Old Mountain Station Interview: “We like bands who write great songs & then mess them up.”

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New Album Shapes  Out Now.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but it’s probably fair to say that France is not particularly known for its over abundance of indie rock bands. Off the top of my head all I could think of was Phoenix. However, there’s also this lesser well known but absolutely excellent band called Old Mountain Station. Hailing from Paris, and by the sounds of things they were grown on 90s indie rock, which, of course, is the best kind. Their most recent album Shapes contains wonderfully nuanced mid tempo indie rock songs that are offset by weird pieces of dissonant noise the highlight of which is the slightly alt country tinged ‘High Rises’.

We sat down recently to chat with the band about the disturbing video for ‘High Rises’, their changing approach to writing and recording, and their love of Grandaddy.

Overblown: Your video for ‘High Rises’ sees dolls being created in a factory (video above). For some reason the video really disturbs me. Where did the inspiration for the video come from? Who created it?

OMS: The director of the video, Clara Beaudoux, is a journalist and had the idea of mixing documentary and music video. The song is about working in a soulless job and feeling alienated from all the promises society makes, so we naturally wanted to film in some harsh working conditions. Thus the idea of going to a factory. That dolls are basically a big lie told to every little girl (about motherhood, femininity, etc) is the icing on the cake.

O: Shapes is your second album. Did your process for writing and recording change from your first album? How?

OMS: For our first LP, the songs began as barely developed sketches, just a few chords, a melody and a general sense of where we wanted to go. We then rehearsed every song extensively, over long periods of time, and built them along the way. We realised this way of doing was really time consuming (and time wasting) and didn’t necessarily lead us to where we wanted to go.

So with our second album, Alex (the lead guitarist) and me (Thomas, lead singer) demoed every song before giving them to our bass player and drummer. Less rehearsing, more time focusing on what the songs really needed.
Another big difference is we recorded everything by ourselves, at home, except for the drums. The first LP was produced by the esteemed Kid Loco in his studio.

O: There seems to be quite a range of influences on your music. Feedback smacks right up next to sweet melodies. In places, I’m reminded of Grandaddy. Are you fans of them? Who else is an influence?

OMS: Indeed, there’s no denying we’re big big fans of Grandaddy. But we hope we’re not just a copy and paste band. We grew up with a lot of American indie (Pavement, Built to Spill, Modest Mouse), but also with the great classics (Bob Dylan, Neil Young, etc.). And I guess our French sensitivity goes into the mix. We like bands who write great songs and then mess them up.

O: What is the alternative music scene like in France at the moment?

OMS: It’s actually quite lively, with lots of bands getting more and more attention. Unfortunately, it’s also quite uniform : lots of 80’s electro-pop, lots of garage/psychedelic, and not much in between. Which leaves bands like ours a bit in the dark. Basically, I think a lot people here consider indie rock dead.

O: Do you have any tour dates on the horizon?

OMS: We’re working on it, but it’s really tough.

O: What would you consider success to be?

OMS: Just keep on keeping on, I guess.

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