All five band members of indie-rock group Ona grew up in the same town — Huntington, West Virginia — and years later, recorded their second album in Athens at Chase Park Transduction Studios. The new album, “Full Moon, Heavy Light,” was created with producer Drew Vandenberg and is set to be released on May 10 but before that, the band will perform a show at the Georgia Theatre Rooftop on April 26.
Guitarist Zack Owens, spoke to us about the band’s journey so far, it's Athens performances and the new music coming out next month.
The Red & Black: How did you five originally form as a band?
Zack Owens: Me and [vocalist and guitarist] Bradley Jenkins met through a mutual friend who was also a musician, and we got together from time to time to jam. Then one day I invited Bradley to come hang out and my roommate at the time was Zach Johnston, who is our bass player, and we all started sharing music with each other and then eventually we started writing songs together. Our keyboard player [Brad Goodall] came back from New York and joined us about a year after our first album released. Five years later, we’re still rehearsing three times a week.
R&B: How many albums does the band have now?
ZO: “American Fiction”came out in 2016, and our second album [“Full Moon, Heavy Light”] will be out on May 10.
R&B: What were some of the influences for your second album, “Full Moon, Heavy Light”?
ZO: All five of us come from different listening perspectives and it definitely blends itself through trial and error. I would say most of our influences come from classic rock and songwriters from the ’70s and ’80s along with modern music. It’s a big soup of classic and modern influences.
R&B: What was it like recording in Athens?
ZO: We recorded at Chase Park Transduction. It was recorded over the course of a year and a half and we loved it and had an amazing experience in Athens. We were really lucky to stay at the studio — we would wake up, get breakfast and be hitting it by noon every day. We would often be going until about one or two in the morning just grinding. It forced us to make decisions — that’s why we went out of town to record it. We didn’t have any distractions.
R&B: Will you be playing music from both albums during your show at the Georgia Theatre?
ZO: A mix of both — mostly the new material because that’s what we're most excited about. I would say it's 60%-40%, newer to older material. The old songs we actually change up a bit to make them fresh to keep them interesting for us and our audience.