From the woods of east Texas emerges Owen-Glass, a band that combines all the classic elements from indie, folk, and rock genres. They just recently released their debut album The Rope & The Rabbit, and are the talk of the indie waves. Before diving into this interview, I recommend checking out some of the album below!
Owen-Glass is a collaborative group. With the 2 founding members, they tapped into their musical community for help on this album. With everyone combined, there are a total of 7 people! Talk about a group effort.
Following the release of The Rope & The Rabbit, River Beats got to chat with Kelly, Cole, and Eric from Owen-Glass about the album, the band’s background, and more. Give it a read below!
River Beats: How did Owen-Glass come to fruition?
COLE: Owen-Glass is a slow roast that all feeds back to Kelly Wayne. We are all friends from different parts of Kelly Wayne’s life that have been united through him and through a shared love of music. You can’t really pinpoint one moment, but at the same time here we are.
ERIC: Kelly and I had lived in the same town for a bit and hung out and jammed a few times before he moved. Seemingly out of the blue he asked me to do this project, and I knew it was something special and I had to be a part of it. And I have not been disappointed.
KELLY: That’s basically the story. I had been planning this project, and when the time came to make it happen, I got in touch with the most talented musicians I knew for each role and everyone jumped in.
That’s really awesome that Kelly was able to unite through everyone’s love of music. How has the band’s roots in the south influenced your sound and the direction of owen-glass’ music?
ERIC: I am the lone wolf who hails from the North. I’ve become a musical chameleon of sorts, and this music speaks for itself. I was immediately intrigued and drawn into this. Kelly’s vision was clear to me even before I heard the music. That was just the icing on the cake.
COLE: The south has been a major role in the upbringing of several of us, especially Kelly and I, but I’d say it’s not conventional to what you’d imagine a southern upbringing being. We’ve lived in the country where we had plenty of open space as well as room with our families to explore ourselves and consequently the art we enjoy making.
Probably in terms of influence, southern gospel and the blues are definitely part of our DNA. I don’t know that we consciously make an effort to represent the south, but I guess it comes out in our sound.
With so many people in the band (7 to be exact!) how does the group dynamic work?
COLE: It’s a tad unbelievable isn’t it? Ultimately it’s because we are a fun loving, respectful group of people. No drama, just good friends sharing a journey together constantly (mostly) on the task at hand. We mess around a lot too, but it all works well and feels organic. I love these guys.
ERIC: Yeah, as a sort of utility man, I find my spot in the music and fill it in the best I can.
KELLY: I think there’s a shared sense of humility that runs through this whole group. No one steps on toes, or tries to dominate the sound. Everyone has a really nice ear, and we just follow where the music leads. It’s really refreshing working with these guys, and we have lots of fun.
From the multi-instrumentation to the lyrics, where do you find your inspiration?
I find my inspiration in seeing the passion from the band around me. Even when we’re unsure of where to go next you never lose that sense of commitment everyone has. Times when I felt lost or confused I still knew I was on the right path. I attribute it all to the group.
How do you feel about your upcoming debut album release The Rope and the Rabbit – excited, scared, anxious?
COLE: All of these things of course! Truly just content and happy to have created this album with people I love. I’m proud to have it, and can only hope and dream that it might mean as much to anyone that listens to it.
ERIC: I know Kelly and Cole are very excited as this is their baby, but I’m right there with them. I believe in this music and am extremely proud of what has been created. The message on this album is very relevant and of the people.
KELLY: I think it’s important to note that this release is just the beginning for us. We’re still an unknown band, so we have to manage expectations in terms of how big the release will actually be. Regardless of whatever attention this gets or doesn’t get, we love making this music together, and we’ll be making more of it. So yeah, I’m excited to let people hear these tracks, and I hope they’ll find value in what we do.
What’s the inspiration behind the album name?
KELLY: Cole actually named the record after the first and last songs: “Rabbit Hole” and “The Rope.” Those songs really make explicit the conflict happening throughout the record. This internal conflict between relentlessly chasing after truth at all costs, and a tendency to kind of stagnate and go with the flow. It’s something we all wrestle with as we grow.
This is very true! One instrument that’s pretty prevalent in the album is the sax. What led you all to incorporate that instrument in your music?
KELLY: Yeah, Anthony killed it on Sax. That was a total curveball I threw the guys. It’s a funny story, actually. I had jammed with Anthony once before in college and I knew he was a great sax player. I had mentioned the project to him and couldn’t tell whether he was really interested, but he showed up the first day, met the guys, and we went to work. It was like, “Oh, by the way guys, this is Anthony, he’s gonna play sax. Let’s see how this goes.” And it couldn’t have gone better, really.
ANTHONY: Truth be told I totally invited myself to “lay down some funk”. I’m not sure the original plan called for as much saxophone as we added but I couldn’t put my horn down.
What really grabbed me was when we started creating together. It felt like we had played, rehearsed, and even been there before–which we hadn’t. Especially the way everything fell together in such a short time, that experience was nothing short of a synchronicity.
I remember seeing mentioned that you all recruited kelly’s mom and aunt from The Armstrong Sisters gospel trio as some of the backing vocals. This definitely adds such a unique and personal touch! How did that get started?
KELLY: Yeah, I wanted to include my family from the beginning. My mom and her sisters put together three-part harmonies better than anyone I’ve ever heard. Seriously. So I had to take advantage and get them on there. My brother Craig plays keys on the record also. I had asked my other brother, Kenny, to come play with us but he couldn’t make the logistics work. We’re a musical kind of family, so there’s something about playing and singing with them that feels at home. It’s similar with the rest of these guys too. We’re all close, and I think that comes through in the record.
Any parting words of wisdom with those reading this interview?
Hmm… As the wise Michael Scott once said, “Make friends first. Make sales second. Make love third. In no particular order.”
Listen to The Rope & The Rabbit below:
Check out “Here IT Comes” music video below:
Featured image via band.