Wednesday 7 September 2016

OOTS/Taste Nation Joint Interview - An Interview with MR OZO from TRUCKFIGHTERS

Truckfighters are a band that need no introduction. They've been playing their own blend of Fuzz/Desert/Stoner Rock to the masses for over 15 years now. Countless tours have seen them labelled as one of the best live acts around within the Desert/Stoner Rock scene.

With album number five around the corner – Originally titled V. The Truckfighters juggernaut shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon. The new album builds on the sounds created on Universe with the sounds of their previous albums making a welcome return. Though it's still a different kind of sound that will only enhance their reputation further.

For this interview I've teamed up with Matthew over at Taste Nation to do a joint interview with Oskar aka MR OZO where we discussed their new album, touring plans and Fuzzorama Records.

So sit back and ENJOY THE FUZZ!!!!

OOTS – Outlaws Of The Sun
TN – Taste Nation

OOTS – Hi Oskar. Thanks for doing this joint interview between Matthew and myself. Hope things are well with you all in the Truckfighters camp.

Yes, everything is amazing actually. Every time you finished a new album and just sit and wait for the album to be released is awesome... We don't sit that much just relaxing, but you know what I mean. The hard work finishing an album is always a very, very hard work, not only time wise, but it takes a lot of energy from your mind as well.

TN Congratulations on reaching the your 5th 'V' album milestone and your "Unholy Union" with Los Angeles based Century Media. Would you like to share the catalyst of partnering with Century Media? With the label in my backyard, Steve can agree that I'm a bit obsessed and curious on why you chose Century Media solely based on their roster of bands who bring more fake blood and face paint than Fuzz.

Haha, yes, you could look at Century Media as a label who releases a lot of heavy stuff and Truckfighters are without no doubt one of the softer acts. Well, we got interest from Nuclear blast, Napalm and Century... All are three good labels, but in the end we trusted our instinct, it seemed like Century Media where the most inspiring label and the label that where most eager to work with us and understand our potential haha ;)

OOTS – Yeah V is a stunning album. You've been busy with releasing your Live Album and releasing V in quick succession. In regards to the Live album. How has the response been to that record. Our reviewer – Bruno loved the hell out of it. And I did as well. Why did you choose that London gig to release as your first Live album. Will you be open to releasing more live albums in the future.

Ohh, two questions in one :P Well, first of all, thank you so much for the kind words, we couldn't agree more... I personally spent extremely much time just to get everything the way I wanted and as good as possible, I spent alone approx 4 months with the bass and vocals, full time! I almost lost my mind, but I can't simple just leave something that doesn't feel like it's spot on.

We've been a bit lazy recording our shows live with a proper multitrack thing for the past (well, all years) years... London always has been a really good place for us, so we decided to record it... We had ideas to maybe get equipment on the road and record more than one show so we could choose the best gigs, but we did only one recording... no rooms for errors haha :P We will probably do it sometime in the future as well, but we need to release at least a few more albums so we can play some new songs ;)

TN Want to share your approach in making this album compared to previous releases? With your ever growing fan base, was/is there more pressure to satisfy your loyal fan base while appealing & attracting to new fans. A fine line most bands never have a chance to experience. Is it a good problem to have or do you even think about such things?

This might sound weird and arrogant, but that's the least thing I am... but when I'm in the state of creating music the only thing I care about is that I must love it... I mean you can't do art or music if you're not true to your passion and what you're heart tells you to create/do. My main goal is to do something that I'm satisfied with... But what a great life we have, when a lot of people like it! We couldn't continue doing what we do if it wasn't for you fans of course, so thanks :D

OOTS – V has quite a different sound compared to Universe. Some fans have commented recently they want you to return to your earlier FUZZ based sounds. Did you notice those comments from your fans yourselves. Would you ever go back to the fuller Desert/Fuzz sound you created on your earlier albums.

We never look back, we never want to do a copy of ourselves... But if we do an album that is more fuzzy and might sound familiar to our old works it won't be because we're looking back and trying to re-create this sound. We intentionally always change something in the recording and sound shaping process. Change drums, mics, the way we want the finish product to sound like... anything that makes it more interesting and "new" to us as well.

