By: Stephanie Stevens
Rochester, NY’s OVTLIER shines with brilliance as they keep unleashing music that has a blend of enticing bits of heaviness , dark aura and emotional melody to round out massive powerful pieces of art.
The band made a name for themselves with the 7 song disc WHAT DOESNT KILL YOU. With solid tracks like BURIED ME ALIVE, BROKEN BONES and BREAK.
Inspired by everything 80s/90s. Grunge to numetal band members Joey Arena vocals, guitarists Kane Buckley and Nolan Hayes, bassist Paul Milne and drummer Mike Wilkinson create a alluring hybrid sound.
The bands newest single WHO WE ARE was co written with Ice Nine Kills Justin DeBlieck and is taking the modern rock world by storm as the band delves into the dark and trauma induced story of toxic relationships. With raging tone, impeccable breakdowns and duality of vocal range its a creattion of power, mood and dynamics.
OVTLIER is one band who will surprise you with raw songwriting so be on the lookout for more personal and intense work from this stellar band.
I had a chance to speak with frontman Joey Arena who gave me some incite on the band, is background in music, the songs and more.
Q: In the beginning was OVTLIER a solo project for you and what made you turn it into a full fledge band?
Q: I did not create Ovtlier with the intentions of being a solo project but knew that it be easier to find like minded musicians once I had laid out the foundation.
Q: Your newest single WHO WE ARE do you feel you have honed in on the sound you wanted for the band?
A: Being that I like to incorporate different elements of Rock & Metal, I feel we will forever continue to evolve and put out music that we feel best suits us. “Who We Are” showcases how big we like to go with a chorus and the different styles of vocals I like to work into the mix.
Q: The new stuff you guys are writing is going to be on a more personal level as we saw in WHO WE ARE, what is the pro and cons when reaching into that kind of emotion?
A: The pro’s are that I will be using it as therapy. I look forward to no longer carrying the weight. I can only hope that it will inspire those to love, self reflect and work on themselves as they go through life.
Q: With this recent single out does this mean a new EP or maybe full length disc is in the works and if so do you have any ETA on when it will be released? And how can fans support you going forward until you can get out and tour again?
A: For now, we will continue to put out singles. It gives each song the undivided attention it deserves. For support, we strongly push that people follow and subscribe to our streaming platforms such as Spotify, YouTube, Pandora, etc.
Q: Where do you guys currently reside and how is the atmosphere over there with 2020 impacting so much?
A: We are all spread out amongst Upstate, NY. Buffalo and Rochester. I have been to some of the headlining hot spots for protests and Rochester with some rioting.
Q: Where did you grow up and how much did that atmosphere encourage and support your decision on being a musician?
A: I grew up in Rochester, NY. I was introduced into an amazing local music scene at the age of 13 that unfortunately, many locals today will never experience that type of diversity, support and popular appeal. I’m grateful that I was able to experience it.
Q: It’s been a few years since your EP WHAT DOESN’T KILL YOU came out, looking back on critic’s words, fans words about the music, what is the biggest thing you walked away from and thought about walking into making new music?
A: “What Doesn’t Kill You” was written in 2014 and released years later. I’m proud of that EP and all the hard work that producer, Evan McKeever and myself put into it while looking through the flaws. I walked away only looking forward and growing with in my vision of what Ovtlier can and will become.
Q: Is guitar always going to be your first passion when it comes to music?
A: Guitar will be my first love but I enjoy being a vocalist and all the types of character I can tap into with it.
Q: When did you realize you could be a vocalist and did you have any classical training?
A: I dabbled with back up vocals and harmonies in any mid-2000’s projects and took my first steps as a vocalist in 2009, completely ignorant and uneducated and learning the hard way of what goes in to being a vocalist. I began taking lessons in the midsts of writing “What Doesn’t Kill You” and have taken lessons throughout the past 5 years.
Q: Is there a big difference emotional creating say a riff or melody vs. writing a lyrical story for you? And if so can you sum up each feeling doing both?
A: Sometimes there will be a musical progression that can hit me in that spot just as almost a lyrical concept and when they both work together is where you can find magic. Its not always the case but definitely a goal. I believe both will speak and impact significantly to me.
Q: BURIED ME ALIVE is one song from that older EP that stood out for me. The vocals immediately stuck with me. Can you describe how the vocal diversity came to be on that track?
A: Buried is a very special track for me. Its about the love for music and how I consider her to be “the girlfriend that never loved me back”. She will always be there but you are forever constantly having to work for the relationship to progress.
Q: Out of everything you could do in the world what made you want to become a musician/artist?
A: I picked up music at the age of 11 when a friend introduced me to it and its been love since then.
Q: How do you view of the state of Rock N Roll and if could change anything what would you change?
A: I believe Rock is on the rise and will compete at the level Pop and Rap are at. I look forward to more rock artists beating mainstream Pop and Rap artists out of charts.
Q: Other than music what is your other biggest passions?
A: I’m a hairstylist and own a remodeling business, constantly enjoy creating. I do enjoy going to the gym as often as possible as well as hiking.
Q: If you could describe the support you have gotten from music fans in one sentence what would you say?
A: Nothing is more self rewarding than someone who loves and supports what you love.
Q: Empower another artist and tell us who your biggest inspiration is and why?
A: I love any and all artists that go against the grain and not afraid to be themselves.
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