Tune in each week as The Temple News highlights a touring band that has made its mark on the city.
It started in a phone conversation between Josh Lambert and a member of his previous band. In an effort to decide on their group’s name, the two combined random words, and eventually, “The Octopus Project” was suggested. The name was immediately discarded, though, despite Lambert’s fondness for it. When the time came to name Lambert’s new band, the members agreed that the title resonated with their sound, and The Octopus Project was born.
Since 1999, this Austin, Texas-based band has been perfecting its experimental sound. The Octopus Project’s instrumental music is often compared to bands like Holy F— and Ratatat, but the band’s sound and stage presence is unlike any others’.
“We’re all over the place,” guitarist, bassist and keyboardist Lambert said. “We’re pretty much inspired by anything we can get our hands on.”
Alongside Lambert are band members Toto Miranda, who plays drums, guitar and bass, Ryan Figg, who plays guitar, bass and keyboards, and Yvonne Lambert, who rounds out the band with guitar, keyboard and glockenspiel. Lambert said The Octopus Project is compared to nearly every instrumental band.
“We’re generally just compared to a band we might like but don’t think we sound like at all,” Lambert said.
The band started playing 3 a.m. shows in Austin clubs. The band’s big break happened after a dedicated fan entered The Octopus Project in a MySpace contest. The band won and was offered to play the 2006 Coachella Music and Arts Festival in Indio, Calif.
“We only met [the fan] after the festival when they went to one of our shows and told us,” Lambert said. “It was awesome to find out, and I haven’t seen them since then.”
The band’s shows are intended to give concert-goers a full experience through the use of sound, ideas, vision and texture. In the band members’ earliest performances, psychedelic films played in the background as they switched instruments with each other during songs.
“We all play everything so it’s a fun opportunity to mix things up,” Lambert said.
The band recently received critical acclaim through the live recording of its latest album, “Hexadecagon.” The performance was also rated one of the Top 5 performances of the South By Southwest Festival by USA Today.
The Octopus Project’s members possess creative abilities that go beyond their musical abilities. Yvonne Lambert has her own collection of handmade stuffed animals that are sold at the band’s shows.
“We love to brainstorm, make stuff and draw weird things to see what we come up with,” Josh Lambert said.
Danielle Miess can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.