Mr Brad Rose is a busy chappy, records solo under the guise of Little Jupiter, Scares the bejesus out of his neighbours with his free noise Ukraine project, and is one half of the awesome duo Ocasek. Oklaholma's Finest examples of the great Cactus Gum Label.
The Mighty Ocasek; What is the history behind the formation of this duo?
Well, there's a great deal of history behind Ocasek... I'll give the long version and the short version, you can print either/or. The long version... I've known John (the other half) since about August of 1994 and we played in a band called Atticus Finch with this other guy. Well after that dispersed, John and I pretty much were at each other's throats and _went our seperate ways_. I started playing in a band called Think Apollo and he moved to Minnesota. Anyway, when he first came back we were in a band together (as a duo, so it was pretty much Ocasek, but the prepubescent years) called the Soapbox Racers... it was your basic indie pop bullshit, but it led to Ocasek which actually formed about a year ago. We got together one day and were like "fuck this pop shit, let's do something different" and we ended up kind of improvising four songs, (which were released as the "Cassette Harness" cassingle back then) two of which are on the "Little Missles" cassette ("Oh, Brazil" and "Same Time Zone."). So that was the long version... the short version is... I'm Ric Ocasek's prodigal son and it was bound to happen sooner or later.
What's with the Cars reference?
The Cars reference has nothing to do with my or John's love for Ric Ocasek's music, but only his last name. There's a Pie song by the same name and I was listening to that song thinking... "Ocasek... that's a great band name." In the end, it was a tossup between Bush 2 and Ocasek; thankfully we decided on the latter.
Who is the primary songwriter?
I'd say I write 3/4 of the songs. Basically, though, one of us will come up with the basic idea of the song (chord changes, lyrics, melody, etc) and the other will add something. John usually adds drums or synthesizers, that's his speciality. The rest is generally me (though I do play drums on some songs and he plays guitar on some; we share bass duties). I think I tend to write more songs than John; many times he tries to come up with stuff that's way too complex and tedious to try and work with so it gets thrown out (that's basically what his solo stuff is). Although the last time we recorded, we did two songs and they were about 50/50 as far as all the elements go. It's kind of hip hop sounding stuff too... maybe this is a new direction; maybe I've been listening to too much gangsta rap.
You have your own solo projects Little Jupiter and Ukraine, tell us about
those; How do they differ to Ocasek; How do you delegate your time and
Well the biggest difference is that they are solo projects! Actually, Ukraine can be a duo or even a trio in one case, but it's mostly me. Little Jupiter is mainly just acoustic guitar and singing (although on the latest cassette, "Swedish Crowns," there is more percussion than usual and little electric guitar lead riffs. Plus two piano pieces... no, I can't play piano...). Another difference is that I generally record Little Jupiter stuff after midnight. It used to be because that's only when I had free time; it's become somewhat of a ritual. You can tell, too, sometimes because my voice sounds worn out. Ukraine, on the other hand, is more of a free form noise/ambient project. It's all instrumental and I use a wide variety of effects to get some fucked up sounds. There's some stuff that's really beautiful and kind of delicate sounding, and then there's some really harsh noise. Lately it's kind of become some pretty guitar stuff over hip hop beats. I've really been playing with beats lately. How do I divide my time and energy... well, Ocasek can only record once in a blue moon now (both John and I work and I've got way too much stuff that I do during our off hours, so it's becoming a rare occasion that we record). I can do Ukraine and Little Jupiter stuff any time I want because I don't have to worry about meeting with another party; lately most of my time and energy has gone into those two projects. As far as creative flow, well it all depends... there's yet to be any Ukraine stuff that I would consider suitable to become Ocasek songs. And generally, when I write a song I know if it'll work witih Ocasek and if I don't think it will, it becomes a Little Jupiter tune (although there's quite a few alternate versions of Ocasek songs on Little Jupiter tapes and what not... and that's fun too). Though, as of late everything has become a Little Jupiter song for many reasons.
All of the above is available from Cactus Gum Recordings; A Cassette label
that you run.... What other stuff of note have you put out?
