Perhaps it’s a sign of my advancing years, or perhaps the old adage that time flies is more accurate than many people consider, but it really is hard to believe that thirteen years have passed since OPM, the genre-bending masterminds behind the chart-smashing ‘Heaven is a halfpipe’, sprung into existence. Yet here they are, back in the UK after a lengthy absence, undertaking a substantial tour to celebrate their anniversary. With a new EP entitled ‘Heaven Can Wait’ featuring new recordings of old songs appearing to coincide with the ‘lucky 13’ tour (the EP is available now on MNO records and features 5 tracks including a reworking of the ever-green ‘heaven is a halfpipe’)we were privileged indeed to hook up with John Edney (AKA John E. Necro) who was able to tell us a little about the band’s highs and lows and their current tour.
This is quite an extensive tour of the UK you’re undertaking – how does it feel to be back here?
It feels great although it’s exhausting. We are playing some cities we’ve been to before and others that we have never played. It’s so great here and the people are so much fun to be around.
You stated in previous interviews that OPM stands for “Open People’s Minds” – is it that philosophy that has led OPM to introduce so many different styles and moods into their music?
Yeah that’s it really. We don’t want to be categorized we are striving to tap into new sounds by using our influences rather than try to fit into a box.
Its thirteen years now since the band came together – how do you feel you’ve evolved musically in that time?
We have grown so much as musicians and writers. In the beginning we knew we wanted to incorporate all of our influences as I said but it was difficult to get all that together with in a song. The first record had a few hip-hop tracks a few punk a few reggae etc. Over the years we have learned to blend it all together within each song better. That is apparent on our LP, “Golden State of Mind”
Moreover how do you feel the music industry has changed in that time?
The industry has changed drastically. It’s a new frontier really and we are looking forward to what the future brings. We were in the generation of bands that was really effected by free downloading. We missed that window of massive cd sales. But now it’s come full circle and I think that people have realized how much it has hurt the music more so than the industry and people are down to start paying again via iTunes etc. We have decided to go on our own 100% now and we are on our own label, MNO Records. Aside from new OPM music to come I have signed a few other artists and we are producing their music as well.
You had a string of hits very early in that career – how do you think that affected the band?
It has allowed us to continue to do what we love for 13 years. So we are grateful for that.
You’re releasing an anniversary EP – what was the motivation behind re-recording classic songs rather than putting out something new?
When we recorded those songs we had never played a show. After ten years of playing songs they have evolved. We wanted to document that. The main difference is the originals had all programed drums and the new ones are live.
When you started out did you imagine you’d still be playing and touring as OPM thirteen years later – it’s an impressive career particularly with how disposable music has become of late…
Had no idea it would last this long. It’s been a roller coaster ride. But we continue because we still love it and have passion. I think people sometimes get into this for the wrong reasons. I think most people do it because they want to be rock star. Ultimately that part of it is not very rewarding so even if you get there and that was your only motivation you will be left feeling hollow.
What has been the highlight of recording and touring with OPM?
Highlight recording was “Golden State of Mind”. Things really felt right for the first time for me. I was always so focused on the production side I never really got to be the “Singer”. We recorded with a good friend Jim Perkins and we let him take that role a bit so I could really focus on my vocals. It was a lot of fun.
Touring? Coming here to the UK is always amazing. It’s crazy to see the history. Not so much sight-seeing but why we as Americans are the way we are. This is we come from. People back home who have never been don’t get that in a way. It’s interesting. We learn so much every time we come here about who we are.
What are the band’s ambitions for the future?
Just to keep going. Our plan when we get home is to finish up our new recordings. We already in planning for coming back to UK next year for some festivals and a tour that will go into Europe as well.
Any final words for your UK fans
We love you all and thank you to those who come out to the shows for your continued support.