Oh No! Oh My! : Q&A

<img src="http://www.qromag.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/08/ohnoohmyinterview1.jpg" alt=" " />Right before they head off on their tour with Au Revoir Simone, three-quarters of Austin’s Oh No! Oh My! sat down with QRO....

  Multi-instrumentalists Joel Calvin, Daniel Hoxmeier, and Tim Regan discussed their new EP, Between the Devil and the Sea (QRO review), why it’s actually their old EP, being multi-instrumentalists, playing Lollapalooza after only nine shows, Austin vs. Nashville, being one of Steve Jobs’ favorite bands, Portland, Yakima, Lubbock, and why their singer/fellow multi-instrumentalist Greg Barkley is a woman…

QRO: How’s it been, now that Between the Devil and the Sea EP is out?

Tim Regan: It’s been awesome.

Daniel Hoxmeier: Had a good week.

QRO: What have you been doing now?

DH: Tim has been in Memphis, playing with Tim’s band, And Tennis Shoes.  I’ve been reading Harry Potter.

QRO: Did you read the last one?

DH: I didn’t start any of them until two weeks ago.  So I read all six books, and I read the last one yesterday.

QRO: How was making the EP different than making your self-titled debut LP?

Joel Calvin: So, we made the EP in ’04, before we did the self-titled record.  Basically, it was our first attempt at making this style of music.  We used to be an experimental band, and we were like, “Why are we making this depressing music?”  In ’04 we recorded that, pretty much in Daniel’s bedroom.

DH: We recorded them as demos to give to venues to get shows.  Originally it had nine songs.

QRO: So then why did you put out the LP first?

DH: Great question.  So then the next year, we basically did the exact same thing, and recorded all the songs we had at the time.  People kept asking for it.  Well, I was giving away CD-R’s when we played.

QRO: What’s changed, now that you have a label?

DH: Dim Mak are licensing just the one EP.

QRO: So you guys are looking for a regular label?

DH: Yeah.

TR: You know any?

QRO: Because Oh No! Oh My! is actually your second record, there’s no worry about a ‘sophomore jinx’ when you put out the EP?

DH: No, ‘cause it was already done.

TR: We already did it.  It already happened, and it was cool.

DH: It was kind of like time travel.

QRO: Between the Devil and the Sea ends with “A Pirate’s Anthem”.  Does that have anything to do with your old, pirate-y name, ‘The Jolly Rogers’?

DH: Yeah, at the time, we had the name, ‘The Jolly Rogers’, and Between the Devil and the Sea was called The Jolly Rogers EP.  At first, we thought it might be cool to have a pirate’s… I don’t know; it just kind of had to do with the lyrics.

QRO: Is there a Lisa of “Lisa, Make Love! (It’s Okay!)”?

DH: No.  If it’s anybody, it’s Greg.  Really, it’s true: He says it’s about him.

QRO: Is there a Jane of “Jane Is Fat”?

DH: It’s probably Greg.


Deep down, Greg thinks he’s a woman.

JC: Deep down, he is a woman.

QRO: How were your West Coast dates with The Deadly Syndrome (QRO CMJ photos) & Let’s Go Sailiing! (QRO CMJ photos)?

JC: They were really good.  Very hot.

DH: The Deadly Syndrome is an awesome band.

QRO: You’re going to be touring cross-country with Au Revoir Simone.  Are there any places you’re particularly looking to go see?

JC: Montreal.

TR: Montreal.

QRO: How did you guys get in touch with them?

DH: They e-mailed us on MySpace, actually.  I think Annie? wrote them.  Sent us a message, kind of wrote us a little, mini, love letter, and just said they really like us, and then their manager asked us to go on tour.

QRO: Your tenth show ever was Lollapalooza [in 2006].  What was that like?

JC: It was crazy, ‘cause, obviously, we hadn’t played that many shows, so it was kind of nerve-wracking.  And everything at Lollapalooza was kind of unorganized for us.  We got to our trailer, and it was like, ‘Oh, you guys gotta eat?  Alright.  Well, let’s go ahead and do soundcheck, blah, blah, blah.’

It was just like a crazy three days.  Awesome.  We had a really good turnout; a lot of people came by.  I guess the time was right from this stage and this stage; everyone was walking over, coming in.

QRO: You’ve opened for The Flaming Lips and Gnarls Barkley.  Have you ever worn costumes on stage?

TR: We’re wearing them now.

JC: We usually play naked; these are our costumes.

DH: The furthest we ever went is, we all wore sweatbands.

QRO: You guys played South By Southwest, 2007.  You’re from Austin – What’s Austin like during SXSW?

DH: Tim’s from Memphis.

JC: It’s like every night of Sixth Street, times fifty.

DH: They shut down the street.  It’s just overloaded with like eleven hundred bands.

JC: I met a lot of people that were like, ‘Oh, yeah, I was in Austin for South-By,’ and they were like, ‘But I really want to go back when it’s not South-By, ‘cause it’s completely congested.’


QRO: You’ve lived in Austin, Texas, and Nashville, Tennessee.  How does the ‘Live Music Capital of the World’ compare with the ‘Country Music Capital of the World’?

JC: The ‘Country Music Capital of the World’ sucks.

TR: Puts it in a headlock, and then breaks its neck.

QRO: Why did you move to Nashville?

