Ohio Sky's Patrick is Cursed No More But has a Big Distraction

Rockers Ohio Sky, has done what all the other artists and bands have done, shared stages with numerous acts, played shows, gone on tours, written music and released that music. Their most recent work is "The Big Distraction" a follow-up to previous release "Curses". Now that the band has new tunes underway, nothing left to do but, play shows, tour and repeat the never ending cycle. Keyboardist Patrick Finegan discusses their new release, plans, and insight into the band themselves, of how they write their tunes and inspirations.

1. How did your band form?

Patrick: Like a crystal in a cave, slowly over time.  Elements rearrange and new sounds emerge.  We've been a band for over 7 years with several lineup changes, most recently from a five piece to a four with our lead guitarist(Mike Bashur) switching to bass.  Currently the lineup consists of Vince DiFranco - guitar/vocal, Mike Bashur - Bass/Bass6, Eric Bambic - Drums, and Patrick Finegan (myself) - Keyboards.

2. Tell us the brief history of your band.

Patrick: Ohio Sky really came together in 2009 when Mike Bashur decided to move from L.A. to Cleveland, OH - our home base.  This is about when we recorded our first Ep "Apophis", a 10" record dedicated to a deadly near earth asteroid.  Shortly after the release of "Apophis" we gained another Californian, Ellsworth Turner on bass.  After a few misguided dealings with major labels we decided to get the funds together and record our first Lp independently.  This album would later become 2011's "Curses", an ode to our treacherous struggle as a working class band.  Later, in 2012 we returned to the studio with a follow up Ep "This House is Old and Filled with Ghosts", which was our most ambitious and out-there recording to date.

"Ghosts" is an existential concept album about the dark corners of an aging mind/world, with short bursts of organic sound mixed long psychedelic journeys through the bowels of rock and then back up again into the pinnacle closer "The New World".  After the release of the "Ghosts" Ep we took some time to perfect our live show and tour regionally.  During this time our bass player Ellsworth announced that he would be returning to California for personal reasons.  He played his last show with us in the summer of 2013 aboard a cruise ship on Lake Erie.  At this point we were forced to regroup.  Short a bass player we could no longer play shows but we could still write.  There was discussion of finding a replacement bass player but at that time we decided it best not to introduce any more egos into our situation.  So during this writing phase Mike would often fill in on bass and somewhat to our surprise it worked.  We spent a full year writing and getting used to this new arrangement with the end goal of recording a new full length.  In July 2014 we entered SUMA Recording Studio for a week of live analog recording.  This collection of nine songs is our latest offering "The Big Distraction".

3. What's the story behind your band's name Ohio Sky? Does the name actually have to deal with the Ohio Sky?

Patrick: I think Vince came up with it initially, not 100% on the back story, but I like to think of it as an ever changing vista filled with mystery, wonder, and space.  And if you are from Cleveland, a lot or grey.

4. How do you describe your sound to people who ask you what your band sounds like?

Patrick: Space Rock, and then I usually say something about heavy guitars and a lot of delay/reverb mixed with dreamy melodic vocals.  Its hard to put our sound into a simple category because we cover so much sonic ground.

5. Who are your influences and heroes (music-wise)?

Patrick: Everyone in the band has a different answer for this...

My personal heroes are:


-Grizzly Bear


Influences (AKA Bands we've been compared to)


-Glass Jaw

-Cave In

6. What are your songs about? (What specific themes do they cover?)

Patrick: Our latest record "The Big Distraction" revolves around concept of personal change.  One small event or mistake can set off an endless chain of chaotic reaction of ever deepening consequences.  The songs follow this theme to its conclusive outcome and beyond.  For instance, the opening track "Slow Down, Stay Alive" is about living on the fringes and making poor choices, where as "Momento Mori" is an acceptance that this type of life style will eventually lead to the end.  "Transformations" is about being trapped in your own body and escaping through death and "Vulture Cascade" is a sonic painting of the moments after the soul leaves the body.  So in a sense the record tells a story of someone with a reckless approach to life and follows them through the last few moments of their time in this reality.

7. Do you write your own songs? (Discuss the songwriting process in detail.)

Patrick: All our songs are original.  We each take an active and vital role in the process of writing.  Typically a song starts as a guitar riff or two written by Vince or Mike.  We then get together and jam some of these riffs to see where they go.  In these sessions we usually start to work out the overall composition together, things like tempo, timbre, and structure come together naturally when we are all together.  After working with each other for so lone we have an almost psychic connection when it comes to writing, we know what works and what doesn't immediately, without much discussion.  The vocal melodies and lyrics then come together during writing session with Vince and myself (Patrick - Keyboards).

8. When did Cellar Door Records come into the picture? Are you happy with what they have to offer?

Patrick: Cellar Door Records First approached us in 2013 to play a two day showcase of local bands called the Cellar Door Rendezvous.  Our relationship with them developed from that point on.  When we announced that we were in the process of writing a new record Justin from Cellar Door contacted us and was interested in helping us release "The Big Distraction".  So far this has been the best response we've gotten to one of our releases.  It's great to have people who care about your music in your corner.

9. How does "The Big Distraction" vary from past work?

Patrick: Aside form the lineup change, "The Big Distraction" represents a solidification of our sound.  The songs are stripped down and streamlined to an exacting point.  It's Ohio Sky, in our comfort zone, writing exactly what we want to hear and not compromising.

10. Has anything happened since your previous works, that you feel will influence the mood or lyrical content, on this release?

Patrick: We pretty much morph with every release, this is definitely our most mature effort to date.  I think the biggest change with this record is that we've found our sonic place in the world, where as the previous records were almost experimental in that we were searching for something and we didn't quite know what it was.

11. Did the band have any definitive goals they were shooting for before the recording process began for this album?

Patrick: To capture an amazing and honest recording of what we sound like live without compromise.

12. Are you using any new instrumentation you've never used in the recording process before?

Patrick: Fender Bass6 - on "Slow Down, Stay Alive" and "The Big Distraction" privides a unique tonal range from bouncing chorded melodies to grinding low end all in one package.

C&C drum kit - Featured on every track.  No doubt about it, the best sounding drum kit I've ever worked with.

Patrick: Melotron reissue - The Melotron is known for its slight tape warble and smooth attack that make it such a standout instrument.  I used this synth almost exclusively on this record.  The tones are unmistakable.  The ability to combine variations such as violin and choir sounds and have it come out of one warm well engineered piece of hardware is priceless.

13. Do you have any favorites you would like to mention?

Patrick: My personal favorite is "King Fisher Medicine".  It's one of the heaviest songs on the record and comes in full force with and explosive introduction.  The groove in the verses provided by Eric's drums and Mike's bass line is this insane breakbeat that's completely unique and absurdly infectious.  This song really has it all in one tight package.

14. What are the expectations for this album?

Patrick: National and International attention would be awesome.  Instead of expecting anything, I think we try to appreciate everything.  We do this because we love it, what other reason is there?

15. What are your upcoming plans for this year?

Patrick: We plan on playing some regional shows in preparation for some touring this Spring/Summer.  We also plan on releasing a couple of music videos for tracks on the new record so keep your eyes open for that.  And always writing new music...

16. If there's anything you'd like to add, say, please do so now.

Patrick: Thanks!!!! You can check out OHIO SKY - "The Big Distraction" on Spotify and if you dig what you hear please support us by picking up a copy available on 12"vinyl or 4.5"compact disc at cellardoorrecords.com.

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