Underneath habitual trips to the bagel shop and dodging yuppies left and right, there remains a wincing uncertainty. With each noisy moment passed, Oneida’s Romance attempts to interpret a complex discourse that floats in the midst of daily thought. In the spirit of chaos embraced, the artist claims electricism as its experimental method to reincarnate human knowledge.
Hints of surfer chant, ambient noise, and wavy beats weave together to tinker with concepts of tempo and tonality. Each track is vastly different yet, with each listen, you’ll learn they all bundle into one transformative echo. Romance is for the thoughtful and for the conscious. Each listen surfaces new ideas and exposes layered interpretations tucked within Oneida’s momentous sound.
In its own manifestation of blatancy yet constant flux, Oneida’s clear dedication to underground sound and open thought reach beyond the music. Their Brooklyn upbringing and performative preferences, known for shows in non-commercial settings, dub Oneida as genuine genre-bending geniuses. Catch their latest debut of Romance at Landry’s Bicycles in Allston on Saturday 5/18 to see them shred their chaotic concepts to fruition.
Boston Hassle: How is ‘Romance’ different than anything else you’ve created before?
Fat Bobby: Tension between the pastoral and technological is a defining characteristic of Romance, which is an unexplored facet of the uncertainty and dislocation that fuels our music.
BH: Speak to the importance of independent music & art communities? How have they shaped you to be the creators and collaborators you are today?
Fat Bobby: Independent, homegrown, DIY communities are Oneida’s lifeblood and history. Our origin in Brooklyn in the 1990s was an act of will – finding spaces and collaborators willing to mount shows and events in any context possible and nurturing those relationships reinforced early on what it means to build and participate in community. We have partnerships stretching back over 20 years that are still vibrant and fuel our creativity. We’re also happy to participate in more commercialized areas of performance – rock clubs, theatres, and art museums have all been great to us through the years – but we prioritize working with organizations like Boston Hassle whenever possible. We’ve been doing shows with Dan Shea and Sam Potrykus since long before the Hassle and Brain Arts were established as the entities they are now, and those relationships bring meaning to our music, and to this town’s creative community in lasting, real ways. You make your own meaning, you know? That’s the answer, it turns out, at least I think so right now.
BH: Throughout the album there’s a lot of seemingly distilled longing, yearning, or maybe even reminiscence. What are you searching for? What are you asking your listeners to search for?
Fat Bobby: I think Oneida music somehow seems always to emerge from exploration of confusion, or uncertainty of some sort – even in joyous times/contexts – and I guess what you’re hearing might be an acknowledgment or recognition that there’s a lot of shit that can’t be reconciled even when you figure out what’s wrong, or what’s going on. You’re asking about searching and what to search for, but I’m not sure we’d be that prescriptive – it’s more like, keep searching for whatever it is you’re after, accept that any successes in your search will probably be by nature compromised and incomplete at best, and here’s some music about what that might feel like.
BH: What’s your stance on sound in a world that’s in the constant search for continuity? How do you disrupt, address, and echo that concept in your music?
Fat Bobby: Hmm, that’s an interesting question – As I think further, I’m not sure I see a widespread search for continuity in the world around me – I see more disparate searching and striving that’s super-chaotic and dysharmonic – and I think for sure Oneida’s music reflects chaos, even when it’s rigid or scripted. I feel the presence of entropy constantly, and I think continuity is probably just a red herring, maybe?
BH: Do you have a favorite track on the album? Why?
Fat Bobby: Not a favorite track that stands alone – I think any musician would answer about the same, like it depends on mood or context or a more pointed approach to the question. In order not to dodge the question totally, I will say that I’m most surprised by how effectively we managed to arrange and record “Bad Habit”, which was a very difficult piece of music to bring from concept to reality, and I’m really pleased at how it turned out.
BH: Talk about performing live. How has this influenced the type of music you produce and the layers of your music as it explores the notion of underground sound?
Fat Bobby: OK, here’s the deal – live performance is devotional, and hard to quantify in words. Come see Oneida perform and experience how this question and answer exist simultaneously. If you need convincing, I may not be the guy for that job. I can say that volume, repetition, chaos, improvisation, and power are part of the recipe, and we will build a world inside that bike shop that will only exist while it’s happening.
BH: As experimental noise, an ever-evolving industry, grows in popularity, what advice do you have for new listeners?
Fat Bobby: I’m trying to give less advice in my life. But you’re asking, so….how about this: trust your instincts, ask questions of yourself and others, and be present in person when and where things are made as much as you’re able to.
BH: What’s next for Oneida?
Fat Bobby: More music, new music, all the time. Don’t look back you can never look back.
Many thanks to Fat Bobby for making this an emphatically phenomenal interview. Preview Romance here.