After forming in 2015, Oh! Calamity have been creating pop tracks to rival those of their international counterparts. After releasing hits like ‘Oxygen’ and ‘Perfect Strangers’, the group is fast making a name for themselves. This week, we catch up with the group as they open up about their new music and future goals.
Your name was inspired by an All Time Low song. Give us some insight on why you landed on this name for the group.
We were crazy about All Time Low at the time. They were a big inspiration for us in all aspects – music, appearance, personality – the whole package. Brandon had been listening to the song – Oh, Calamity – and immediately suggested that we should call ourselves that. We decided to change up the punctuation to add in the exclamation mark which was super cool and also a nod to Panic! At The Disco which, you guessed it, is another one of our favorites.
You made quite the impact when you released your debut single. What is the biggest lesson the music industry has taught you?
Never stop pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. As much as playing an instrument is a skill, so is navigating your way around the industry. You constantly have to keep your social image up, as well as keeping up with what’s happening in the music scene. You only learn by doing, and if you manage to do it right, it’s a very fulfilling industry. It’s just like the old cliché – dreams don’t work unless you do.
What do you think it is about your sound that sets you apart?
We think it really comes down to the fact that we have a really good mixture of what’s happening on the charts right now as well as the commercial “guitar-driven” music that we all grew up on. We’re taking the past, combing it with the present, and hoping that it will produce the future – something that nobody has heard before, which is what we’ve always been determined to do.
You just dropped your new single ‘Oxygen’. Tell us a bit about the song.
At face value, it’s a love song like many others. However with this track Brandon really wanted to play on the desperate undertone. Oxygen is something that you cannot live without, and at times our insecurities lead us to believe that you aren’t able to be happy without a certain person, no matter how bad that person or that relationship or perception may be for you. You’re saying you need this person like oxygen, however what you’re breathing is actually toxic. You cannot be free until you can be happy in your own head. Love yourself before you love someone else!
How different is this single from your debut single ‘Perfect Strangers?
Coming towards the end of our teenage years we’ve grown up a lot, and that definitely shows in our new single. ‘Perfect Stranger’ has a lot more of a pop-punk boyband kind of sound, whereas we feel that ‘Oxygen’ represents a slightly more experienced Oh! Calamity. We explored more tones and percussive ideas in ‘Oxygen’, as opposed to the standard power-chord, crash-bang-boom of pop punk. The band went through quite a transition in 2018 in all terms of the word, but one thing is for sure, we had a great time making this new track!
There seems to be a gap in the local music space for pop/rock groups. Why do you think this is?
In recent years there hasn’t been much of a pop-rock scene in South Africa, however that’s definitely changing now, but not in the way that everyone thinks. Pop and rock musicians don’t just want to be pop and rock musicians anymore. People are braver now than ever before which leads to new genres of music popping up every day. There are so many cool groups making a push in the local scene (like us, Opposite The Other, Goodluck, and up until recently, Gangs Of Ballet) by making music that they enjoy and want to share with the world. It’s great to see and even greater to be a part of. Whatever we’re labelled as, we’re glad to be filling some kind of gap and connecting with as many people as possible.