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Music Mondays: An Interview With Oblee

Tara Linden


Oblee MM.jpg

This week's featured artist is Oblee, whose performances in SL center around live looping to create a unique experience for the audience every time. 

Please check out his music on his official website, as well as his social media below:



Q: When/how did you hear about Second Life?
A: I heard about Second Life shortly after its release, but didn't spend any time inworld until late 2007. It was an exciting time to be there! I had some friends in France who had done a little machinima pilot in SL and wanted me to do some voices. That's when my current avatar was born. At the time I was playing drums in a few touring bands and was looking for a way to play live, original music to people around the world without having to sit in a van with 5 other grimy musicians. I was becoming the prototypical and annoying drummer gone solo and SL was my accomplice. 

Q: Your music is hard to define. What genres would you say it draws from?
A: Thank you! I think that in part, a lot of my original music was born in SL, or at least born when my mind was often in SL. As far as a specific influential genre, I really can't say. I've never been very proficient at describing music or knowing which genre was which. I'm a lousy critic, and can usually find something I like about any piece of music. That said, I think the musicians I look up to the most are the ones who just did what they were going to do without commercial pressure. I've never heard music that didn't influence me in one way or another. 
Q: Who are some of the musicians that have influenced your style?
A: The musicians I've heard! While I say that with some degree of humor, I really have been influenced by everything I've heard. I do hear bands like The Cure or artists like Tom Waits pop up in my original material, and the band The The was always an inspiration to be a self-produced one man band kind of act. A lot of the musicians with whom I've played in bands have influenced my style and my attitude toward songwriting. The Country/Americana songwriter Sand Sheff was a huge influence on me personally and professionally, and all this after my first words to him were "I hate country music!" I guess in the end, the artists who have influenced me most were the ones I perceived as authentic or honest, playing their music because it was burning a hole out of them instead of playing it to seek some kind of commercial success. All this aside, I think that a lot of non musical things have affected my musical style as well, the natural world in particular. I used to describe my music as like the "house music on the Millennium Falcon" in an attempt to say it respected the old and the new, the classic and the modern, technology and nature, all at the same time. 

Q: What type of equipment do you use?
A: At this point? OLD equipment! I've recently become a parent, which has, predictably, stopped my impulse buying of musical equipment and instruments. I use a Boomerang III looper run on a sub mix from a 16 channel mixing board. Into that looper goes a DW drum set, a few acoustic guitars, an electric bass guitar, a handful of vintage synthesizers, an upright piano, congas, djembes, bongos, and whatever else I can get my hands on. I'm not much of a gear head, and feel like the "feeling" far outweighs the instruments, but I am slightly addicted to old synthesizers. Outside the mixer I use the normal rack full of compressors, gates, and effects units to make a hopefully bearable, radio-like sound to my live performances. The looper itself has no permanent memory or click track or other bells and whistles. It is just a bare bones machine that records and plays. One of the reasons I've stuck with that particular looper is the fact that it has no safety net. Once a song is over, it's all erased forever. Mistakes can be song-ending and quite embarrassing. I think the potential for catastrophic, embarrassing failure is what makes live music live music. {In SL, Oblee likes to use Thunk equipment.}
Q: Tell us about your favorite experience playing live in SL.
A: I've had some amazing times in SL. Some of the most fun was on those wild nights quad-streaming with Los Federales, or dual streams with Beth Odets. (Ask her about what I did on her birthday.) Apart from the musical collaborations, my favorite experience, in a broad sense, is having an audience who wants to hear my original music. An audience who is listening, often alone, at home, is so much different than a real life bar audience because they notice musical nuances and they actually hear the lyrics to songs. I've had a lot more audience members tell me they liked the lyrics to a song in SL than I have in RL. The first time someone IM'd that the sim is full and they couldn't get in was a wild and exciting experience. It was so nice that I now play homestead sims as often as possible.  After all these years, I have trouble pointing to specific moments in time as the best times, but I can say with confidence that it is the people that make those moments. Playing the SL birthday celebrations has always been a highlight to the year, and one of those moments that I am very proud to be a part of such a vibrant community. Oh yeah, Simon's party for the solstice was a real hoot!

Q: What is the most meaningful aspect of the SL music community to you?
A: Musicians need an audience. At the end of the day, I think we all write and perform music as an act of communication. The music industry can be a cruel beast, and a lot of times a musician's ability to reach a larger audience is inexorably tied to their location and/or willingness to take enormous risks. The Second Life community tears down a lot of those barriers and is a loving and supportive group who gives artists a place to shine, sell their music, and perform. I often say that my original music was born in SL and that is very true. When my paying gigs in RL demanded playing popular cover songs, my SL audiences were encouraging me to write more and cover less. I'm eternally grateful for the people I've met playing music in SL.


Oblee was also featured in the Drax Files, a Destination Guide video, and his local paper.


Thank you, Oblee!


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