Operator Music Band // Art-Pop Overload
Operator Music Band // Art-Pop Overload
Over the past couple of weekends we had the pleasure of having the ever talented Dara Hirsch and her band, Operator Music Band in our studio rental space to shoot a new music video for their song, "EE UNSH". Upon first meeting multi instrumentalist Dara, it's easy to tell that she is one of those people that wears quite the colorful assortment of different hats (We mean this figuratively as well as literally, of course). Check back when we get the final product and you will see what we're talking about. When she's not busy at her day job recording and engineering audio books, she is off composing and mixing her own projects. She has worked with internationally-acclaimed producers, organizations, and composers as well as notable podcasts, records, and award winning films.
Though she keeps busy with a list of other projects, her main squeeze is her group, Operator Music Band which is made up of a complex symbiosis between her and her bandmate, Jared Hiller who also dedicates to a great deal of the song writing. Their New York City based band is made up of "art-pop experimentalism and electronic minimalism, blending the warm comfort of analogue with kinetic digital new. What ultimately defines their sound is an aesthetic and tonal malleability, never appearing too serious, or too silly." With two records under their belt already and one more to be released at the beginning of March, it's fair to say that their work ethic and drive to push the envelope is only growing stronger as time moves forward. If you are curious to check out some of Operator Music Band's previous video work in the meantime, we highly recommend taking a look here.
We had the opportunity to sit down with Dara after shooting the second half of their video at our film studio to ask her a few questions. Take a look at the interview below
How did Operator Music Band come to be? How long have you been playing together?
Jared and I had the idea during the summer of 2014 when we were particularly obsessed with Stereolab’s Peng. After he introduced me to UK’s BEAK>, we realized that these dual influences created the perfect intersection at which we would base our own project.
Is there a story behind your name?
Haha- yes and no. We were originally ‘Operator’, and then after regularly being confused with a couple of different bands/artists with similar names, we decided it would be best to change it in some way. We didn’t want to completely change the name, and there was a few months’ worth of discussion. I think adding ‘Music Band’ (literally taken from the Facebook description on all music pages) ended up becoming a perfect representation of our project as a whole. Now we name all of our merchandise using the same naming scheme (Operator Music Bag (aka Superior Item Transporter), Operator Music Synthesizer, etc.)
Upon first listening to your previous releases, it's hard not to feel like your music is sort of a window into the future while still having a strong nostalgia for a specific time. Tell us about some of the things that have helped influence you and your band mates individually, whether it be music (specific bands, artists) film, technology, time ,etc....
The only accurate way we feel we can categorize ourselves is “third wave krautrock”. We take a lot of inspiration from bands who were influenced by 70s krautrock. So, although the line from us to Faust, for example, may not seem clear, the inspiration of the majority of our work stems from the bands that were initially inspired by Faust (Stereolab, Beak>, Broadcast, etc.). We don’t consider ourselves “psychedelic” quite like those forefathers. The silly side of us came later - mostly originating from DEVO, Talking Heads, and B52s.
What are some current bands, both local as well as national, that you are into these days?
Lately I’ve been listening a lot to Sexy Dex and the Fresh from NoLa, who we’ll be playing with in March. I’ve also been listening to the most recent record from Dot.s who we played with last summer in Atlanta. Have you SEEN their latest music video? It’s genius. As for locals, Parlor Walls, Straw Pipes, and Swoon Lake. All very different from each other (and different from the rest of the scene, which I always appreciate), but all unbelievably interesting and talented.
You tend to switch back and forth between lead vocal duties, how does this work into your songwriting?
It’s pretty funny how truly equal our songwriting duties are. There are some “Jared songs” and some “Dara songs”, but with the “both” songs, they are both truly equal.
Aside from recording and mixing audio books as your day job, we noticed that you also mixed all of your bands recordings. Do you enjoy this process?
No! The perfectionist in me wants to just keep working and working and working on those tunes. I was thrilled to have Jonny (Schenke) mix our LP. I totally trust him and, after we had a conversation about each song (and used my mixes as references), I just let him do his thing. A huge weight was lifted and the tracks sound amazing.
You guys spent the last 2 weekends in our studio shooting this music video, tell us about your concept and it origins. Has the song already been released, or will this be it's premier?
The song first premiered in 2014 on our first EP Puzzlephonics I. Since then, we’ve written new songs as a part of Puzzlephonics II. Instead of releasing that separately, we had everything remixed and will be releasing it all on 3/3 as Puzzlephonics I & II.
The initial concept stemmed from Oskar Schlemmer’s Triadischs Ballett. The costumes, the choreography, and the colors. Then, over time, it morphed into it’s own separate entity. But I still would like to say that my video pays homage to that production.
Did you and your band design all of the costumes?
I did, yes - with help of assembly from the dancers. Some of our motions were limited by the movement and flexibility of the costumes themselves, so we had to take that into consideration.
Are there any upcoming shows, or tours on the horizon for Operator Music Band?
TODAY (2/10) at Trans Pecos with Pavo Pavo and Parrot Dream. Our release show will be at Shea Stadium on 3/2 with Jelanai Sei, Zenizen, and Straw Pipes. Then we head out for tour a few days later!