Arts & Features Writer
From combining folk music with electronic funk to performing in splatter-painted jumpsuits, local band Ohmy-Ohmy brings an entirely new and different personality to the Western North Carolina music scene.
Ohmy-Ohmy is a fairly young musical group native to Chapel Hill. The band consists of Max Cline and Hunter Bolesky, both vocalists, William Ragland, the guitarist and Kevin Kopczynski, the producer, keyboardist and sound engineer for the group.
Cline, a junior at UNC Asheville, said the band formed almost by coincidence in June 2018. He said he used to make rap music with the assistance of Kopczynski.
“One day when I was going to record at Kevin’s, Hunter and William showed up to record some weird folk song. It sounded cool and I wanted to get in on it. From then on we decided to work together,” Cline said.
Cline said he wanted to make music that was more true to himself. He said the rap music he was creating up until that point didn’t fit his build.
“We’re just kind of a band of dudes. I’m not a rapper. I’m a weird guy,” Cline said.
Ragland, a museum assistant in Chapel Hill, said the band typically begins creating a new song by starting with a synth. He said after coming up with a sound everyone likes, they develop a chord progression and use that as a basis for melody.
“It’s the longest and quickest process ever,” said Bolesky, the self-proclaimed “visionary” of the group. “We formulate an idea in the studio within a couple hours. Kevin’s producing, I’m writing, William’s writing riffs and Max is writing with me, trying to collaborate together to get a fresh, new idea out on the table.”
According to Cline, it can sometimes be difficult to come up with material. He said when that happens, he relies on his fellow members to feed his creativity.
“We inspire each other,” Cline said.
Kopczynski described Ohmy-Ohmy’s style as “synth-rock.” He said there are a lot of electronics involved but the vocal acoustics accompanied with the guitar adds an entirely different flavor. All the members of the band said the genre of their music can be difficult to describe.
“I’ve gotten the genre question a lot and it’s kind of tough to answer. We do have a weird genre,” Ragland said. “At the base level it’s definitely pop because we want to write catchy, fun songs to listen to.”
Cline, agreed that the genre varies depending on the song. He said some of their songs are more pop-oriented and modern while others are more aggressive, almost punk.
“We don’t go into it with a planned genre. We just go into it hoping to try something new and see what happens,” Cline said.
Ragland said each member of the band brings different musical influences to the table. He said each member’s background covers a variety of genres including hip hop, funk, motown, rock and jazz.
“For many, many years all I played on guitar was rock and blues so that’s where most of my knowledge comes from, traditional rock. I still love that music now so I try to bring some of that vibe to our songs,” Ragland said.
Bolesky said Ohmy-Ohmy’s style is built by a combination of similar tastes but different genres. He said while Kopczynski prefers electronic music, he’s a fan of folk, a style he hopes to incorporate into the group’s new music.
“All these genres we bring to the table we kind of blend and create something that we like,” Bolesky said.
Ragland, 22, said he has been playing guitar since second grade. He said when the band performs, although he feels confident in his ability to play, he doesn’t enjoy performing as much as just playing on account of nervousness.
“Performing is something that I’m at the stage now where I want to do it more but I’m having to step out of my comfort zone,” Ragland said.
Despite his nerves, Ragland said the band’s first show went very well. He said it was very enjoyable and well received by the crowd in attendance.
“We all want to perform more but I think we’re more focused on producing songs than we are on doing shows at the moment,” Ragland said.
Kopczynski said the first show the band performed was a house show in a friend’s basement. He said this past summer they finally performed at an actual venue in New York City.
“It was pretty nerve wracking at first,” Kopczynski said. “Mostly because we didn’t know exactly what was the sound check and what was our set, but it went really well.”
Bolesky said one of the biggest things in performing is to bring the energy. He said at every show the band tries to convey their passion to the audience.
“People are going out to see you and they’re going out to have a good time,” Bolesky said. “Yeah, you can impress them with your music and the sounds you’ve conceived, but really make it a point that this is something you really love doing.”
According to Cline, Ohmy-Ohmy’s shows are high energy, the goal being to make each show memorable for the audience.
“We’re having fun so we’d like to think that if we’re having fun, then the crowd will be having fun,” Cline said.
Ragland said the group has many songs that are near completion but need to be polished before release. He said to decide which song to release as a single, the band was considering turning to the fans by releasing brief snippets on social media.
“I just graduated. I’m also trying to make it in a career type of job,” Ragland said. “I don’t see music as my career right now but I haven’t ruled it out as a possibility.”
Bolesky said Ohmy-Ohmy is “never ending.” He said everyone who comes into contact with the group becomes a part of their story.
“We’re starting to find out that in the short time we’ve been a part of this band, we have a lot of potential,” Bolesky said. “We hope to just give a different perspective. It’s what we love doing.”
Ohmy-Ohmy released their latest single, No Reason Why, this past summer. Their music is available on Spotify.