Last week, Haunting Oboe Music, who we had as our featured Sound Off artist way back in 2006, launched the first in their series of monthly EPs for 2008, titled “h.” If “h” is any indication, we can expect an impressive slew of music from the local sextet, and perhaps even an eventual “a-u-n-t-i-n-g-o-b-o-e”? HOM has always been progressive in the breadth of their sound, an ominous sweep that careens freely threw dark recesses, and the five songs on “h” display an impressively expansive flair and new directions shot off from their eponymous debut EP last year. Instrumental opener, “Behold, a Gremlin” winds through ferocious crests and troughs into the Radiohead-esque “Mano the Boy Soldier,” which the group has offered for download below. We’re going to be checking in with HOM each month as they work through the 12 EPs, seeing how the project is going and impacting the band throughout the year. They shot us back some typically hilarious replies to our email inquiries below, and you can catch HOM this Friday at Emo’s for the release of January’s EP alongside Ume, Camp X-Ray, and Prayer for Animals.
Interview: Haunting Oboe Music
Austin Sound: What was the impetus for doing this project?
Haunting Oboe Music: I think it grew out of us starting to sense the true creative potential of the band and wanting to not just tap that potential, but slap it around a little bit and call it our bitch.
AS: How many of the songs do already have written for the EPs?
HOM: We have about 8 or 9 right now.
AS: 12 EPs in 12 months is an ambitious undertaking. Do y’all have a particular strategy for accomplishing it, or is it something that’s developing as you go along?
HOM: We are kind of creating a system of recording, then trading mix-downs from separate computers and then democratically sorting through the differences… and then recording some more. I think the process will gain a certain rhythm and become more streamlined as we progress through the year. The beauty of this project is that it creates so much room for spontaneity. If we were just creating one EP or LP, we would be more inclined to record songs that fall within a certain spectrum. The enormity of this year-long undertaking allows us to really stretch our concept of the band. If a song seems too out there or doesn’t fit with the current EP, we can just save it, wait and see if it is meant to go with another month’s set of songs.
AS: This obviously requires a lot of time for recording. What kind of studio set up do y’all have?
HOM: We use a micro cassette recorder like you would use to take notes with. Then, at night we break in to AC/DC’s private studio and run it through their 1,300-channel diamond studded mixing board. Then back onto the micro cassette. It all ends up on a computer somewhere.
AS: Do y’all have plans to release a full album from these recordings at the end of the year?
HOM: That’s the idea for now. We’re hoping to put our favorite songs from the EPs on the full length, and then add some new songs as well.
AS: Listening to the January EP, I was wondering if y’all felt there was a coherent theme to the 5 songs that particularly corresponded to January?
HOM: Definitely. The feel of January goes along with the fact that this is the beginning of the New Year, and we kind of experimented with new sounds and started a journey. The first song, “Behold, A Gremlin” is a catastrophic mechanism of birth, death, purgatory and the after life in four parts. Kind of like the seasons.
AS: As we track each month’s release, we’re curious of the impact the project will have on y’all as a band and your songwriting. So as a starting point, how would you perceive the band at this point in y’all’s career?
HOM: I think we are a band on a precipice. We have been steadily amassing our troops at the gates of doom and have staked everything on this final bloody battle. If we emerge victorious, trumpets will echo from the heavens. If we fail, God help us all.
AS: What can we expect for February?
HOM: Guns, Knives, Women.
Mp3 from “h”
Mano the Boy Soldier