Bono Must Die! is not so much a statement as it was a band name. To no one’s astonishment the band had to seize using the name, and the group became oRPHANS. After that fell through, a couple of the members decided to form the band O Children, which now consists of four musicians playing a type of post-punk music. The baritone vocals of singer Tobias blend in with the atmospheric background of the other three. The band, operating from London, is at the starting point of their route to recognition, and hopes to receive a bunch of that when releasing their EP next year. Since this interview it seems as if the band has already moved up a bit, as on their MySpace the word “major” stands next to label. So well done if that’s true. Whatever is going on in that department, it seems as if it is worthwhile to keep an eye on their calendar regardless, because a show in a small room seems like a worthwhile spending of your time. For some of their songs, check their MySpace: www.myspace.com/ochildren. IKRS asked singer Tobias some questions for our fall issue, and we talked about friendship, the name of the band, and the Joy Division hype that emerged last year.
IKRS: For introduction's sake, how would you describe your sound?
O CHILDREN: We are a pop band. As in, we appeal to everyone on one level, or another. The rest will be up to the listener to make describe. We are yours.
IKRS: Does O Children take its name from the song by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds with the same name? If so could you tell us why you picked that one, and if not how did the name come about?
O CHILDREN: The name is all part of progression I suppose. We used to be called Sexpests, then we were called Sexy Kids for about 2 hours. We experimented with many names till we hit O Children and the name just stuck. It is taken from the Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds song. In my opinion it's his most beautiful piece of work, but nobody agrees with me. They are all wrong, but they don't know it yet. Maybe that's why we picked the name, because the children are always wrong.
IKRS: Could you take one of your songs and dissect it for us lyrically/musically, in as much detail as you want.
O CHILDREN: There's Radio Waves. It's a very visual song. A lustful song. So with Radio Waves, we try to make the listener visualise that lust. There's a part of me that almost wants to make you feel really horny when you hear that song but I'm also happy enough if you're tapping your foot and enjoying it. After all, that's what pop music is all about. I think that is as much as I want to dissect Radio Waves though. To dissect it further would be to take away the whimsy and the lust. Instead of you feeling potentially turned on, you might feel like you are in a science class, cutting open a frog. When we release our EP, you'll see what I mean.
IKRS: A lot of people will label you as a post-punk band. With the renewed interest in Joy Division with the film and the documentary and the rereleases, is that beneficial to bands with the post-punk label or the opposite.
O CHILDREN: It doesn't really make a difference. I mean, if you're good. The Joy Division Regeneration Program, should not make a difference to you. If you're not so good on the other hand, then like this new Joy Division obsession, you are a fad. And you will die out. It might be slightly harder for bands that play up to the Joy Division thing to make ground breaking music. This is why we like to keep a range of influences, from obvious ones like Joy Division and The Boys Next Door to Johnny Cash and Screaming Jay Hawkins. It just makes the art of making music a lot more worthwhile. Every time somebody comes up to us after a show and says, "I love you guys. You sound like Joy Division." We thank thank them, and then politely remind them that Ian Curtis did not invent the baritone vocal.
IKRS: People who make melancholic music are often seen as people constantly sad or troubled (and in the case of The Dears' frontman Murray Lightburn not laughing at all doesn't help). To defy such pigeonholing, what is the cheeriest thing that has happened to you in the past weeks?
O CHILDREN: We're surprisingly happy people. Nothing especially cheerful has happened. We're just loving life and being ourselves. Andrew got mugged. That wasn't cool. He's taking up kick boxing, no kidding. We're gonna find out who mugged him...that will be a cheerful day.
IKRS: Some of you were formerly from the band Bono Must Die, is it hard to start all over again or is it refreshing to begin something anew?
O CHILDREN: We don't feel like we're starting again as such. This is just another chapter of the book. A better chapter, perhaps.
IKRS: The stuff that was released as Bono Must Die and oRPHANS was mostly self-released if I remember correctly. Is that something you want to continue doing, or if there is label interest this time around you rather do it through the label so that you can focus on the music?
O CHILDREN: We've been toying with various ideas. We can't say much about it because we don't know much about it. There's interest from person A and person B, and there's us doing it ourselves. Wait for the EP to come out then ask us again. Everything will be much clearer then.
IKRS: Do you guys spend much time together outside of the band? And what are some of the interests you have in common, aside from music?
O CHILDREN: We are like brothers from another mother. I can't imagine anything worse than a band that doesn't spend time together when they are not making music. If we did that we would be creatively barren. In fact, now that I think about it all we do is hang around each other's houses, play music and watch films.
IKRS: What is in the pipeline for the band for the rest of the year?
O CHILDREN: We'll release an EP, play a few gigs and be happy. That's all I know. Who knows?
IKRS: We always have a sort of musical dilemma we ask every band for that issue. You may elaborate if you want. This time it's: Bowie or Morrissey?
Tobias: "Bowie. I don't like Morrisey, nobody agrees with me. They are all wrong."
IKRS: Thank you ever so much for taking the time to answer the questions. We hope that we can welcome you to Holland in the near future.
O CHILDREN: Thank you for having us.
The first picture is by Stuart Pillinger, the others are by Gabriel Green. We thank O Children and Simon Burke-Kennedy for arranging the interview.