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On the road to MOOG’…

The Octopus Project drops by Local 506 in the wake of new album

Staff Writer

Published: Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Updated: Tuesday, October 19, 2010 12:10

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Ioan Opris

This instrumental, electronic, and math rock collective from Austin, Texas is on to big things and big shows.  Last year the band was ranked one of the top five acts in Austin’s South by Southwest (SXSW) music and arts festival by USA Today, due in part to their live show entitled Hexadecagon. The show is entitled Hexadecagon because they wanted to completely surround a crowd with their music along with visuals and basically create a panorama of artistic stimulus.  So to do this they created their own eight-channel surround sound system that would encompass the crowd and added eight visual projection synchronizations (created by Austin artist Wiley Wiggins) to coincide, thus creating a Hexadecagon of sight and sound.  As they stopped by for a show at Chapel Hill’s Local 506, I was able to catch up with them and ask about their new album and  critically acclaimed show. 

When asked  about their review from USA Today, they hadn’t even heard about it yet. “Wow really? That’s awesome! We’re just glad it didn’t go so terribly wrong.” “It’s really great to hear that because it took us three months to develop it and it’s our biggest attempt at a live show yet.” The Octopus project wrote their newest album, also entitled Hexadecagon, specifically for one Austin show: a kind of “homage” to their hometown, and when they got such a great response from it, they immediately decided to go record. 

Enter super-producer John Congleton, whose previous producing endeavors have included acts such as Explosions in the Sky, Spoon, Modest Mouse and the Roots. “So what was it like recording with John Congleton?” “Well we had never met him before, and some friends recommend us to him and he reached out to us.” “At first I would say we were nervous but he was basically like don’t worry, you’re in daddy’s hands, and he was super cool about recording the album. He is an artist behind the mixing board.” “John’s producing is more than making things sound cool; he’s really mastered the psychology behind recording music.” 

The Band is touring heavily right now to promote the new album and have recently been added to the Moogfest music festival in Asheville, even though they end their tour 3 days prior to the festival in California.  “So are you guys excited to be playing Moogfest?” “Oh yea! When we found out about it we were giddy like little kids, I mean playing before Devo is just amazing.  “Can we expect anything like the show you guys did in Austin at Moogfest?” “Let’s just say it’s going to be like [cue hand motion with explosion/laser beam sound effects] better then Devo…Nah, just kidding. Well unfortunately it’s so expensive to produce what we did in Austin, and to bring that on the road would just be so costly, however we will have something special for Moogfest.” 

The Band will be releasing Hexadecagon October 26 and to see what their original South By Southwest performance looks like, go on over to YouTube and prepare for what Paste Magazine calls “a happiness seizure.”

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