Music » Reverb

Ozonic fuse diverse influences into a hook-laden delight


Ozonic builds a wide range of styles into something so cohesive while writing captivating hooks, a testament to their talent. - DONYA GREEN JR.
  • Donya Green Jr.
  • Ozonic builds a wide range of styles into something so cohesive while writing captivating hooks, a testament to their talent.
The late Scott Miller, singer-songwriter for the wildly creative acts Game Theory and The Loud Family, once made the interesting, seemingly counterintuitive claim that originality in pop music is an “unmusical” trend.

“The urge to do music,” wrote Miller in his 2010 book Music: What Happened?, “is an admiring emulation of music one loves; the urge toward originality happens under threat that the music that sounds good to you somehow isn’t good enough.”

Of course, the flipside to that argument is obvious to any listener who gets around to the D-list level of artists trying to hop onto the musical flavor of the moment. But it’s also apparent that the luminaries of pop music through the decades hardly appear in a vacuum, and the staying power of the luminaries in any genre depends on art and craft in equal measure.

The sonic breadth and adept songwriting of local alt-rock act Ozonic serve as a great example. The band has a clear affection for its myriad influences, many of which you’ve probably heard before, but the way the group is able to assemble such a wide range of styles into something so cohesive — while managing to write captivating hooks, no less — is a testament to their talent and musical intelligence.

The band, led by frontman Colin Bovberg, had its roots in the seven-piece Weathervein, formed in 2015, and the Ozonic moniker was initially used for full-band renditions of Bovberg’s solo work as The Epic Weatherman, though new material was quickly forthcoming. Currently, the band, consisting of Bovberg, guitarist Sean Kurchinski, keyboardist Tim Cravens, bassist Keith Alan and drummer Ryan Ross, is preparing to record their second release, following their 2017 debut EP Take Me for a Ride.

“We can’t wait to get back to the studio and record,” says Bovberg. “Our first experience was very rewarding — I feel it bettered us in multiple ways, from our overall performance to our ability to work together. Our next effort shows growth in our songwriting, I believe.”

If the variety and dramatic flair of Take Me for a Ride is any indication, listeners will have a wild ride ahead of them. The band’s debut, in the span of roughly 20 minutes, travels over a great deal of stylistic territory without once sounding jarring or sacrificing listenability. The rhythm section churns hypnotically on “Distraction,” while “War on Ourselves” and “Pure” offer intricate synth-and-guitar interplay beneath anthemic melodies. Bovberg’s vocals on “Oathkeeper” veer from soaring and soulful to throat-shredding in their intensity.

“We all have very different influences ... everything from jazz to pop-punk to classical to prog-rock to more experimental,” Bovberg explains. “I think that makes it extra cool when we put all our heads together and write music that encompasses all these genres.”

Locals can catch Ozonic twice this weekend, first on Friday, Feb. 1, as part of the multi-night Sunshine Studios offering Battle for Brat Fest, wherein a slew of notable local bands will compete for the chance to play at the titular three-day festival in Madison, Wisconsin, this May. The Hoodoo, Seven Days Lost and Barefoot Family Caravan will also perform on Feb. 1, while Hipbone, One From None, Signal & Flow and the Adam Stigall Band take the Sunshine Studios stage on Feb. 2. (The “Battle for Brat Fest” proceedings kicked off Jan. 25 with Elevated Sickness, The Endless Line, FN Wylde and Gravel.) If there’s not something for everyone to be found within, it surely comes close.

“There are so many talented bands competing for Brat Fest, and we’re super grateful to be chosen as one of them,” says Bovberg.

Ozonic will also hit the Zodiac stage on Saturday, Feb. 2, with fellow locals How to Think in support of the Bozeman, Montana-based quartet DASH, whose debut album Super was released in October 2018.

The band hopes to maintain a busy schedule in town and abroad throughout the year, and between the promise of their upcoming recording and their vibrant live stage presence, that should spell good things for both Ozonic and their listeners. Bovberg, for his part, couldn’t conceal his enthusiasm for his bandmates, even if he tried.

“Man, there’s nothing like singing with such a talented group of musicians who share the same goals. Each member adds their own flavor to this project, and without any one of them, it wouldn’t be the same.”

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