I'm assuming you mean on Cactus Gum? (as opposed to other Ocasek, Ukraine, et al stuff). Well, the Cactus has put out tons of stuff lately... there's three tapes by Boston rock gods, Pie as well as a solo tape by their leader, Hugh (under the moniker Simp). Oh and then there's a compilation 7" called "Cyanide Guilt Trip" that has the Mountain Goats, Milky Wimpshake, Edith Presler, Irving Klaw Trio, and Little Jupiter. Speaking of Edith Presler, they recently put out a 7" on the Cactus. Let's see... there's a Minnetonka one-sided 12" that's out too.. It's hot, man. Other tapes include one by the Nova Scotias who I'm convinced is one of the best bands on this continent. They're from Canada. Really great stuff, mostly instrumental... it's kind of complex in a simplistic way.. it's just so good. Other tapes by A. Graham, Ed Nolbed, the Braille Wonder, Creeper Lagoon, Mote, Wio, etc etc etc. Soon there will be a Ramon Speed LP and a split LP between Ukraine and Abplanalp; as well as the highly anticipated (heh!) double cassette compilation "North America vs Europe" featuring bands from both continents battling it out in the form of homerecorded rock n roll. Other tapes coming soon include a tape of Simon Joyner and Ramon Speed collaborating, as well as Dot.Dot.Commies, Perfume IV, and some project called Air Hockey Injury which is some guy from Australia... maybe you know him! That's probably longer an answer than you wanted... people can write for a free catalog and a nice letter.
You have recently gone digital with the "Whiskey Your the Devil" CD
compilation.... Who is on that? How did that come about?
Yes! The 21st century is upon the Cactus and it is digi-tal! There's billions of bands on it... some of the more notables are the Bingo Trappers, Diskothi-Q, Ramon Speed, Noggin, The Azusa Plane, Orange Cake Mix, Will Simmons, Creeper Lagoon, Moviola, Mean Spirit'd Robots, Six Cents & Natalie, and more. Also it has some Cactus artists like Ocasek, Little Jupiter, Mote, Wio, Edith Presler, Ukraine, Neener, The Stunt Doubles, etc. There's 27 total artists on it. It came about after months of slaving in the corn fields. Actually, it took nearly a year to complete... I just talked to people I knew in bands and what not, wrote to some others who I thought highly of and after a year, I had received enough songs to compile a diverse yet distinct compilation. I always make my compilations big (whoever says size doesn't count is in denial)... the more bang for your buck.
What other stuff do you do when you arn't Cracking the Whip at Cactus, or
rocking out in Ocasek?
Well, I live my life... Cactus Gum and Ocasek don't take up much of my time. I'm a student at the University of Tulsa studying History (with my focus being on Europe to 1700 and the rise of Russian civilization). I play ice hockey every once in a while, I like to go out to parties or this bar that serves underage kids (shhh..) with friends of mine. I used to spend tons of time with my girlfriend but we recently broke up, so... but I'm seeing two other people now (one is an exchange student from Sweden (hello Eva!)... *drool* I have a theory on Swedish females, but I won't get into that... heh). Lets see, I also read all the time... Tolstoy is my favorite author. Though I read a lot of non-fiction too (I recently finished this huge 700 page book on the history of Ukraine... absolutely wonderful). I've got a thing for Europe, especially the history of many of the former Soviet republics and Eastern bloc countries. I like writing too, fiction and non. Short stories are really fun... one of my goals in life is to write a book. I've got a story board for a book, but whew... who knows. It'd probably take me a ten years to write it.
Tell us a little bit about the song on the Warm Cola cassette that you
The song is called "Hungarian Dream Come True" and is basically a hypothetical (well kind of, alot of it is based on personal experience but I'll leave it up to the listener to decide what's what) love story. It's about two people who meet in Romania (one is Hungarian, the other a discerning American) and have this somewhat of a whirlwind romance (3 months). Anyway, it's mostly inspired by this girl I met last summer while on vacation who was originally from Hungary. I only saw her for like three days, and haven't seen her since. It's also kind of inspired by this Hungarian gymnast named Henrietta Onodi who I had the extreme pleasure of meeting this summer. The other girl really inspired the song, but I also have a love for Hungary. It's really a beautiful country. Anyway, the song is written from the perspective of the American (who is the male, by the way). It starts off with him telling her to meet him, and then they go back to her home, yawda yawda. The second verse is more or less about when they meet. It's all pretty self explanatory... it's just the tale of two lovers. There's more autobiographical components than one would believe. It's also noteworthy in that it's the first song I ever wrote with a European theme. Anyone who owns anything I've put out since August or 1996 will know that is a pretty big deal since a large majority of my songs have European settings or there is some kind of historical event that happened in Europe as a background for the song.
Since this is the first issue of WARM COLA I have a standard question that
I have been asking all interviewees.
If you Brad Rose had to endorse a brand of Cola, which would it be and
Well, this is a tough question... if you asked me what brand of beer I'd endorse, it would be easier as I'm loyal to my Budweiser (although a nice cold Heiniken is wonderful on a hot summer day... those Germans make some quality brew!). But I would probably endorse Pepsi because a) I drink more Pepsi than anything b) Pepsi is rich, I want a contract! Although Mountain Dew is good for 8 am classes. But I hear it can cause impotence...
