An interview with Andy Oppenheimer From Oppenheimer Analysis (By Mr. Ori Sindel)
Updated: Feb 9
(Disclaimer: The guest posts do not necessarily align with Philosocom's manager, Mr. Tomasio Rubinshtein's beliefs, thoughts, or feelings. The point of guest posts is to allow a wide range of narratives from a wide range of people. To apply for a guest post of your own, please send your request to firstname.lastname@example.org)
This is a short interview of mine with, discussing the lyrics of OPPENHEIMER ANALYSIS, one of my all time favourite musical projects.
S: Good afternoon Andy Orion Oppenheimer. I have always been curious about the general meaning of the song "Modern Wonder". Additionally, I am wondering what the modern wonder mentioned in the song is.
O: "‘Modern Wonder’ was a 1930s ‘boy’s’ popular science magazine (paper not glossy). I had a collection of the magazines given to me by my boss when I worked at Omni Magazine, around the time Martin Lloyd and I formed Oppenheimer Analysis in 1981. The song is about a time traveller and his lover who get separated and propelled into the future, the ‘late atomic age turning into chronic rage’ – and it’s devastation all round… “here we lie in disarray surrounded by the present day”.
“Should we tell them what we know” – means that we are living in the future of atomic destruction, so do we tell the people of the past what we know about the terrible future?"
O: I love that song. Martin played a favourite instrument of mine – a twelve string guitar – on the track. I think it was in the first ‘New Mexico’ collection on cassette tape."
S: In your opinion, did the song "Cold War" happen to be some kind of a precise guess for our present events? After most of us “thought it was over”?
O: "It was in part a warning for the time we were living in then – 1982, the height of the early 1980s Cold War – but from the point of view of as the Oppenheimer of history (now immortalised in THAT film) during the 1950s Cold War. He was ousted from government circles during the Cold War McCarthy witch hunt phase, in 1954 - having built the atomic bomb – partly because he warned of the dangers of a nuclear arms race - and opposed the development of the H-bomb.
“We thought it was over” refers to the end of World War II, we thought it was over… (I am singing as the historical Oppenheimer) - “warn you of the danger I’ve got to get a hold”
“Your blood runs cold”
“'When you think you only did what you were told'” – guilt from building the bomb but under military oversight"
S: Who are the devil's dancers, and what does the devil symbolise in the song?
O: "I took the phrase from one of the atomic scientists who said building the bomb was dancing with the Devil.
"I didn’t refer to the bomb specifically, just ‘the future’s here said the pioneer’ – and turned it into a catchy bunch of lyrics vaguely about scientists being “The Devil’s Dancers”. Martin’s arrangement and our composition of the tune turned it into a dance track.
"Never in my/our wildest dreams did we expect this song to get so much exposure later in the Internet era. Had we got a recording contract back in 1982 this song would probably have charted… it’s been covered and even featured in a Miss World contest and Lord knows what else…
"Yet it isn’t my personal best, by a long way – I’ve done some great songs since after Martin died (in 2013). Mostly with Mahk Rumbae (Oppenheimer MkII – The Presence of the Abnormal, Out in the Field) and I am still composing songs – there’s a stunning album coming out this autumn (Songs From A Constellation) with Crystalline Stricture on TONN Recordings.
"But The Devil’s Dancers so catchy that I guess it just caught on among electro club DJs and the ‘collectors’ of early synth pop music."
S: Who is the “HE” referred to in “Behind the Shades”?
O: "I had to really think hard about this one! It was the first song Martin and I did. I based it on The Man Who Fell to Earth. I had that total Bowie look when we first got together.
"I think that the ‘he’ and ‘him’ is some American corporate giant who doesn’t core about me or anyone else… he’s the one with the real power, not me. He will bring me down. “I don’t care whose empire it is, I know that I can’t see him behind the shades… And he’ll never see me…Or bother to care who I am”"