TN V' seems to be a bit of a Sea Change for the band particularly from your prior 2014 release 'Universe'. The Fuzz Pedals are at 11!! Bass-lines are heavier and the vocals muted from start to finish. (Also See Pennsylvania's Nothing) It appears you traded in riffs for heavier hooks and grooves and clean vocals for fuzzy, muted making it a 4th instrument and also making this one of your heaviest releases.

hmm, is it... It's hard for us to see that this almost is so much different than Universe. For it it feels like a natural evolvement... But I can agree that it somehow seems heavier, but in the same time a bit mellower perhaps? I wonder how next album will be? :P

TN Admittedly, it took me a few extra listens of 'V' to wrap my pedestrian brain around it. I'm glad I did I'm finding this to be my favourite release to date. It's somewhat refreshing to hear a new album from a band of your calibre and not have it over-produced. Was that your intention going in the studio. Did you plan to make a more gritty, heavier album or let things flow more organically??

yeah, we had maybe one idea before we started recording and that was that we wanted it to sound a bit more aggressive, gritty and heavier in the sound... other from that we just created what ever song that came to our mind at the point. But you're totally right, it's probably a more in your face album, but without feeling over produced or over limited, we still want it to sound very natural in some ways.

OOTS – It seems that Fuzzorama Records have been going from strength to strength recently. Congratulations on your recent success. Originally you just distributed your own albums. When did you decide to release other artists on your label.

Actually we did a compilation with a lot of other bands as record number two, called The ultimate fuzz-collection. We decided even before we started the label that this is not just going to be a demo band creating a label just to release their own shitty stuff haha... Our intention with Fuzzorama where to do it as a real label and become a really good label. Now when I can compare with a label like Century Media I'm proud to say that Fuzzorama is probably the best smaller independent label there is.. We worked really hard for many, many years... We got some of the best distro deals in the business and we're constantly trying to improve and never settle with "just" releasing stuff.

OOTS – Was it a hard decision to release another band on your label. Or did you need to expand more.

No, it was a must to become a "real" label in order to become a label that could land good distro deals and so on.. It's not enough releasing an album every 2 or 3 year... + we think it's so much fun running our own label :)

OOTS – Do you have a set of rules and ideals when signing a band to your label.

No not really, we sign bands we like, that's it. The only rule that might apply is that we don't wanna sign bands that sound the exact same, they should differ a bit in sound, but still be rock of course ;)

OOTS – Apart from your own album being released soon, Do you have any other releases being released soon. I've heard that you maybe releasing Asteroid's long awaited new album.

Yes, that's actually true, the new Asteroid album "III" will be released this fall, 11th of Nov in EU and 9th of Dec in US, six years have past since the previous album so it's a long awaited album for sure... seems like the buzz around the band only grew bigger when they where away... Maybe that's the effect a break have on great bands :P We will of course send you their album for review etc, don't worry... starting next week ;)

TN What would you like to share with the new Truckfighters fans here in The States about the band and new album? For those living outside Sweden and want to avoid international shipping, is this where Century Media's role comes into play? Help expand your footprint in America?

Yes you can order the album directly through Century Media from the states and in that way get cheaper shipping of course. BUT our fuzzoramastore ships worldwide, and we use fixed shipping so only one rate no matter how much you order, so if you order more than one item I reckon the shipping is too bad + we have two vinyl colours strictly limited to our shop, as Century Media also have... so in the end you might be forced to order from both :P Or see us live, even better ;)

OOTS – Truckfighters have a phenomenal live reputation on stage. I've seen you guys multiple times in concert and you always impress the hell out of me. It looks you'll be busy again promoting the new album. What can people expect from the new tours. And is it becoming harder for you as a band to keep doing all the energetic performances your band is known for.

Sure you're always trying to improve, not only the scenic part of the live shows but also the sound and the way we perform, of course it's getting harder the older you get but we're also one of those bands that realised very early in our career that you need to look after yourself and your body in order to last for a long time. None of us been into drugs and to party (that much at least). We've always been interested in keeping us in shape and these days that is even more important, I usually exercise 5-6 times a week and feel stronger and more focused than ever. + the music gets more interesting to play and also demands more of us. But I think you need to challenge yourself all the time in order to keep doing what you do and to keep in being interesting for the audience ;)

OOTS/TN – Well guys thanks for doing this interview. All the best with V and future tours. Hopefully we will see you in concert on both sides of the Atlantic soon. Matthew in the USA and Steve in the UK.

Yes, hope to see you to guys, let me know when we're close by and we'll put you on the list, maybe we can have a chat as well. Thanks for the support in the band and the label ;)

Words by Steve Howe, Matthew Thomas and MR OZO

Thanks to Oskar aka MR OZO for taking the time out to talking to Matthew and myself. V will be out available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl from Fuzzorama Records and Century Media Records - US.

Truckfighters Links

Fuzzorama Records Links

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