DH: Me & Greg went to Nashville to go to engineering school, because our band thing wasn’t working, and as a coincidence, while we were at school, we got to do the band thing.

QRO: Then how did you [Calvin] hook up with them?

JC: I had nothing else better to do.  I was gonna live in Austin, and I was like, ‘What the hell?’  Just broke up with my girlfriend and moved to Nashville.

QRO: And you [Regan] were…

TR: I was lifting weights in Knoxville, Tennessee.

QRO: You guys have a lot of instruments.

JC, DH, TR (in unison): Yes.

QRO: Why?

DH: ‘Cause we like them?

TR: ‘Cause we had room in the van.  We had some extra room in the van, so we put some extra keyboards in there.  Actually, right now, we’re traveling with two electric keyboards for no reason at all.  Seriously.

QRO: How so many instruments?  How did you learn them all?

DH: We taught ourselves.

QRO: Does it get easier, the more instruments you know?

DH: Pretty much, we’re all just making–

TR: Making it up.  And no one’s caught on.  Well, some people have caught on.  Some people who’ve seen the shows have caught on.


There’s just basic principles of music that guitars, and the other stuff, we can pretty much figure out anything.

QRO: Is it difficult, traveling with so many instruments?

DH: Yes.  Yes.

QRO: Have you guys lost instruments?

JC: Almost.  We have lost a few.

TR: We’ve lost parts of instruments.

DH: We lost whole instruments too.

JC: Melodicas.

DH: A guitar.

JC: I found my acoustic – Internet.

DH: Oh man, who could have guessed?

QRO: Have you guys flown with your instruments?

DH: Once.  That was a really bad idea.

QRO: Last year, you managed to sell 10,000 self-released discs in 2006, and make it to #8 for the year on Insound – How?

TR: Magic.  It’s pretty much magic – Have you read the Harry Potter books?  Little bit like that.

JC: He makes a potion…

TR: Pretty much just because we’re so good.

JC: I don’t know how that happened.  I guess people just liked it, and kept buying it.

QRO: Steve Jobs played “Walk In the Park” to open his Key Note Presentation last January.  Do you know how he got a hold of it?

DH: I have no idea.  Oh wait, our lawyer, Matt [Kaplan]…

QRO: Do you know how Steve Jobs got “Walk In the Park”?

Matt Kaplan: He was given a bunch of songs as possible songs to use during the presentation, and he heard the song, and fell in love with it.

DH: That was Matt T. Kaplan, our lawyer.

QRO: Has it in any way affected you guys, that kind of weird, random, exposure?

DH: Has it affected us?  We were really stoked that– I mean, Apple, we like, ‘cause we all have Apple Computers, and use them in excess.

QRO: Are there any songs you guys really like playing live?

JC, TR (in unison): “Space Mountain”.

DH: I like playing “Farewell To All My Friends”.

TR: I like playing “The Backseat”.

QRO: Do you guys have new stuff?

TR: Oh yeah.

JC: We can’t tell you about it, though.

QRO: Do you think you’ll be recording any time soon?

TR: We already started.

JC: Shhhh…

QRO: Are you going to record after the tour?

DH: We’re always recording.

QRO: Are there any songs you really don’t like playing live?

JC: “Lisa, Make Love!”

DH: No, I don’t think–

JC: I don’t like “Lisa, Make Love!” at all.  I don’t like playing; I like the song. 

Sometimes, if you play it, night after night, for a year now, you just get kind of sick of it.

QRO: Are there any places you really like playing, outside of Austin?

DH: We like New York…

TR: We like Lubbock, Texas.  Portland’s always been cool…

QRO: Oregon or Maine?

TR: Both.

DH: L.A.’s good to us.

QRO: Are there any places you didn’t like playing?

DH: Yes.

TR: Lubbock.

DH: We can’t answer that.

QRO: You guys have played festivals and ‘regular’ indoor shows like this – Which do you prefer?

TR: Both.

JC: Playing.

TR: Well, it depends how hot it is outside.

JC: I like festivals, because there’s more people.  I like indoors, where you can hear better.

DH: [into the mike] No preference, we like playing for all people at all times.

JC: All shapes and sizes.

QRO: How did you all meet?

JC: Me, Daniel, and Greg met, we were growing up in church.

DH: And we met Tim through our manager.

QRO: How’s your life changed over the past year or so?

DH: We met [Kaplan], one of our favorite people on the planet – Matthew T. Kaplan, Esquire.

We went from…

JC: Doing nothing all day–


Doing nothing, and being students, and working some day jobs, to touring the nation

QRO: Has all the success gone to your head yet?

TR: Yes.

DH: That’s a tough question.  I think you’re a better judge of that than we are.

QRO: Do you have any great tour stories?

DH: Yakima [Washington]?

JC: We broke down there, and it sucked.  It was horrible.


So he got a tattoo to remember how sucky it was.

JC: We broke down for like a week, and like, it was the shit-hole of America.  We asked nine people who lived there what they thought about Yakima, and they all were like, ‘It sucks here.’

And we all broke down in this really, really tiny car – I was sitting on [Regan’s] lap in the front seat for like a week.

QRO: Is there any band you would like to tour with that you want to name-check, so when they Google themselves, they find this thing?

DH: Radiohead, Thom Yorke…

TR: Outkast!

JC: Justin Timberlake – his show is amazing.

DH: Yo La Tengo…

TR: We want to tour with Pavement.

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