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The Estonian audio-visual folktronica band OOPUS , which was founded in 2017, won ADM’s Battle of the Bands in 2018 with their debut album Nõidus. OOPUS, who combine rave culture with folklore music, was nominated for two awards at the Estonian folk music awards Etnokulbid 2019: their album was nominated for the Debut Album of the Year award and band member Mari Meentalo for the Musician of the Year award. At the 2020 Estonian Music Awards, OOPUS’s Nõidus was nominated for the Ethno/Folk/Folksy Album of the Year award.

What did your band gain from participating in ADM’s Battle of the Bands?

In short – help with getting started! Considering the short history of the band at the time, we were still at the very beginning of our journey and we were only dreaming of having our own album and website and of getting our music out there, further from our family circle. When you are just getting started, figuring out where to even start with distributing your music is a huge challenge. ADM’s competition is like an accelerator – in a good way – and it forced us to get out of our comfort zone and finalise the work we had done in a very short amount of time. Of course, we did all of it with the help and guidance of experts in the field.

Was the album that ADM helped you release your very first record? How many records have you released after that?

As OOPUS, the album ADM helped us put out was our very first one. Since then, we have also released a single and we are currently working on the material for our next album, which will be out in 2021. You could say that it was all a coincidence, although there are no coincidences. We learned about ADM’s competition on the last day of submissions but luckily, we had already recorded the material for our album and on that last day of submissions, we also received the first mixes of a couple of tracks that we immediately send to ADM without even listening to them first ourselves. The rest is history.

Were you satisfied with our cooperation? What did you like most about it?

We were very satisfied with the cooperation. Everyone was always actively thinking along with us and they helped us organise everything that was above our abilities or skillset. Our contact back then, Katariina Muru was amazingly helpful and a superb team player and we still keep in touch with her to this day. And of course, we can’t help mentioning Riina Libe, the graphic designer who gave our album design and logo the coolest finishing touches. And it was really nice to go to ADM’s offices for our meetings where we were also inspired by the nice work atmosphere they have. Now, we also have our own studio space where we can do crazy things every day – the good kind of crazy, that is. Today, we would recommend including a mentor in the process as well, someone who is in the music business. Back then, the hardest part for us was figuring out how to put together our website, image, and the release of our album. But the real work began after we had released the album.

What do you as the 2018 winners think is the recipe for success that you would recommend to other young musicians?

All failures and setbacks are the biggest teachers you will meet on your journey. The sooner you realised that setbacks are your best friends, the more fun everything will be. Think big, dare to ask questions, and if you can’t get an answer from the first person you ask, ask the next one. There are so many people who will think with you and help you if you just do your own thing with an open mind.

And lastly, please share with us three reasons why you would recommend that all other young musicians take part in ADM’s Battle of the Bands.
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