Oxo 86 is a german band which sounds precisely the way I want a german band to sound….They have been interviewed by me now and this was done in november 2014.
Please tell me a little bit history of the group?
-The band was found in the middle of the nineties. During that time, Willi and Runkel already played there. After some small changes, Willi began singing and Robert joined the band and the trumpet was added. For many years, that was the stable formation, except that every few years, the guitar player changed. So also in 2007 or 2008, I believe, when Markus joint. In 2011, I replaced the former trumpet player. All in all, 6 Albums, One EP and and a split were released.
Please tell me a little about every member in the group right now, age, family, work, interests and something bad about everyone?
-Willi is our singer. He is, together with Runkel, one of the original founding members of Oxo 86. Due to his charisma and eloquence, he clearly is the most interesting member of the Band. He has plenty of children and is a teacher. Runkel plays the bass. He is the oldest of the Oxos. Because of his wisdom and his experience, you can say that he is the most interesting of the Oxos .He has less children then Willi, but still enough. He works as ergotherapist. Robert, the drummer, is not a founding member, but joined Oxo in the 90ies. He really is the most interesting member of Oxo, because of his interesting career background and expertise in all kinds of music and percussions. His age is in the middle between the old guys and the fresh and handsome new members, Markus and me. He has less children than Runkel or Willi, but still more than the German average is. He is working as an educator. Markus is the guitar player. Still in his twenties, he is clearly the interesting member of Oxo 86, because of his sheer sex-appeal. He also is a father, but has less children than Willi, Runkel and Robert. He is studying and working as highly specialized electrical technician. Chris is the trumpet player. He is the newest and also the youngest member of the band. You could say that he is the most interesting member of Oxo 86, because of his youth and his excellent trumpet playing. He has no children and therefore less than Willi, Runkel, Robert and Markus. Oh, and that's me.
Something bad about everyone? That's mean... I tell you some things, but not which one is about which member. One is a bit grumpy, the next one keeps annoyingly waking the others early in the morning, one keeps farting all the time, one is moody and one is a bit unreliable.
Where does the name Oxo 86 comes from and does it have any deeper meaning?
-Way back, when Oxo 86 was founded, there was a crazy guy. And he apparently talked strange stuff and did weird things. And he was waiting for the time-travel into the year 86. And from all the stuff he said and did, the band name was created.
Your influences are a little bit different punk, both ska and streetpunk? Am I right??
-Yes, you are right. That are our biggest influences. And these are also the influences, we have more or less in common. But besides that, everyone is influenced by other styles as well. Runkel listens a lot to old school punk, Robert to Ami punk, Willi to streetpunk and children songs, Markus to Rock music and Roland Kaiser (a german Schlager singer) and I to Reggae and Hip Hop.
What´s the best thing with playing live?
-The best thing about playing live is, for me, to go on a trip with some of your best friends, drink a lot, play a gig and meet a lot of interesting people.
And where is best to play?
-Of course, it is awesome to play a big show at a festival. But it is also great to play a gig at a little club, where you have a committed crew supporting you through the evening. But one of every years highlights is the concert we play every year at the 23rd of december, for our friends and families at home.
How is it to play this sort of music in Germany? Is the scene big?
-In some areas, the scene is bigger, in some it is smaller. But it is always fun. We also have a few bigger festivals, every year. With some thousand people. I personally love them. Some guys, you meet every year at the festival. So it is always like some kind of a reunion.
How would you describe your music in three words?
-Ska, Punk, Oi.
What does punk mean to you, is it only a word or is it a lifestyle?
-For me, personally, "Punk" is far more than a word and something different than a lifestyle. I think, it is mainly a state of mind, an attitude. The way, you go through your life. Most the time, it goes together with a certain style of music and clothing. But in my opinion, it is possible to be some kind of "punk", while you wear a suit and don't even like punk music.
How do you see on downloading, mp3 and that stuff?
-I personally think it is great. For example, when I buy a new vinyl LP, I still want to have the new music portable with me. Nowadays, you just get a mp3-Code with your LP and the problem is solved. It can also be a good way of distribution for little bands, that can not afford to produce CDs or LPs but still want to sell their album. I doubt that people invest less money in music than before it became so digital. If an album is great, I want to own an original copy and will go and buy it, even if I had a copy from a friend. And even if you sell less albums - your music get further distributed, more people know your music and in the and, maybe a bigger audience shows up at your gig and you sell more merch. Who knows...
How is it to live in Germany now? Politically?
-Let's be honest, it is great. Compared to a lot of other countries, we really can consider ourselves lucky. We lead comfortable lives, have healthcare, social security and are not threatened by war. Sure, a lot of things I would like to be very different. For example, I am not really a fan of our conservative government and many of their decisions but I really consider that to be luxury-problems.
Is there any good bands from Germany now? How is it in your hometown?
-Are you kidding me? There is a bunch of great bands from around here! For example, The Beatsteaks are a great rock band and Seeed is a fantastic reggae-ska-dancehall-hiphop-band, both from Berlin! You should definitively check them out! There are also pretty good punk- and oi bands from Germany. Like Wizo, Dritte Wahl, Zaunpfahl, Berliner Weisse, Volxsturm and many, many more. Just come over to the next festival and check some of them out!
What do you know about Sweden?
-"My heart beats for you, the yellow and the blue!". Oh, and there's a song from a German band, "Jag älskar sverige!". But the last time I went to Sweden myself was 13 years ago.
