O.A.R. – Interview


High on O.A.R. We talk with singer Marc Roberge!

How many records do you have out as a group?

We have four out. Two are self-recorded; they sold tons of records, then a live record and a studio record and this one here.

You have a good, solid fan base why go to Lava Records?

Touring has never been an issue. As far as touring is concerned we were all settled and still are. What we were looking for was the radio and the TV/video because we haven’t got that. We are looking to make this a career and the best way to do that is to combine our touring with a label that can put us out there.

Were you shopping the record?

For about two years we had companies talking to us and throwing some ideas around. We weren’t into it for a while. It wasn’t because we didn’t believe what they could do; we just weren’t ready for it. Almost a year ago we decided that we wanted to do it for a career and we talked to labels but decided to go with Lava.

Did you feel more confident having a record deal?

At first I was worried and questioned everything. It’s a natural reaction. It wasn’t something I was used to. I was used to making all the calls. I was worried that I would lose control of everything. We signed on for the records and they were going to handle that. Lava has been good; they haven’t told us what to do once. They do their thing and we do ours. I feel at peace now.

Did you go in and tell the label what you wanted?

Yeah. We wanted advertising and things like that. They stayed within our guidelines. We don’t just want to be a college band; we want to make this our career.

Was the record done before you signed?

They were done. We had preproduction done and then went into the studio after we signed. We were ready to go and the deal really kicked in when we delivered the album. They did have some ideas, and I have to credit them, like putting our single “Hey Girl” on this record. We didn’t want to do it. That was them.

For new listeners, what do you think is the attraction to O.A.R.?

I know that people will say that we aren’t the best group in the world or that we play the same chords over and over. But we don’t claim to be the best musicians in the world. We don’t make claims that we can stand up to the best bands in the world. I think people keep coming to our shows because we are honest about it and that every time we play we give it 110% and we are average guys. We are working our asses off to be great and I think people can relate to that. We don’t act like something we aren’t. Some bands go up on stage and put masks on and we don’t do that, we are ourselves.

Has the road made you better musicians?

We’ve done something like six hundred shows in the last three years. I remember at points where I was losing my voice every night from drinking. Health-wise we have cleaned up our shit. As a band we have been working at it night after night. We aren’t classically trained. We are just five guys that play in a band. We are trying hard to get to a point where we can be baptized.

What was the skill level of you guys when you got together?

When we got together I was thirteen and was horrible. I only knew so many melodies but I was writing songs. We were horrible but songs that we recorded at sixteen we still play live. Some of those songs are still favorites at shows today. We didn’t know what we were doing and there was something innocent about it.

Do you write all the tracks?

I write all the lyrics and melodies. The band members each have their parts. We’ll be at rehearsal and put the songs together. It’s all individual where everyone writes their piece.

Was there pressure to write more songs for the record deal or to make a hit?

Not really, we actually had too many songs. We have the songs done for the next record already so we aren’t really worried about that stuff. We don’t stress about needing a hit. If people like it they like it.

Do you record an album for the album rather than one track individually?

Yeah. We know this is a full record of material. We will never put out a record that isn’t full with like sixty or seventy minutes of stuff.

I saw the message boards and you seem to be in contact with the fans, is it good to have fans that care so much?

It’s great and you know we really do keep in touch. They know our decisions about things and they were the first people who knew we signed with Lava. And they were the first to know we were in the studio. It’s a mutual respect. Although they are fans they are more like partners who push us along.

It’s rare to hear a band already has enough tunes done for another record while promoting a new album. I wonder do you think bands are just lazier today in the case of taking five years to get a record out?

I think some bands really are just perfectionists. If you are in the studio, this is just my opinion, for longer than a couple of months chances are you are being too critical. In our world six weeks is almost too much. We just go in and slam it.

As a music fan I wish my favorite bands would release an album a year. It would be great.

We are thinking the same thing. We don’t want to wait longer than a year for the next record.

+ Charlie Craine

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