Philadelphia nine piece OhBree might not take themselves too seriously, but their music and work ethic is no laughing matter. The band are just gearing up to release their new, and quite possibly most established record to date, but that's not the only thing they've been up to recently. On top of the impending release of Burn Bridges, Burn Pies on May 19th, OhBree have also been hard at work alongside Josh Didriksen on their accompanying children's book, So You Want To Store Your Silly Soul and are even in the process of creating Kill The Moon, a video game to accompany their discography.
With a long distance hurdle to overcome (vocalist Andrew Scott lives in Boston while the rest of the band resides in Philadelphia) one would think that it would be near impossible to get anything done with this large group of musicians, but it seems that the opposite is true. With a huge summer ahead of them, including plans to hit the road on the east coast soon, OhBree won't be slowing down anytime soon.
Interview by Dom Vigil
Can you tell us a little bit about OhBree for anyone who might not be familiar?
Andrew Scott [vocals/piano]: We are a bunch of bozos who make incredibly loud music with a sarcastic sense of humor. We’re into spooks, goofs, 00’s era indie rock, and sci-fi tv shows. We try to make music that’s catchy with a slightly confusing and anxious edge. Mostly though we like to make noise music and practice our 90 minute Stomp cover band set.
When most people think of a band, they usually imagine a group of four to five musicians, but OhBree is made up nine! What sort of work goes into composing a song for nine different musicians and instruments?
Andrew Scott: It is a TRIP. But a good one. We go through a lot of stages - humming out different horn lines and bass lines - transposing it all into sheet music - then we record the tune - and THEN we all sit around and learn how to play it live. It takes a lot to get a song down with everyone, but most of us are very involved in the recording process and end up picking up the live arrangements quickly. Luckily some of the guys are very talented at arranging horn parts and can make sure my melody lines are even physically possible for people to play, haha.
You also have a bit of a long-distance factor to overcome when writing as well. How does that affect you when you’re working on new music?
Andrew Scott: It’s a bit tough when we’re working on live arrangements, but for the recording process it actually isn’t too bad! I usually send some gawdawful demos over to Adam who then figures out how to turn them into something more acceptable. We’re able to work out structures and melodies from a distance - and then I make my way down to Philly from Boston about twice a month to do all the in person stuff. I think we’ve all gotten to a point where we all know exactly what our personality is as a band, and what our music sounds like. Entering the studio separately while we write lets us really put our own thoughts into each track without diverging from the band’s sound.
Having been together for the better part of a decade and looking back at some of your older material, how do you feel you feel OhBree has grown or evolved over the years?
Bob Iacono [trumpet]: Our newer material is a lot more thought out than some of the older material. On the first record, for example, you’ll hear a lot of the horn lines being unison or octaves instead of a more interesting harmony, and there is also a lot more liberal use of background vocals. For our last EP and upcoming album we’ve done a lot more in terms of writing out horn parts, and working out the arrangement of songs more carefully.
You guys are just getting ready to release your new album, Burn Bridges, Burn Pies in May. Did you have any major goals in mind for these songs?
Andrew Scott: Ultimate fame. I figure extreme national popularity is in the bag, so we’re looking for global recognition. But otr, I really want to establish our discography as a bigger art piece with this record. I think the songs on BBBP are the glue that can make that happen. There’s a vague running storyline between our records and we’re going to emphasize that with some upcoming art/game projects we’re working on. I hope that when we start to reveal everything people will realize the music we make has a bit more meaning to it than when it was originally released!
What are you most excited for fans to hear on the new album?
Bob Iacono: I’m really excited for people to hear “Dear Anne” and “Which Doctor, Witch Doctor?” “Dear Anne” reminds me a lot of our song “Dakota”, which is from our first album and is always a crowd favorite at our shows. “Which Doctor, Witch Doctor?” in comparison is definitely the most unique track on BBBP, I would say it sounds more like a weird punk/hardcore song, but I’m really curious to see what people will think of that one.
The first single you released from the album was “Tiny Tethers.” Can you tell us a little bit about the track?
Andrew Scott: “Tiny Tethers” is sung from the perspective of a guy named Edward Hasley - The Edward from our first album We Miss You Edward, Come Home. At this point in his story he has had his life ruined by a man named Olsson Culliver and is grasping at the few things he has left to keep him grounded. For the longest time it was my favorite track on the record, but a few others might be creeping up on it now haha.
You have a few shows coming up within the next month, and with Burn Bridges, Burn Pies out soon, do you have any plans for more extensive touring in the coming months?
Bob Iacono: We’re hoping to make our way up to New England this summer, but we’re still waiting on some more details before we can announce anything just yet.
Andrew Scott: We’re going to be playing a lot in NYC, Philly, NJ, and Boston and hopefully at the end of the summer/early Fall we’ll be doing a bigger east coast run, too!
Do you have any other big plans for 2017?
Andrew Scott: We are currently in development on a video game called Kill The Moon that we’ll be releasing to accompany our discography. It has been a huge undertaking but a ton of fun. We’re learning how to code, how to make stop motion animation videos, and getting really good at cropping things in photoshop. We don't have a release date set on it yet - but stay tuned!!
Thank you for taking the time to chat with us! Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Andrew Scott: Thank YOU! I guess we’d love to mention that you can currently pre-order the Vinyl of Burn Bridges, Burn Pies - And if you do it before May 1st you can get your name in the liner notes! Also, you can lie and say your name is “OhBree Sucks” or “OhBree is a Buckcherry Ripoff” and we will print it because we have no shame. Best name so far is “Captain Douglas Jason Falcon, True American Patriot, Defender Of All Men, Women, And Children Of This Great Nation, May His Electric Knee Of Justice Forever Banish Floaty Mid Tiers Into The God Forsaken Blast Zone”