Written by Tom Carnell
Ohana from Leicester, UK. Follow them on Facebook here.
Ohana, where to start. I've been following these guys for a few years and they've just gone from strength to strength. After putting on their first show, I knew they were going to storm the scene by force. With their unique blend of indie, punk and grunge, glazed with a layer of charmingly crooned vocals provided by Luke Smith they are certainly a band you need to listen to now.
I caught up with them to find out everything you need to know about the band!
The Flipside: Introduce us to the band (members and what they play etc.)
Ohana: We are OHANA from Leicester! We consist of Luke who shouts and plays the skinny strings, Jamie who plays skinny strings also, Benny who plays the CHONKY strings and Jack who hits shit.
The Flipside: When was the band formed and how did it come to be?
Ohana: Oof, so we formed around 2018 officially. Benny, Jamie and Jack all knew each other from music college and had been jamming some material, they put an ad out online which I [Luke] found. I did an audition along with a few other vocalists but I guess I locked in the most with the guys. We all had been sitting on a bunch of partially finished songs, so we hastily got a set together and ended up getting in contact with you Tom! You sorted us our first gig I'm sure!!
Luke Smith, vocalist/rhythm guitarist live at The Shed in Leicester. Photo credit: Josh Watson.
The Flipside: How would you describe your music for someone that has never listened before?
Ohana: I think the term we have stuck with over our time together as a band has been Indie/Grunge. I think of both those genres were each side of a spectrum, most of our songs would fall somewhere between. Saying that we do like a lot of Punk too, so maybe sprinkle a bit of that in there too!
The Flipside: Which artists influence you the most?
Ohana: That's a hard one! I personally came from the sludgy hard rock of bands like Queens of the Stone Age, Red Fang, Mastodon and Alice In Chains along with a bunch of more obscure bands like Fugazi, Jawbox, Shiner and Chavez. I recommend all of these!
The rest of the guys are incredibly eclectic as well. Just some examples are Boston Manor, Iron Maiden, Bad Brains, Rex Orange County, Foo Fighters, The Hunna and the list goes on and on!
Jack Brooks, drummer of Ohana live at The Shed in Leicester. Photo credit: Josh Watson.
The Flipside: Tell us about your first releases, how were they received and what was the writing process?
Ohana: So first off, everything we have released to date has been really well received! Like people other than my Mum say they like it, which makes us very happy. We are a very small band so our reach is pretty minute, but we really appreciate anyone who listens to our music. We really can't wait to get back out playing shows and having a good time with everyone.
Our writing process has been all over the shop to be honest! our first EP From the Roots was pretty much self-produced, with me doing all the tracking, mixing and mastering for the most part. We went to HQ Studio in Leicester to record drums with Ollie Petch, who did a great job of recording the drums for us. He's also a great live mixing engineer as well and does loads of musical stuff. But that first batch of songs was basically a selection of our earliest stuff (before my joining the band) that we fleshed out with vocals and I play a more solid rhythm guitar style to support Jamie.
The Flipside: You’ve put out a few releases over the past year including Save Your Money and Too Good For Me. Have you been happy with how they’ve been received so far?
Ohana: Yes! we think the latest singles have been our best material yet and are looking forward to getting more out in the very near future, a second EP is well underway, we just got a bit scuppered with this pandemic. These have been in the live set for some time and we really love getting out there and playing them live. That's where we are most comfortable for sure!
Too Good For Me, Ohana's latest single which you can also find on Spotify here.
The Flipside: Have you found your musical style and writing process has changed since you first started?
Ohana: It has actually. Where previously we would all be writing songs in isolation and bringing them to the band, now we are bringing chunks of songs into the practice space and collaboratively making them into songs. They seem to be coming a bit more naturally and we have certainly been working on loads of new, new material.
The Flipside: What does the future hold for the band?
Ohana: If only we could look into that crystal ball aye! I think the main goal for us is to keep working on new material and getting out to gigs. We definitely plan on being more prolific with our studio output moving forward. And aside from that, just having good times with good people out and about wherever we are playing to be honest. keeps us all sane I think.
The Flipside: What’s your favourite gig memory?
Ohana: Our favourite memory, and I think we all agree on this, was playing a gig at Rough Trade in Nottingham, with the Nottingham University Punk Society. Everyone there that night was into the same kind of music and we all had a really good time. It was so much fun and I think all the bands they picked to play complimented one another really well.
The Flipside: Where is your favourite venue to play?
Ohana: Honestly, The Shed and The Soundhouse in Leicester are like our home. We are always gassed to play there because we know we are going to have a good time, every time!
Jamie Dale, lead guitarist at The Shed in Leicester. Photo credit: Josh Watson.
The Flipside: What’s been your nicest experience with a fan?
Ohana: I can't think of a singular experience to be honest,. Everyone is so nice to us after we play, the positivity is quite overwhelming sometimes. Saying that, I do love watching the crowd go mental and bonk each other on the head with our inflatable aliens! It's very entertaining.
The Flipside: What’s been your weirdest experience with a fan?
Ohana: I did have one weird one! There was this Nordic sounding fellow at one of our gigs at The Shed. He came up to me after we had just finished and I was knelt at the edge of the stage packing my stuff away. Next thing I know this guy comes over shouting "YOUR VOICE, YOUR VOICE!!" and he proceeds to literally grip my fucking Adams apple as he's smiling at me and complimenting me. I still don't quite know what was going on there! Like if that's friendly, I really wouldn't want to piss him off.
Ben Morris, bassist live at The Shed in Leicester. Photo credit: Josh Watson.
The Flipside: Assuming that live shows will be able to resume next year, which festivals/venues are you planning to go to and play?
Ohana: All of them. We want to achieve world domination!!! But seriously anything we can get! I think it would be great to play some more festivals too.
The Flipside: Give us five (or more) artists that you think we and our readers should be checking out.
Ohana: I'm going to go in on some of those obscure bands I touched on earlier:
4. The Life and Times
5. Burning Airlines
I hope y'all like them as much as I do!
The Flipside: How do we follow and keep updated with Ohana?
Ohana: Check us on Instagram and Facebook as OHANABANDUK and our music is available on all streaming platforms.
I think Tom will kindly share a link to our latest single, Cheers for having us Tom!!
The Flipside: We have and you can also find that on our Spotify playlist here.