INTERVIEW: OH SEES | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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To say that American musical genius John Dwyer has been a prolific and groundbreaking artist is somewhat of an understatement. As well as being a singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, he is also a record label owner and founding member of Oh Sees (also known as Thee Oh Sees, OCS, Orange County Sound…it’s changed a lot).

As an outfit, Oh Sees have embarked on quite a journey throughout the 21 years they’ve been around. Numerous name changes, different band members and introducing an impressive range of sub-genres hasn’t stopped the band creating fresh material. They may have retained razor-sharp soaring riffs that punch through chaotic soundscapes and reverb-drenched vocals, but there has been a constant innovation and willingness to branch out into garage, punk and psychedelic rock. Dwyer believes that it’s been a pretty natural progression and the only direction for the band now is onwards. “We roll with the changes and the times. There is always inspiration in the world around us and adding new blood or instruments to the mix helps capture that.”

A real sense of evolution radiates from Oh Sees, and the introduction of new band members has worked resulted in the group trying out new directions. Dwyer enthuses that the passion for creating music is definitely still there. “I think we still enjoy our time together, especially the improvisational moments on stage these days. The in-the-moment rush is invigorating when it takes over, I’ll always be famished for more art and if I can have my hands in it, then all the better.”

With age you can spread your wings a bit with scope and intake, so you don’t tread the same path constantly. That’s dull

Oh Sees’ latest release, Memory Of A Cut Off Head, under the OCS moniker, was the band’s 20th release and Dwyer insists that he still has many of the same loves as he had when he was younger, but he’s now dug deeper into the world of recorded music. “With age you can spread your wings a bit with scope and intake, so you don’t tread the same path constantly. That’s dull. I never set out with too much in mind before we write. We sort of just write and see what sticks to the wall.”

Given the fact that Dwyer has submerged himself in the industry for over twenty years, it comes as no surprise that he has noticed some changes from when he first began. “I think it is a better time for artists now than ever. You can self-release and promote your work with the internet. People are more reliant in terms of art, I think, and are more connected to more people and information than ever. It’s a double-edged sword, obviously, but you can work it to your advantage. I can’t imagine where we will be in 10 years.”

Oh Sees will be back in Newcastle on Thursday 12th July at the Boiler Shop, but what can we expect for the future of Oh Sees aside from making music and trying to be “good humans”? “Tour, write, record, relax, repeat.”



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