Brooklyn’s genre-blending electro pop collective Operator Music Band – at the heart of which resides talented musicians Dara Hirsch and Jared Hiller – recently premiered their music video for “EE Unsh” (see: below), and its one helluvan eye opening experience. Their ethereal sound coupled with quirky, vibrant visuals draw you in, honing in on the haunting vocals that fill the sound space. We got a few minutes with Jared and Dara, and here’s what came of it.
What was the first song or album you remember listening to, and who introduced it to you?
Jared: I had older siblings in the early 90’s who introduced me to a lot of music coming out at that time. Besides the usual grunge stuff, my sister was into electronic bands like Depeche Mode and INXS. We used to pool our money and then she would go to Sam Goody, pick out somethings we might like and then dub them so we both had copies. One album in particular that had a pretty big influence on me was Midnight Oil’s “Earth and Sun and Moon” which basically solidified them as the first band I ever thought of as my own.
Dara: Well…as far as I can remember, my first concert was James Taylor and the first CD that I bought was Nelly’s Country Grammar.
Does that song or album have any bearing on your sound now?
Jared: Hard to say. Maybe not directly musically, but they were a band that prioritized a message without seeming pretentious and that goes a long way with me.
Was there a defining moment when you realized you wanted to pursue music in your life?
Jared: At this point I don’t really have any other choice, haha
Dara: I guess when I registered to be an audio production major in college.
What is the official origin story of Operator Music Band?
Jared: The short version takes place in my basement apartment in 2014 hanging with our friends Carlos and Becca (from Ava Luna, a band we adore). Dara and I had already been discussing putting a band together when I put on PENG! and we kind of looked at each other and we were like “something like this!”
You guys have a very unique, futuristic sound. Is this something you went into the project intending to create, or is it something that just kind of happened naturally?
Jared: There was definitely a short list of aesthetics we wanted to touch upon, both musically, visually and culturally. I think ultimately we are a pretty post-modern band in the sense we are knitting a pastiche of established sounds. We do put our own spin on it, but it comes down to good cultural curation.
Dara: Yes, it was all quite intentional. As for what it will turn into or how it will solidify, who knows?
You recently premiered the music video for your track “EE Unsh”. Where did the idea for the video come from? Do you have any interesting/fun anecdotes from production?
Dara: The first wave of inspiration came from a parking lot of school busses and a mansion in Lawrence, NY. But this project (not unlike most) became something totally different, and I’m glad it did. The second wave came from Oskar Schlemmer’s Triadisches Ballett which I accidentally/coincidentally watched for the first time during the earlier stages of the planning process.
I loved working with Jared’s nieces and nephew (the “Little Operators”) for this video. Jordan (Jared’s brother) helped so muchwith gear and logistics (the video was shot on his camera- THANK YOU, JORDAN). Jared’s nephew Jack said he wants to learn play bass or guitar after shooting this video!
Do you think being located in Brooklyn has influenced your sound at all?
Jared: Dara and I are both native New Yorkers so Brooklyn isn’t too unfamiliar to us. I do feel influenced by my connection to Brooklyn as it was where my family immigrated to, but I don’t know how directly it has effected the type of music I make.
Dara: Most of the time I try to pull creativity from the exact opposite of what emotions arise living here, or at least how I internalize those emotions.
Do you have a favorite track off Puzzlephonics I & II, or one you prefer to play live?
Jared: They all kind of have their place and appropriate uses. It was my responsibility to build set lists every night of tour and I never felt limited with the variables. Certain songs really bring us together though, Activite in particular. It’s kind of silly but it’s also a banger.
Dara: ZED LOGIC.
How important is facial hair to the advancement of society?
Jared: Facial hair is a tool of the patriarchy.
Who is your favorite super villain, and why?
Jared: As the resident comic obsessive, I tend to learn towards villains who are more conflicted. The Hood is kind of a modern character I think embodies that. Marvel is also doing some interesting stuff with Dr. Doom in the comics, having him kind of try to atone for his evil ways.
You deal with primary colors in recent press photos. Are you averse to secondary and tertiary elements of the color wheel?
Dara: Mostly! I did buy a green shirt the other day, though…change may be in my midst.
Who would you collaborate with if you could, and what would you create together?
Dara: Deerhoof and Nick Cave (the performance artist, not the musician. No offense to the musician, though). Let me schedule a meeting with them and get back to you.
Jared: Nobody would be able to tolerate me long enough for anything to come out of this collaboration.
What would be on your ultimate rider list?
Dara: An iso-booth filled with lemons. Coffee would be good too. And Vintage seltzer!
Jared: Coconut Water and a Sega Genesis
Dogs or cats? Substantiate your claim.
Jared: I grew up with cats, but I am an equal opportunity snuggler.
Dara: My dad and I both hated cats. When I met Jared’s cat, Kimmy, I fell in love immediately. When my dad met Jared’s cat, she vomited at his feet.
*You can see said cat starring in another one of our videos below.
What’s the coolest tattoo you’ve ever seen?
Jared: Dara and I both have no tattoos, but our drummer Jon likes to “blast himself with ink”. He tends to like traditional tattoos.
What’s down the funnel for you in 2017?
Jared: We are in the process of sifting through demos for LP2 right now. We have a nice collection of ideas but they need to be fleshed out. We are going to make it out to the west coast some time in the fall and hopefully do some dates up north, since we haven’t been to the New England area (and beyond) yet.
Anything else you’d like to add?
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Keep up with Operator Music Band here. Check out their catalog now.