Checking in with Ned Oldham


Ned Oldham released several records with the Anomoanon. With multi-instrumentalist Matty Metcalf, bassist Michael Clem and drummer Brian Caputo, he performs as Old Calf.

What are you working on right now?
I’m just trying to finish the artwork on a Ned Oldham single, or a three-song, 7" EP, coming out on Gold Robot Records. A guy named Kevin Earl Taylor is doing the art and it’s really awesome. I was just on my e-mail, working out the details. I’ve also got Old Calf practice going on. We’re going to try to practice at 9 in the morning tomorrow. We are trying to record an album called Borrow a Horse soon. We just aren’t sure what kind of studio and how we’re going to do it. We might record it ourselves, or we might try to get some cash together and go to a studio.

Locally, who would you like to collaborate with?
I’ve collaborated with all kinds of great people in town already. I’ve been playing some with David Baker Benson. I don’t think I’ve played his last two shows, but I’ve played a couple shows with him in the last two months. The last time I was playing electric guitar and sitting next to Adam Smith, whom I’d never met, but he was playing synthesizer of some sort. I wouldn’t say we’ve collaborated, but it might be fun to do some other stuff.

What music have you been listening to lately?
I have The Fall’s Slates out on the record pile now. I listen to WTJU. I like the Early Music show, I like Dominic DeVito’s show, I like Danny Shea’s show, I like Tyler Magill’s show. I dwell on it ever so slightly right now because I’ve been hearing from some DJs that they’re being threatened with forced rotation. Having lived in Birmingham, Alabama, and Baltimore, Maryland, for seven years each before I moved back here years ago, I really missed, and really would miss, WTJU. I can’t believe how awesome it is compared to what passes for college radio and noncommercial radio. Because a lot of those stations play what they’re told to play, and they play the same songs. Even if they play some good independent music, they are not interesting.

What is your first childhood memory of an artistic experience?
I suppose listening to records. Buying 7" singles at Ayr-Way, which later morphed into Target. They used to sell records, and I’d buy KISS and Queen singles there, and listen to rock radio. Later on, in my grandmother’s house, there were some unused instruments, a mandolin and guitar, both with just a couple strings each, and I remember learning, like, “Sunshine of Your Love” on a two-string mandolin and just messing around with the way two strings worked.

If you’re cooking a meal for yourself, what do you make?
If I’m here, cooking for myself, tenderloin tips.

What piece of public art do you wish were in your private collection?
Anything by Jim Denevan. He works with sand and turf, large-scale things. That’d be really awesome to own.

If you could have dinner with any person, living or dead, who and why?
I’d like to have dinner with my great-grandfather. He was a bad man, and I’d be very interested to see what kind of person he was, in person.

Outside of your medium, who is your favorite artist?
Albrecht Dürer. I love visual art and I appreciate all types of visual art, but for me, his amazing draftsmanship and the insane quality of his drawings, his engravings and woodcuts—I can look at them endlessly. There’s always something new to find in them, and I think, while I can appreciate many pieces of abstract art, it ain’t there unless you can do representational art with astonishing ability. That’s what I love about Dürer. I’ve loved him since I was a fourth-grader, and I’m always finding new things in his work.

What’s your favorite hidden place?
The beaches in Skopelos, the Greek islands in the Aegean Sea.