“The music alone will see 2023 morph into the year of O. – O wow, O yes, O my god, O my word.” – Loud & Quiet
“Though played on acoustic instruments, O.’s music has the heft of the most potent club records. Watch them fly.” - DJ
“A stomping, skronking sound.” – Stereogum"
“An experimental duo who are thriving… O.’s music is nothing if not wildly eclectic.” – NME
Today, O. – the London-based duo of baritone saxophonist Joseph Henwood and drummer Tash Keary – have announced details of the much anticipated debut EP, “SLICE”. Recorded live with Dan Carey at his London studio, the EP will be released via Speedy Wunderground on 24th November.
Coming hot on the heels of last November’s debut single “OGO” – which won enthusiastic support from Stereogum, Loud & Quiet, DJ, NME and Rough Trade – “SLICE” is a four-track snapshot of the duo’s first two years of existence. The first taste of the EP comes in the form of its title track.
Full of pneumatic patterns of riff and rhythm that draw from the muscular viscerally of metal and the dancefloor dynamics of build and drop, the new single arrives as a “Slice” sax and drum workout underpinned by the duo’s knack for dancefloor summoning earworms.
Speaking on the track, Tash says: “We wrote ‘Slice’ as soon as we got back from our gig and week in Recife, Brazil. One of the things we loved about carnival was the amount of energy and buzz that goes into the music, and ‘Slice’ is us taking that approach with our own songs.”
The single is accompanied by a new animated video created by Yevheniia Vynokurova. Going on to speak about the video she says, “We met Yevheniia at a few gigs in Slovakia where she was doing visuals for the amazing Ukrainian roots project UA Tribal. From Kyiv but living in Barcelona, Yevheniia has a super unique and gnarly animation style which we felt worked really well with our music.”
Speaking on the new EP, Tash says, “We played loads of gigs before we ever got in the studio, so we had lots of tracks to choose from. We picked these four because they’re all quite different from one another, while showing off all the styles we like to play.”
Following the recording of the EP, the three subjected the tracks to an array of post-production tricks, making full use Carey’s enviable selection of vintage dub production units. “Dan’s got a full collection of spring reverbs, tape delays, digital delays, bucket brigade delays and plate reverbs,” says Joe. “We don’t see ourselves as a dub group or anything like that, but we both really love heavy, bass-driven music, and none of this stuff would exist without King Tubby.”
As the circular simplicity of their name suggests, O. are a true self-contained unit. They formed in London during lockdown, when Joe and Tash – both veterans of a string of London ensembles – found themselves in a bubble together. When they started jamming, it was with no preconceptions: don’t overthink it, just play and see what happens. Before long, though, they were augmenting live instruments with effects – Joe routing his saxophone through a pedal board, Tash treating her drums with reverb and delay. As their sound grew and grew, it gradually became clear there wouldn’t be space for anyone else.
O. played their first show at Brixton Windmill, and the venue’s booker Tim Perry invited them back to support Black Midi. Immediately after their set, Black Midi’s Morgan Simpson invited them out on tour around the UK and Europe – a true trial by fire. “I think our fifth gig was at Alexandra Palace – it was terrifying,” remembers Tash. “But the main thing we learned was that we can be as weird as we want to be. Black Midi’s whole approach is that it’s OK to be playful. We both really liked that because there's a playfulness to our music, too.”
It was this experimental urge that saw Joe and Tash run their own nights, O Zone, at Brixton Windmill – collaborative live sessions that saw O. improvise onstage with luminaries including Nerija’s Rosie Turton, Edna from Goat Girl, Melt Yourself Down’s Pete Wareham and Steam Down’s Wonky Logic. Following a tour with Dublin’s Gilla Band, though, O.’s music has just been getting heavier, louder, more intense. “People have come to see us and said they’ve enjoyed the fact it feels about two centimetres from falling apart,” says Tash. “With two instruments, you have to push yourself, physically, right to the edge to keep it interesting. But we enjoy that challenge.”
Alongside the new EP, the band have also announced a new run of headline tour dates to take place early next year, which will follow on the tail end of their 2023 festival run. Tickets will go on sale Thurs 28th Sept at 10am BST HERE.