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OWEL is a 5-piece band hailing from NJ that takes a unique approach to instrumentation, incorporating orchestral strings and glockenspiel over traditional guitar, drums, and bass. Although guitarist/vocalist Jay Sakong and drummer Ryan Vargas grew up in the same county of Middlesex, New Jersey, it wasn’t until late 2010 that the two would collaborate musically. During this time, Jay was attending the Institute of Audio Research in New York, and met fellow student and guitarist Seamus O’Connor. Before even hearing him play, Jay suggested that Seamus join him and Ryan in their new musical venture. He explains, “Seamus and I would both take the same train into the city, and we would just discuss music the whole time. I knew, or at least seriously hoped, that we both understood what we wanted to create together.”
After playing a few shows, they felt something was missing – that’s where violinist/keyboardist Jane Park would fit into the picture. A childhood friend of Jay’s, Jane had lost contact with Jay for years but noticed that his band was playing a set at her local Brooklyn venue and decided to stop by. Again, even before hearing her play, Jay knew that she was the missing piece of the puzzle. He says, “She had just played a show herself, so she had this violin strapped to her back like a rifle.” In search of a bass player, the band recruited Nunzio Moudatsos (ex-Late Cambrian), who would round out the quintet.
The group’s self-titled 2013 debut garnered attention from the likes of NPR, Stereogum, Grantland, and Pitchfork, and continues to build a following around their vinyl release, powered by boutique label, intheclouds.
OWEL released their latest EP, Every Good Boy, produced by Mike Watts (As Tall As Lions, The Dear Hunter), on April 28th, 2015. After their performance at The Lincoln Center as part of the American Songbook Series in April, the band will hit the road the rest of the spring and summer in support of the new EP.