Organ guitarist Debora is grabbing at glory

Jewish Telegraph, April 2006

WHEN Debora Cohen started taking guitar lessons at the age of 16, it was just to give her something to do.
Nine years later she is on a world tour with hotly-tipped Canadian group The Organ.
“I took guitar lessons along with a cousin because there was nothing better to do in the summer,” she told me from Cambridge, where the band were performing on Wednesday. “It was just to occupy my time. I never expected to continue with it.”
But within a few years, she had completely changed her mind. She said: “I decided it would be fun to play in a band, so I jammed with friends.”
She faced a dilemma when she suffered repetitive strain injury while working for a snowboard manufacturer.
“I got injured from the equipment I used to make snowboards,” the 25-year-old said. “If I hadn’t given up the job I wouldn’t have been able to play the guitar again.”
As it was, within two weeks of quitting, she was back to her rocking best.
The Organ was formed in Vancouver in 2001 by singer Katie Sketch and organist Jenny Smyth.
“I knew friends of theirs and they said I should try for it,” Debora said. “I met up with Katie and she sort of interviewed me to assess my personality.”
The Organ is completed by Shmoo R on bass and drummer Shelby Stocks.
They scraped together $100 to record the Sinking Hearts EP in 2002 and followed it up last year with debut album Grab That Gun, which includes instant class Memorize the City.
The group received a further boost when leading indie record label Too Pure signed them up in the UK. As a result, Grab That Gun is being given a full release on Monday.
And their stock rose further when Kaiser Chiefs described them as their favourite band.
Their sound will definitely appeal to British music fans as they take all the best bits of The Smith, The Cure and Joy Division and bring them up-to-date.
“We don’t get sick of the comparisons at all because we are being compared to very talented bands,” Debora said.
Debora — who describes her family as traditional Jews who get together for the major festivals — said her parents had hoped she would continue her education.
“They were hesitant at first as they thought it would just be a good hobby,” she said. “But they are pleased it is working out.
“When we first started the band, the plan was to play local shows but we never expected what has happened. We always played original material — we tried a few covers but it sounded like we were butchering them.”
Debora also said the all-girl band refused to use the sex angle to sell records.
“We are doing our own thing and don’t dress up in short skirts.”
The Organ play The Castle in Oldham on Saturday, Glasgow’s King Tut’s on Sunday, Joseph Wells in Leeds on Monday, Manchester’s Academy on Wednesday.
Debora is looking forward to a short break when the current tour finishes — but then it will be back to work with further concerts in America and Canada whilst then working on the next album, due in 2007.
Among the ‘Thank Yous’ on the album sleeve are Esther and Sass Levi. Debora explained that they are friends who put them up when they are in London.