Have you heard any good bands from Sweden?
-Who hasn't heard ABBA? And of course Perkele, the Bones, Johnossi and Royal Republic.
Your lyrics, who does them and what influences you?
-Willi writes the lyrics. Thereby, he is influenced by the daily life. Hence, he sings about the struggles of the working class, love and alcohol and party.
Is there any subject that you never will write anything about?
-Well, of course we would never make a song if we did not totally support the statement. Despite that I don't believe there's a topic we would desperately avoid.
Politic and music, does it goes hand in hand?
-I would say yes. Of course does not every song transports a political statement and some bands even claim to be not politic (or at least try), but songs can be great carriers for ideas, ideals and slogans. Just think about songs like London's Calling. Or the songs from the peace-movement. Or even "Le nozze di Figaro", at it's time a really rebellious piece.
Best political band/artist?
-Uff. That's a tough question. Personally, I like the messages of Rise Against and Anti-Flag.
Do you think that music(lyrics and so on) can change anyones life, I mean people who listens to music?
-Yeah, I really believe that. Just think about all the people who really are involved. All the musicians, the technicians, the people who organize the shows and the people who really dedicate their lives and open a studio or a store. I, for example, got to know ska-music and then started thinking, that I should play in a band. And now, music is one of the most important parts of my live. In a song, you can hear an idea of witch you have never heard before. Also, music can often help and support. Sometimes it just helps to listen to a sad love song. Or an energetic song when you want to get your ass up and do something.
How came up with the brilliant idea with the children in the choir on If the kids are United-ep??
-I think that idea came from Willi, who also wrote these songs. Some of his children are singing in the choir. Last December, when we played the concert on the 23rd of December in Bernau, we played all these songs with the children live. It was really fun!
How much do you sell of a record with Oxo 86?
-I really don't know the numbers. Not only that we sell them at our shows, a friend of ours runs an onlineshop and a few stores and mailorders sell them, too. But we sell quite a few.
Please tell me a funny thing which have happened during your career and under some gig?
-My third concert with Oxo 86, was in Bernau, the hometown of the band. I was really nervous and waiting for someone to dislike me, just because I am not Veronica (who played the trumpet before I did). And then there in Bernau, the night before Christmas, 4 guys ran onto the stage during our first song. I thought "Okay, that's it, they'll punch you." But they had made little trumpets out of wood and danced around me, acting as if they would play trumpet. That was really funny. And this summer, we actually played in front of an empty tent. Only 10 people were inside, at maximum. A really funny guy had dropped a smoke-bomb. As a result, everyone left the tent, leaving us with tears in the eyes and coughing on stage. Later that evening, Willi and Robert left the festival, Runkel, Markus and me got seriously drunk and tried to give an interview. I haven't heard about that one til today, I think we only talked crap.
How does your audience look like? Which people do you miss on your concerts?
-Our audience looks like it has a great time. Mostly people from the scene. Punks, skins, Reenes... Anything you can find on a punk- and ska-festival. But there are always also some older and some "normal" looking people. I think it is a very funny mixture of people at our shows.
Please rank your five favorite records, five favoriteconcerts and five most important things in life?
-I can't really do that. I can name five of eacht, but since they are partly completely different, I can not really rank them. Also, I fear that I forget one. Records: Babylove and the van Dangos - Let it come, let it go Jaya the Cat - The New International Sound Of Hedonism NOFX - The Decline The Hirsch Effekt - Holon : Hiberno Against Me - As the Eternal Cowboy Blink 182 - Enema of the State
Shows: Seeed at the Wuhlheide, 2014 Rise Against at the Columbiahalle, 2013 (I think) Jaya the Cat at the Lido, 2014 Beatsteaks at the Huxley's, 2011 NOFX and Ska-P at the Vainstream Rockfest, 2010 in Münster
Important things in life: Music, family and close friends, sleep, eating and drinking.
Is it boring with interviews? Which is the most stupid question you ever have got??
-I am not bored with interviews. But I just have given something between 5 and 7. I have not been confronted with a really stupid question, yet. I reckon, if the interviewer finds that question worth asking, then it is a valid one... But there are some questions that I do not want to answer or sometimes I don't really know what the interviewer wants from me. And the question I like least is "Where do you like playing the most?" or "Which audience is the best?".
First last and most expensive record bought?
-I am not sure about the first one. A lot of records I got as birthday or christmas presents. And since older brother had many records, I just listened to his records. But I think it was either "Wir sind Helden", a german pop band or The Rasmus - Dead Letters. The most expensive was "Holon : Anamesis" from "The Hirsch Effekt" on two LPs for 19 €. But the used crowd-funding for financing the production and I threw in 20 more bucks. Therefore, I was invited into the recording studio, but I knew that I could not make it on that day. Or maybe it was the BYO Split Series Volume III NOFX and Rancid. I did not pay for this one, gave it to me for puking in my car. So I don't know for which I paid the higher price. About the last one, I would like to lie. Then it was "Naked", the new Album from Buster Shuffle. (Honestly, I bought a record of a Rapper from Berlin afterwards.)
Future plans for the band?
-Well right now, we are preparing to record a acoustic album. That is going to be great. Old songs, new arranged, different instruments and even new brand new stuff. So you should stay tuned!
-My plans? I'm will finish my academic studies. And then, I have some plans for making music, with some other guys, as well. But that won't affect my involvement with Oxo 86.
Something to add?
-Peanut butter. You can add that to basically anything.