Interview: O Emperor discuss ‘bogeys’ & the release of new EP ‘Lizard’

30th October 2015


The wonderful Irish songsmiths O Emperor are back with a new EP Lizard which will be hitting virtual shelves on Firday 6th November.

We caught up with them ahead of it’s release and their UK tour, which kicks off next month.

It’s been two years since the release of your last album Vitreous. What have you been up to in the intervening period?

We all kept pretty busy with various other projects as well as O Emperor stuff. Some of us work on solo projects, aswell as playing/recording with other people and getting bands in to record at our studio. But we’ve tried to get together as much as possible to jam new O Emperor ideas and we’ve just recently started committing stuff to tape for another album.

This EP came about quite quickly I understand. What stimulated the sudden spurt of inspiration?

It all came about in a very off-the-cuff way. We had a batch of songs that were sort of half-finished and we decided to demo the four that we liked the most. We thought they were demos so just threw them together really quickly but when they were done we really liked them and just decided to release them. It was cool to realise that the best results often come from just using the first ideas that come to mind as opposed to overthinking things.

You’re currently in the studio working on the next album. How is that process going thus far?

Its been great. The process has been drastically different to what we’ve done before because we’re just all set up in one room and recording live without headphones or anything. Everything we’re doing is pretty much just improvised and then we edit it afterwards and shoe-horn in some vocals and other overdubs after the fact. Its pretty unconventional I guess, and really fun.

Does owning your own your own studio (Big Skin) help in this? And what is it like owning a studio?

Yes, it helps immensely because I don’t think we’d feel comfortable going into a fancy studio to work in this way. We couldn’t afford it anyway! Its great to have your own space to get lost in what you’re doing and get stuff done in the way you want to. I find that really big, pristine studios are a bit stifling to work in, Whereas in our little hovel you can be comfortable; if someone spills an ashtray or a beer it doesn’t matter!

When do you think the new album will be ready for release?

We’ve already got a decent amount done so we’re hoping probably around Springtime 2016.

In each project you have produced you seem to move around quite a bit sonically, and the latest EP is no different. How/why did you come to this new more pop based style?

Again, it was all quite natural in the way that it happened. I think it suits us best not to really talk about a direction to go in and just let it happen naturally. I think there was an underlying desire to make something quite immediate and bombastic from the get-go though. Its hard to say where the drive to go in a certain direction comes from but we do generally seem to veer away from doing the same things that we’ve already done. We’re a bit hyperactive in that way for some reason.

I understand the title track of the EP (‘Bogue’) is a local term in Waterford City for ‘rogues’. Are there many other local references dotted around the EP?

Ha ha, ‘Bogue’ is actually short for ‘Bogey’. Like if there was someone you’d generally want to avoid or if they displayed general traits of bogey-ness you’d refer to them as a ‘bogey’ or ‘bogue’. There truly is a rich linguistic tapestry in Waterford. But no, I don’t think there are any other references on the EP.

How are preparations for the latest tour coming?

I’m going to be 100% honest here and say that we haven’t actually practiced yet but its gonna be good! We’re thinking of throwing in some of our new, jammy stuff so we might not really rehearse that stuff anyway. But we’re definitely excited to be doing some of our own shows again. It feels like its been a while, seeing as the last things we’ve done have been festivals. We’re eager to make these next shows a spectacle. 

We saw you at the Louisiana back in 2013 but sadly you wont be stopping in on Bristol this time around. Are there any plans to return to Bristol in the near future?

We had a lot of fun in Bristol and it would be great to get back there soon. Next time! You can hold us to that…

I have to say ‘Sedalia’ is genuinely one my favourite all time tracks. How did that song come about and is it one of your favourites to perform?

Thank you, glad you dig it. That’s a pretty old one so I’m trying to remember… I think Phil pretty much had the whole thing together in terms of chords, melodies, lyrics etc. Then we all worked at the arrangement together and it ended up having this sort of tight, 70s production. I’m not sure how we ended up having that Floyd-esque jam at the end but I’m glad we did. That section seems to get longer every time we play it.


‘Lizard’ is out on Friday 6th November, and O Emperor’s tour begins at The Theatre Royal Waterford on 15th November.

To get your copy of ‘Lizard’ or for more info on their upcoming tour click here.

Kevin McGough