Quest to create viral video motivates Calgary band
by Therese Schultz
Oh, Lenore! who hail from Calgary can be described as a capricious hodgepodge of funky indie-rock with some audibles taken out of the punk, jazz and pop genres. Oh, Lenore! is a down-to-earth group of guys who take their craft quite seriously, especially on-stage. But off-stage they remain four guys with a common wit who are looking for a bit of world domination and a few album releases. Their command onstage at The Marquee Room Feb. 26 managed to produce a pseudo mosh pit of fans, and their opening with the stylistically Shins-esque song “Murphy Can’t You See” began the night on a note that maintained an energetic fervour until their anthemic encore in “Adrift.” Their accomplishment as a band was most easily recognizable in their integrity to work as a group; they managed to achieve balance with each instrument impeccably throughout each song transition.
Where does the name Oh, Lenore! Come from?
Alec: There’s two stories to this…
Dylan: (Laughs) Well there’s the most true story to this, so, basically in The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe he refers to his lost love Lenore, so Lenore is basically a universal symbol of lost love and sorrow; so we kind of went with that because it makes it relatable.
What was your first song?
Dylan: Well, it kind of came into being when me, Alvin and Alec all decided that we wanted to make a viral video and we were young and naïve and we thought we could just write a song and record it and make a viral video, and then it would happen. So, we’re still trying to make the viral video and we’re on a quest for that right now.
How would you describe your music in terms of its sound?
Dylan: I would kind of describe it as The Strokes meets Rush almost. So indie rock but more technical.
Alec: In terms of sound I think that we all have different ideas of how we want it to sound and every song changes or adds something different to what we have produced. We never want to sound the same. We never want to be stagnant.
Joe: Me and Alvin’s main priority is to complement each other’s instruments and the whole band’s priority is to complement each other’s rhythms and patterns.
Do you think your success overall as a band relies on the fact that you get signed to a label?
Alec: It certainly makes things easier, I mean there are plenty of success stories of people doing it themselves; doing it by post. If you’ve got somebody to distribute for you it makes things easier.
Alvin: In addition it depends on what you call a success. I think above all, it sounds kind of cheesy but we just want to have fun. We just want to get our music out there, so as long as people come to our shows and take something from our shows then that’s a success.
Alec: With the Internet now, it costs almost nothing to get yourself out there, it is more an issue of overload. People have too much choice and they have to sift through everything to find you; and that’s the issue.
How do your band rehearsals typically go? Do you have any rituals that go along with them?
Joe: We actually made a rule. Fifteen minutes. If you aren’t here by the time band practice starts then you owe everyone beer, that’s our ritual to get people to come on time. But people still don’t come on time.
Do you think there’s still hope for independent bands in a tough industry, such as this one, who by majority have catered to commercialization rather than producing music that requires skill and talent?
Dylan: There is always a little hint of commercialism in music; the sad reality is that you have to have something catchy that people will listen to. If your music is just experimental noise rock, I know its popular now around town but I can’t listen to it. I see the appeal to it…. I guess that’s really the bottom line, you have to have a song that sounds good.