"The thing I love about David Lynch is, his films feel frightening and debauched but in very lush landscape. Like, wow this is horrendous but oh, I love it," says Katherine Mills Rymer. And as one half of moody electro-pop duo OOFJ, I can’t help but surmise that their music exists in that same Lynchian world of psychologically penetrating and haunting bizarreness, yet in the most enticingly exquisite way.
Formed with maestro of sound Jenno Bjørnkjær, OOFJ’s (pronounced O of J) music transports you into a darkly erotic and mysteriously evocative world, with a wink to the cinematic. The LA-based duo sound like what would happen if Reims Cathdral-era Nico and Angelo Badalamenti collaborated to give you a synth-fueled and down-tempo yet jazzy record—perfect for cold moonless nights venturing into the unknown. "The album’s quite dark in an immersive way," says Katherine. "It’s strange to be releasing it in spring," she said, speaking to the album’s chilly vocals and cold wave tones.
But after having moved to Los Angeles, Jenno and Katherine traveled to South Africa when her father died suddenly. While there, they began creating their debut album Disco to Die To, recording the first track in her brother’s upstairs bedroom. Eventually Jenno left to finish the rest of the album with the Prague Symphony Orchestra, while Katherine stayed home and recorded the vocals from her bed. The result is a hypnotic and alluring collection of songs that slither into your brain waves and bury deep into your nerves. "We’re into light and tone and mental landscape," says Katherine, "Jenno is like a chilled out Danish viking, that sort of vibe, and a musical geek as well. So he brings the light and tone and I bring the angst emotional bits." Together, they play out like a maudlin fantasy where danger lurks around every corner.
Describing the sound of the album abstractly, Katherine went on to say, "this is the kind of music I’d listen to before I go out on my own and am kind of depressed—but I’m still going to go out, and I look great. It’s sad and I’m alone, but I still look great and maybe I’m crying a bit but still cool and wearing a cool coat and then you just walk down the street." And with the distinctly nighttime nature of the record, she also told me about a Bergman documentary she’d watched recently in which someone asked him why all of his films take place at night or out of the sun, to which he responded: "Well, I don’t think anything good has ever happened to me in the daylight." It was a quote that—rightfully so—struck her, saying, "That’s when the magical things in life happen. It’s like, okay cool I can go have a walk in the park, but it never looks as wonderful as when there’s all those great lights at night."
And today, it’s our pleasure to premiere the stream of their new album Disco to Die To off Clapyouclapme, the unique conceptual label they created that not only releases music but collaborates with visual artists around the world. So black the windows, throw on something slinky, and take a listen to OOFJ’s symphonic and somberly fantastic album.