[caption id=”attachment_3109” align=”aligncenter” width=”565” caption=”André Obin performs at the Middle East Upstairs”][/caption]
A few months ago, I did a concert review of Stars and Track of Field when they played at Middle East Upstairs in Cambridge, MA. I really dug the opening act, who I referred to as “mystery noise man.” Well, good news, we tracked him down to see what he’s all about.
His real name is André Obin, and after a somewhat lengthy conversation, it’s altogether too ironic that a true-to-life enigma was already a mystery from the start.
It’s hard to pin down a person like Obin, an out-and-out music genius hailing from Cambridge, MA whose year abroad at Oxford birthed a passion for electronic music. Obin describes his experiences in London during the lat 90s:
On the weekends I was basically going to London and checking out DJs and live bands, and I just realized electronic music does something different for me because of the way it’s gridded, how sequencing can be attractive. I like robot sounds, is what I’m trying to say.
Twelve years ago, Obin and his best friend Thomas Gallagher started Matters and Dunaway, but in late 2008 they took a break to work independently. His new collaboration Endless Wave just debuted at the start of the new year, and it has already merited a spot on Boston Herald‘s list of 10 Boston bands to look out for in 2010.
[caption id=”” align=”alignleft” width=”239” caption=”Colorwheel, Obin's two-track release “][/caption]
But despite his involvement in multiple projects, a big focus for Obin is his solo music. His agenda seems clear:
I love techno. The predominate amount of music I listen to is electronic music. I love shoegaze bands and indie rock, but around the turn of the decade when I was living in England, I was really into drum ‘n’ bass. At the time, it was the first straight, electronic form of music that I was crazy about. But over the past few years, it’s become more and more floor-to-the-floor techno affinity.
I also love pop music, and that’s what I’m trying to bring to my solo stuff. I feel like the voice makes an extremely strong instrument.
The more I picked at Obin’s brain, the more I realized that he was a musician with unique perspectives. It was a well-blended combo of fearless sincerity and downright dedication.
I asked about Obin about his experiences on stage and what he strives for while performing. While some musicians necessitate an energy feed from their audiences, Obin implements his own methods. He claims that in Boston, the people seem to be more intelligent. So if the crowd isn’t dancing, the listeners still perceive the performance as a “cerebral experience.” Admitting that it may be a bit egocentric, in the grand scheme of things, Obin doesn’t need even need an audience at all.
I perform the best if I can give it my all when I’m up there. On stage, there’s a fine line between operating my gear and losing myself.
He’s into music, undoubtedly, but you won’t find Obin behind any remixes. With popular puzzle-masters like Girl Talk surfacing on the mainstream airwaves, it seems like an area of interest for those well-versed in mixing. For Obin, he comments:
I’ve done just a couple of remixes, and I’ve found that I much rather create something; I much rather be the genesis of music, not part of editing. Mixing and DJ-ing are two things I try to keep separate only because I don’t want to spread myself too thin. I’d rather play an instrument or sing or produce something of my own than spend time on other people’s music. It’s very self-centered that way.
Obin has just released a video for his track “Cinnamon,” a noire visual of sensuality that mixes stop-and-go with fluidity just as well as the song does.
This over-the-phone interview with Obin quickly coursed into a conversation about music rather than a rigid serious of questions and answers. Obin is a walking contradiction in the best sense - pointed and narrow with his personal ambition as both an artist and performer yet also dynamic in his interests and talents.
He’s not all serious, either. At the end of our conversation, Obin talked about where his future is taking him:
Music is my whole life; there’s a fine line between a starving artist and a homeless artist.
Be sure to keep an eye on what André Obin is up to - he will be playing at Great Scott on February 9th. And if you have the chance, also make the effort to see Endless Wave play at TT the Bear’s Place on February 17th.
Photo credit: grahamrb8