ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: Oh Well, Ok
Quarters Rock ‘n Roll Palace in Riverwest hosted on Friday night local indie rockers Oh Well, Ok alongside Chicago acts singer-songwriter Able Baker and psych-shoegaze band The Courts.
Oh Well, Ok is the project of James Markowyn. Friday’s show featured Dean MacKenzie on bass and LoBi LoBianco on drums. Hailing from Waukesha, Markowyn began the project while at college in Illinois after his previous emo band dissolved. “The original name of the band was Liner Notes,” he explained. “As soon as I sent the first single to distribution, it got put out under this other German band with the same name so we had to pick a new one. I saw this Elliott Smith song called “Oh Well, OK” and decided to use it as the new name.”
The band is heavily influenced by indie rock of the 90s like Pavement, Dinosaur Jr, Modest Mouse and Built to Spill. In fact, the final song in Oh Well, Ok’s set Friday was made up on the spot; Markowyn sang about how much he loves Pavement.
Their debut EP “Volume 1” was released last April. Markowyn recalls, “Those were songs I recorded when I was still living in my dorm in Illinois. We were doing more shoegaze stuff at the time but we still play two of the songs (“Shadow” and “Wrapped Up”) pretty consistently.”
On what Oh Well, Ok are working on now, Markowyn shared, “I’m constantly writing and demoing new songs but maybe one in ten songs ever actually goes past one session. Since last summer we’ve been working on the songs that are going to be on an upcoming EP, and that’ll hopefully be coming out in the next couple months.”
He feels the place his songwriting comes from has shifted with time, saying, “For the first year or so of the band, it was definitely coming from more of an emotional standpoint; you can tell if you listen to the lyrics on “Volume 1″ and even some of the songs on this new EP are pretty personal. Since last summer, I’ve been trying to have more fun with music and be more laid-back.”
Oh Well, Ok play The Rigby in Madison for Okay Omen’s album run on February 27th. They have a couple more unannounced shows on the books as well, so stay tuned!