7” Survey: Omhouse

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Every edition of this season’s Long Winter, the first 350 guests through the doors at The Great Hall will receive a free split seven-inch from Scion Sessions, each side featuring a song from one of the night’s featured artists. To compliment the releases, we’ll issue a seven-part questionnaire to each of the artists involved, giving the subjects an inch (about 85 words) of space to answer each of our questions.

The December instalment of the Scion Sessions Split 7” Series features a track each from Milk Lines and Omhouse. In this questionnaire with Omhouse, Steven Foster talks about the solo project’s relationship to a five-mile hike through Texas, waxes supernatural on the magical rock winds of Reykjavik, and reveals his penchant for NeoCitran knock offs. Read the full questionnaire below.

Long Winter: Who are you and how did Omhouse come to be? Steven Foster: My name's Steven Foster, and here's how I started Omhouse: After playing SXSW with Doldrums last year, our van, Sheeba, broke down. I had to hike the five miles to Greenville, TX to get on a 40-hour long Greyhound trip back to Toronto, and I had no phone, no music, no books, no socks, no money... just a broken laptop and the echoes of a hundred crazy bands bouncing around my head. So I passed the time talking to jailbirds in the smoking pits of America's miserable bus terminals and dreaming up ideas for a new solo record. When I got back to Toronto I locked myself in my basement and made the Omhouse EP.

LW: How about “All The Way” – what inspired that? SF: “All the Way” happened when I was sitting around listening to THOMAS's Such Is Your Triumph EP (one of my favourite records). I love the way the guitar sounds on the first song, “Triumph,” so I started chopping it up and rearranging it until it sounded like something totally different. Lyrically the song is inspired by the feeling of being far, far away from where you want to be, and resorting to your imagination to bring you as close as you can to that place.

LW: For lots of listeners, this will be their first point of access to Omhouse's music. Where does this song fit into the rest of your catalog? SF: Omhouse is a two-faced beast. It’s part of my Gemini vibe I guess. Some of the music is laptop-y and some is guitar-y. When I make the electronic stuff it’s usually based on samples, chopping them up and building chord progressions. I’m often working on tour, so I play the beats on my computer keyboard. (I know USB controllers exist, but I keep breaking them!) One thing I love about making music with software is that so many people I know have serious skills, and I’ve learned millions of sweet tricks from a lot of great producers, including Doldrums, who’s playing this Long Winter show as well.

LW: Once they’re turned on to this, what releases (songs, EPs, albums, or otherwise) should people pursue as logical next steps to getting to know your music? SF: They should listen to the Omhouse EP I released last year. It’s a PWYC download and it’s also out on cassette on a new label called Legwarmer Records. The production is really sketchy ’cause I did it all myself in a mould-infested hexagon-shaped basement shithole of a recording studio. I can still smell the stench of rotting cardboard everytime we play those songs. Anyway... that’s what they should listen to while we get ready to release the first full-length in the spring.

LW: When you think of winter, what’s a memory that stands out for you? SF: Once upon a time I was in Reykjavik driving around with a guy who claimed to have been the first person in Iceland to do body piercings. He drove us out to the countryside and showed us a huge rock. I went up to the top of the rock and leaned backwards into the wind. The wind was so strong it held me up! I’ve never felt so euphoric in my entire life. Everything else in my life is shit compared to that one magical moment.

LW: How do you survive winters in Toronto? SF: Lipchap, Dovercourt chess club, Holy Oak nights, medical documentaries, thinking about how at least it’s colder in Iceland and Winnipeg and in a lake... recreational use of NeoCitran (or the no-name brand version, more realistically), chess.com, going crazy and shaving my head, wishing EA sports made a figure skating game, creamy borscht, Maddy’s famous themed parties (still can’t believe I missed the ‘Che Guevara Toga’ party the other weekend, fuck), eating perogies with a rotating lineup of four different kinds of mustard... watching hockey at Tall Boys and yelling random clichés at the screen and thus bonding with the regulars.

LW: What are you most looking forward to for the December edition of Long Winter? SF: I am looking forward to the melting faces of all the janks and sleams as Doldrums takes to the main stage at midnight. The bouncing bodies of the young and old as Hooded Fang smears their jam on everyone’s toast. The glow in the eyes of the hypnotized as Beliefs cast their warm spells. And the beer and the hummus. And the sound of the last beer cup being swept away in the early morning. And wearing my new plaid ankle-length dress and my new turtle neck.