Full of sonic experimentations and rich arrangements, Ohmme (comprised of Sima Cunningham and Macie Stewart) lays at the heart of Chicago’s music scene. Not one to follow in the footsteps of others, the duo successfully embark on their own path, capturing a significant energy and tone in each and every one of their songs. Initially formed in 2014 with their self-titled EP released the following year, their anticipated debut album Parts caught the ears of Joyful Noise Recordings (home to Deerhoof, Kishi Bashi, Joan of Arc) and was released August 24th. Parts projects itself as an intimate diary, conjuring both surface level moods and reactions while simultaneously digging to the core of human behavior, in turn lending itself to a cohesive whole. Cunningham and Stewart’s creativity weave together seamlessly, each one gathering inspiration from different sources. “We both work in pretty different ways, so what is completely inspiring for one of us is not necessarily the same for the other. That’s what gives Ohmme its energy; something always feels new and unexpected for each of us depending on what the other one brings in”, remarks Stewart.
Cunningham and Stewart’s early collaborations and performances in Chicago’s experimental music scene became a significant turning point in the two musicians’ careers. After local venue Constellation opened up, the two became enamored with the myriad ways in which musicians could improvise. “Marc Ribot played a show back in 2013 or 2014 that Sima and I both had attended, and it was a turning point for the both of us. The way he played guitar was unlike anything I had ever seen live – it really launched us into a new fascination with the instrument. Since then we’ve both become entrenched in the scene”, states Stewart. Both have also delved into an array of collaborations in Chicago, from working with Jeff Tweedy to Chance the Rapper and Doug McCombs of Tortoise. Less bound by preconditions and stipulations, the city remains a creative hub where musicians can band together to work on projects and stretch their creativity to create something fresh and new.
Ohmme’s musical sensibilities feel limitless in their nature, with the two constantly striving to experiment and tackle on new grounds. With the addition of drummer Matt Carroll to Ohmme’s recordings and live performances, Stewart remarks that “[i]t has really helped the band amplify itself to the next level, and gives us so many textures to play with going forward.” When asked what creative forms they’d like to try in the future, the use of stage structures and installations integrated with their music brings on a wealth of ideas and possibilities. Be sure to catch Ohmme in a city near you for the rest of September, and purchase their LP over on Joyful Noise Recordings.
Trish Connelly is an Austin TX based booker & promoter at Cheer Up Charlies, writer & editor at ANON Magazine with a burgeoning record label under The Nothing Song. She’s always down to collaborate and press play on new tunes. You can follow her on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.