>> The four members of Chicago-based band AyOH have been working extra hard lately. The group put out an EP in February, titled Dangerous Questions, and recently released a new music video for "Shout Shout" - all while finding time to perform at SXSW. The band has been together for a few years now, but it looks like 2015 might be the year they really shine. Read my interview with the band below!
Please introduce yourself.
My name is Avi Dell, I'm the lead singer and lyricist for the Alt/Dance/Pop band AyOH out of Chicago, Illinois. I also play guitar and keys.
How did the band first come together?
AyOH is a Chicago formed band arriving from all over the globe. AyOH first came to life when singer Avi Dell (from Pittsburgh) met with drummer, John Arrotti (from Chicago), to work on some original tunes. Avi gave John some recordings that he had been working on including demos and simple lyrical themes and the two quickly formed a strong collaboration. Within a few months they had over a dozen original tunes and today constitute the bulk of writing, but our bassist Lin (from Thailand) and guitarist Austin (from Seattle) contribute creatively in an ever increasing way.
How did you all decide to name the band AyOH?
Before we were a band, we were just dudes playing music, writing songs, sharing ideas. and this one song I brought to the group had this great refrain at the end that went "Ay-OH, Ay-OH" we really clicked with this song and it started feeling like we had a clear direction. "We were like, okay, we can build a band around this sound and this song" the song is now called "Out Alive" and was the first single off our first EP "Take it to the People". It charted nationally on CMJ and has received regular play time on a few local radio stations and college radio across north America.
You released your sophomore EP, Dangerous Questions, in February. What was the writing and recording process like for this EP?
We took this project to the next level. It was an extremely long process, but every rock was turned. We didn't leave any detail untouched. Steve Gillis, our producer, was our fearless leader.
Where did you find inspiration for this EP? Would you say it has a certain theme to it as a whole, or does each song speak to something different?
Inspiration came from everywhere for this. People like Paul Simon to the Killers and Imagine Dragons. We just wanted to create big sounding songs. Each song definitely has it's own personality, but in general there is a real message of hope throughout the EP.
Is there one particular track that has a special meaning for you?
I don't think I have a favorite, but I'm really proud of "Lion to the Lamb". When I was writing, lyrically it started out pretty heavy and I was worried we wouldn't find the musical weight for balance. But Gillis (producer) recognized our ambition for the song and fearlessly guided us through that process. John Arrotti (drums) came through with the amazing piano arrangements that supported the entire piece.
Ideally, what would you like fans to get out of your music?
Smiles... When we get on stage people just seem to be happy.
You recently played a slew of shows at SXSW. What was that experience like and how does it compare to other shows you've played in the past?
SXSW is an experience all-unto-itself. I've described it as a singular moment in my life. Surrounded by people that love music as much as I do, playing their hearts out. There really isn't anything like it. I feel incredibly fortunate to be playing on such a high level.
Now that you've conquered SXSW, what can fans expect next from AyOH?
We'll be traveling quite a bit but those details are still in the works. If anyone is looking to tour, we're looking for bands to join up with. So please reach out and be in touch!
Is there anything else you'd like to say?
Thank you so much for the time and for helping us spread the word. It's been a pleasure chatting with you.