Would you like to leave us with some words of wisdom? a quote?
Some words of wisdom.... funny you mention that; there's an article about my life in the latest issue of my zine called "I've got no words of wisdom..... yet." So a quote for all ye wonderful Australians... if you play music/hometape/etc, don't get it in your head that what you're doing is truly important. Seriously, when you begin to think what you're doing actually matters in the thick of things, that will be your downfall (just look at the Mountain Goats! Who gives a shit about them now... yep, they thought they made a difference in the world!). Music doesn't cure cancer, it doesn't overthrow a government, it doesn't even pass an exam for you... it's a hobby, so yaknow... don't make it the foundation of your life. What a boring life... now I'm not saying it doesn't mean anything, I'm just saying it's the center of the universe or anything close. Oh fuck it, I must get back to my jaded sex-filled rocknroll lifestyle. ;)
"Pickled Plum Gum" cassette (n/a)
"People Fucking Suck" cassette (n/a)
"Soloflex" cassette (n/a)
"Broken Key Lock" cassette (n/a)
"For the Love of an Indie Rocker" cassette (n/a)
"Ice Cream Cones" cassette (n/a)
"Armpit Grouch" split w/ BJ Kramp cassette (n/a)
"Sign Choir" split w/ the Stunt Doubles cassette (Cactus Gum)
"Romania" cassette (Cactus Gum)
"Attila is King." cassette (Studio Muscle: Belgium)
"The Ides of March" cassette (Doormat, tx)
"Swedish Crowns" cassette (not yet released)
"Kill the Wow" 4-way split cassette (n/a)
"Liquidation Future" on Hide & Go Seek cassette (Cactus Gum)
"Echos of the Heart" on Wimps Rock cassette (Amateur Anarchy)
"Irreflexive Spark" on Cyanide Guilt Trip 7" (Cactus Gum)
"We're Not in Kansas" on Go cassette (Papsicle)
"Smooth Criminal" on This is Not a Tribute cassette (Studio Muscle: Belgium)
"Song About the Beach" on Chutes & Ladders cassette (Cactus Gum)
"Két Nappal az Indulás Elôtt" on Whiskey You're the Devil CD (Cactus Gum)
"Former Syndication" on Mein Compf 2 cassette (Doormat, tx)
"Rearrest the Second Hand" on Mein Compf 3 cassette (Doormat, tx)
"All the Way to Prague" on Bacchanalian Revel cassette (Bacchanalian Revel)
"Fleur de Lis" on Onetrackhomerecordings cassette (Studio Muscle)
"1972" on Zodiac Melodiac cassette (Doormat, tx)
"Sucked Up the Rising Seas" on Karaoke Serenade cassette (Right On!)
"Gardez le Foi" on North America vs Europe double cassette (Cactus Gum/Studio Muscle)
"Payeva" cassette (Cactus Gum)
"The Virgin Kelly" cassette (Cactus Gum)
"Clock Ticking Resonance" on Chutes & Ladders cassette (Cactus Gum)
"Lilia" on Whiskey You're the Devil CD (Cactus Gum)
"Fucking Some Swedish Tail." on North America vs Europe cassette (Cactus Gum/Studio Muscle)
"Donetsk" on Stationary Train cassette (Limosuine Cuisine)
"Scherbatskaya" on Cathedral cassette (Cathedral)
"Ilyich's Remains" on Onetrackhomerecordings cassette (Studio Muscle)
"Lithographic" split LP with Abplanalp (Cactus Gum/Moondog & Leaf)
split cassette with Noggin (Cactus Gum)
"Cassette Harness" cassingle (n/a)
"Little Missles" cassette (Cactus Gum)
"non sans droict" cassette (Cactus Gum) - limited to 35 copies
"Hungarian Dream Come True" on Whiskey You're the Devil CD (Cactus Gum)
"Fuck Jackson parts 1 & 2" double improv cassette (currently without label b/c the label it was on shut down... it will be reissued, but I'm not positive where)
"Helsinki Anthem" on Music Without Instruments cassette (Bees Make Honey)
"Aristocratic Nature" on North America vs Europe cassette (Cactus Gum/Studio Muscle)
"North Atlantic" on Left Hip CD (Left Hip)
"Odessa from Kyiv" on Onetrackhomerecordings cassette (Studio Muscle)
"Diplomatic Nature" on Cathedral cassette (Cathedral)
"The Gospel According to Mary" (American version) cassette (Cactus Gum)
"The Gospel According to Mary" (European version) cassette (Bacchanalian Revel)