What is your name and role within OHHMS?
Hi, my name is Paul and I write the words to our songs and sing.
Where are you currently based?
Our central hub is Canterbury; we all either live in or around the place. The city has a great musical pedigree as well, from the influential progressive rock scene in the late 60s and early 70s to the hardcore scene in the early 00s, we take a lot of inspiration from both of those scenes yet you don’t really hear it too much musically in what we do.
I hear that you are currently demoing tracks for the new album, how do you go about songwriting and where do you usually lay down the demos?
We work with a producer called Ian Sadler in his Emeline Studios and we have done from day one with OHHMS. He is really like the 6th member of the band, he pushes me in so many ways with my voice, from things like belting out high notes that I didn’t think I was capable of reaching to developing subtle harmonies which we layer under guitar tracks.
Like most bands we work compositions up in the practice room first and demo them there, then when we are happy and the songs are still fresh we take them to the studio where we work them up with Ian. It’s a totally artistic endeavor that we absolutely relish. As cliché as it sounds, it’s like working on a painting or sculpting a statue, the artistry in creating music is everything.
Please tell us about your interest in animal rights and how this theme will be incorporated into the next album?
It’s my passion apart from music; over the past 5 years, I’ve become obsessed with animal conservation, animal rights and ecological issues. I can pinpoint the exact moment it happened as well – I came home one day and my little puppy was sat there looking at me. It was a life-changing event for me, when I saw his eyes I instantly related to him as a being as important as you and I. It flicked a switch and I haven’t eaten meat since that day and that moment in time sent me on the journey with OHHMS that has led me here today.
From day one we have written about these issues, skirting around various aspects of the movement but never getting too bogged down in it, so I would use metaphors and incorporate aspects of socio-political thinking within the lyrical flow of the songs. For the upcoming album, we are planning on releasing next year it will be far more focused and direct. We are over halfway finished with the album right now.
How did OHHMS start?
How I would hope most bands start, we found each other through a shared interest in music, books and location; we would be at the same shows. I find it fascinating how people used to meet through adverts in magazines or weekly papers, and then they would go on to become some of your favorite ever bands.
What influences your sound and where do you find inspiration?
At the beginning of OHHMS, the musical plan was to somehow blend Swans, Genesis and Crass and mixing Artrock, prog and punk are still what we aspire to do today. I do not usually get involved in the basics of the riffs or the rhythms of our music, I deal with the melody and then we all have input on the structure when we are in the practice room.
Who are you listening to at the moment?
At this very moment in the background, I am playing Dead Kennedys ‘Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death’ LP.
You’ve had a great year with OHHMS, touring with BOSSK as well as summer festivals including Bloodstock, Desertfest Antwerp, Void Fest among others and you have few shows and select weekenders coming next year whilst you prepare for writing and recording the follow up to ‘The Fool’. What do you find most challenging and rewarding when touring?
I don’t drink and party too much or I would risk messing up the next show. The real challenge is self-discipline for me.
As for rewarding moments? I reckon having people singing along with my lyrics… That’s pretty cool. I never really knew whether people cared until that started to happen. Of course, speaking to people that have come to see us after the show is a real eye-opener too.
How do you prepare for each show?
I find a quiet place and be alone.
When and where are you playing next?
We have a few dates in the UK and in The Netherlands planned for April and May which will be a real great trial run for testing out some new songs on the public. Plus we are playing HRH Hammer Festival in Northern Wales in the first part of the year as well, keep your eyes peeled for the dates.