Recently I was able to catch up with a talented alternative rock band called Oh Lonesome Ana right after they released a new record. This band would be perfect for fans of Jets to Brazil, The Weakerthans, and Pedro the Lion, while still adding a unique twist to their own music. In this interview, I asked the band about their core influences, what continues to keep them motivated as artists and musicians, as well as how their songwriting has continued to evolve.
Thank you for your time today! Can you tell me your range of emotions as your new album has been released for over a week now?
Thankful to have it out into the world and completed – we’ve been working on these songs and this record for three years or so, since we started the band. Maybe a little sad that it’s all done, but excited that it’s done so that we can start working on the next thing.
How have the fan reactions been to the new material?
Friends have reached out with some pretty flattering words about this record. It’s always a really nice feeling when someone listens to what you’ve done and thinks about it and tries to make sense and break it down. Maybe the feedback from outside the process also signifies completion, which seems to be an incredibly important part of making something. The reception we’ve received at some of the recent shows we’ve played has been honestly incredible. It probably has to do with indie rock having a renaissance right now, and maybe people are into sad shit now, or something else? Either way it’s been super nice.
How does your band primarily do its songwriting? Has that evolved since the early stages of this band?
This being our first record I think we’re bringing in processes from previous projects, but also trying to utilize new strategies that make these songs and this band its own thing. The first stage is the concept of the album, then the concept of the song. This album is inspired by the poems of our dear friend Johnny Allen. Johnny sent a bunch of poetry and prose, and we started piecing that together into concepts and song ideas. Once a song had a direction we’d demo it and spend more time thinking about our individual parts, then bring it back together for practice, sometimes they’d be reshaped or reworked. Since we were a new band without a back catalog we were playing these songs live, which also shaped them, inspired changes and made them better songs.
Will your band be touring in support of the record soon? If so, what songs on the new album are you most excited to play live?
We just got back from a little run down to Arizona and up to Seattle. We’re doing a few shows in California in August and up to Boise. We book all our own shows and are mainly playing with friends. We’d be happy to play any place on earth, but it’d have to be a particular situation, and make sense for all of us. In terms of favorite songs, “MEG/\DETH TEE” was one of the first songs we started with as a band and it’s still one of our favorites to play live.
What have been 3-5 albums or artists who have been key in shaping your artistic development as artists/musicians today?
In no particular order, Death Cab For Cutie’s Transatlanticism; Land of Talk’s Applause Cheer Boo Hiss; The Mars Volta’s The Bedlam in Goliath, Built to Spill’s Live; and Time and Time Again by Paul Motian, Bill Frisell and Joe Lovano.
If you were to take one or two other bands on tour with you that you feel would make for an incredible lineup for your fans, who would they be and why?
In a dream scenario I would love to play shows with Special Explosion if they end up ever playing again. The first time I saw them play live it was so powerful that I couldn’t stand up, and I had to find a chair to sit in. Their 2017 record To Infinity is probably one of my favorite Seattle records of all time. There are bands that sound good live and there are bands that make great records and sometimes those things don’t exactly align. That was a band that I could never decide which was better. The other band I’d love to play with is our friends Dogbreth. They write incredibly moving and tender songs, and are an amazing live band. The singles off their newest record have all been incredible.
What is something that fans of Oh Lonesome Ana would be surprised to hear about each of you?
One time I met The Dandy Warhols on a train, but I started getting food poisoning so instead of talking to them I had to be in the bathroom for two hours; Ashley found her dog Goldie abandoned in a cardboard box in downtown Sacramento and took her home and cared for her, and now Goldie is very happy and healthy; Jacob has never worked an indoors job except for music; and Zach is a skilled nurse, working with medically fragile children.