With a music scene so full of life, creativity, and inspiration, New Jersey is packed with up-and-coming musicians trying to make a name for themselves. Although it may seem daunting in such a saturated market, some of these bands are able to stand out amongst the rest. Through long, caffeine-fueled nights and the hustle of being on tour, OWEL have proven themselves to be one of those bands, as they continue to deliver a new sound to the indie rock genre time and time again. Comprised of Jay Sakong (lead vocals, guitar, keys), Seamus O’Connor (vocals, guitar, keys), Jane Park (vocals, violin, viola, keys), Nunzio Moudatsos (vocals, bass), and Ryan Vargas (percussion), this five-piece uses an array of instruments in order to create unique soundscapes that show the group is a force to be reckoned with.
When Jay first started playing around with the idea of putting a band together, he figured it would be best to stick with people he felt connected with in his personal life. He knew Jane from his childhood, Seamus from audio engineering school, and Nunzio and Ryan from high school. Understanding that personalities would ultimately play a pivotal role in the overall success of a close-knit band, he wanted the project to be like a family–and that is exactly what he accomplished, both within and outside of the band.
Upon forming and playing shows, they “immediately felt a camaraderie with fans, and even more so with bands within the scene,” Jay details. Such support has carried them a long way, because a tight knit music community brings artists of various genres together, and this ultimately makes touring and maintaining a following significantly easier. After playing with the likes of bands such as Mae, The Soil & The Sun, A Lot Like Birds, and Alabama Shakes, OWEL has noticed their fanbase changing and accumulating. Fans who gather to meet the band after shows often share how they accidentally discovered them on various tour lineups, and that they quickly got into OWEL’s sound. “It feels great,” Jay exclaims. “It makes the long night drives and constant hustle worth it.”
Check out the rest of the feature in our upcoming issue–coming soon!
PHOTOS: LORI GUTMAN
WORDS: EMILY GORDON