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The Sentry interview with Daniel Brummel and Patrick Edwards - March 2001

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Be different, be cool, be indie - an interview with Ozma

Pop-Culturism: As seen by Our Field Correspondent David the Gnome
By Lou Franscogna

Regardless of popular belief, J-Lo's (Jennifer Lopez under her new moniker) new album is not artistically outstanding, and Britney Spears, aside from a good voice, has no unique creative bone in her body (however nice her body is). That, unfortunately, is the current state of mainstream music. No one, wants to try anything new. Be Puff Daddy, cut and paste some famous music, and you're an instant millionaire. I'm not saying that mainstream artists are not talented, but I am saying they are not willing to be anything other than a one hit wonder with a video on MTV. As Tom Hanks says in That Thing You Do, "One his Wonders. Don't worry. I've seen it before." So, what do the disheartened music fanatics listen to? Indie.

Indie music has always been around, but it has a connotation with it that only punk, geek, and emo rock fall under this label. However, "indie" just means a band that is independent of a major label. This allows a band to have complete creative freedom over their music. These bands are just as talented as what's popular, but they would rather play music they love instead of making it big. Indie bands make music for the sake of making music because in its purest form, music is an art form capable of incredible expression and enjoyment.

If you know me then you know that Weezer is my favorite band, and Rivers Cuomo (lead singer) is my hero. So it is only fitting that my new favorite band, Ozma, is Weezersque, touring with Weezer, and Weezer's new favorite band. Rivers Cuomo said in an interview, "Ozma is my new favorite band, they sound a lot like us in a good way, I really hope to tour with them sometime soon." Ozma is Weezer on an indie level that gives them a different perspective on music, since it is not yet their life. They are still young and it is just something that they love. I had the chance to interview Daniel Brummel (Vocals, Bass) and Patrick Edwards (Drums) about their role as an indie band in an MTV dominated music scene, and this is what they had to say.

Lou: What are your major influences as a band?

Daniel Brummel: 80s pop and 90s rock. Elvis, Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, and of course Weezer. Boston, Depeche Mode, The Smiths, etc etc etc...

Patrick Edwards: Every great rock band basically. Personally, I think the three greats are Metallica (black album and before that), Nirvana, and Weezer. Those are probably the three bands that most influenced me.

Lou: What's your goal? Hitting it big, making a statement, or just shaking booty?

DB: Somewhere in the middle of all 3. Hitting it big enough so we are enabled to concentrate on music nonstop...making enough of a statement so people really believe in us... but mainly just shaking booty really really hard.

PE: The goal is always to play music. That's about it. I don't know if music should always be about making a statement, but again, it does need to get beyond just shaking booty sometimes, and the whole hitting it big doesn't really matter, except that it means more people are hearing your statement and shaking their booty, So yeah. In that sense, I'd say all three are important, but certainly the last one is the most important, and even above that is just making music that you like and having fun.

Lou: Is it difficult to maintain a full rock band while still attending school?

DB: It hadn't become too much of a problem, although we do have to take time off school now to tour with Weezer. We recorded Rock And Roll Part Three in November 1999 from 6 PM to 2 AM every night while attending school in the day. That was probably the toughest time, but we all get pretty good grades I think, so our parents haven't started yelling at us about it yet.

PE: Yes, but I think we manage pretty well, and it keeps things challenging.

Lou: In the current boy band and Bitney dominated music scene, how do you feel that Ozma fits in?

DB: We don't. Hopefully the industry will change to allow for bands like ours again. If not, we could care less, people who want more from music than what they're getting at MTV will seek band like ours on the internet, on Napster, and they will rock out to it... and when we tour, they will come to the show, and we'll be that much more grateful, to have fans who feel as if they have found something special rather than just accepted what was shoved down their throats.

PE: I don't think we fit in to the music scene you described, bit I'd say that the super popular teen acts that are out there arent necessarily the whole picture as far as music goes. So I think we fit in pretty well... we are definitely reaching an audience that wants to get away from the current pop scene, and really, I think that's the most important.

Lou: What is the goal of you and the band for the upcoming year?

DB: I think just a good release of our double EP The Doubble Donkey Disc, a good tour with Weezer, and hopefully the recording of a new album later this year.

PE: Get out the double EP. Hopefully the official album follow up for Rock and Roll Part Two or at least get songs done for that. Play as many shows as possible... and try to tour. Just keep doing what we're doing... making music, doing it by the rules, and getting it out to people that want to hear it.

Lou: What's the first priority in the band at the moment, school or music?

PE: Personally, the priority has always been getting the degree. This is my last semester, so I'm trying to get it done so it will be out of the way and we can focus on the band, but at the same time, I know that if I need to make the band a first level priority now I can, and that I'll always go back to school. Once I get the B.A., my ultimate goal is gradschool, but I want to pursue the band before that...

DB: Since we all just dropped out temporarily, it'd have to be music. You don't pass a chance to tour with Weezer when they ask...

Lou: As a small band, what are your feelings on Napster?

DB: It's been nothing but great exposure, and since we started from no CD sales, and have now sold several thousand CDs, I don't feel like it's hurt us financially.

PE: We love Napster... well, at least before they started planning on making people pay for it. It does have a lot of negative ramifications for us as far as lost CD sales, and I'm still not so sure that isn't wrong... I think it does ultimately come down to stealing, and there are other problems that need to be worked out about it, but I do think free music rules, and that it's helped us tremendously as a band. We've been very lucky that mp3s and Napster came around when it did... we wouldn't be here without it.

Ozma's new CD, The Doubble Donkey Disc can currently be preordered at www.ozmaonline.com. They will be touring with Weezer and The Get Up Kids on the Yahoo! Outloud tour this spring. Check them out if you can, and give an indie a chance.


See also