Dying Scene’s Interview with Ovef Ow at Chicago’s Empty Bottle

DS’s interviewed Chicago’s own art-punk band Ovef Ow with a fun photoshoot outside Empty Bottle just before their show. In the interview, the band explain how they got their name, describe who they are, and tell us how important the music community is. Enjoy the interview and give them a listen and a follow.

Dying Scene (DS): Please introduce yourselves and tell me who you are and your roles in the band.

Marites Velasquez, I play bass and sing.

Sarah Braunstein, I play drums and sing.

Nick Barnett, I play guitar artillery.

Kyla Denham, I play synth and sing.

DS: I am sure you get this a lot, but what does Ovef Ow mean? 

SB: Haha oh yes, we get asked a lot. It means nothing, it means whatever you want it to mean! In reality, it’s what our former band’s old logo (Me Jane) says when you turn it upside down. Friend-of-the-band Tim Breen designed that logo, and it’s a really great abstract design. When Me Jane came to its end and Nick joined up with us, we knew we were something new but couldn’t figure out a name. And here we are! 

DS: How would you describe your band and music to someone who hasn’t heard or seen you? 

Nick Burnett (NB): Colorful art rock in a cave…on Neptune.

DS: Your band has a unique image. Tell me about what inspires your look. What role does fashion play in it? Have you always coordinated outfits for your performances? Who makes your outfits?  I love them. What inspired your look for tonight’s show?

Sarah Braunstein (SB): Coordinating our outfits started pretty early on. Like before a show, we’d pick a theme or a color and everyone would try to dress to the theme with stuff we already had. It’s only been in the last year that we’ve taken things to the next level and gotten a few band outfits. So far, it’s been a combination of buying pieces, mostly from Fashion Brand Company so far, and making matching looks for Nick. One of Marites’s many skills includes sewing, she made his custom jumpsuit and some other stuff!

DS: DS saw you guys open for Otoboke Beaver and Drinking Boys and Girls Club at Thalia Hall. What was that experience like?

NB: It was a wonderful experience, but at the same time to preserve the music, I mostly tuned out the crowd. Otoboke Beaver and Drinking Boys and Girls Choir are both flawless live bands, so I did not want to mess up too much!

Marites Velasquez (MV): Playing Thalia Hall was a big highlight for us. We’ve played a lot of the other smaller venues around town over the years, so this felt like a big deal and an honor to be added to this bill. We were pretty nervous before the show, but I think that translated into excited energy on stage. The room sounds amazing. Hopefully we’ll get to play there again soon! 

Kyla Denham (KD): It was such a fun night for us. Playing in front of a large crowd you could feel the energy in the room which was really exciting. The Thalia Hall staff was amazing as well.

DS: What goals and plans do you have for 2024? Should we expect more shows? New music? What else?

MV: I’m ready to keep writing new songs and get back into the studio as soon as possible. Even though our album just came out last fall, we’ve had a lot of those songs for several years. Our sound keeps evolving and I would love to capture that on our next release.

DS: What does music mean to each of you? What is the importance of art punk and new wave? And, what role do you play in your music scene and community?

NB: I’m not sure where I would be without music. I’m not sure if I can stop creating music if I tried. Music is every person in my family. It’s every molecule. Community plays a key role in our band. Without home bases like Liar’s Club, and the Empty Bottle and bands like Impulsive Hearts and Lollygagger and DIY’s like VCR. I’m not sure we would’ve made it through the rough times! So in review, I’m really not sure of much of anything other than the music is great and the community is the best!

MV: Music has been an important form of expression for me. I was pretty shy as a kid but standing on stage performing music allowed me to find another way to share who I am. Art punk and new wave has a lot of freedom and inclusivity — you can get away with anything, experiment and try new things, and it’s cool.

DS: You are a Chicago band, if bands came to Chicago, what five places would you recommend that they do?

NB: Bric a Brac Records, EB, Vito and Nick’s Pizzeria, Liar’s Club, Sportsmens 

SB: That’s a pretty good list. I love Liar’s Club with my whole heart. I’m going to assume this band enjoys coffee and looking at beautiful objects so, I’d say they should go to The Center of Order and Experimentation, as well. 

MV: Empty Bottle, Liar’s Club, WhirlyBall, The Art Institute of Chicago, and Midwest Buy and Sell

DS: What are five bands that have inspired you as a group?

NB: Low, Meatwave, Reverend Horton Heat, and Goat 

SB: the B-52s, Sleater-Kinney

MV: Blonde Redhead, Warpaint, Priests, Romeo Void, and Sonic Youth.

DS: What are five bands that you’ve been listening to this week?

NB: The Messthetics, Gouge Away, Hum, Beth Gibbons, and Desire

SB: Mary Timony, Marika Hackman, Mannequin Pussy, Fever Ray, and Kate Bush (always).

DS: What five Chicago bands should we check out?

NB: Lollygagger, Bloodhype, Impulsive Hearts, Melkbelly, and Shannon Candy.

SB: Clickbait and Así Así.

DS: Who would you like to collaborate with? And why?

NB: Bloodhype. Right now they have one of the most dancy serious funny crazy awesome shows around.  

KD: We would like to collaborate further with the amazingly talented Pamela Maurer who was the creative powerhouse behind our music video for Fauxtography.

DS: What else would you like to share with Dying Scene’s readers?

NB: Buy our album so we can finally set up our Vegas to L.A. tour! 

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