Oi Va Voi are a London based band spearheading the fusion of Balkan and Klezmer influences with contemporary pop and electronica. Making powerful, emotionally resonant music with worldly overtones, their first release ‘Laughter Through Tears’ (2003) won over critics and fans alike. They have been touring internationally since their third album, ‘Travelling the Face of the Globes‘ hit the shelves in 2009, to great critical acclaim.
Cougar Microbes caught up with Oi Va Voi‘s Josh Breslaw ahead of their sold out London show at Hackney Round Chapel, before the band headed back to the studio to record their fourth album, out early 2014:
CM: Hi Josh, We hear you have a new album due for release early next year, what musical direction are you taking?
JB: Couldn’t say even if we wanted to. We know what kind of sound palette we will be using and we know what new sounds we want to add but you have to leave space to develop things and follow your instincts. You can never be sure exactly where you will end up and that’s what is exciting about playing in a band.
CM: You have a huge following in Turkey, and have expressed your solidarity to the current unrest – does Turkish music influence you in any way?
JB: We were so shocked to see what was happening in Turkey. It made us realize just how many friends we have out there. We were really worried for them and the thousands on the streets. It’s quite rare for a modern band from The UK to use the instrumentation that we do. The violin, and clarinet are very important in Turkey and people out there love the fact that we are a UK band using those instruments.
CM: been a while since your last London show, what are you most looking forward to about playing at home again?
JB: We spend so much time playing abroad and it’s easy for our OI VA VOI experience to become separated from our home lives with our friends and family. It’s almost like a secret life, it can get disconnected. It’s great to be able to share it with them here in our home in London. We are also looking forward to playing new music that has never been played live before, music that we haven’t even recorded yet, we don’t normally do things that way round.
CM: We really like your new track, ‘Strangers‘ – what inspires you, and how do you write your music as a group?
JB: Our writing process is quite a long one and there isn’t really a formula that we could explain. If we could explain it, it would probably mean that the music we were making could be made by anyone. We have unique players and a fairly unique mix of instruments for a contemporary band. We stay focused on our sound and the stories we want to tell and try not to get influenced by the latest thing. We are always searching for a timeless sound.