Since 2013, Berlin-based duo Oake has captivated listeners with their uncanny, ominous atmospheres and post-industrial techno rhythms. Eric Goldstein and Bathesba Zippora compose mystical offerings inspired by the occult, ambient and dystopian sonic landscapes. After four ground breaking releases on the legendary Downwards, Oake returns with Monad XXIV, a four track EP out now on the elite label Stroboscopic Artefacts. While Monad resembles previous material, this EP sees the pair elevate their sound even more. Whether it's the evil, cavernous punishment of "Jardin d'évasion" or the dark romance of "Paysage dépayse", this is a mesmerizing release that showcases the extraordinary talent and technical prowess of one of the most powerful projects today.
We also had the pleasure of witnessing Oake perform as UF (along with Kerrridge) at this year's Berlin Atonal. With a new EP out and just coming off a huge performance we thought it was a great time to talk to the band about creating the new material, their live show and more. Please find our Q&A below.
The Brvtalist: After releasing material on labels like Downwards, Monad XXIV is out on the always impressive Stroboscopic Artefacts. Talk about what it means for this release to be out on SA and has this partnership always been an interest?
Oake (Eric): As with Downwards, we have also been fans of Stroboscopic Artefacts before. I was following the label for years already and when we were approached about doing a release on SA we really wanted to contribute. We spoke to Karl to get his blessing for doing another EP on another label and he was cool with that so we got right on it.
TB: I would love to hear about the approach to this material. How do you think it builds on other works you’ve done and do you think it’s a departure in any way?
Oake: After we released our album, Auferstehung, on Downwards, it was very hard for us to write new music. We just didn’t have the urge to go back to the studio for a while and when we did we mostly played around, which is great and fun but quickly becomes frustrating if you do not end up with something you’d consider to be release-able. It was a weird time in which we started to pressure ourselves to come up with something and this passion, which is music, became a burden somehow. So we tried out new things and new instruments to be inspired again and had a different technological approach to each track of the EP. When we finally finished “Paysage dépayse” things became clearer and it was obvious that the EP either needs to start from there or end at this point.
We also had a clear picture of the label in our heads. Ludovica from SA sent us the complete label discography and after skimming through most of it, it was clear that for this release we wanted to warp our sound towards label’s sound aesthetic, which is why we tried to create songs that are truly sounding like OAKE, but that an adventurous DJ would still play in a club. At the same time we did not want to compromise our live sets so we had to make sure we ‘d have fun playing these tracks in a live performance setting.
TB: I just saw your performance as UF at this year’s Berlin Atonal. While I’ve got you, I would love to hear your thoughts on the performance and what it’s like playing the festival.
Oake: Ohhh, UF. I love this collaboration. The performance was a relief. We did not have a lot of time to prepare. We rehearsed the show for the first time the night before and it did not go that well, since Sam and I both do not possess the most professional rehearsal attitudes. However, the show was brilliant for me personally. All these things were falling off of myself and I became someone else for that moment on stage. I loved the energy that the room bounced back at us, and also the fact to deliver some beats in this cathedral of ambience.
TB: To that point, how do you think the OAKE live performance has changed (if at all) over the years and what you do try to bring to the live show?
Oake: Bathseba and I got much more professional in our approach towards the show during the last few years. We have a good routine and are able to change a whole set on the fly, which we could not do when we started. While I got a bit more relaxed and laid back on stage, Bathseba started to become the star of the show: interacting with the audience, dancing, performing, screaming and singing of course. We also started to incorporate instruments like guitars or certain drums that we can put through our processors to create our sound with classical instruments that the crowd can more easily relate to than to a laptop or drum machine. If we can afford it and have a show that we can easily travel to, we love to bring our friend Franz Bargmann, who will just play with us and his guitar, adding a complete new layer to our music and live show, which we both thoroughly enjoy.
TB: What's coming up next for Oake?
Oake: We have a few remix requests from various labels that we’d like to work on, further we wanted to release another EP on yet another label since the beginning of the year – we are a bit behind, haha, but this still needs to happen. There are a few tracks ready that we’d like to put out on Downwards soon, also Tommy47 is waiting for a track since we will DJ at one of his parties in November and then there are a bunch of interesting collaborations happening: The chances for a future UF release are pretty high, as well as a band project with friends from the UK and some German Krautrockers.