In the United States and New York very little has happened after that
small wave that punk music stirred up. In this vacuum, where hitmakers
are Toto and Pat Benatar, and where the only salvation seems to come from
black funk and rap, Our Daughters Wedding is a small exclamation point.
ODW started playing around -77, then with the classic
setting of bass, guitar and drums. They kept going for a year, wrote material
and played. In 1978 they quit and dissolved the band. One year later they
met in New York and decided to start all over again, this time using rhythm
machines and synthesizers only. I met Paul, one of the synth players in
ODW, after a concert in New Jersey where ODW was supporting act to Psychedelic
Furs and I asked him how they first where received as a pure synth band?
- We started playing at the Hurrah! club as supporting
act to James Chance and Mi-Sex. At that time people did not like us and
shouted 'where the fuck are the drums, why don't you use any guitars'
and that kind of crap. But after a few years it became a fad, so it came
as a surprise to us that it all of a sudden was okay to use synths.
Where do you have your biggest audience? In the US or
- It is kind of mixed. We have a lot of fans in England
and West Germany. In the USA we have our audience in Los Angeles, San
Fransisco, Florida and New York.
- Here at home we are greeted as something completely
new and different while this thing has already been exposed and established
in Europe. There, they have a hard time understanding that we are actually
from the United States. It does not cling to their associations about
American rock. In the USA we are greeted more like a rock band, like any
rock band actually.
In Europe we
are immediately directed to the same genre as The Human League,
Depeche Mode and OMD. But we don't think we have too much in common
with these bands. These
are good bands, I can't take that away from them, but we
are not doing the same kind of thing. We are more like a rock band
using synthesizers and rhythm machines. Our main influences come
from The Rolling Stones, and even from Van Halen. We like American
rock a lot, but we also listen to groups like Kraftwerk, OMD and
It seems true that they are more like a rock band
on stage. ODW has an aggressive appeal and a 'noise' that can't
easily be related to 'synthpop'. At least one synthesizer use to
be smashed each and every gig. Yet, the band's first album is still
very soft and reminds a lot of Depeche Mode and The Human League.
- We're still learning how to record, so we haven't
yet learned how to put the aggressive sound on record.
How do you think it would work to record your
music using ordinary instruments?
- No problems. Our music is based on melodies,
not on synthesizers, it is just that we have chosen to use synths
as our way of expressing ourselves.
- I also think that the way they are used will
change a lot in the near future. The way synthesizers are used today
has started to reach its peak.
Many 12-13 year-olds, who have grown up with synthesizers in their
hands, rather than we who have started off with guitars and bass,
will have a new way of relating to music. I hope that ODW can keep
contact with that kind of music and find influences from it. We
think it is important to renew ourselves all the time, and not get
stuck in perhaps one successful formula.
- We will also change musically in a near future
and start to use bass, guitar and drums along with the synths. With
this new 'style' we'll start recording a new album in February.
After removing the guitars, bass and drums four years ago we are
putting them back in again to see what we've learned.
Paul thinks that rock will always remain a way
of expression for youth, and adds that rock has always been there,
but sometimes just labeled differently. Like when there was a riot
when Stravinskij directed 'The Rite of Spring' in Paris; 'rock is
a reaction', he says.
But if rock is a reaction, how come there are
so very few social comments in American rock?
- It is very hard to say. It depends a lot on
all the business and greed in rock today. There are too many people
trying to get as much money as possible out of rock music without
having any feeling for the music itself. There will just be a lot
has no depth. There's a lot of young good bands who doesn't get
any attention because of the big machine surrounding rock. Like
rock on TV. It is dead rock! It stinks! A change must come, but
it is hard.
- Sometimes it feels pointless recording albums.
It feels like you're only doing it for your own pleasure.
- TV is also afraid of playing rock carrying
any kind of message that does not match the other stuff shown
on TV. Rock needs attention. It needs more than people just standing
there shaking their asses and taking drugs to it.
- People here in New Jersey like rock, he says
with a serious look in the eye. They love to see bands, they love
music. Compared to the people on Manhattan. Manhattan is 'blaah'
(thumbs down). Out here the working class lives, on Manhattan
people from record companies and 'noble' people live. But out
here 'they don't give a damn'. If you do a good show and people
like it, and if you don't they'll let you know.
- That is how rock music should work, it should
cause reactions. That's why I like Jersey.