Ought Do Their Home Rock
Published May 23, 2014Montreal post-punk band Ought have only been playing together a couple of years, but they've already honed a unique chemistry that shines through on More Than Any Other Day, their stirring, intellectually inspiring debut for Constellation Records. The band, which consists of keyboardist Matt May, bassist Ben Stidworthy, drummer/violinist Tim Keen, and vocalist/guitarist Tim Beeler, insisted on conducting an interview as a unit, from an apartment shared by Keen and May. At one point, most of the band were roommates and they view that unique bond as vital to the power of Ought.
"I don't think it's essential, but I think we learned a lot from the time that we were living together and jamming in our apartment especially," Keen says in his native Australian accent over Skype. "We'd come home and one person would start playing music and everyone else would start without talking. It was like playing music was the expected activity if we were all going to be in the same room."
The seeds of the band were sown at a corny McGill University mixer where Keen and Beeler first met. After May and Stidworthy joined them, they began to hone their current sound — some cross-section between Talking Heads, Sonic Youth, Modern Lovers, and Fugazi — conjuring every note of every composition collectively, start to finish.
"We're really not a genre band and it takes a while for us to write songs," Beeler, Ought's charismatic singer and poetic lyricist, says. "It's hard to find a style roof to find shelter under sometimes, but we did play all of the time. We don't do a lot of talking when we're playing. It's this wordless thing and then something small will happen and it will all start gelling. I feel really privileged to work with people who can play like this."