Singer Ross Wood of Oh White Mare had a chat with GROK about their new EP All The Modern Lovers, following Outsiders, the single they released last year. Wood talks about the stylistic change the group has made since reshuffling band members, goes into depth about their inspirations, and comments on the modern love they want to bring about in their new, debut EP.
You must be really happy with All The Modern Lovers.
I like how any other band would tell you about how long these things take to make, it’s always a pretty long time. So you know when you start something, the actual recording process only started in September last year. It’s definitely taken a long time to get it out to the world.
How does it feel to have it out after so long?
It’s super exciting to show it to people. You’re always weary about showing people half-finished mixes and what not, but most importantly we were happy with it, and particularly we felt that the songs and the sounds and the recording kind of progressed a little bit from what we had done in the past. We think it’s reflected in what people have told us. People seem to be digging it.
Could you elaborate on how you have progressed?
Outsiders was the first single we released last year, and the main thing that has changed since, I think what would have been 18 months ago now, is a line-up change in our band – we had a little reshuffle of the band members where we had two guys leave and one come in. And while we would have kept the same aesthetic as we built up in Oh White Mare before then, with this it did change the style we would have otherwise geared towards as musicians. It allowed us to be a bit more melodic, and intricate, and grand. Whereas before we would have been more of a garage sort of band, with even a bit of folk in there – so really, it’s branched out a bit and is pretty dependent on what’s comfortable with the people in the band.
What were some early reference points you guys looked at for inspiration?
From a wider perspective, Alex Turner [from the Arctic Monkeys] had a couple of projects we really like. The newer Queens of Stone Age stuff is pretty good too. These are some artists we really admire. While we always try to apply to making our music sound like Oh White Mare, like any other artist we draw influences and those two guys were probably the main guys we drew inspiration from and what feeds into what you hear.
Listening to All The Modern Lovers cover to cover, it felt like you were trying to steer away from a world of hit singles and instead tell a story from beginning to end.
Definitely. It’s undeniable there’s a common thread in the EP. So, we certainly wanted it to be a body of work which not only makes sense, but also offers something a little bit different every listen. Instead of just having four or five songs of just the same song but recorded in four or five different ways, we like to think of the commonality but still be different, you know – to keep up with the scene. But still obviously be cognitive. You still want radio hits and ones that are upbeat with hooks. So the first few songs are upbeat compared to the last two songs, which are a bit mellower. But you’re right. We want people to hear it as a body of work.
What was the common thread you were trying to bring across to us listeners?
Pretty much the whole lyrical content – the title track is a commentary on modern love. It varies from the more upfront and obvious kind of sarcastic content which is prevalent throughout. Other songs touch on aspects of mental illness, which is kind of a newer phenomenon in terms of relationships with people, and people being aware of that in the last five to ten years.
We like to think the lyrical content is about modern love. The last song is a bit of a moody love song, and is a commentary on how relationships have changed. Thirty, forty or probably even fifty years ago, people had relationships which they would stick out and give it their all. These days people are pretty quick to chop and change and what not. Not necessarily saying it’s a bad thing – the track is simply making a commentary about it.
The title track, All The Modern Lovers, has got to be my favourite song on the EP.
I really like it. I’m really proud of the structure of the song. I like the feel of it, this kind of after hours, feel. I love the vocal performance and the sounds of the band of which, all in all, pretty much captured the feel the band is going for. We think it’s a body of work that represents where Oh White Mare is. It’s a sound we’ve worked towards in the last 18 months since we’ve had that reshuffle in the band and one we will definitely continue to chase.
Oh White Mare’s All The Modern Lovers EP is out now.