Tag Archives: O’Death

O’Death Interview

After the recent release of O’Death‘s rather groundbreaking and unusual album, I caught up with the drummer, Dave Rogers Berry, to find out a little more about their third album, Outside.

How would you say this new album compares to your previous ones?
We put a lot more thought into how this record sounds in general. Of course, we always put a lot of thought into our recordings, but in the past we concerned ourselves with the arrangements of the songs and the performances of those arrangements first and foremost. This time around, we were very confident that the songs were really well structured from the beginning, and we were able to focus more on the sonic textures of each track.

O'Death Outside

Outside album cover

The last time we recorded an LP (in 2008), we were really concerned with nailing tight performances of the songs we’d been playing out on the road for the previous two years. For ‘Outside’, we took a completely different approach. We hadn’t played any of the material live on stage yet so we weren’t hindered by the live arrangements or the need to make the songs energetic to get a crowd going. We were free to make songs interesting instead of energetic. I love this process because we still get to go back and find ways to bring live energy to these songs – but in the studio, we only had to think about making a great recording. There was a fine balance of spontaneity and preparation – with some songs being written in the studio, while others were labored on for months before we went in.

Are you pleased with how it turned out?
Absolutely. I look at every record as a learning experience. I know we are always capable or making better records, but our concept of great records is always evolving too. Our goals simply weren’t the same when we went into the studio this time, and I suspect by the time we are ready to record another full length our ideas about making great records will have grown from where it is now, and we’ll be able to use all of our experiences to inform our next move.

Do you think the freedom you had in the studio helped or hindered the album?
Well – this is a fair question because there is never really enough time. We’ve made a whole record from beginning to end in two weeks flat. No doubt, there is a since of urgency in that process – but I don’t think our new record lacks urgency – and I’d definitely say it doesn’t sound as frantic as the ones that were a bit more rushed. However – if we gave ourselves six months instead of two, I’m sure we’d still be stressed to get it all done in time. That’s just the nature of the beast.


The five-piece folk band, O'Death

I really like having more time. Trial and error can be really important if you’re searching for a sound you haven’t heard yet, but it can backfire if you start questioning choices you’ve made and find yourself rerecording work you’ve already done… Then it’s time to take a break.

What were your aims behind producing this album? Did you aim for a certain feel or sound or was it more random than that?
We didn’t really set out to make a certain kind of record. In the past, I think some of us were distracted by our attempts to incorporate a lot of heady ideas about music into our recordings, but this time we just let the songs make the demands of us, rather than making great demands of the songs. That being said – I think it was the first time in our career that we were really comfortable with the idea of writing pretty songs, and trying to make something a little more subtle, gentle even.

There is no reason for us to record if we know everything there is to know about writing music and cutting records – we have to challenge ourselves and move forward. Some people in the band used to say things like, “that is not an O’Death song,” suggesting we had to only play folky sounding music. Thankfully, that attitude has faded, and we’re pretty free to do whatever feels right… I guess I still couldn’t call our process “random,” though.

Can you sum up Outside in three words for your fans who are yet to hear it?
Epic Death Love.

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O’Death Live Sessions

My new favourite band of this month (maybe even this year) have recorded some acoustic sessions for Violitionist in Texas.

Outside is a great album with tracks that are just begging to be played live due to all the crazy banjo, acoustic guitar and wobbling, emotional vocals.

The tracks performed in this session were Bugs, Black Dress and Pushing Out which are three of the strongest tracks on the record. Bugs was their first single off the new album while Black Dress and Pushing Out will give you a taster of what is to come on the rest of Outside.

Take a look…

Pushing Out

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O’Death – Outside

New York folk quintet, O’Death, are set to release their new album on Monday 6 June. This crazy and melodic fusion of new folk and old folk has been given the name, Outside.

Blending traditional elements of folk with new unusual sounds, this album has everything anyone could ever want.

The howling yet soothing vocals of Greg Jamie are bone-tingling. The strong banjo melodies and thudding drum beats are breath taking. Everything about this album is fantastic.

Now this may have something to do with the fact that the band were allowed freedom from their producer and engineer, Billy Pavone, with this. They took to writing in the studio as well as creating the album in the recording, not afterwards in the mix. This gives the songs the rawness and ragged layers which they truely deserve. It’s nothing like anything out at the moment. It’s not clean cut, polished or auto-tuned, it’s what music should be and that’s expressive and un-cut.

Track two, Ghost Head, is a melodic tune combining traditional folk techniques such as the emphasised banjo with a strong beat allowing for easy listening. This song is catchy – the music is upbeat yet the vocals are hauntingly dark but it’s definitely one you will remember.



Alamar, track three, is another fantastic song on the album. Stripping back on the music to uncover some severe lyrics and dark bass tones, it reveals their new sound entirely. Alamar is clever in the way the folk focus is splashed with rock elements highlighting the tense side to their music.

Another favourite has to be Ourselves. The plainness of the banjo at the beginning with the basic marching drum beat against the emotional vocals is heaven. But before it becomes too plain, the chorus comes in with lyrics that are extremely memorable. This track is quite calm compared to others on the album but is a welcome addition. However, near the end, the craziness returns with some fantastic rock-inspired folk solos to end on.

Without giving too much away, there are some other brilliant tracks including Howling Through which brings them back to their haunting and disturbing nature. Pushing Out and Back Of The Garden are two other tracks well worth repeated listenings.

O’Death have done something completely different with this album. Leaving in the rawness has given them a chance to show everything behind them and their music. Who knew folk could be adapted so much without losing its roots? O’Death are set to release one of the best albums of the year without a doubt.

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O’Death – Bugs

New York quintet, O’Death, are to release their latest single, Bugs, on May 30.

In 2009, the band received some shocking news that their drummer, David Rogers-Berry, was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma. After ten months of chemotherapy and a shoulder replacement, the band headed back to the studio and are now ready to get on with life and producing sweet, sweet music.

O'Death Outside album artwork

O'Death's album cover for forthcoming album, Outside

Bugs is a pleasant folk song with beautiful vocals and calming music. Blending soft, high-pitched vocals with fast tempo Irish folk guitars, this song is the essence of what makes folk music interesting.

O’Death have taken traditional elements of the folk genre and given it a modern day twist. Think Mumford and Sons but think grander, more enticing and more innovative.

The thing that makes this song so engaging is that so much can be heard going on in it. There are the Irish-inspired folk guitars alongside the hilly-billy banjo of Southern America, played by Gabe Darling. There’s the high-pitched typical New York style vocals from Greg Jamie combined with the folk drum beat.

However, my favourite sound in this song has to be the violin, played by Robert Pycior. It adds that very traditional element of folk to the music and gives it a grounding in that genre. It helps enhance all the other instruments with its simple yet beautiful melody.

O’Death have produced a wonderful sound in Bugs. I just hope the album is as great…

O’Death – Bugs (Official Video) from City Slang on Vimeo.

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