With unbridled electronica pop freedom, the LA based duo OOFJ weave genuine multi-layered musical originality.
Points of reference for the band and their sound are a challenge. They don’t really sound like other bands and they don’t really act like other bands. OOFJ are a creation devoid of any previous templates. They are something of their own making with the original template being OOFJ.
However, to talk about OOFJ as something of their ‘own making’ is not quite right. It implies something contrived, thought of, created and somehow that just does not seem to fit the maverick duo. It’s evidently simpler, more organic (dare we say).
OOFJ’s genesis (ironically) is less about music and more about that old-fashioned thing/concept called ‘love’.
In some ways (since they are partners in real life) they are reminiscent of that 70-80’s crime busting husband and wife partnership Hart To Hart played by Robert Wagner and Stefanie Powers. They solved crimes not because of their individual merits but rather because of the sum of their parts. With OOFJ (taking that famous tag line from the series) it is a case of ‘when they met it was music’.
And what music. Circa 2013 they proceeded to create addictive sonic projects. With production from Danish multi-instrumentalist Jens “Jenno” Bjørnkjær and lyrical direction from South African born singer song-writer Katherine Mills Rymer two albums have been produced: their un-intentional debut album, Disco To Die For (2013) and their sophomore project Acute Feast (2015). Both projects are imbued with eerie, cinematic orchestral like soundscapes that envelope with ease. The lyrical content in turn takes direction from the adage ‘less is more’. Cuts which epitomise the previous thoughts-Death Teeth from their debut and Your’re Always Good with its gorgeous violin intro.
So, to the #itchysilk reason for engaging the fantastic OOFJ. Well through the ubiquitous twitter we found out that they have a third album intriguingly called Voyeur due for release sometime in 2018. It’s an intro interview in a way to something bigger we hope. In this juncture, we discuss; partnership, ideas, inspirations and voyeurism done the OOFJ way.
You have been living in LA for a few years now talk a bit about that in terms of creativity?
Katherine-We used to live in New York and back then it used to be seen as hip. When we first moved to LA that whole creative change perhaps started and now it is in full flow. Like we hardly know any creatives who still lives in New York.
Jenno-Also, the good thing about this place is the nature. There are lots of mountains and hills and you can life nicely without becoming bankrupt. Of course, there are a lot of people making music and art so there’s a lot going on.
Talk briefly about the mechanics of making your music.
Jenno-The cool thing is you can make whatever music that you like in this age of technology. Like you do not need a million dollars to make a record you can do it in your house and that is what we do.
Katherine– We work from home (we have a studio at home) and we joke we call it the bunker because we live in darkness when we are working and it just seems to work for us.
How does it help to be partners in terms of the music you create?
Jenno- I think it helps a lot. Most of the time we are together. We play music or talk about music it’s like a thing that is just part of our relationship. It’s this natural thing in our lives that is important. In terms of the way we approach the creation of music I would say that Katherine brings an emotional context because she writes the songs and the melodies. I approach the work more with an idea of crafting the music. We have found a tone that the two of us make. It is something special. If any of us made music with someone else it would be different we would not capture that something.
With the next album Voyeur how will it differ from the previous projects?
Katherine-When we made that first album it was by chance. We made twelve songs and released 11. It performed well when we released it so we were of course excited. Our second record was more deliberate. With the second album we made 50 songs and we released 12. It was a bigger deal because there were more people involved and more eyes on it. On this record it is again a deliberate process and we have made I would say over thirty songs.
Jenno- In everything we do we are trying to make something that is very unique and different yet mix it with something that people have seen before. Of course, if you are only weird then no one will care. They will not understand. You get to a point where you are weird, unique, interesting, different but people still get it. That can be very difficult so you must walk a fine line.
Katherine– I think with this record you could split it into three parts. There are songs with this medieval church type of feel. Like I got obsessed with this idea of religious ecstasy because I am not a religious person. I had been reading about these nuns in the 1510s who would sit in a room and not eat and starve to death all in the name of the love of Christ. The rest of the nuns would bolt them closer and closer into the walls of the church I thought it was insane so parts of the record sonically refer to that.
From a production point of view can you explain a bit more about the; sonics, techniques and instruments you used on this coming album?
Jenno-We use a computer for almost everything although I play most instruments and write for symphony orchestra. Regarding orchestral stuff-I like to edit, cut up and manipulate the symphony recordings. Having your own symphony samples you can manipulate is a pretty amazing thing to do. In terms of beat making I make a lot of different beats and then pick what I feel fits certain moods and chords. We also use live drumming played by some amazing drummer friends we have. This energises the tracks and gives new dimension.
What about the lyrical content?
Katherine-There is more text in this bracket. We have always been sparse or at least when we thought we were verbose others have disagreed. With this project I expect we lean to a song structure type of approach. We think that in some songs it will be nice to have more of that so there might be a chorus or even a bridge!
And lastly that name for the album Voyeur.
Katherine-It is a sexy but distance sounding name-both of those concepts are very far away yet close. For me, you can voyeur aspects of your life where you see yourself in the novel of your life. You are outside of your life pulling the strings and watching yourself. But there’s also this element of social media and being a Peeping Tom. I am a pervert when I look at my Instagram-observing people’s lives when they don’t know.
Jenno– Voyeur it’s a way to lasso the album into a theme. As Katherine stated the record has some medieval religiosity. But some parts are full on groovy, albeit distant, melancholic funk or something. Voyeur is slinky sounding, very sex related but for us it’s also this isolated, cold galaxy thing. That sounds a little precocious and a little bit insane. Voyeur is somehow an encapsulation of both the hot breath of lovers and or a profound belief, along-side falling in love with objects of your imagination.