On its latest album, O.A.R. is literally all over the place.
Much of 2011’s “King” was written, arranged and recorded as the pop-ska princes hopped from city to city, visiting the home base of each of the band’s members.
“That way, no one had to spend more time away from home than anyone else and everyone got to be more comfortable at certain points,” bassist Benj Gershman said during a telephone interview.
Partly because of the more mobile recording style, “King” marks the longest gap between albums for O.A.R., coming more than three years after 2008’s “All Sides.”
“We took some breaks so it was a stretch. You get things done when you get them done. We had producers coming to the East Coast to record, in the past that’s been reversed, but it was a good time,” Gershman said. “I think it shows a lot about the way we are sonically. The record really speaks for itself.”
Instrumentally, O.A.R. went for even more organic elements resulting in a balanced make up of natural and synthetic sounds, so there is calculated spontaneity stretching out the fabric of the album.
“It was a fun experience as far as instrumentation. We tried to grow the sound more and incorporate a horn section. We were more focused on making it reminiscent of our live sound and I think we captured that in a way that it was meant to. Some of the tracks are live off the floor. Basically a lot of parts are scratch tracks,” Gershman said. “We were writing parts and creating parts and bringing others in. (Saxophonist and multi-instrumentalist Jerry DePizzo) did a great job of writing horn parts for the horn section.”
The first single, “Heaven” reveals the band’s electronic and organic experimentation.
“Everything about this song, the melody, the beat, everything is something new for us as musicians. There’s a loop in there, but it’s pretty organic for the most part for most of the recording,” Gershman said. “We’re not really adverse to trying anything. That’s one thing we try to do is make ourselves open. And we knew that was the intention, but when you go through that you have to keep in mind you may try things that may not work. It’s about having life by your own design.”
“King” also is the first release for O.A.R. on Wind Up Records (Seether, Evanescene and Creed). With a new label relationship developing, O.A.R. is particularly interested in what will materialize from controversial Internet piracy laws being debated.
“That’s a sensitive subject for a band like us,” he said. “What surprises me is how quickly things need to be changed. It’s all so new. Even the public isn’t aware of what it will do and how its effects will go.”
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