Interview: A Chat With Pep Emmerichs from Oh Pep!

Monday, April 3, 2017

Fresh from the States, I had the chance to chat with Pep from Oh Pep! on their travels, her favourite spot to hang in New York, catching downtime on tour and onstage adrenaline. Oh Pep! are on the road throughout April, you can check out a list of their stops below. 

Amy: So firstly, you’ve done a bit of travelling over the last few years, and recently you were in the States, how was it?
Pep: It was great, I think that was our seventh visit to the States in 3 years, so it kinda feels like home every time we go back and this time we toured as a duo opening for Valerie June, who we’ve been fans of for a very long time, so it’s kinda like a dream come true. Now every time visit, we have a bunch of friends there, so that’s nice, we get to hang out with them as well. 

Last year I know you did a bit of travelling, but what has been your favourite place you’ve been to so far?
I would say that New York is our collective favourite city to be in and to play in. We’ve always had a really good reception there, and it’s such an incredible city. There’s always so much going on all of the time, and we know a lot of musicians who live there. It’s nice that we can be in town for a couple of days, and if we’re not playing, we’ll go off to someone else gig, and it’s always very exciting. You don’t end up sleeping much. 

I was in New York last year, and the energy is crazy. What was your favourite part of the whole city, as there are so many different areas that all bring something unique?
Well, we hung out a lot in Brooklyn last year and this year, so I feel like that’s our current favourite part of New York. And then there’s a really cool bar called Sunny’s Bar in Red Hook that we’ve gone to a couple of times, and it’s probably our favourite place to hang out. 

You dropped your video for ‘Crazy Feels’, and it was created by Italian digital artist Sergio Pastore, how did that collab come about?
I think he actually had gotten in touch with us and then another friend had recommended him, and we saw his work with some other people, and we were so impressed, and I guess it just happened. A couple of months later we saw the finished result, and it’s so beautiful. You always forget how long an animation actually takes to make. 

His stuff is very unique, and it has quite a distinct style. The video was amazing.
Yeah, I think that video in particular brings out the song. You end up listening to the lyrics and end up thinking about how the lyrics relate to the characters, which in nice.

You’ve got some tour dates in April, and you’ve got quite a few shows. I think it was something like 3 different venues in Melbourne, how do you maintain the energy and motivation to keep playing shows?
Well actually, April isn’t as busy as we’ve had in the past (laughs), so this is actually going to be nice. In general, I mean, we try to do things during the day that give you energy for when we’re on tour. So we might stop by near the ocean or somewhere that has a lake and go for a swim, or we make sure if we’re in a town that has a cool record store or a cafe that we like and we’ll go there. Little breaks along the way that you give yourself always mean that you’re in the right mindset and have enough energy to play at the end of the day. You can’t deny that adrenaline plays a major part in it, whether you’re tired or not it gives you the energy to play. And you nap a lot in the car (laughs).

As I said earlier, you’ve covered a lot of ground as a band the last few years but is there somewhere in Australia where you haven’t visited, and you would love to play a show. So any sort of small town, or anything like that where you would love to play a gig?
I would love to play in Cairns, I’ve never been up there so that would be really cool one day. We’ve never been up there as a band, and I don’t think most of us have been there ever in our life, so that would be cool to get out and see what the scene is like there. 

Which scene do you prefer, the beach or city?
I would say beach. Definitely somewhere near a beach near it. Somewhere with a body of water so we can go swimming in. But we’re also not fussy.

A lot of artists talk about the buzz they get from playing shows, what’s that like for you?
Well, I mean it’s an incredible feeling. I think when it goes well you have this overwhelming sense of fulfilment in what you do, and that’s a feeling that can’t be beaten for me personally. I always thought that I didn’t get nervous before shows, I could feel the adrenaline, but I never associated it with nerves. Just a couple of weeks ago, I went onstage early to fix up some things, and I came back and then five minutes later we went onstage, but from just going on and seeing the crowd when I was fixing up my instrument to then going backstage, I realised I was kinda shaking and, I was like, wow. That really is a thing, it really is an adrenaline rush that you get when you stand up there. 

So, when you finish up the shows in Australia, what’s next? Are you going to have a rest, are you going to record more or go back overseas?
All those things (laughs).

Which one is first (laughs)?
I’m not sure of the order of them, but all those things for the rest of the year are what we’re gearing up to.  

Written by Amy Smolcic 

Oh Pep!'s tour dates:
5th April - Mojo's - Fremantle *
6th April - Badlands - Perth (w/ the Mountain Goats)
7th April - Fowler's - Adelaide (w/ the Mountain Goats)
8th April - The Grace Emily - Adelaide (w/ the Mountain Goats)
9th April - The Factory Theatre - Sydney (w/ the Mountain Goats)
11th April - The Toff - Melbourne (w/ the Mountain Goats)
12th April - The Corner Hotel - Melbourne (w/ the Mountain Goats)
14th to 16th April - Boogie Festival - Bruzzy's Farm, Victoria 
21st April - Newtown Social Club - Sydney *
22nd April - Black Bear Lodge - Brisbane *
24th April - The Gov - Adelaide (w/ Billy Brag)
28th April - Howler, Melbourne *

* headline shows