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City Oh Sigh

City Oh Sigh

Wednesday 20th April, 2011 10:38AM

Tell us the tale behind your intriguing band name City Oh Sigh?

I’m not completely sure how the name came about. I was living in London when I started writing my own music. A *sigh* seemed to sum up how I was feeling about the place at the time. I’m also a sucker for the way words sound and alliteration, which explains why the EP is called “Like A Light”.

We thought about finding a new name, as City Oh Sigh isn’t very radio friendly and people keep asking us how to spell it, but somehow the name suits our music and we couldn’t find anything else that felt quite right.

How did you get together?

We’ve been friends for ages and had played music together before in different contexts. Before I’d even come back to NZ, Catherine had already booked us a gig at Wellington Ladyfest ’09. Not long after I got back, we very hastily added instrumentation and put a set together. It’s amazing what you achieve under a bit of pressure!

You're from Wellington - how big a part does the city play in your musical style? If none at all, do you strive to find influence elsewhere?

We don’t feel that Wellington has really influenced our musical style, but pinpointing our influences gathered from elsewhere is kind of hard. I guess we tend to look at a wide range of artists and take little things from them all. For example, listening to Arthur Russell has helped me explore sounds on the cello and Nina Nastasia has inspired us to think outside the square in terms instrumentation.

There seems to be a rather charming link between your music and your whimsical aesthetic - how important is this connection/or is it accidental?

Yeah, it’s really important to us that our images work with our music in forming our identity. You’d be surprised how serious a process it is to look so whimsical though.

Where has been your most memorable gig?

At the beginning of last year, we got a support slot for The Books and Camera Obscura. A week before that I smashed a finger very badly in a really heavy car boot lid. It was pretty gross, like a squished tomato. I played the cello with only three digits, a bandaged middle digit stuck up in the air, giving everyone in the audience the finger.

What artists are you excited about now?

We’re still buzzing from the recent Sufijan Stevens show.

What music would you prefer to hear a lot less of?

Hmm. I guess we don’t have Beiber fever…

Any guilty pleasures?

Beyoncé. Don’t tell anyone.

How involved are you in the design/visual aspect of your music/image?

We have some very talented friends. We give a little bit of direction, but they seem to know exactly what we’re after.


What can we expect from one of your live performances?

A quiet and transfixed audience.

Where do you find most of your inspiration from?

Breaking up with boyfriends, crying in my room by myself, binge eating, gazing into empty space… just kidding! Actually it’s little bits and pieces from life, other peoples’ stories, books and poems, add a bit of fiction and collage it all together.

Biggest misconception people might form about you...?

Thinking we’re twee.

Finish this sentence: The state of NZ music is...

Doing well overseas these days. I hope it continues to flourish.

Hayley Koorts


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