Friday, March 25, 2011

OH LIBIA - Interview with Victor and JT of OH LIBIA!



Below is an interview with JT and Victor of OH LIBIA.

IU: Ken Stringfellow wound up producing and mixing your album OH LIBIA!. How did that come about?

  • JT: We were contacted by someone at ‘le pop-in’ in Paris and asked to come up for a gig. At the time, we only had a few demos done and…we’re a little crazy you know, so, of course we agreed! And, two months later, we got in a car and went to Paris.
  • Victor: We met Ken on February 12, 2009 at ‘le pop-in’ in Paris. He introduced himself and the next day when we met up, he asked us about producing our first record.

* IU NOTE: This drive they talk about here is over 1600 Kilometers and at least 10 hours driving time.

IU: How do you go about writing your music?

  • JT: The inspiration for songs comes and goes. I may try to write something for months and nothing comes…and then I suddenly have a great period of writing a lot of great songs (having one of these times right now).
  • Victor: I write the music and some lyrics and JT sorts it out and we put it together. I find that these songs I write…don’t have a meaning I know of at the beginning. It’s only when they are flushed out in my collaboration with JT and the song is done that I see the personal meaning to me and my life.

IU: What was it like recording your 1st Album – especially with a pro’s-pro like Ken?

  • Victor: Once we and Ken decided to record, it was clear from the very beginning Ken knew exactly what he wanted to do and how to focus us to create how the album should sound.
    So, in June, 2009, Ken came to Alicante to record our songs and stayed with us for five days. Each day was amazing. We spent mornings on the beach and then the other time recording. Ken really helped us to focus on the songs and helped us find our true sound - and that’s what you hear on the album.

IU: There’s a video of you guys playing a gig and I saw only 7 of you but there’s 8 in the band right now. How do you make that work?

  • Victor: It’s difficult but we came to an agreement on how we rehearse. We have people from 3 different cities - Castell√≥n, Valencia, Alicante- and we’ve chosen Alicante as the place where we rehearse because 5 members live there. JohnJoe– who plays keys – he lives in Castell√≥n which is 2 hours away! He’s our road warrior!

IU: What are your hopes for OH LIBIA the band and your album OH LIBIA!?

  • JT: I don’t have those ambitions or dreams of being the big rock star. I want to be able to make and record songs….something to be remembered by. I like that OH LIBIA is an Indie “underground band.”
  • Victor: It’s great playing and continuing to evolve our live sound. And, as my good friend JT has said, there aren’t the ambitions of being the big rock star…it’s for love of the music and working together. I also want to say, it’s really great to hear from strangers we don’t know how much they love our songs.

IU: Introduce the members of your band for us JT….

Oscar (synth) is our noisemaker, so into John Cage and Brian Eno
JohnJoe (piano) is a great musician. A pro! He’s great constructing melodies and arrangements
Elena is from Russia and she plays xylophone, tambourine, theremin…all those uncommon instruments... she is also a graphic artist, in fact she's the one who designed the cover of the album
Tristram plays lead guitar, cool guitar-guy, so into stoner rock
John (bass) is a great bass player, so into stoner and classic rock as well
Paul (drums) is the heartbeat of the band, he's aces` and actually he is the one that calms everybody when victor and I try to kill each other :P – ahahahahaha.

About OH LIBIA:

OH LIBIA is a band from Spain whose first album titled OH LIBIA! was produced by Ken Stringfellow (The Disciplines, The Posies, Big Star, REM, The Minus 5, and many more) and released near the end of 2010.

To stream their album click HERE.

OH LIBIA on Facebook

OH LIBIA Album Cover by Elena

OH LIBIA Debut Review on Independents Uncovered


Of Note:
English is not JT’s and Victor’s first language and while their English is excellent - and the interview was done in English, in fairness to them and agreed upon with doing this interview, I changed some of the words to fit typcial American English-speak while still maintaining the same meaning/inferences with what they said...and reviewed with them before publication of this interview. Also, I'm not guaranteeing my English writing skills are perfect either!

Monday, March 21, 2011

OH LIBIA!

Review: HELL YEH!

OH LIBIA is a band from Spain whose recent album release OH LIBIA! (this link takes you to their bandcamp.com page to stream the whole album) has really found a home in my mind and ears.


The first song on the album is Open Graves (link takes you directly to the song) and within 1 second of this song….I WAS HOOKED!…the album…this band. I love it when an album kicks off with a song that reminds me of how Lethal Weapon 2 began – with Mel Gibson running. That was a great movie and this is a great album.

Words I would use to describe OH LIBIA’s debut:
- Dreamy
- Psychedelic
- Mysterious
- Garage
- Rock

Other stand-out songs for me, right now, are All Lost Out, Half Words, Last Friday Girl and Seventeen.

J.T. Prewitt and Victor Ramirez formed OH LIBIA in 2008 and, after recording about 40 demos, they hit the road and found themselves in a club in Paris where Ken Stringfellow (The Posies, The Disciplines, Big Star, The Minus 5, REM) was hanging out. Ken has been producing for a long time, so, while I’m only guessing (pontificating if you must know), he stayed out of the way of the music and enhanced it with all of his experience recording and by joining in on the songs on various instruments and backing vocals.


All I can ask for from an album is to keep me interested for the whole thing. And this album does that...bouncing between tempos mid-song and from song to song. Song vary in length and never seem too long - and occasionally, too short. But, when a song is "too short" it's because I want more, so, it's easy to click on 'replay' and that solves that dilemma - HA!

I’ve circulated OH LIBIA among a few folks I know and have heard phrases like: “sonically dense” or "really enjoyed it" to describe their sound to “I didn’t really like the vocals.”

Lia Pam – has a few harmonies that remind me of a Queen song – killer queen
Daniel Biscuits – A little Bob Dylan sound to it
Anxiety Sickness – newly presented OOhhs and AAAhhs reminding me of The Moody Blues
Half Words starts off with a "trippy" Merry Go Round sound and then jumps head first into a great rock song.

"Can't Get Enough (like me) of OH LIBIA" you say? Check Out The below Links:
About the band OH LIBIA
Bandcamp Site to Stream the Album - OH LIBIA!

Facebook Group Page

Videos posted on YOUTUBE:
Of Note - Victor and J.T. make these videos and it's interesting how they work with the songs. It's a gift of love for their music and understanding that music really is visual and open to interpretation...even from the band. They hope you enjoy them.
Daniel Biscuit
Lia Pam
GR New Cross

I'll have some interview question and answer with Victor and J.T. in the coming week! WOOT!