Words: Lindsey Anderson
Banner photo: Timothy Breen
Tom Tom is thrilled to premiere Ovef Ow’s video for their track ‘Psycho Crush.’
‘Psycho Crush’ is the 2nd track from the band’s 2017 release ‘Working,’ a must-listen for any surf-rock connoisseur looking to add a new artist to their daily music rotation. The track’s video is a kaleidoscopic journey; as objects are melted on screen, the viewer watches a colorful goo come to fruition as the band members slowly spin and mouth the lyrics to the song. The video for sure illustrates what having an INTENSE crush feels like; a dizzying rush of emotions that sort of turn your brain into a colorful mush.
With this trippy video out in the world and their debut LP slated for release next year, folks are excited to see what the coming months hold for Ovef Ow. Tom Tom got the chance to chat with the band’s drummer Sarah Braunstein about the new video, her history with percussion and what goals she has for herself in the coming months!
When did your drum journey begin? What about the instrument has kept you committed to it?
I started playing percussion in school in the 5th grade. When it came time to choose an instrument, I knew I wanted to do something different than my two older sisters, who both played woodwinds. Drums certainly fit the bill! I liked that by playing percussion, I wasn’t choosing a single instrument but a whole category. I had the opportunity to play everything from concert snare and timpani to marimba and steel drums. My parents bought me a drum kit in the 9th grade and I formed my first band the following year. For me, playing in a band is equal parts fun and therapy. It’s an amazing creative outlet and I love the collaboration that comes with making music, within the band, but also with sound engineers, visual artists, and the other bands we play shows with. And whether I’m on my own or with the band, I always leave practice feeling better than when I showed up.
What was the 1st song you learned to play on the drums?
Well, my first band in high school was The Gutter Bunnies. We primarily wrote original music but we learned a couple of covers that I really loved — Jimmy Eat World’s “The Authority Song” and Hole’s “Celebrity Skin.” 🙂
I feel moments of frustration come up with any craft that folks spend loads of time with; how do you overcome moments of drum frustration?
Oh gosh…I’m not gonna lie, I almost always feel like I’m not a good enough drummer and do battle with imposter syndrome. I’ve been playing drums pretty consistently for about 20 years (eeek!) and being a drummer is a significant part of my identity, but there are always moments when I doubt myself (like when I’m having trouble coming up with a new part for a song). I just try to practice patience for myself in the moment. I remind myself that if I’m having trouble playing something new, it’s okay to set it down for the night because the next time I’m behind the kit, I’ll be better. And I try really hard not to compare myself to other drummers too much, but instead watch what they’re doing with an eye for learning something new.
How did you get involved with Ovef Ow?
Marites (bass), Kyla (synth), and I were in a band together for about 3 years called Me Jane. Our guitarist left that band in December of 2014 but the three of us wanted to keep making music together. We toyed with the idea of giving it a go without a guitar player but still needed someone to play guitar for a recording we were already scheduled to do (an Alex Chilton tribute compilation). Nick (guitar) is a friend of my boyfriend’s and had just moved back to Chicago from L.A. He joined us for one practice to learn the Big Star songs and it all just kind of worked out from there.
When it comes to the music video for Psycho Crush, what kind of story were you all aiming to tell?
We worked with our friend, Timothy Breen, for the “Psycho Crush” video and what you see is really his vision for the song. Tim played off the mood of the track — which is a sinister twist on a confessional love song — and translated it into a kind of hypnotic and surreal visual language. As a band, we’re all interested in different auditory textures and playing with unexpected sounds or song structures. Oh, and we got sucked into the strange world of ASMR videos and wanted to see how that might play out for an Ovef Ow song. Tim did a lot of playing with materials — melting, burning, decomposing — to produce a video that is very visceral.
Ovef Ow’s LP comes out next year, what are some topics that’ll come up on the record?
Our songs have always been political but these next songs we’re releasing will be directly critical of what’s been happening politically. We have a song about reproductive rights, about blowhards in power and the threat of nuclear war. This all sounds so dire but the songs are really fun and danceable too!
If you could describe the upcoming LP using imagery found in nature, how would you describe it?
On recent walks with my dog, I’ve noticed a lot of new mushrooms surfacing seemingly overnight; where there was nothing, there’s now clouds of fungi spread across the ground, some of them in vivid shades like red and orange. The new album will be that: an expected and sudden scene that is gross but entrancing.
You’ve been apart of a lot of different projects before Ovef Ow; what are some lessons you’ve learned spending time in all of those different corners of the music/art world?
I’ve learned that louder or more complicated is not necessarily better. Simple beats can be the most powerful or appropriate for songs, depending on what you’re going for. My style of playing is pretty straight forward; I don’t do a lot of fancy fills or solos and I’m finally comfortable owning that. My goal is to provide a driving beat that my bandmates can build off of and that people can stomp their feet to. Other rules to live by: show up early, say ‘thank you’ and share gear whenever you can. Playing someone else’s drums will make you a more versatile drummer (even if it’s uncomfortable).
What are some short term goals you have for yourself as a drummer? Any long term goals?
Well, I’m about to start a new job that will involve a lot of travel and some long hours. I’m hoping to transition into that role without losing much ground in terms of my practice time and the amount of shows we’re playing! And singing while drumming is something I can always get better at. I’ve found that the better cardiovascular shape I’m in, the better I am at both. So I guess my drumming goal is to jog more!