I was at the Beachy in Byron to watch the faux-pop, funk enigma Donny Benet one evening last October and was wondering what kind of outfit would support such a massive and often misunderstood performer. The support ended up being a band from the Gold Coast called The Oogars, and when they started playing, it made sense instantly. Everyone was dancing. Their energy on stage was so impressive and they came with a sound that wasn't easy to pigeon-hole. The other thing that I loved about them was that they made you feel like you were part of the fun on stage, you could feel the openness and excitement between the girls in the band, and the crowd was feeding on it. I've been social-media stalking their movements ever since, and recently shot the girls some CHILDE shades and some questions to find out a bit more.
You guys are for sure one of the most delightful bands to pop up recently. When I’ve seen you guys play it’s like I’m watching you guys jam in the lounge room at a slumber party or something, so high energy and so much love between you all. Would I be right to assume you guys have all been close friends for a while now?
Wow what a compliment thanks heaps!
In saying we only became pals in the last year is hard to believe. Having the four of us as best mates and two of us as lovers, I’d say we’re very tight knit team. We are like a sisterhood pack that clicked straight away as a little Oogar family. All with a similar conscious and creative mindsets, constantly pushing and inspiring each other both in and out of the studio. Running A muck around the ocean alongside our solid support crew of friends and family, we try to keep life pretty zesty for each other hoping to inspire others to do the same.
How did the band come about?
We began our music journey last year in our garage with very little music equipment. Coincidently all of us Ladies individually had the ambition to start a band, intending to dedicate 2018 to music. By late march Emily and Tanisha met through mutual friends at a popular roof top bar in Burleigh. After a couple of margaritas, a lot of music exchanging and sharing they decided they were gonna start a band. Not long after that Emily also Met Gemma through mutual friends. Same kind of thing happened at a dinner party. Next minute we were all awkwardly standing in Tee’s parents shed ready to make some noise. It was fun; we made one song that is now one of our favourite songs to play live. Tanisha was initially going to be the drummer, but decided she wasn’t that good, so we decided to find a new one. Tanisha met Dani at uni years prior to all this, her faint memory was that she seemed pretty cool, surfed and played drums. We contacted her straight away. Then boom there we were ….again awkwardly standing in her dads lounge room ready for the Oogars first jam.
Have The Oogars always straddled the NSW/QLD border or did you guys grow up in different places?
We are all bred between the sunny coasts and the gold coast. Raised from very different cultures and nationalities. We have all spent a lot of time living in different places and traveling too.
You’ve shared stages with some pretty rad bands - Donny Benet, Pist Idiots, These New South Whales, BOYTOY. It’s also a pretty diverse bunch of bands, do you think this is due to the diversity you guys have in your sound?
Yeah a lot of people have said that. We aren’t too sure how that keeps happening but its kind nice not fitting only into just one genre or scene. Our Last few shows with nice biscuit have probably been some of our best shows yet. Which again they are nothing like the other bands we’ve played with. We defiantly gravitate to a certain sound and vibe but we wanna stay open to opportunities and keep the diversity flowing.
You were meant to play some shows with Lime Cordiale last year, but I understand there was a bit of a mishap, what the hell happened there?
Hello Tanisha here, I think I should probably answer this one.
So Life threw me a pretty dodgy lemon mid November 2018. Two weeks before we’d planned touring with lime cordial, playing our first festival at jungle love and 3 weeks before flying out to Mexico with two of the Oogars to surf my brains out for a couple of months, I decided to go for a quiet dip in the creek and bang head first into a sand bank. I teardrop fractured my C7 vertebrae in my neck…. T’was pretty heavy. We cancelled all shows in November but luckily all nerves were intact so a very easy recovery compared to most broken neck accidents. 3-ish weeks later I was back on stage neck brace and all finishing off some shows we had previously booked towards the end of the year. I Said good-bye to the girls as they flew of to mex for a few months and yeah that was that. I’m pretty much all Healed now, back in the ocean and obviously back playing shows which is so great! I was super lucky to have such a sick support network, those Oogar girls are true-life savers.
Your first single “Scream” came out this month; it’s a ripper track, when can we hear more and what else do you have planned for 2019?
Yew thanks you! So this year is gong to be very exciting for us Oogars!
We are currently in the studio all of April with some time off live gigs to concentrate on creating new music and fine-tuning our current songs ready for recording our first EP, which will hopefully be released towards the end of the year. We’ve also got a cheeky Europe trip planned for July. Absolutely fizzing over this opportunity touring alongside a Danish Band that goes by the name of “Pacific Swell”. We plan to play shows all down the Basque coastline as well as being part of a music festival in Spain. As for the rest of 2019 we are still unsure what will unfold for us but we do hope to start putting together our own shows and jump on bigger support acts.
Do you guys have one person that writes a lot of the songs or do you build songs together?
We definitely work like one big organism and try to utilise all strengths and styles to project as much unique self –expression through our music as possible. Some Songs are written from one member and some songs are written collectively, constantly sharing ideas and lyrics; there’s always something in the making always keeping those juices flowing and our ears pleasured.
Having such a diverse sound, I assume you guys have a fairly diverse list of musical influences, who are some of your go-to’s?
Ooo that’s a good one we recently created a little playlist on spotify full of old and new music we are into. It ranges form bands like Altin Gun, The Smiths, Tame Impala, The Drums, Talking Heads, Rolling Blackout Coastal Fever, Nice Biscuit, Middle Kids, Warpaint, La Luz, Hinds, Parcels, Slaves, The Oh Sees, Foals, Khrungbin, Allah las, Wolf Alice, Parquet Courts, Goat Girl, The Slits, Total Giovanni, Phantastic Furniture just to name a few.
THE OOGARS wear the CHILDE Exit from the Lifestyle collection
All photos courtesy of Gareth Owens - @cassetteminds