AFTER spending a lot of time assessing/interviewing British acts it is refreshing…
finding a great U.S. band in Oh Malô (oh muh-low). They are masterful at slinging shape-shifting sounds with delicate, cobweb-light vocals. Combining influences of Bombay Bicycle Club and Jeff Buckley – through The Beatles and Patrick Watson – the Boston-based band has picked up award nominations and made a name for themselves with the local crowds. Their debut L.P., As We Were, puts all their influences and styles into one record and blend colours and emotions together – from vengefulness and tear-jerking outpouring to reflectiveness and melancholy. Recorded over the past two years at various homes across Boston, L.A. and Nashville (Providence too) – the boys are making a name for themselves in the U.S. and have the potential to transcend into the U.K. and Europe. I quizzed the band about their debut album and their rise to prominence; the background behind Miss You (whose video is out now) and what they hope to achieve in the coming months.
HEADER PHOTO CREDIT: Ryan Song
Hey guys. How are you? How has your week been shaping up?
Hey! Our week has been great. We’re currently on tour in the Northeast and have a day off to catch up on things.
For those new to the band: can you give us a quick introduction, please?
We’re an Indie-Rock band named Oh Malô – out of Boston, MA. We just released a new music video for Miss You : the single off of our twelve-song debut L.P. As We Were that we self-released back in April.
Apologies if (one suspects) you have been asked this relentlessly: what is the origin of the band name?
The band is named after Saint-Malo, France. I (Brandon) visited there back in high school and wrote the very beginnings of the material for the band when I was there. It’s a special little place.
The video for Miss You has just arrived. Was it fun shooting the video and who usually comes up with concepts for your videos?
It definitely was a lot of fun making the video. We had our good friend Amy Allen from the Boston band Amy & the Engine do a cameo – and also our long-time collaborator Sam Harchik film and direct it.
The whole band got to contribute to the concepts and locations for the shoot this time around which was a cool way to collaborate outside of our music.
What is the inspiration behind the song? Did one member come in with the idea fully-formed or was it meted out over a few jams/sessions?
That song was the final song we wrote for the record so it came fairly easy. We’d been recording most of the summer and put that together in just a few days. It felt great to add some levity to the record, at least musically, after working on many (of the more) intense tracks on the record. I wrote the foundation for the song on a morning when the rest of the band was dead asleep so I was trying to be particularly quiet. I think that’s why the verses, in particular, came out so gentle sounding.
As We Were is the album and has gained a lot of positive feedback. How does it make you feel to receive kudos and appreciation? Were you expecting such a reaction?
We couldn’t be more grateful for all of the positive feedback we’ve received since putting out the record.
We worked two long and hard years writing and recording it, and at times, it felt like it would never get finished or released – but it’s been incredibly rewarding to have it out and have new people all over the world getting their ears on it.
You are about to leave for a tour of the U.S. East Coast. Is it your first time there and how excited are you as a band?
We’ve been based out of Boston since we started (in 2014) and have done a full East Coast tour as well as several weekend mini-tours over the past year – so we’re starting to get into a groove in this region. We’re also excited to tour around this area since many of our families live nearby and we get to stop through to hang out and have a home cooked meal.
Being based out of Boston, you must hear a lot of other great acts in the city. What is Boston like for bands/great music – how does it vary to the rest of Massachusetts?
Boston certainly has a lot of incredible bands. We’re super excited to see some of our favorite locals such as Bent Knee, Animal Flag and Bat House (recently) start picking up a lot of much-deserved attention. The Boston scene seems to extend out towards Worcester and Western Mass. with its thriving D.I.Y. scene especially. We’ve had our fair share of basement shows over the past few years that have turned out being some of our favorite shows.
Are there any local bands you advise we check out?
Your music has shape-shifting sounds and boasts gorgeous vocals. Has the band’s sound always been defined as such or as the result of experimentation and change?
We definitely took a lot of risks and experimented all over the place on As We Were, so yes, our sound is rooted by that.
We all come from very different musical backgrounds and have probably the most diverse taste in music that you’ll ever hear of from four people in the same band.
The vocals have been compared with that of falsetto kings Patrick Watson and Jeff Buckley. Is it humbling or scary hearing that sort of name-dropping?
It’s certainly humbling. Those two artists especially I think have done pretty ground-breaking things with both their voices and the arrangements that accompany them.
In terms of the compositions and sound in general: which bands and artists have been most influential to you?
Radiohead, Patrick Watson; Grizzly Bear, Young the Giant and Bombay Bicycle Club
You have a lot of great U.S. tour dates in the pipeline. Which are you most excited by and any plans (for the band) to come to the U.K.?
We always love playing N.Y.C. and Boston of course. It’s really cool to see people come back to shows after visiting a city a few times.
We’d love to come to the U.K. and will visit and soon as we can get a solid amount of shows booked!
If each of you had to choose an album that has been most important to you: which would they be and why?
Jack: Abbey Road – The Beatles. That was the album that inspired me to play guitar.
Isaac: For Emma, Forever Ago – Bon Iver. It shows how music can be therapeutic.
Brandon: Grace – Jeff Buckley. This record really just woke me up. I learned about who he was pretty late into playing music and I was stopped cold when I heard it for the first time. It was incredible to me the things he was able to do with his voice and the several personalities he could switch between.
Jordan: Carrie & Lowell – Sufjan Stevens . That record taught me how to listen to a full album front to back.
Any bands/artists wanting to follow in your footsteps: what advice would you offer them?
Patience is everything.
This is the most up-and-down career to get involved in and you really just need to prepare yourself mentally and physically for how demanding it is.
Don’t forget to enjoy the whole process because that’s what really counts at the end of the day.
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