With artwork that triggers flashbacks to doing acid for the first time and staring at a wall for 8 hours watching Japanese cartoon characters pass you by with blinking sirens and the constant feeling that something's not quite right, to the jangly super-speed frenergetic (if that's not a word then f'ing pay me to use it) live shows that have brought acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic, Thee Oh Sees have widened the gap between them and the other San Francisco stragglers that coin in on their coat-tails. Bad Sounds tracked down Petey Dammit for a short interview before the band play the Revolver basement on the 27th June. And stick around to the end of the page for contest details to win two free tickets to the show AND potentially make the band eat Reindeer testicles before the concert.
Is this your first concert in Norway? Any expectations?
This will be our second time playing in Oslo. The first was in 2008, when we played outside of Spasibar. I had an absolute blast in Oslo that trip! We had some time to walk around and see the city including Akershus Fortress. I also have a good friend who lives there that got me really really drunk. I'm not sure how I was able to get on a plane the next morning, hahaha.
Always loved your album covers/artwork. It's rare that bands manage to mirror their music in their aesthetics too. Who does most of the covers?
Thank you for saying that! In the past our album artwork has been done by either John Dwyer (Sucks Blood), or William Keihn (Masters Bedroom, Help, Castlemania). Our newest album Carrion Crawler/The Dream was done by our friend Elzo Durt.
Whats the most energetic live band you´ve ever experienced?
Oh man, I've been seeing live bands for more than 20 years so that's hard to say. Some that stand out in my mind are Truman's Water, Cock E.S.P., Brainiac, and xbxrx. I also have to mention how insanely amazing Off! is, they really are the best band playing right now, it doesn't get any better than seeing them live!!
Who are some of your biggest influences? What´s playing on your music device these days?
Some of my biggest influences are Victor Villareal, Bruce Thomas, Shane White, and Nizhonniya Austin. At home I listen to a lot of Trojan Records Boxed Sets, and Toots and the Maytalls. On the road I almost exclusively listen to Beach House. Their albums calm me down and relax me, it's nice to stare out the windows at the scenery while they are on the headphones.
Are you very conscious of the crowds energy while playing live? Does the band feed off them or create your own?
We are definitely conscious of the crowd, an energetic crowd can make all the difference in the world. I think as a band we try to have as much fun as possible on stage and give out as much energy as we can, that helps the crowd have a good time and give the energy back!
Your album names are always rather obtuse (original), how do they come to life in your mind?
John always comes up with the titles, I believe they are usually a random thing he hears or reads. That or a random thought that occurs in his head.
Do you have any pre-show rituals to ensure the shows come off so energetic (non-narco related)
We don't really have any pre-show rituals, haha. I'd like to come up with something though. I like the thought of us all doing something secretive in the green room or outside that no one else can be a part of or know what we're doing.. I highly encourage all of your readers to come up with the most bizarre situation they can think of, and then tell all of their friends that we actually do that!! [Edz note: Do YOU have a crazy idea for the band to do? Send to address below and win tickets!]
What are your favourite venues to play? House shows, Sweaty basements, industrial squats, outdoor festivals?
We prefer to play smaller more intimate sized venues. Festivals can be fun, but being crowded in a sweaty room with fans going crazy is a lot more fun than being on a massive stage separated from everyone. One of my favorite places in the world is The Brudenell Social Club in Leeds England. It's always an absolute pleasure to play there!!
Best food to get served while touring? And the worst?
A nice home cooked meal is always a lovely surprise. I love that about touring in Europe, we always eat better over there. In the states we end up eating a lot of fast food like Subway, which is the worst..
Is the songwriting a collective achievement, an outcome of late night jamming or a sit-down-strict-writing affair?
John will usually come to practice with an idea for a song. He'll play his part and we'll figure out what we want to do with it from there. A lot of the songs are never really finished being written though. Some songs like Block Of Ice are still changing in our live set, the version we're playing now is completely different from when we recorded it in 2008.
Go on, one crazy story from the road... either experienced or witnessed:
The craziest thing that's ever happened to me was a little over a year ago I decided to get my own hotel room in Denver Colorado during the last night of a really long tour. When we went to check in, the man behind the counter was obviously messed up on a bunch of drugs. He was difficult to communicate with and said that he didn't have any extra rooms in the hotel so I went outside to have a smoke and let our friend who was managing us that trip deal with him. When our friend came back out with the keys she said he made some magic happen and gave me a key to a room. I went off in one direction to my room while everyone else went the other way. I got to room and opened the door and there was already people inside laying on the bed. A woman screamed, and a six foot four tall muscle bound man with fascist tattoos jumped out of bed and started running towards me while putting on some pants. He chased me through the parking lot weaving through cars screaming that he was going to kill me! By the time I had run around the entire hotel to the other side I realized he had stopped chasing me and I saw the rest of the band who couldn't get into their room because a deadbolt lock was locked from the inside. We went back to the lobby to get our money back and the woman from the room I had accidentally entered was crying and said that her husband had just gotten out of jail and was sitting in the room with a bunch of guns looking to kill me. She also mentioned that they had a wolf cub in the bathroom that was "very unfriendly"...
Thee Oh Sees + Bungalow Ranchstyle + DJ´s Team Anti-ghost play at Revolver Oslo, June 27th. Tickets available at www.tigernet.no.
TO WIN TWO FREE TICKETS TO THE SHOW: Simply e-mail us at badsoundsmagazine(@)gmail.com a pre-show ritual idea for the band. After interviewing them, we believe there's a good chance they'll do it.