Photo Courtesy of Kozicki Photography
Not all musicians can play their instruments. This paradox, a product of modern technology, is addressed in ofHuman’s first album “…all the plastic arts,” which the band will promote at “localPalooza” at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Newport Music Hall.
The album title “represents the fakeness of music, and we’re trying to take it back to when music was real,” said 22-year-old drummer and effect vocalist Adam Gilbert.
The band’s CD looks and feels like a vinyl record to remind listeners of a time when music was authentic.
“If you listen to music back in the ‘60s or ‘70s, the way they recorded then is so different compared to now,” Gilbert said. “They literally had only one chance to get the song right, or they had to start all over again.”
In other words, musicians needed skill to succeed. “Nowadays, there are a lot of good producers out there,” Gilbert said. “You can fix notes if you sing them wrong.”
But the members of ofHuman don’t rely on sound editing. They pride themselves on musical talent and the ability to perform well live.
They even incorporate three-part vocal harmonies, a tricky feat. “It’s way more complicated to play when you’re doing a harmony,” Gilbert said.
Gilbert’s bandmates are singer and guitarist Josh Mason, backup vocalist and guitarist Dave Tipple, and backup vocalist and bassist Stephen “Cletus” Simmons. They teamed up in May 2008 to pursue their passions for music, and they take the band seriously.
“We dropped out of college, not because of grades, not because of work, but just because we really wanted to focus 100 percent on this band and really put everything into it,” Mason said.
They chose the name ofHuman because they strive to write accessible lyrics and music that will appeal to a broad audience. “I tend to write stuff about personal experiences, stuff that everybody can relate to,” Mason said. “We’re all human.”
By targeting a wide audience, the band sets itself apart from Columbus’ many metal bands.
“We stick out like a sore thumb,” Gilbert said. “It’s easy to sound like another band because then you can play a show anytime you want because you know you’re going to fit in.”
But the band is more concerned with making lasting music than gaining instant success. “There are certain bands that try to get somewhere just from sounding like everything else that’s out right now,” Gilbert said. “They’re pretty much digging themselves into a hole.”
Mason described ofHuman as “a rock band without boundaries.”
Because the band stays away from screaming and heavy metal, its music often attracts an older crowd.
“At the same time, we’re not trying to make your grandma happy,” Mason said.
Simmons said it is also important for the band members to play music that they enjoy listening to.
“I was actually listening to our music at work today, and someone made fun of me about it,” he said. “We write music that we like to listen to, so it makes it more fun for us to actually play the music.”
When they perform, their enthusiasm for the music radiates with the notes. “We’re not up there jumping around and getting into the music because we’re hammered,” Mason said. “We’re actually getting into it because we really physically feel everything when we’re playing.”
Although Mason said he doesn’t get nervous to play before an audience, he said he worries about how many people will show up.
“It’s a lot easier to play in front of 1800 people than it is in front of 18 people,” he said. “It’s a band pride and progress thing. We want to be playing in front of bigger crowds each time because that means we’re going somewhere.”
The last time ofHuman played at the Newport Music Hall, nearly 800 people came out to watch.
This time, ofHuman is headlining the show and will be joined by six Columbus-area rock bands: American Dog, Snowblynd, Twenty One Pilots, Infinities End, 8 KOunt and CleverWit.
“We want people to come out and actually see that Columbus is not a city full of either local hip hop artists or hard core metal,” Mason said.
Once ofHuman attains a strong fan base in Columbus, the band hopes to find a manager and begin touring, Mason said.
Gilbert and Simmons have high hopes, as well. “Goals for the future would ultimately be to do this as a career,” Gilbert said. “Eventually, you’d like to make money.”
For Simmons, it is much the same. “As long as I can play music as a job, that’s success for me,” he said. “As long as I’m doing something that I love, the world’s a good place.”
“LocalPalooza” begins at 6 p.m. Saturday. Doors open at 5 p.m., and ofHuman will take the stage around 10 p.m. Advance tickets are $10 and can be ordered on Ticketmaster or by contacting one of the bands. Tickets are $12 at the door.