|Credit: Dalton Patton|
They’re a self-described ‘spazzrock/no wave/art-rock/post-punk’ band based in Brooklyn. Their current line-up consists of Anna Hochhalter (vocals and baritone saxophone), Peter Joseph (vocals and guitar) and Linda Casey (drums).
My first exposure to OOF was their 2020 tape IS THIS REALLY HAPPENING?. The track ‘Too Many Emails’ spoke to me on a spiritual level. But mostly it was their unique mix of morose vocals, fuzzy guitar and stroppy saxophone that won me over.
What’s Bad Is Good is their latest tape released through the label Fuzzy Warbles. It features Peter and Anna trading gloomy vocals over semi-dissonant guitar and sax, accompanied by tribal tom-heavy percussion courtesy of their new drummer Linda Casey. Lyrically, the songs are all bleak-but-tongue-in-cheek tales of regret that cover cheery topics ranging from alcoholism to cannibalism. There are some very playful tracks throughout the tape - my personal favourite being 'No True Scotsman', which pokes fun at dumb internet arguments with a series of fallacies delivered in a disorientating two part vocal canon like some cursed version of Frere Jacques. You can stream the tape below on Bandcamp.
OOF were kind enough to agree to Q and A with me, which you can read below. We discuss pizza, musical tastes and throat lozenges. All the important things...
If OOF was a pizza, what toppings would it have?
Pineapple and ham
What is OOF’S origin story? How did you guys meet?
Anna and Peter met at a show of Peter’s earlier band Rathaus and have played in some version of OOF since 2016. A lot of other bandmates have come and gone as happens in NYC. During the pandemic we were a duo. Then we met Linda at another musician’s going away party. We’d played shows with her when she drummed for Famous Logs in History. We asked her to sit in at a show and it snowballed from there.
I’m loving What’s Bad Is Good. Many of the songs seem to be gloomy tales of regret. What’s your biggest inspiration when writing these songs?
People tell me these lyrics are depressing but it never feels like that when I write them. Mostly I’m trying to figure out ideas or emotions that relate to everyday life, and the goal is to be as honest as possible. Maybe this honesty is gloomy, but I like the idea of trying to look plainly at how life is and seeing things clearly.
There are also a lot of food and drink references throughout the tape. Was this intentional? Were you hungry while writing this tape?
There is one song about cannibalism… so not *that* hungry. But food and drink are some of the desires/appetites that interest me.
Peter, how do you get your vocals to sound so gruff? Do you go through a lot of throat lozenges?
I wouldn’t complain if Cepacol decided to sponsor us.
I love the unique use of baritone sax in your music. Anna, who are your biggest saxophone inspirations?
I’m probably more influenced by my early years in choir, marching band and classical guitar. Sax heroes for me are: Stan Getz, Getatchew Mekurya, John Zorn, Albert Ayler
What music have you been listening to recently?
Peter: Editrix, Upper Wilds, Horse Lords, Bitchin Bajas, Astroturf Noise. The Black Eyes reunion recently was a huge nostalgia rabbit hole.
Anna: Vestments, Gospel of Mars, Taj Mahal, Dirty Projectors
Linda: Spiritual Jazz, Moogmusic, 60’s 70’s prog and Lovin Spoonful Rundgren stuff
You can only listen to five musical artists for the rest of your life: who are they?
Peter: I always go back to Silver Jews, John Fahey, Morphine, Talking Heads, Sleater Kinney.
Anna: I agree on Talking Heads
Linda: Erik Satie, Captain Beefheart, Alvarious B, Ennio Morricone, Pharoah Sanders
What are OOF gigs like? Any weird or wild gig stories?
One time we played a festival in Baltimore and an enthusiastic fan was at the very front by the stage loudly narrating live videos of himself. He started clapping, jumping around and counting way out of rhythm. I think we played really aggressively that day to overcompensate for his distraction.
What does the future hold for OOF?
We’re playing more out of town shows - so if you want OOF to play somewhere let us know! We have songs for a new album to record this fall. We’re thinking about a music video. We plan to have fun.
Follow OOF on Facebook at facebook.com/OOFtheBand and Instagram at instagram.com/oof.sounds/.