their lazy arses to buy it as we’ll send it straight to their door.
It’s such a different sound to your first album. Was this something you discussed or did it just turn out that way?
We definitely wanted to make a different record from Hither Thither and recording it ourselves was always going to make for a different sound, which we liked the idea of.
The thing I like about Vitreous is that we didn’t set out with any grand idea of what it should sound like, we didn’t really have many proper songs for that matter. We just left everything open to be tried and fumbled around with until something popped up and surprised us.
Was it a case of Vitreous being the album you always wanted to make, or have your tastes changed since Hither Thither?
I guess we always wanted to just record and produce ourselves, so it was certainly the record we wanted to make at this point in time. Our tastes have definitely developed since Hither Thither so again, we were eager to move into a more open field of sounds and influences.
Who played what on the album? There are all sorts of exotic arrangements and whatnot.
The fancy bits like strings, choir, brass etc were arranged by Phil and most of the guitar work was done by Alan. I think there’s a dodgy synth line or two in there from myself with some rhythm guitar, and Richie and Brendan manned the bass and drums.
We all contributed to some Queen-esque vocal harmonies and after numerous attempts to get our mate Ger on sax on the record, it was pipped at the post in the final mix.
How do you go about working out your harmonies?
Just like Queen, the drummer takes the stupidly high parts and the rest are ridiculously quadruple tracked.
How long did it take you to write and/or record, and has it left you out of pocket?
I hope it hasn’t, but if it has then it’s still worth it. It took us about nine months to record and we pretty much did it on a shoestring budget, which we’re also very proud of.
We just had a basic Pro Tools rig and a few decent mics and pre-amps. We did thankfully have some kind buddies to borrow other nice things off which did help, but all in all it didn’t really cost us very much to make.
The most expensive part was buying wood to build some rooms in our band flat to record drums and what not, but the labour was cheap as we got our dads to do that. Keep them in mind if you want a shed built.
Any plans for any UK shows? I see you’re off to Germany in September; do you have a fan base over there?
Ya we’ll be over to the UK from the 7th of September, just as we come back from Germany. We’ve been going to Germany for the past three years now and its steadily building up into a nice fan base.
It’s a great place to tour as there’s so many great venues and cities to play in.
Is there any other new music from 2013 that you’ve enjoyed?
The new Unknown Mortal Orchestra album is great and well worth checking out.
Paul Savage, thank you.
Vitreous will be released on August 19th through Kf Records.