O. are the London-based duo of baritone saxophonist Joseph Henwood and drummer Tash Keary will release their debut EP SLICE on Speedy Wunderground on November 24th.
The EP which was recorded live with Dan Carey at his London studio, and is the duo have just released their second song from it so far, and announced a Dublin gig in support.
The band’s sound so far is a combination of sax, drums and a bombastic sonic palette, with the baritone saxophonist driving low-end, making for a raucous rowdy jazz thing going on.
The pair are both veterans of a string of London ensembles, and the music makes use of Carey’s enviable selection of vintage dub production units and effects.
O. play the Workman’s Club on Monday February 19th 2024.
Tickets €16 plus fees on sale Thursday September 28th at 10am.
“Dan’s got a full collection of spring reverbs, tape delays, digital delays, bucket brigade delays and plate reverbs,” says Joe. “We don’t see ourselves as a dub group or anything like that, but we both really love heavy, bass-driven music, and none of this stuff would exist without King Tubby.”
Speaking of the new song, Tash says: “We wrote “Slice” as soon as we got back from our gig and week in Recife, Brazil. One of the things we loved about carnival was the amount of energy and buzz that goes into the music, and ‘Slice’ is us taking that approach with our own songs.”
The single is accompanied by a new animated video created by Yevheniia Vynokurova.
“We met Yevheniia at a few gigs in Slovakia where she was doing visuals for the amazing Ukrainian roots project UA Tribal. From Kyiv but living in Barcelona, Yevheniia has a super unique and gnarly animation style which we felt worked really well with our music.”
As the circular simplicity of their name suggests, O. are a true self-contained unit. They formed in London during lockdown, when Joe and Tash – both veterans of a string of London ensembles – found themselves in a bubble together. When they started jamming, it was with no preconceptions: don’t overthink it, just play and see what happens. Before long, though, they were augmenting live instruments with effects – Joe routing his saxophone through a pedal board, Tash treating her drums with reverb and delay. As their sound grew and grew, it gradually became clear there wouldn’t be space for anyone else.
O. played their first show at Brixton Windmill, and the venue’s booker Tim Perry invited them back to support Black Midi. Immediately after their set, Black Midi’s Morgan Simpson invited them out on tour around the UK and Europe – a true trial by fire. “I think our fifth gig was at Alexandra Palace – it was terrifying,” remembers Tash. “But the main thing we learned was that we can be as weird as we want to be. Black Midi’s whole approach is that it’s OK to be playful. We both really liked that because there’s a playfulness to our music, too.”
It was this experimental urge that saw Joe and Tash run their own nights, O Zone, at Brixton Windmill – collaborative live sessions that saw O. improvise onstage with luminaries including Nerija’s Rosie Turton, Edna from Goat Girl, Melt Yourself Down’s Pete Wareham and Steam Down’s Wonky Logic. Following a tour with Dublin’s Gilla Band, though, O.’s music has just been getting heavier, louder, more intense. “People have come to see us and said they’ve enjoyed the fact it feels about two centimetres from falling apart,” says Tash. “With two instruments, you have to push yourself, physically, right to the edge to keep it interesting. But we enjoy that challenge.”