The fall of General Fiasco a few years back came as a disappointment to many Northern Irish music fans, but it was obvious that it wouldn’t be the end of each members musical endeavors. Oh Volcano has sprung from those ashes and sees Owen Strathern & his brother Enda move in a completely different direction. We took the opportunity to chat to Owen to find out more:
► Owen, how does it feel to finally get this new project out in the public domain? It’s been a while in the making.
Yeah, we are glad it’s out there, these things always take way longer than you plan. I guess it’s nice to see that there is interest in the band beyond a Like on Facebook and that people actually want to hear the music.
► Oh Volcano is quite a unique band name, where did it come from? Where there any other names that almost made the grade?
I liked Wisdom Teeth but it didn’t fly, that’s maybe a good thing. I think I just said Oh Volcano one day and it sounded right.
► There’s an obvious change of direction when you compare this new EP and new project overall, with your older music with General Fiasco. Is this new ‘sound’ something you’ve had in the back of your mind since those days, or has it come to you following that last GF gig?
The way the band has ended up sounding is due the way I was writing I guess. I didn’t like the playing guitar for a while and my mate left a little 3 octave Yamaha keyboard in my house so I started writing on that. My brother Enda had bought pro tools and we just started programming in the chords and making beats for the tracks, we got round to buying a half decent mic and recorded it our dads house. We later took it to Rocky and he helped tweak and replace sounds and then did a mix for us.
► Are you comfortable playing the sets live yet, or does the nature of the music keep you on your toes still?
I really like playing live with this band, there’s a clarity on stage. It doesn’t have to be deafeningly loud to compete with a drum kit, I can just stand and sing and hear myself. I’m also loving not having to tune a guitar in between every song.
► You are working alongside your brother Enda once again. Does a sibling rivalry ever pop its head up while collaborating on music?
Barely ever. I tend to clutter music, I’m always trying to stick more in, he’s usually right. I’d say there is probably one small thing a track we disagree on, which isn’t a lot.
► In your own words, how would you describe the Don’t Know Love EP, and what track are you most satisfied with?
I’m really proud of the EP. I love every track because they’ve come from a real place, every song is important. I’m not sure I could choose just one, I know ‘Don’t Know Love’ feels the best when i’m doing it live but maybe ‘Rush of Blood’ is the best on record.
► I know you’ve written quite a lot of Oh Volcano material. Why did you choose these four tracks? Do you see a linear story stream through the EP as a whole?
It was just a case of those where the tracks we where most into when we where putting the EP together. It also covers the whole time we have been writing music for Oh Volcano, ‘Oceans’ was one of the first songs, DKL was a few months after that, ‘Rush’ a few months again and then ‘Colonise’ was finished a month before we put the EP together.
► Do you feel the emotional trauma of being a Spurs fan influenced the tracks?
Very much so.
► As a local musician you’ve experienced a lot following your previous success and sampled a lot of different music cultures. With that in mind what do you think of Northern Ireland’s currently. Are there any artists you particularly like?
Obviously there are always a few who will cut through, but it felt years ago there was a greater hunger in Belfast. Everyone was pushing themselves, giving more and working harder. When there are a few bands really going for it it effects everyone around them. When you go to a gig and see a killer band you walk away from it thinking ‘I need to be better’. I saw A Bad Cavaliar in McHughs a few months ago, it was the first gig in ages that I got a real buzz from. There is also a guy Ryan McMullan who is an outstanding talent.
► Oh Volcano is currently a two-piece. Do you see any room for future expansion? Or is the band too young to toy with just yet?
I guess we don’t really know. I’m happy being a two piece at the minute, i’ll just see what feels right going forward.
► What’s next? Another EP, an album?
I think it will probably be another EP or Single, something like that. I’ll probably stick up a few more free songs just to get more stuff out there. As long as people are enjoying it, I don’t mind how it gets out there.