music: interview: Rosie Oddie
Rosie Oddie recently won a song contest run by Angelic Records
who are releasing it as a single. Rosie and her band The Odd
Squad are now gigging as crazily as they can and have charmed
quite a few audiences already. Here, we chat to her about where
it started and where it's going.
Rosie is the younger daughter of Bill Oddie, the UK TV personality
(The Goodies, nature programs).
Mstation: The publicity material says you started to write songs when you were thirteen. Do you want to recall what they were about?
Rosie: First ever song i wrote was as a homework thing for school....like "write a song for easter"...so it was like about rebirth and life, and all things as equally sickening. lyrics were horendous but the tune was actually alright, so about half a year later rewrote all the words so it was about tv. Another early one fell to the darker side of the old brain-"Johnny said" About an abused little boy who was eventually killed by his violent father...all the while his battered mother watched on, too scared to stop the....you get the picture. dark.
When you were visualising then what you wanted to do now, was that a picture of now? Or did you go through different versions (tacky pop star! soulful singer-songwriter! etc.)?
I never kind of imagioned myself to be anything in particular except for a musician, probably just drawing inspiration from what ever was kind of popular at the time... I did, and still would have loved to be part of more of a "bandy" set up. like, you meet at school, make music all together, in jokes etc but as i write (with rob) all of the tracks and have quite a big cataloge now, it has always been hard to keep a band down.
In your doorstep video, you look like you and your guitar are old friends even though your guitar playing is billed on myspace as "really occasional". How long have you been playing?
I have been playing guitar way longer that i have been writing songs. My guitar teacher, co writer, friend ROB, starting teaching me guitar when i was about 9. Began with all of the acoustic stuff ('wonderwall' , various James Bond riffs), and then got really in to bass for a couple of years. Rob then encouraged me to do the old singing and song writing thing (after the song about easter), and my guitar playing kind of fell by the wayside. Still try and do as much as i can, but i am just not technically very good. The mechanics of chords, reading music etc just doesnt really compute. I can get by, but i aint no Hendrix. I also kind of freak out a bit when playing on stage... i always fuck up. There is a little acoustic number we start the set with, that is just me playing on my own, and with out fail, every gig, i fuck it. I get nervy and my fingers freak out.
Do you have any thoughts about guitars - what you like in particular?
No thoughts on guitars really... um i can tell you which ones i think look pretty!!???? JOKEs. Got a Rickenbacker (dont know how to spell that [Ed. the spelling fairy seems to have fixed it]) which got left behind by a sisters ex-boyfriend, which sounds and looks amazing. I tend to like old, battered guitars over new crispy ones, but thats all i have to say on that really.
Do you think you have any particular message to give to people with your music? or generally?
No specific messages with the music really. Each song has got it's own little message, none of which are really that globally relevent. Like story telling and draw a lot from my own life and people that i know. Any widely relevant messages are usually only accidental. I think the only thing i really truely want to put over with everthing i do is just to encourage people to be more creative within their lives. The whole concept of life is so weird anyway, we might as well just have a bit more fun with it through various arts.
What you're doing sounds very English to me and I was trying to figure out what the components of that were - your accent is one obvious thing but there's more. What do you think?
Englishy.... I think that all just comes from the fact that i draw a lot of song content and inspiration from my direct life...living in london, going out and seeing local bands, english news, tv etc. I think the link from my world to what i write about is very strong, i always try and be as honist as possible with everything i do. Even when it is quite abstract the root is always based somewhere in my own reality. And my reality is rooted in England and being English.
You're first record is being released by Angelic I think, which specialises in female singer-songwriters, but more importantly in people who aren't necessarily in the mode-du-jour. What do you think about that?
I won this competition thing with Angelic, which is really the only reason why the single is coming out with them. Both myself and Janis (who runs Angelic and is now my manager) agree that it is definitely not the right record label for me, hense why i did not sign with them to do anything more than the single. Personally I am really not in to the whole specific "female singer song writer thing" and would never put myself under that heading. I'm just a musician. Once the single is done, we are concentrating on doing the next one with one of the indie lables that are on the table. We are just in the proccess of finding the right one and really smacking it up for single no.2.
What have you got coming up? (bearing in mind this will appear about 1 September)
Coming up we have the second single. tour with the "blockheads". And generally just gigging our arses off to hopefully get a really strong fan base. Most importantly just keeping the material coming and concentrating on getting extremely good at what we do....
Upcoming dates... 30 Sep 2007 20:00 Hifi @ The Faversham arms Leeds Ê 4 Oct 2007 20:00 Big Hair @ The Cellar Oxford. Ê 2 Nov 2007 20:00 Derngate (Blockheads tour) Northampton Ê 14 Nov 2007 20:00 Assembly Halls (Blockheads tour). Cheltenham Ê 18 Nov 2007 20:00 Palace Theatre (Blockheads tour). Southend-on-Sea Ê 5 Dec 2007 20:00 Swan Theatre (Blockheads tour). High Wycombe Ê 6 Dec 2007 20:00 Regent Ipswich Ê 23 Dec 2007 20:00 Shepherds Bush Empire, London (Blockheads tour). London
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