After winning the ‘Best Rock Band’ award in the 2013 Cleveland Scene Music Awards and being compared to some of modern day rock’s biggest icons, including Mars Volta, Coheed and Cambria, The Deftones, and A Perfect Circle, this week’s AMPED Artist Of The Week, Ohio Sky seem destined for big things and are well aware of what it takes to achieve them. We recently caught up with the band’s bassist Mike Bashur to talk about their new album, ‘The Big Distraction’ and to discuss how the band plan on taking their sound to the world. Check it below.
Your new album, ‘The Big Distraction’ was released on January 24th, what kind of feedback have you been getting?
We’ve been getting really good feedback so far. Everyone seems to be getting the evolution of our sound, and that means the world to us.
How did you come up with the title?
We decided that that was going to be the title shortly after writing the song I think. The big distraction is an idea that we all deal with every day. And I think the diversity of content on the record digs into some of the pitfalls of life, and the human condition.
You guys have a really distinct sound, which you seem to have refined even further on the new record, how would you say you have evolved as musicians and song writers?
I’d say there’s a serious evolution from the beginning. Every record we’ve grown some. This time around though we really sat down and came up with a mindset before getting deep into the writing. We had just lost a member around the time we were discussing a new record, so that had a lot to do with it. Deciding to remain a four piece, and downsizing to one guitar really changed things. So we decided that this record was going to be really deep with content, more attention to the vocals, and separation between the instruments and progressions. Everybody has their own home in the mix so you can really hear how everyone contributes to the song.
Can you tell us a little bit about the writing process of the album?
The writing took a solid year. We began as we usually do and just spent a few days a week in the rehearsal studio together throwing out new ideas. And we had a good amount of success with that. But we also decided to experiment with separating the group. So Eric and I would work together twice a week writing bass and drums, pulling new progressions together as a rhythm section. And while we were doing that Vince and Pat would be working on new material together, coming up with melodic ideas and new progressions of their own. So when we came together at the end of the week we had twice the fresh ideas to go through. And that turned out to be really productive.
Has cutting back to one guitarist made you approach writing in a different way?
It definitely has. Previously Vince and I would be writing guitar parts together, and in a way that we were playing our own parts that came together and complimented what the other was playing. And at times that probably saturated the mix. But this time around it was really refreshing to focus on one key guitar part that did exactly what it was supposed to do, as well as the other instruments. So now there is room for everyone to breathe and everything is heard.
What was the main inspiration behind the lyrics on the album?
I think the lyrics cover a lot of ground. And the inspiration was really all around us at the time we were writing. Each song tackles something different, but always something I think is easy to relate to. Personal struggles, as well as the issues the world faces. All the things that are in our face on a daily basis.
Do you have a personal favorite track?
It’s hard for me to pick an absolute favorite, but I think King Fisher Medicine has been the most fun to perform. Has a lot of intensity and drive. But Vulture Cascade is contending for that position.
You recently launched the album at the House of Blues Cambridge Room in Cleveland, how many of the new tracks did you play?
We decided to really make something special out of the show, so we played the entire record from start to finish. I think it’s great for the fans that came and bought a record, because when they go home and listen to it, they should be able to tap back into the experience of the show.
Which do think were best received?
I think all was well received. The record really takes you on a journey dynamically. Big Distraction seemed to be really well received, as well as Transformations and Vulture Cascade. And between those three songs there’s a lot of ground covered.
You guys have been considered among the top rock acts in Cleveland for a few years now, how do you plan on extending your popularity nationally and even internationally?
We hope to get on the road. That is something we’ve really been hungry for for a long time now. But I think this is the best we’ve been so I’m glad we have some traveling in our future. Cellar Door has been great about reaching out and turning people on to us, and we’ve been getting a lot of plays online, so I think people all over are starting to get turned on to what we’re doing. We’ll be working on some new videos in the coming months as well.
Do you have any other shows or tours in the works?
Working on some spring dates now and with our new set up and new approach to shows we’ll be making an impact with the shows we decide to do. We really want to give the audience an experience rather than just set up and play our songs. I’m sure we’ll be traveling regionally for some shows when the spring rolls around though.
OhioSky has been compared to bands like Mars Volta, Coheed and Cambria, The Deftones, and Converge. Would you say this is a fair description of your sound?
I would say that those bands definitely have a place in our influences. This band has been really great to make music with because between the four of us, our tastes and influences are really endless. We all come from different backgrounds, and we all like a wide variety of music, so mixing all that up and making it our own has been really fantastic.
‘The Big Distraction’ was released on January 24 via Cellar Door Records. Get it here.