Oh Sees’ John Dwyer talks touring, ‘Smote Reverser,’ soup, snow & more in BV Q&A
John Dwyer is never not busy. When he’s not touring non-stop or making records with Oh Sees (like this year’s awesome Smote Reverser), he’s got his solo project Damaged Bug, and the label he runs, Castle Face, that puts out a dozen or so records a year. He’s slowing things down just a bit this weekend when he brings his pastoral, folky OCS collaboration with onetime Oh See Brigid Dawson and a string section to Brooklyn’s Murmrr Theatre on Saturday (12/15). Tickets are still available, and for a taste of what it’ll be like, you can listen to the live recording of one of the OCS shows they did in California last year, below.
Ahead of the OCS show we traded a few emails with John about this weekend’s show, what it was like playing in the snow in Chicago, opening for Portugal. The Man at Red Rocks, and more. Read that, and check out Oh Sees’ busy tour schedule, below.
You’re in Brooklyn this weekend for a very unique OCS show, where you’ll play with a string section. You did similar shows in California last year — how did those go? Do you still get people trying to crowd surf when you’ve got a string section on stage?
2 la and 2 sf
they went great a real pleasure
we played at two of our favorite joints
and had libations and love w friends and fans
looking forward to doing this show in Brooklyn
the set is fairly mellow but we had a couple long jammers at the end to let the steam out and people danced yep
Smote Reverser’s artwork by Matt Stawicki is amazing and really fits the record. Was that commissioned for the record? If so did you give him a pitch of what you wanted?
it was commissioned
we met on line
hes on a website full of artist for hire that do this kind of fantasy/sci-fi pulp art work
it’s pretty great and he was incredible to work with
i floated a couple ideas and we sort of collaborated in terms of the content but he really ran with it
Oh Sees are known for, among other things, nonstop touring but there were a I wanna ask about a few shows in particular. You played Empty Bottle’s “Music Frozen Dancing” back in February and it actually snowed that day. What was that like, and was it the first time you’d played in such weather?
they don’t give a f-u-u-u-ck
it felt like a regular show there pretty much
it was snowing which was pretty dope
people boogied in their parkas
we’ve played in the freezing cold a few time but that was the only snowy one
You also played that Kurt Vonnegut themed festival, Granfalloon, in May. The festival sounded pretty unique — did you feel that playing it?
it was fun
we played w shabazz palaces
who were awesome
we ended up getting bombed w their video projection guy
and i laughed so hard my face hurt the next day
You also opened for Portugal The Man at Red Rocks. What was that like, as far as playing such famous venue, but also opening for a band that’s had a huge hit — how were Oh Sees received by their fans?
it an amazing place
and i met one of portugal the man’s moms
she was nice
there was a woman eating soup in front of us while we played if that gives you a vision of the vibe
What’s the secret to touring nonstop and not killing each other?
short drives as much as possible
somewhere for the most hungover person to lay down on drives
and everybody gets their own hotel room at the end of the night — that’s a big one
What’s next? Have you started on the news Oh Sees album, or is there another Damaged Bug LP on the way?
slowly working on both at present
What’s on slate for Castle Face, as far as records that you don’t play on?
we have some cool stuff coming up this year but i’ll leave it as a surprise
You are in the new issue of Tape-Op, interviewing Enrique Tena Padilla who engineered your last two albums. How did this come about?
i am a terrible interviewer but it was fun
Enrique deserved it so there it was
i asked tape op and they obliged
a big what up to john bacc!
OH SEES – 2018/2019 TOUR DATES
DEC 15 OCS ( 8 piece band with strings and BRIGID DAWSON!!!) LIVE IN BROOKLYN @ MURMRR THEATER W/ SHANNON LAY
Thurs 14 Feb – The Croxton, Melbourne
Fri 15 Feb – The Croxton, Melbourne
Mon 18 Feb – Uni Bar, Wollongong
Tues 19 Feb – Factory Theatre, Sydney
Fri 22 Feb – Miami Marketta, Gold Coast
Sat 23 Feb – Valley Drive In, Brisbane
Sun 24 Feb – Rock Rover, Fremantle
Mar 8 – 14 – SXSW
May 3-5, 2019 Atlanta, GA @ Shaky Knees Festival