If you are a weirdo there is something that the mundane do that is as common as asking your name. They point out that you are weird or quirky, as if you are somehow unaware that you’re weird. I collect puppets and do different voices when I speak. I get it. People make assumptions about you and make generalizations. But when you find people who get it, it is absolutely amazing, like finding your tribe. When I met everyone in Oxymorrons, I felt like they got me, and I got them, it was awesome.
Deanna Soukiasian: Something I know you guys focus on is trying to erase stereotyping and genre defying. What has that been like for you?
Dave Bellevue: That struggle in itself is one of our biggest issues because we don’t fit into a box, and the music industry likes to put you into boxes. Everything for us is an uphill battle and not to mention that if you hear our sound people immediately think we’re white guys.
Kami Bellevue: Or they think we’re from LA or some shit.
DB: Every step we take is literally a sereotype we have to overcome. We hear “Omg I don’t listen to hip hop but I love you guys!”
DS: Is this something you guys struggled with before you started the band?
KB: I was growing up in Jamaica, Queens [New York City], that’s not a natural thing for you to be doing, especially to be doing anything besides hip-hop. I was skateboarding and stuff, listening to Billy Joel and Queen, and in Queens it’s not the normal thing, so we’ve always been kind of outside of the box.
Adam November: I was kind of conflicted growing up between classic rock long haired guitar playing dude who also loved playing basketball and listened to lots of early 2000’s hip hop.
Matty Mayz: I think we all have really interesting backgrounds, like I am a super mutt, so I am like a Greek-Venezuelan-Jew who grew up in a black neighborhood who ended up being a punk kid, ya know what I mean? So fortunately and unfortunately the Oxymorons name is very much branded on each of us in its own kind of story in each way, which is one of the reasons why we work so well together and why the music becomes what it is.
Joe Jordan: I basically took a hiatus from one genre-defying band to join up with another genre defying band. I was basically the kid who used to get teased about my accent ‘cause I’m the only person in my family who speaks this way, I have no idea how it happened. My musical choices kind of go from the heaviest of metal to some jazz, hip-hop. For me it was the contrast of Tupac and Nirvana. I grew up on a lot of 80’s music. I was the kid who would get bullied for having long hair and Chuck Taylor’s, and literally the very next school year everyone would be growing out their braids and wearing Chuck Taylors.
DS: Why do you guys think people need the validation of putting things in certain groups?
KB: Like instead of “This is a table” saying “this is a COFFEE table”. People put things in boxes so they can try and understand it.
DB: People don’t need labels, people were trained, and it’s a social construct. Things are made to be labeled so things can be controlled. That is the only reason you put a label on something. Especially when it comes to genre defying music because music is all sound it’s all sonic things being put together that strikes emotion and makes you feel something so labels help them sell it, labels help separate this kind of person, when in reality we all can listen to it.
MM: There were the scream kids and the post hardcore kids, there were the punk kids and then there were the true punk kids. Just do what you do.
KB: It’s all labels and it’s our structure, like we’re selling something. To be honest, music is a feeling, and it comes from feeling emotions and sound. It’s like trying to sit there and put a label on love. There’s this type of love, and that kind of love.
DS: Do you think people will ever stop?
DB: No. Not now. People have been trained to understand through labeling. If something doesn’t have a label it makes people uncomfortable. What’s funny is that labels don’t teach you how to know something on your own or appreciate it, labels take away critical thinking. You’re not thinking for yourself, a label says, “This is what it is because I tell you this is it”.
AN: The thing with genre is that it takes away responsibility to think about deeply and interact with the music. When you say something is Rock, you don’t think about the elements of the music and the sounds and the moods, how the things are fitting together. When you are faced with something that is really genre-defying you really have to think about “oh what is it about this that I actually like? What are the musicians doing here? What work has been done here?”
DS: Was there a specific moment when you realized who you were and decided to embrace your individuality?
KB: The basis of Oxymorons is wanting to be ourselves no matter what. It’s always been this way. This isn’t something we have miraculously stumbled upon. We are living life being who we are and this is the byproduct of it. We don’t try to change who we are. We’re just like “this is what we like were going to do it” really simple, straight, clean cut, minus the fluff.
MM: All of us are really confident in who we are as individuals you know what I mean? And that not only makes us who we are as people but why this band is what it is. Like, we’re ok with being weird, or not weird, or being geeks or whatever you want to label us as.
DB: And that’s the thing with music, most of the people that we idolize and call icons, they never fit into a box. If you take some of the boxes that they put on music now and the struggles we have now in general, you wouldn’t have David Bowie. You wouldn’t have a lot of these iconic artists because no one would have given them a chance. They don’t sound like anything else.