Music Spotlight: Ottawa
For those of you who don't know me personally, Asymmetric first came about in my old college house on Lincoln Street in Kent, Ohio (it eventually took its form + launched in Los Angeles a couple years after). So, when I first discovered Cleveland-based band Ottawa, I immediately knew I wanted to showcase them. The band, composed of vocalist Dale DeLong, guitarist Will Hopper, guitarist Tim Czajka + bassist Jeremy Barnes, carries the underground rock sound that Northeast Ohio bands are known for + a certain charm that only Ohio bands can obtain (in my very biased opinion). Their cathartic lyrics exude all the relatable feelings of love + life itself. The band has been scoring gigs all over my old stomping grounds, including their most recent show at the Grog Shop, which despite everything LA has to offer, is my favorite music venue of all time. I’ve been such a fan for awhile now, and I'm stoked to watch this band evolve even more. We chatted with Dale about a few of their most beloved tracks, their sound + what's next. In addition to the tracks below, I recommend playing The Good Kind on repeat forever. -Leah, founder.
Asymmetric Magazine: Thank you for taking the time to talk to us! You just released a few singles recently–tell us about No More Love Songs and Undercover.
Dale DeLong: Thanks for having me. No More Love Songs is this kind of bombastic obvious single; there’s nothing about it trying to change the world but it has a huge chorus. It’s the kind of song where as you’re writing it, it feels like its already a ‘thing’- like you know you’ll be playing it forever. Undercover is a song that lyrically says exactly how I was feeling about being in a band and pursuing it as my job; relatable to most people. There’s something pulling you to do whatever it is you’re doing in life. I’ve grown to really love this song.
AM: You guys also just released a music video for No More Love Songs. Tell us a little bit about the video.
DD: It took two days to shoot and about two months of planning. We were introduced to Bradley Atom (Director) through our friend Hannah who came up with the concept for the video. I found the Nash, which is where we shot the live portion, and Jeremy (our bass player) is the one who had the idea of breaking the guitar. We needed a bunch of extras, and between our friends and fans, we were able to make it happen. It was a lot of work but tons of fun, too.
AM: How do these songs compare to your previous work, like your album Random Lights?
DD: We’re just really proud of these songs. Random Lights happened when we were figuring out the type of band we are, and now we know. There are a couple of good songs on it that we still play live and that maybe one day we’ll revisit as recordings. The difference in songwriting from our new stuff to our older stuff is night and day.
AM: How would you describe your sound?
DD: Ambitious indie-rock, new wave-ish. Very Brit-pop, guitar-driven and chorus-heavy.
AM: What themes do you typically pursue through your music?
DD: Purpose, love, ambition, insecurity
AM: What other musicians are currently inspiring you?
DD: Brandon Flowers, Alvvays, The Pretenders, Tears for Fears, early Coldplay.
AM: Where is one place that you feel completely in touch with your creative self/music?
DD: On Stage.
AM: What can we expect to hear from you next?
DD: We [just released] Wrong and have a new song a coming out this month, Friends. Friends is my favorite song we’ve ever done. We shot a video for it on the floor of the Grog Shop in Cleveland with Brad. We’re super happy with it!