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Simon OíConnor of Amazing Baby
Another ĎAmazingí Band from Brooklyn
by Matt Crawford on Jun 26, 2009
Brooklynís Amazing Baby has earned comparisons to their friends MGMT and Led Zeppelin with heavy rock songs that reach for psychedelic and mythical references without being overtly hippy. The group, in the midst of a tour opening for French buzz-band Phoenix, stops in San Francisco June 27th for a set at the Spectrum Festival at the Regency Ballroom before returning to San Francisco for the final installment of Popscene vs. Loaded at Rickshaw Stop on July 3rd. Guitarist Simon OíConnor spoke with SF Station from the streets of Kansas City, where he was in search of a pharmacy before Amazing Babyís show there.
SF Station (SFS): How is the tour going?
Simon OíConnor (SO): Itís been a lot of fun, but traveling is a little bit annoying because it is designed for Phoenix, and they have a tour bus that they can sleep in. There are tons of night drives and we kind of have this shitty bus-hybrid that doesnít really do the job. We basically slept in a van for the last five days. But things are great, and Phoenix are awesome dudes.
SFS: What do you tell your parents or family when they ask you to describe your music?
SO: When old people ask, I say itís just rock íní roll and that is good enough for them. It would be nice if I could say that to anybody. Itís not easy to pigeonhole us and a lot of journalists have a problem with that. At first, they compared us to a lot of bands that were getting big in Brooklyn around the same time, but then they realized we donít really sound like any of them.
I formed this band with Will [Roan, vocals] and our previous project was very genre oriented and tried to keep up with the times. I think trying to make music to appeal to a certain dynamic or trend didnít work for either of us. Amazing Baby is much more chill. We just wrote songs and waited to see what they ended up sounding like.
SFS: There are so many bands in the media from Brooklyn; it seems like every third person there is probably a musician. Do you feel like that is true?
SO: Yeah, it does. Itís almost like going to L.A. and every third person is an actor. Itís not a homegrown scene like Seattle, where kids grew up in the suburbs and formed bands and moved there in the early í90s. Itís more of a transplant scene. People moved to Brooklyn to play music and they wanted an inspiring scene that would encourage them. You are constantly challenged by your friends to excel and do better, and I think it is definitely working.
SFS: Did you enjoy making ring tones at your job before the band?
SO: I made ring tones for a music distribution company. I did the Indiana Jones music and stuff like that. Will basically trained me and during the training process we decided to make an album. We used to meet up after work to make music, but that job was pretty abysmal.
SFS: What is the process of making a ring tone?
SO: I thought I was going to be making MIDI versions of everyoneís favorite songs, but no one really has that type of ring tone anymore. It was just taking 30-second samples of the actual song. It was highly uninteresting, to say the least.
SFS: Does it feel like you have been in a marathon with the pace you have been going since the band started in 2007?
SO: With this project, yes. But, I was in a different band for about four years and we just played the same fuckiní shows over and over again at these little beginner-band bars. It was just fuckiní horrible. Iíve been working at this since I graduated high school and I was working on music throughout college. We never wanted to go back out and do that club circuit where we were playing for nobody. We were sick of that.
Home recording technology improvements over the last six years really helped us. You donít have to pay a bunch of money at a studio and have to worry about being on the clock. We realized that we didnít have to go play a yearís worth of shitty shows and then go record a demo at some shitty studio. We decided to make an album and see where it takes us. It was kind of a reverse scenario, but it ended up working.
Amazing Baby will perform at Rickshaw Stop July 3. Tickets are $10 and the show starts at 10pm.
by Matt Crawford on Jun 26, 2009