Kuba Oms plays the Canoe Brewpub (450 Swift St.) on Friday. Tickets are $5. Doors are at 9 p.m. He also plays the Ageless Living Expo and Gala on Saturday at Crystal Gardens. Tickets are $22.50. Show is at 8 p.m.
Kuba Oms has been on the verge of a major musical breakthrough numerous times over his career, only to have his plans derailed before anything concrete could come about.
In some ways, the Victoria native is glad stardom didn’t arrive years ago. “If I was striving to be famous today, I wouldn’t be able to keep on going,” Oms said. “It isn’t my motivation nowadays.”
When he was younger, music for Oms was about having fun. Moving beyond that and finding true musical inspiration was a big part of growing up, he said. Today, he’s happier now than he has ever been during his 20-year career.
Electrolove played a big role in that transition. Oms wrote the 2011 hit to unite the dance floor, which it did in large numbers thanks to more than 100 radio stations across Canada that have spun the track.
Released as a one-off two years after How Much Time, his solo debut, Electrolove represented a career rebirth for Oms, who had been at the helm of local collective Velvet for upwards of 15 years. Velvet hinted at a dance-friendly direction on occasion, though it was never fully explored in the same way it was on Electrolove. The success of the song took Oms to new heights, creatively and commercially, a feat he is eager to repeat with his forthcoming second album, ADHD.
Oms has spent the better part of two years working on ADHD, and put many of his other projects on hold — including a popular residency at Darcy’s Pub — to make sure he got every detail right. “We’ve been pretty much focused on getting this album done,” Oms said of the process.
“Now that it’s done, it’s time to start playing again.”
He will get that opportunity twice prior to ADHD’s official release on March 25.
Oms is playing the Canoe Brewpub on Friday and Crystal Gardens on Saturday in support of the album, which is being made available digitally on March 4 through kubaoms.com.
Oms, who currently splits his time between Victoria and Vancouver, joined together with Rotary Clubs of B.C. for a pre-sale promotion that sent 50 per cent of advance sales to Rotary youth leadership programs. Electrolove opened some doors for Oms, and he was more than happy to give a little back to his community.
His life will become more hectic in the weeks ahead, once ADHD (which was produced in part by Juno Award-winning Victoria producer Joby Baker) is in stores and on the radio. After years of stops and starts, Oms is ready for a new challenge.
“What we’d love to do is get on the road and tour. In a perfect world, and if all the ducks line up, I’d tour for two years straight. I know it’s a lot of work but I would do it. And I would love it.”
What made you further the direction of Electrolove on ADHD?
To do something on a more pop and commercial level was interesting. It has been fun. I had never really done that before.
Did having Joby Baker on board help in that regard?
Everyone knows him from his roots stuff with the Bills and Alex Cuba, but his intuitive funk and soul chops are second to none. He played drums, bass and keys; on some songs, he was the band.
What’s the story behind the title, ADHD?
During the recording of this album, I realized I have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. But considering the album is varied, and bounces all over the place, and is not focused on one streamlined sound, I think the title fit.
Did that diagnosis surprise you?
A lot of things make sense now. It was almost a relief. A lot of people have it, to varying degrees. I remember as a kid, my mom used to always think I had it, when it was called hyperactivity.
Is there a way to harness that in your line of work?
I either have a hard time concentrating on one thing for any length of time, or I have the ability to concentrate on it something to the point it is freaky. But I know that it is conducive to creativity. The creative process is a really strange thing. My way of doing things is to let it come, and when it comes, respect it and roll with it.
You’re using it to your advantage, it sounds like.
I didn’t go on medication. But I am retraining myself so that I don’t repeat the habits I have done for so long. If you are organized, you won’t get scattered.
Has your music changed as result?
The music doesn’t define me. It’s not who I am. A lot of people think that because I’ve done it for so long, this is who I am. It’s just what I do. That’s important.
So, if it ended today you would be OK with that?
What keeps me going is that it is still a lot of fun. But there are a lot of things that are more important to me than music, and those are who I really am as a human being. I don’t plan on quitting, but if I have that ability to feel that [I could quit], and be OK with it, that is empowering.