One of the most highly anticipated albums of the summer is from Cincinnati newest new-wave rock phenom Oids who recently released the acclaimed single ‘Wrong Man’ ahead of their debut album set to release sometime in early June. I sat down with frontman Peter Eugene Foley to talk about the album and their place in the Cincinnati music scene.
This article has been lightly edited for clarity.
Tell me a little about how the band formed?
Three of us have actually been playing together for almost 6 years! We were in [Injecting Strangers] together with a different singer; as soon as the singer left that group, Chase, Dylan and I decided to start a new project - that was near the end of 2016 and we started writing right away. After we wrote most of the songs, we convinced a guy named Cousin Nathan to move to Cincinnati from San Francisco to play synth and sax and wear a jumpsuit.
What's the story behind the name Oids?
“Oids” is a made-up word that my family used to use in place of “Altoids.” There was a time during the mid-90s that my mom always had a little tin of 'Oids and I remember she and my sister and my dad would pass them around during church. I actually hated them at the time, along with all other mint-flavored foods. I like them now, but I still can’t stand Thin Mints, Yorkshire Peppermint Patties or mint chocolate chip ice cream. Basically any food with mint should be destroyed.
How is the music similar to or different from Injecting Strangers?
The sound is very different from IS. Our music kind of has an 80s theme to it and that stemmed from listening to new wave bands on the way back from Injecting Strangers shows. We usually listened to new releases on the way to our out-of-town shows, but on the way home it was time for Depeche Mode and Tears for Fears. The biggest stylistic difference between Oids and IS is the use of vintage synthesizers with the current lineup. I guess another thing is that I use a b-bender on my guitar, which is normally used in country western music; there's a little bar sticking out of my guitar that bends the B string up a whole step when you hit it with your hip, though I adjusted mine so it goes up two-and-a-half steps and it sounds nuts. I never used that in the old band.
What about songwriting, who does the writing and how does the band craft the songs?
The band writes all the songs together and we typically write our own parts with influence from the other members. Sometimes it starts with a bass line from Dylan, or a beat from Chase; sometimes it starts with a synth line I came up with or some weird guitar riff. I write all the lyrics, vocal melodies and harmonies, though the guys will help with some harmonies when recording.
What can you tell me about the upcoming album? Title? Release date? Label?
Our album is titled Zonked!, which is basically the opposite of what the music sounds like but very much the way we felt after recording and mixing. We recorded everything to a 16-track reel to reel tape machine and together we did live mixes of each song straight from the multitrack to the master tape machine. We didn’t use a computer at all, so every little change in volume, panning or effects had to be manually done with an actual tape delay unit or volume fader or spring reverb or whatever by all the band members. We’d play the song all the way through and try and get all the little changes right, but if someone messes something up you gotta start over. We're releasing it ourselves and it'll be on Spotify (and everywhere else) in the beginning of June. We're playing an album release show at Yacht Club on May 26 with Swim Team, The Sidekicks, Calumet and Two Houses - we'll have some physical copies available at the show.
To me, your single 'Wrong Man' feels like a cross between David Byrne and Rush, is that a fair comparison? Do you disagree?
I'd say that's fair. Talking Heads seems to be the thing people jump to when they hear us and that is super flattering to be likened to such a great band. I've gotten Rush from some other people, too, and I think it's mostly the synths they hear on our recordings.
Will the rest of the album have a similar feel?
Sort of; we try and make every song unique and different from each other to keep things colorful and exciting. Every tune has lots of synth in it!
OIDS is part of a booming music scene in Cincinnati, who is your favorite Cincy band? Favorite venue?
Oh man, so many. We recently played with two bands that I really dig, Mardou and Crime of Passing. Both are synthy and dark, which I love. As for my favorite venue, I'd say either Yacht Club or Comet.
Any bands you'd like to collaborate with?
What's it like to be part of the Cincy music scene?
Cincinnati has a lot of bands making a ton of music every day of the week, whether it's at a house or in a dive bar or at the Woodward. I think it's cool that you can see some raunchy punk groups or some synth pop or an operatic cellist all right here in Cincinnati. And people seem to really care about music here - I see unfamiliar faces every time I play.
Anything you want fans to know about your album?
Hmm. I think it's important for people to know that we recorded and mixed it together in my house using a lot of equipment that I either repaired or modified to suit our purposes, including preamps, space echoes, speakers and synthesizers. Also, we used a 1979 Sequential Circuits Prophet 5 on some of the songs, the exact same Prophet 5 that was owned by Richard Gibbs of Oingo Boingo.
We have another song on Spotify called "Cancerman" and it's about the smoking man from the X-Files; we will have another one coming out soon, so stay tuned!
Don’t miss your chance to see OIDS perform ‘Wrong Man’ and other songs off their debut album Zonked! at Northside Yacht Club on May 26th with Swim Team, The Sidekicks, Calumet and Two Houses for their album release party, and be sure to listen for OIDS right here on IHNAILER Radio.