Looking forward to our show Tuesday February 12th featuring Ott and The All-Seeing I, Kilowatts and Akara, we sent Ott some of your’s and our own questions. You can read the full interview below, as well as download some free music from Ott. Be sure to get your pre-sale tickets before this event sells out!
The Do LaB: Thanks for taking the time to answer some questions. Let’s start by filling us on some of the latest news about you and your music.
Ott: “I’m exclusively devoted to touring with the band currently, although the plan is to get straight into the studio on our return home in March and get started on a brand new album. That should be ready by about September 2013.”
The Do LaB: Tell us about The All-Seeing I and what your fans can expect at the show on February 12th in LA.
Ott: “Ott & The All-Seeing I is me taking care of the electronics, computers, synths etc, Matt White on drums, Chris Barker on bass and ‘Naked’ Nick Holden on guitar, vocals and samples. The basic idea is to take my exclusively electronic songs and reinterpret them with a live rhythm section, guitar and vocals. Nick provided the original vocals on some of my songs like “Queen Of All Everything” and “Adrift In Hilbert Space” so he was a natural choice when it came to forming the band. Matt, Chris and I played together in our first band when we were teenagers during the late 1980’s but lost contact in around 1991. We met up again recently via the miracle [!!] of Facebook and decided it might be fun to play together again and when we tried it it clicked very quickly. The only difference was that we had all got a lot better at doing what we do. It helps a lot being old friends when you’re cooped up in a tour bus for a month.”
The Do LaB: Your biography explains how you went from a career engineering in music studios to writing your own music. How do you think that background in music engineering has affected your creative work?
Ott: “I consider my ‘instrument’ to be the entire studio so the ten years I spent as a freelance engineer essentially provided me with the opportunity to learn my instrument in many different contexts and situations. I recorded jazz bands, disco bands, reggae bands, death metal bands, pop bands, goth bands and angry poets.”
“I got to see up close thousands of peoples’ creative processes and then was required to examine them forensically and present them back exactly as the artist or producer had intended. There’s a very strange kind of discipline required to be an engineer because you are required to be artistically creative without stamping too much of yourself on the finished sound. You spend your working life toiling to realize the creative vision of others, and, although that in itself is quite a creatively rewarding process, I found more and more I wanted to be working on the other side of the glass, so to speak. I actually wanted to be working on both sides of the glass, which I suppose is just another attempt at omniscience.”
“What it has given me is the ability to integrate myself with a studio setup and become part of it, much like a guitarist or violinist becomes part of their instrument. Processes become instinctive and zero effort is expended trying to work out ‘how’ to do stuff. This frees me up to improvise and feel at one with my instrument.”
The Do LaB: Who are some of your biggest musical inspirations and why?
Ott: “Hopeton Brown, Conny Plank, Wendy Carlos, Osbourne Ruddock, Reinhold Mack. [They are] all sonic craftspeople and visionaries.”
The Do LaB: You’ve toured extensively during the last decade. Can you share a particularly memorable story from the road with us?
Ott: “I was at Shambhala in BC in about 2005 or 2006, Saturday morning, having just arrived the night before. I climbed out of my tent, followed the noise and found myself sitting on the edge of the Skate Pit smoking some breakfast, whilst a dozen or-so naked skateboarders did their thing. Suddenly one of the generators failed and all the music went off. As if by magic, “March Fourth Marching Band” appeared and, as the only band capable of doing so without electricity, proceeded to rock an ever-increasing crowd which snaked round the festival, blowing everyone away. It was one of the most awesome musical experiences I’ve ever experienced and I’ll never forget it. I danced my arse off, bought a CD and a t-shirt and behaved like an over-excited fan-boy.”
The Do LaB: Tell us about the choice of bringing Kilowatts on tour with you.
Ott: “There’s only one Jamie Watts. We toured together a couple of years back and I recognized something in his music that really connects with me. His sound is very distinctive and he’s intensely into what he does. He’s also an extraordinarily nice person.”
Mitchie Vega asked: “Where does your inspiration for writing new tracks come from?”
Ott: “Hi Mitchie! Everywhere. I’m not really trying to say anything too specific or draw from any particular well of experience, I just sit down at my instrument and improvise. However I’m feeling at the time is what comes out. I only tend to work when I’m feeling happy and optimistic, though, so what comes out tends to sound quite jolly.”
Harrison Bains asked: “What was the inspiration for the titles for some of your compositions? I’m specifically curious about “Jack’s Cheese and Bread Snack” and “Splitting an Atom.”
Ott: “Greetings Harrison, I have a piece of A3 paper and a Sharpie hanging on my wall and whenever an idea for a song title appears in my head I scribble it down. “Splitting an Atom” was just something that popped into my head one day and ‘Jack’s Cheese and Bread Snack” was lifted from an English comic called “Viz:”
“In their column – “Top Tips” – I read: “A slice of cheese served between two pieces of bread makes a quick and tasty lunchtime snack. My wife calls it ‘Jack’s Cheese And Bread Snack’. Jack Pewty, Dorset.””
“If you’re not English you’re almost certainly sitting there going “Uh?” If you are English you just pissed your pants laughing. I certainly did. It’s a “Viz” thing.”
Ben Legare asked: “What made you want to start working with a live band after doing just doing electronic for so long?”
Ott: “Hi Ben, because loading up a tour bus with a bunch of friends and heaps of musical equipment, driving off round the USA and playing shows to some of the coolest people on Earth is amazingly good fun. Who wouldn’t grab the opportunity to do that?”
We’d like to thank Ott for taking the time to answer your’s and our own questions and we look forward to his show this Tuesday February 12th at King King alongside Kilowatts and Akara.
Get your discount pre-sale tickets before they sell out!