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

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Sam Grant has been tinkering in the North East‘s music scene for quite some time now. As a studio engineer at Newcastle’s Blank Studios, he’s worked on some of the area’s most revered releases including the likes of Richard Dawson, Du Blonde, SL Walkinshaw and Blóm, as well as his own band, metal behemoths Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs, in which he plays guitar.

This month sees Grant finally step into the limelight and create a sound that is uniquely and distinctly his own, under the guise of Rubber Oh. “Rubber Oh is basically the anthesis of Pigsx7.” He explains. “When you work with all these different sounds you pick up on all sorts of ideas, but Rubber Oh is my excuse to really explore them shamelessly. I can’t exactly force a band to track two basses on every song they do, so Rubber Oh is my place to really explore. It’s a harmony of everything I’ve done up to this point, essentially it’s a rebellion against homogeneous songwriting.”

Using Rubber Oh as a way to scratch deep into the itches he has been waiting to explore, the project is a beautiful indulgence of sound that creates something sonically distinct. “It sounds stupid, but I wanted to make music you could taste. I wanted something you could feel in your jaw, something tactile.” 

Rubber Oh is a harmony of everything I’ve done up to this point, essentially it’s a rebellion against homogeneous songwriting

Grant’s peculiar world of sound is undeniably beautiful, with its rich yet dense layers contorting around the listener. “Rubber is just a weird substance, that was the springboard for the album. Rubber is so alien, but so ordinary. It has a weird memory to it, it’s simultaneously firm but soft. I wanted to channel all these abnormalities into the music.” 

This tactile approach to music is a recurring theme throughout Grant’s discography, who talked about the glass-like transparency of previous projects compared to the sludgy treacle of his Pigsx7 endeavours. This urge to be physically touched by the music is overarching, yet never more palpable than on Rubber Oh’s debut album, Strange Craft.

Strange Craft is an album of duality; warping the ordinary and mundane into something wildly peculiar and obscure, it’s an album that celebrates nothingness and yet everything, as Grant relishes his romp through positive nihilism. Duality creeps its way into the writing process of Strange Craft, as this liberal exploration of the crazy and bizarre is anchored by a strict set of rules. “I see rules as a solution to that modern problem. It’s so easy to do anything now, the answers are at your fingertips. If you want a certain reverb or a certain synth, there’s always going to be a million plugins that can sort it, which gets boring. Establishing your own confines allows you to be much more creative, effectively creating your own box to think outside of, or think around.”

Ultimately it’s these rules that give Rubber Oh the mesmerising and unique sound it has. Enlisting local luminaries like fellow Pigsx7 bandmates Chris Morley and Matt Baty, as well as Du Blonde’s Beth Jeans Houghton on backing vocals, alongside fellow live bandmates Chris McManus, Luke Elgie, Ceitidh Mac and Johnny Hedley, Grant has successfully toyed with textures and waves of sound to create something freakish, fun and wholly inexplicable.

Rubber Oh release Strange Craft on 3nd June via Rocket Recordings. They play The Cluny 2, Newcastle on Saturday 4th June.


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