Will from Ohana may or may not have a death wish. About three minutes into our interview, he stops and laughs when he mentions that he has to pull his car over. After having recently clocked up nearly thirty hours driving with the other boys in the band, playing shows over the previous weekend in Newcastle and Brisbane and still to do Perth and Sydney to promote their new album Dead Beat, I would’ve thought the last place he’d want to be is inside a car. But it seems that the car for him has almost become a second home. Being from Wollongong and, for obvious reasons, having to play most of their shows in Sydney, the car is where the pieces of Ohana come together.
‘I think those drives up to shows have really been important, just sitting in the car for an hour and a half each way, and on the way back you get to talk about the show, how it went, whether it was good or bad. You sort of get this group discussion thing happening and I honestly think it’s been really beneficial to us as musicians and as a band.’
The camaraderie that is built through these discussions and the taut wire intelligence that is the biggest part of their music is what completely sets them apart from anything else you might be listening to locally today. Democracy and debate (as well as some good old verbal abuse) are all elements for a healthy society, no matter how small.
As he stops the car and begins audibly walking around, we talk about the current sound of Ohana and how it transpired to form their new disc. ‘Everything’s become more focused, more thoughtful. When you’re starting out in a band, you’re happy to be playing anything, you’re happy to be playing live and with people and seeing things come together. Even on the last album, that was still sort of happening a bit. The skeleton of the song was being written and then people were just doing their own thing over the top.’
The end product is something that they’re pretty chuffed with too. What was previously an erratic, wild, but nonetheless engaging, sound is now more melodic and minimal though still emotionally charged, the sound being barely contained within the band.
The band chose to record to analogue tape both for sound quality and for the purpose of documentation, for them as much as their fans. They understand that not everyone is going to pick up on whether it was put to tape or fed through a computer, but they still wanted to give a sense of time and place.
‘I’m really happy with the album. . . It’s about trying to create, the Ohana recording of that moment. As long as you have something there that is the official document that you’re capable of, then you can live with past mistakes.’
Ohana are intent on mastering themselves and their art. And, after letting loose another fantastic album onto Australian streets and stereos, they seem set to drive their purpose as far as it’ll take them.
Check out the album review here http://musicfeeds.com.au/album-reviews/1729/ohana-dead-beat/