FFO: Art Rock, Prog Rock, Space Rock, Alternative
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania’s Oblivion Her Majesty is an experimental rock band which has come out of the gate with a polished, multi-dimensional sound. Having released a debut album in February 2019, the band successfully blends musical influences with diverse and original sonic palettes.
While just about every band says they have varied influences, that premise usually means the group sounds like everyone else. OHM manages the difficult and often abstract task of sounding original but not bizarre. The band has a modern sound and is not afraid of displaying its instrumental chops. A song like “One Thousand Ships” is a good example of how, at times, Oblivion flirts with an almost prog-rock approach. No mere studio project, the group performs live throughout Pennsylvania and neighboring states.
Musicinterviewmagazine had a conversation with bassist Rachel Bello who was happy to shed some light on the promising young band. Bello discusses Oblivion Her Majesty’s origins, future direction and even some guilty-pleasure music tastes.
Musicinterviewmagazine: Hi Rachel. To start out, how did Oblivion Her Majesty form? Did you all previously know each other?
Rachel Bello: Oh god, we kind of came from all over. Will, the lead vocalist and Mike, our drummer, met each other in high school through a mutual friend. Then Will met Adam, lead guitarist, in college. Next up, Will brought his childhood friend, Jake, keyboardist, into the band. Lastly, I met Will in high school way back when, but ironically, we barely spoke. He knew I played bass. So, when he needed a new bassist, he and the other members asked me to just fill in because I was working on my own projects at that time. I agreed to temporarily to fill in and well, here I am three and a half years later.
The band has some diverse sounds and influences. Is there a push and pull in your songwriting? What I mean, is one of you the metal guy, while another is a pop and atmospheric fan?
Yes, yes and yes. Let me explain. Will and Mike are the progressive, math-rock, odd time signature loving nerds, which usually makes me want to rip my hair out, because my roots are in 80s metal, blues, the straight rock and roll type. Jake, on the other hand, is a huge pop fan. Think Mariah Carey and Destiny’s Child and that keeps us modern. Adam is a thrash/speed metal guy, who makes for some insane guitar solos, thank god. An honorable mention goes to our amazing producer, Matt Ticciono, who knows how and when to steer us in the mainstream direction. The cool thing is though they all push me to musical limits that I didn’t even know existed. I never thought I would ever be playing a Tool cover on stage, but they’ve all taught me and pushed me enough to the point where I can. They one hundred percent have made me a better musician. As for song writing, that’s obviously what makes our music sometimes sound like this huge melting pot of genres.
Hopeless Masterminds, the album, was released last year. You have announced that you will be periodically releasing new songs in 2020. Is this a better way to stay on the radar, have a new song every few months, as opposed to one album release?
That’s what we’re trying to figure out. But for right now we’re thinking that’s the way to go. You know, as opposed to just dropping albums once a year, touring on it and calling it a day. The nice part about this route is that we never have to be pressed for time and just kind of work at our own pace. Its like did we just randomly write this potentially great song that we think could get us some attention? Cool, let’s record it and drop it. It’s a lot less stress and a lot more spontaneous. We’ll probably put out a compilation at some point, but we’re trying to avoid the word album or record.
You attended this year’s NAMM show as an artist for Coffin Gear. How exciting was it to go as a representative artist? Was it your first time attending?
I’m still processing it, ha-ha. I have wanted to go to NAMM since I was around 13 or14 years old, when I was really starting to get serious about a music career. Everyone I look up to goes every single year and I remember just being like, man, I don’t think I’ll ever get that lucky. But low and behold, I recently became an endorsed artist with Coffin Gear, which is crazy in itself for me. Their amazing artist relations rep, Michelle, hooked me up. I was even allowed to bring my four best friends with me, which was even more special. Needless to say, yes it was my first time attending and hopefully not my last.
How do you approach touring as a band? Do you try to block off seasons? Like, okay, let’s do shows in the summer and fall, or do you actively book gigs whenever you can?
So far, we only ever really went out on one tour and it was during the summer of 2018. We were invited to play KABBOO Del Mar, a music festival near San Diego. So, we used it as an opportunity to book a bunch of out of state dates on the West Coast. Our plan right now is to focus on the East Coast, but not really make an official tour out of it. Our goal is to do, say, Boston one weekend, maybe Maryland the next month, Washington DC the next and so on.
Like most bassists answer, no, it wasn’t. My first instrument was guitar, which I started when I was around nine. Funny story, but when I was 12, I went to see Steel Panther for the first time and tiny Rachel had a huge crush on Lexxi Foxx, the bassist. In my head I was like, well, he plays bass and I love him, so I’m going to play bass, screw guitar. I guess that converted me. It’s interesting because I can now always say the bass player of a parody glam rock band is a huge reason that I’m where I’m at today. I’m not ashamed because if you know SP [Steel Panther], you know how ridiculously talented they actually are and they’re all just the nicest dudes.
What basses and rig are you using now and how has your equipment evolved as you have grown as a player?
You know, I never get asked this question, so thank you. Right now I have a Thunderbird and my baby, a Schechter Stiletto Studio-4 in limited edition purple burst, and yes, it is as beautiful as it sounds. As for my rig, I use a Peavey 450 Tour Series. My effects processor and pedal just broke which sucks, so hopefully I’ll get a new one soon, because playing clean is not too fun for me. As for how my gear has evolved, well, my first bass was $150. My Schechter was most definitely not $150.
Are there new musical areas and or styles you are hoping to explore in future music with the band?
Part of me wants to say I would love to see us venture into a more roots rock blues sound, like old school Aerosmith with modern elements. But realistically I know that may not happen. Something like that would probably change the entire direction of OHM because we are so far away from that right now. But I can dream. Maybe we can somehow work it into future material, but I’m not holding my breath.
If we could peek into your personal playlists, what songs might surprise me?
I have so many Melanie Martinez songs on my playlists. I love that girl. That may be surprising because she’s pure pop and I’m definitely not that. But her artistry and song writing are insane to me. I also adore how creepy and eerie her image can be, because that’s the stuff I have always and will always use as inspiration for my own material. So yeah, the answer to that question is every Melanie Martinez song ever.
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Peter Harris, Inside The Musical Mind, is a content writer with experience in not only blogs and podcasting, but also FM Rock radio. A self-admitted lousy guitar player, music is his passion and he loves sharing the stories of both legendary artists and up-and-coming players. Peter resides in Knoxville, TN and can be spotted around town accompanied by his very large and very spoiled dog.