Part of the DIVISI tour with headliners and label partners A Lot Like Birds, OWEL have been taking their lush and expansive soundscape on the road. The tour comes in support of not only A Lot Like Birds, but also Household and Hearts Like Lions. While being the opening act, OWEL play with poise and a knack for picking up their distinctive sound, utilizing violinist Jane Park’s crafty and melodic touch to build a grand atmosphere. The New Jersey act released their latest full length dear me through Equal Vision Records last fall.
Playing personally introspective songs on stage helps the quintet keep the attention from the crowd. While the tour package showcases a pretty diverse lineup full of different genres, OWEL open the package with a somber yet graceful set, led by single “Too Young To Fall In Love.” New Noise Magazine was able to catch up with Jay Sakong (vocalist/guitars) before OWEL’s illustrious set.
How’s the tour been so far?
Tour has been good so far. Tour is funny because sometimes it feels like “wow we have been on the road for a long time” but most times it feels like “is it already this date?” It’s like a blur, I love it very much.
The tour started in Texas. We drove straight to Texas from Jersey and played our first show of the tour.
How has it been with A Lot Like Birds?
It’s been really good. There’s always some sort of concern because you are spending so much time with these people, is anyone going to be cool? Is everyone going to be nice? I feel like the first day of tour is like the first day of school but, not saying this to be diplomatic, but all the bands on this package are the coolest dudes. We all hang out. We got really into this thing called spike ball. It’s like volleyball but instead of hitting over a net, there’s a net on the ground and you slam it down and it bounces up. We play that a lot on our off time and try to do fun activities because there is a lot of waiting around before shows.
It’s been a real blast. I am really going to miss these people when we get back.
dear me has been out for about a bit over half of a year, how has the reception been live? How is it playing them live consistently night to night?
It’s great. The reception has been really good and playing the songs have been great. We sort of stick to the same set every night because we are playing to new faces every night, it’s not like we have reoccurring faces. We might be getting sick of some songs because we play them over and over but it’s exciting. Before the record came out we wanted to play these songs live, there’s really no better way to practice any song then to play it live. The record was not out back then and we thought about playing under a secret band name, like a secret show just to flex those muscles on a stage.
Which song has been your personal favorite to play live?
Off the new record I would say “Too Young To Fall In Love.” It’s a really fun song to play because it’s upbeat and it’s a really easy song for me to play. I can just groove and not have to worry about technical issues. There’s always a difference between songs that are fun to play and fun to listen to. Sometimes they are the same. “Too Young To Fall In Love” is definitely a really fun song to play.
We used to start our set with “Slow” but we knew that a majority of these people coming to these shows would be fans of A Lot Like Birds and we didn’t know how fans would take that song, it has a big pop sensibility. We decided to start each show with “Albert and the Hurricane” since it has a darker tone and falls in line with the vibe. It’s funny because a lot of people did not even know there were vocals in that song. In the mix it is very tucked in and apart of everything, live you get to see what I say I guess.
How is opening the set and going through diverse changes, with heavier bands coming on after you?
It’s been interesting. It is definitely an eclectic group of bands. It is interesting jumping from one vibe to the next, it’s sort of fun that way. I think if you come to one of these shows you are bound to connect to one of the bands because it covers such a wide range. It’s been really great.
I always try to learn from everyone. Even when seeing a band I don’t like there is something to take away. That being said, I do like all the bands on this tour. Everyone has their own secrets… vocalists have their different warm ups or vocal remedies and the guitarists have different tricks. I feel like I am taking a little bit of everything from bands on this tour.
It’s funny, if there is one thing that I am drooling over while watching A Lot Like Birds is their monitoring system. This is the first tour where they all have in ear monitors and they all have their own mixes. They have a crazy rig that is amazing. I am less of a gear head than a lot of people on this tour but when I watch them I think “I need to figure out how to do that and get that.” Each stage is different and you are not sure what you are going to here. Sometimes I soak my vocals in reverb and it gets a lot of feedback and you know with this in ear monitor system that would not happen. That is definitely something I am looking to them as big brothers.
DIVERSI Tour Dates:
May 25 – Spokane, WA @ The Pin
May 26 – Seattle, WA @ El Corazon
May 28 – Portland, OR @ Analog
May 29 – Redding, CA @ The Dip
May 30 – Sacramento, CA @ Goldfield
May 31 – Anaheim, CA @ Chain Reaction
June 1 – Fresno, CA @ Strummers
June 2 – Scottsdale, AZ @ Pub Rock