Portland-based group Ages and Ages are getting ready to release their new choral-pop record Divisionary (coming out this March 25th). Now, what exactly is a Divisionary? Don’t worry, we didn’t have a clue either! In our recent interview with the band’s bassist and vocalist Rob Oberdorfer, we discuss the word, Portlandia, their new video, and the upcoming album.
AMBY: Hi Ages and Ages, welcome to AMBY! Please introduce yourselves to our readers.
Ages and Ages: Hi AMBY! We are Ages and Ages. Actually, in body I’m just Rob from Ages and Ages, but I’m channeling the spirit energies of all 36 people who have ever been part of the band. We play music that involves a lot of singing and hitting stuff with sticks. It’s fun and satisfying to play, and some people really enjoy listening to it too!
AMBY: How would you describe the band in one word?
Ages and Ages: Radpocalypse.
AMBY: Your new album Divisionary comes out in March. What’s the significance behind the title?
Ages and Ages: It’s a word we invented to describe the process of splitting off from destructive influences, in both a personal and a societal sense. It’s about trying to separate reality from the bullshit, and taking a look at the conflict that creates between a conscious person and the superficial culture we live in. It’s also self-referential about the creative process, and all the necessary struggle and conflict that comes up as ideas are nurtured or discarded…anyway, saying, “Divisionary” seems to roll off the tongue easier than the paragraph I just typed, so that stuck.
AMBY: What can fans expect to hear from the LP?
Ages and Ages: Our music! Please return it if you hear something else. Seriously…we’d like people to experience what it felt like to be in the room as the music was being created, with people singing and playing their guts out in front of them. A lot of effort was put into the recording to capture that experience, to invite the listener into our little world.
AMBY: The new video for Divisionary (Do The Right Thing) tells an amazing story. What was the main point you wanted viewers to receive after watching it?
Ages and Ages: It’s about the conflict between that knee-jerk desire for revenge and the more subdued realization that acting it out only continues a hurtful cycle. Of course we all instinctively cheer the little kids on at first, and that’s the expectation the video plays with. It seems like most people get it so far, which has been really gratifying. We had a lot of talented people donate their time and energy to bring that thing to life. A tree fort expert came down from Tacoma and custom built the one in the video just because he liked the band and project. How awesome is that?
AMBY: Does hailing from Portland have an influence on your sound? And if so, how?
Ages and Ages: Not in any conscious way, though there are plenty of great bands from here, and of course a rich local history. Although people pick up on certain bands and try to create some narrative of what Portland is about, I think the real defining quality of great Portland bands is that they aren’t afraid to be unique. In a lot of other cities, the opposite is the norm.
AMBY: I’m not sure if you watch Portlandia or not, but if so, how accurate is the show’s portrayal of the city?
Ages and Ages: Hmm…in the same way that Saturday Night Live’s version of Barack Obama relates to the real thing. They employ a lot of nice people and have fun.
AMBY: What would a movie based on the band be called?
Ages and Ages: It’s already been made: Weekend at Bernies II. Tim Perry (songwriter/ frontman) has actually been dead or three years. This causes all sorts of humorous hijinks in the studio and on the road!
AMBY: Who would you like to be most and least stuck in an elevator with?
Ages and Ages: Most: myself. Least: myself.
AMBY: What was the best release of 2013?
Ages and Ages: I can’t think of any one record…off the top of my head, Typhoon, Emily Wells, Blitzen Trapper, Radiation City, Bibio, and Wild Ones all put out excellet records in 2013.
AMBY: And lastly, what’s something about Ages and Ages that nobody knows yet?
Ages and Ages: We’re all huge Beliebers.
Thank you Ages and Ages, for giving us your answers!
Alicia Atout | @AliciaAtout