The musician duo Florian Wäldele and Florian Dreßler aka the OhOhOhs are known for technoid live music played analog on piano and drums. A few years ago, the two also started an interesting project for modern reinterpretations of classical music and The Oh!Chestra was born. As the name suggests, the composed pieces were not only designed for the two musicians, but for concerts with entire orchestras. Which are then the “Oh!chestra” while performing togehter with the OhOhOhs in new musical ways. Several such events have already taken place and the next great concert will be on November 25th in Frankfurt’s Katharinenkirche together with 20 other professional musicians, including the Omnia Orchestra, Frieder Gottwald and Maja Bader. We spoke with the OhOhOhs in an interview about their concertant club music and the upcomming event.
It’s been quite a while since we did an interview about your music and the Oh!chestra project, that was back in 2017 for the release of your album “Vierhändig”. Since then, an incredible amount has happened, you’ve expanded the concept, given concerts with entire orchestras and also released the album “Sturm und Drang”. As start and introduction, give us a brief review of your development and about what happened during the previous years.
Hey, first of all, it’s great that you’ve been with us for so long! Looking back, a lot has actually happened, and a lot of things that are now part of our everyday lives seemed unthinkable two or three years ago. Our album “Sturm und Drang” has brought us a big step closer to our musical mission and somehow also to ourselves. It is an album of “being on a quest” and has taught us something important: we have decided to go our own musical way, even if that may fit into really few pigeonholes. It’s a desire for freedom that drives us and a drive for musical fulfillment. In retrospect, the corona period that followed shortly afterwards was almost a blessing for us (alongside the many negative things that came with it, of course). We were really thrown back on ourselves and suddenly had a lot more time. At the same time, we were very lucky to have been selected for a grant from the German Music Council. During this time, we wrote the Corona Symphony and used it to create our “Pandemia” program, in which we arranged music by composers who composed during the pandemic in our own way. Seeing our music in the context of pieces from across contemporary history was a very enriching experience. In addition, the idea of a symphony meant that we lost our fear of the large orchestral apparatus and were able to fulfill a dream here: THE OHOHOHS with orchestra. Amazing, we are very grateful for that!
Your musical style could be described as “analog technoid classical music”, you yourself also use the description “concertante club music”. You play classical music in a chamber music ensemble on analogue instruments in electronic reorganization. Tell us more about what that means, what exactly you do and how you reinterpret historical pieces in a modern way.
The harpsichordist Tamar Halperin gave us a wonderful summary of her impression after attending the last concert: “This is how I imagine attending a classical concert 200 years ago; I don’t know what to expect and am surprised by new music I’ve never heard before”. We work in two musical worlds: Classical music and club music. We communicate with each other across the boundaries of these worlds and create something new. Beethoven would certainly have used synthesizers, known the rhythms of this world and incorporated them into his music. We want to speak the language of classical music, combine it with the modern music of our time and thus bring it to life. With all reverence for this great music, but also a new kind of appreciation for the incredibly rich world of rhythm. Hand in hand, across borders!
The best opportunity to see you live next time is on November 25th for the release concert of the “Corona Sinfonie” in the Katharinenkirche in Frankfurt. There you will perform with the OMNIAorchester under the direction of Michael Strecker, soprano Maja Bader and bassist Frieder Gottwald. Tell us more about this event.
On 25.11. we want to celebrate the release of our record. It’s a milestone for us and we’re really looking forward to it! Sharing the stage with Maja, Michael’s OMNIAs and Frieder is great fun. In addition to the symphony, there is a new composition that was written especially for this evening and, of course, “Wunder”, which can also be heard in three versions on the record. At this point, we are delighted to announce that harpsichordist Tamar Halperin has contributed a new arrangement. It was written for the voice of her husband, countertenor Andreas Scholl, who also sings a duet version of the piece with soprano Maja Bader. We can’t believe our luck yet!
Photographer images above: BORIS BLUMENTHAL
For the upcoming concert, you have also launched a crowdfunding campaign to finance the fees of the participating artists. This means that the more donations you raise, the more musicians you can include in the performance. How big is the ensemble now and which instruments are represented?
There are now 20 musicians on stage. Horns, violins, violas, cellos, bass, vocals, synthesizers and, of course, piano and percussion. We are overwhelmed by the incredible response from our crowd here in Frankfurt, which has far exceeded our expectations. We’ve been calling our fans “Oh-Family” ever since this event, which really sums up the feeling we have for our fans! At a certain point, of course, we had to say: stop, we can’t add any more from now on, time is an important factor… you can’t keep musicians on call until just before it’s too late! At this point we would like to say a huge thank you to the first violinist and orchestra leader of the OMNIA orchestra, without him and his team and team spirit none of this would be possible! As described in the crowdfunding campaign, we will use the additional funds for the production of the already existing but not yet recorded pieces from the “Pandemia” program. A new piece has also been created for the release concert and will be added to the production schedule.
It’s a release concert, which means that the pieces from your new album will be played, but it will be released bit by bit at the beginning of next year. The title “Corona Sinfonie” says it all, the works were created during the Corona period. Tell us more about it.
This release is initially intended for our inner circle, i.e. the OH family. This means that for the time being, the vinyl album will only be available via crowdfunding and at the concert itself. If you can’t attend either of these events, you can order a copy from us. Via the homepage, social media or email. As we have also decided to release the symphony on the relevant streaming platforms, this needs to be well prepared and accompanied by a well-designed campaign. So that we can release the songs over a longer period of time, they will be released as singles and videos.
On 3rd December 2022 you already had a great concert in the Katharinenkirche. I was there myself and not only was the music fantastic, but the high ceilings and the architecture of the church also contributed to a very special sound. Tell us more about the choice of venue and how this building affects you as musicians.
St. Catherine’s Church provides the ideal setting for our musical ceremony. On the one hand, it has wonderful acoustics, and on the other, its location in the heart of Frankfurt is ideal. Particularly worth mentioning here is the cooperation with the city driver of St. Catherine’s Church, Olaf Lewerenz, who supports us very much in this project and also offers a very diverse and exciting musical program in his church.
Not only do you reinterpret classical pieces, but you also compose your own pieces, of course. Tell us more about this and what fascinates you about this style.
The thoughts and feelings that classical music can express are very diverse and profound. They are not “old” feelings, they are very human…they speak to us in a special way that perhaps only classical music can. We want to speak this kind of musical language. But in the here and now. Just as we live in the here and now. That’s how the connection to club music and our “concertante club music” came about.
Of course, you have remained true to your roots and also like to play purely electronic analog techno sets with piano and drums from time to time. For example, your “Mobile Music Pavilion” this year was certainly a fantastic highlight. Tell us more about the electronic gigs from this year.
Yes, we still really enjoy playing our “ANALOG-TECHNOSET”. It speaks directly to the audience who want to dance and always gives us great pleasure. A special campaign this year was our “Mobile Music Pavilion” with which we cruised through Frankfurt on two days and gave free concerts in public places. We would like to repeat this campaign as part of “Kulturerwachen 2023” in 2024 and play our “truck concerts” more often. Possibly even as a tour and in other cities. We have also started recording our “techno classics” under the name “AnalogDigital”. The single “Mighty Night” was released in May!
Are further projects planned and are there already dates for upcoming concerts? Will there be follow-up concerts at certain intervals?
The next big project is the production of the as yet unrecorded pieces from the “Pandemia” program mentioned above. Of course, the release of the individual singles and videos from “Symphony No.1” is also a project that will extend well into next year. Hopefully this will be accompanied by a series of concerts. Concerts in Lucerne, Berlin and Friedrichshafen are being planned or have already been confirmed. More to follow! Many OHS and thank you very much for the interview.
Flo + Flo – THE OHOHOHS
Artists: THE OHOHOHS
Singer: MAJA BADER
Singer: ANDREAS SCHOLL
Musician: FRIEDER GOTTWALD
Photographer: ANDREAS MECHMANN – KONTRAST FOTODESIGN
Photographer: BORIS BLUMENTHAL
Bio Site: https://bio.site/vierdreieins_
Previous Interview: https://vagabundler.com/musicians/ohohohs
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